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1. (WO2018005765) SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR CAPTURING DIGITAL IMAGES
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CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A device, comprising:

a non-transitory memory storing instructions; and

one or more processors in communication with the non-transitory memory, wherein the one or more processors execute the instructions to:

determine at least one ambient exposure parameter, wherein the at least one ambient exposure parameter includes at least one of an exposure time, an exposure sensitivity (ISO value), a white balance, and a lens aperture;

determine at least one flash exposure parameter based on the at least one ambient exposure parameter;

capture, via at least one camera module, an ambient image according to the at least one ambient exposure parameter;

capture, via the at least one camera module, a flash image according to the at least one flash exposure parameter;

store the captured ambient image and the captured flash image; and

combine the captured ambient image and the captured flash image to generate a first merged image.

2. The device of claim 1 , wherein the one or more processors further execute the instructions to implement at least one of de-noising the ambient image prior to the combining, de-noising the flash image prior to the combining, and de-noising the first merged image. 3. The device of claim 2, wherein the device is configured such that at least one of the de-noising of the ambient image prior to the combining, the denoising of the flash image prior to the combining, and the de-noising of the first merged image generates at least one de-noised pixel, wherein the one or more processors further execute the instructions to:

calculate a first intermediate noise estimate based on the ambient image ISO value;

calculate a second intermediate noise estimate based on the ambient image ISO value and an ambient pixel intensity;

calculate a third intermediate noise estimate based on the ambient pixel intensity and a flash pixel intensity; and

combine the first intermediate noise estimate, the second intermediate noise estimate, and the third intermediate noise estimate to create an overall pixel noise estimate.

4. The device of claim 3, wherein the device is configured such that at least one of the following occurs:

the first intermediate noise estimate is calculated as a smoothstep function configured to receive the ambient image ISO value as an input, a first ISO value as a left edge value, and a second ISO value as a right edge value;

the second intermediate noise estimate is calculated as a smoothstep function configured to receive the ambient pixel intensity as an input, a left edge value that is a function of the ambient image ISO value, and a right edge value that is an offset from the left edge value; and

the third intermediate noise estimate is calculated according to a blend surface configured to receive the ambient pixel intensity and the flash pixel intensity.

5. The device of claim 3, wherein the one or more processors further execute the instructions to:

compute a patch-space sample at a location in patch-space that corresponds to a location of the at least one de-noised pixel in a pixel-space;

upon determining that the overall pixel noise estimate is above a predefined threshold, assign a value of the patch-space sample to the at least one de-noised pixel; and

upon determining that the overall pixel noise estimate is below the predefined threshold, assign a value of an ambient pixel to the at least one de-noised pixel.

6. The device of claim 1, wherein the device is configured such that determining the at least one ambient exposure parameter includes capturing a sequence of images wherein each image is captured with a successively refined estimate until an ambient exposure goal is satisfied.

7. The device of claim 1 , wherein the device is configured such that the at least one flash exposure parameter includes at least one of a flash exposure time, a flash exposure sensitivity (ISO value), a flash white balance, a flash duration, and a flash lens aperture, wherein the flash exposure time is less than or equal to an ambient image exposure time associated with the at least one ambient exposure parameter.

8. The device of claim 1, wherein the device is configured such that the flash image is captured as one of a sequence of flash images captured according to successively refined flash exposure parameters, the sequence of flash images being captured until a flash exposure goal is satisfied, and at least one of a flash duration, a flash intensity, or a combination of the flash duration and the flash intensity is adjusted until the flash exposure goal is satisfied.

9. The device of claim 1, wherein the device is configured such that the ambient image is captured within a first analog storage plane of an image sensor and the flash image is captured within a second analog storage plane of the image sensor.

10. The device of claim 1, wherein the device is configured such that the ambient image is captured at a different resolution than the flash image.

11. The device of claim 1 , wherein the device is configured such that the first merged image includes interpolated pixels from pixel data of the ambient image, the interpolated pixels providing a higher effective resolution.

12. The device of claim 1, wherein the device is configured such that the ambient image is captured at a lower resolution at a specific ISO value, and the flash image is captured at a higher resolution and a higher ISO value.

13. The device of claim 1, wherein the one or more processors further execute the instructions to perform an edge detection pass on ambient pixels of the ambient image to generate an edge-enhanced image, wherein the device is configured such that the edge-enhanced image is used to assign de-noising weights.

14. A computer program product comprising computer executable instructions stored on a non-transitory computer readable medium that when executed by a processor instruct the processor to:

determine at least one ambient exposure parameter, wherein the at least one ambient exposure parameter includes at least one of an exposure time, an exposure sensitivity (ISO value), a white balance, and a lens aperture;

determine at least one flash exposure parameter based on the at least one ambient

exposure parameter;

capture, via at least one camera module, an ambient image according to the at least one ambient exposure parameter;

capture, via the at least one camera module, a flash image according to the at least one flash exposure parameter;

store the captured ambient image and the captured flash image; and

combine the captured ambient image and the captured flash image to generate a first merged image.

15. A computer-implemented method, comprising:

determining, using a processor, at least one ambient exposure parameter, wherein the at least one ambient exposure parameter includes at least one of an exposure time, an exposure sensitivity (ISO value), a white balance, and a lens aperture;

determining, using the processor, at least one flash exposure parameter based on the at least one ambient exposure parameter;

capturing, via at least one camera module, an ambient image according to the at least one ambient exposure parameter;

capturing, via the at least one camera module, a flash image according to the at least one flash exposure parameter;

storing the captured ambient image and the captured flash image; and

combining, using the processor, the captured ambient image and the captured flash image to generate a first merged image.