Abstract

The ability of observers to recognize and detect small, isolated, low-contrast detail in photographs taken with a diffraction-limited lens combined with three different emulsions has been investigated experimentally. The results are compared with the corresponding experimentally determined resolving powers and modulation transfer functions; the resolving power measurements were made with high-contrast three-line targets and with low- and very-low-contrast Cobb and annular targets. The relationships between recognition or detection performance of the system and resolving power or any single figure derived from the modulation transfer functions are not linear. The low-contrast Cobb and annular resolving powers appear to offer the most useful single-number index of the low-contrast recognition and detection performance.

© 1964 Optical Society of America

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