This paper introduces a new approach in narrow-band imaging (NBI). Existing NBI techniques generate images by selecting discrete bands over the full visible spectrum or an even wider spectral range. In contrast, here we perform the sampling with filters covering a tight spectral window. This image acquisition method, named narrow spectral imaging, can be particularly useful when optical information is only available within a narrow spectral window, such as in the case of deep-water transmittance, which constitutes the principal motivation of this work. In this study we demonstrate the potential of the proposed photographic technique on nonunderwater scenes recorded under controlled conditions. To this end three multilayer narrow bandpass filters were employed, which transmit at 440, 456, and 470 nm bluish wavelengths, respectively. Since the differences among the images captured in such a narrow spectral window can be extremely small, both image acquisition and visualization require a novel approach. First, high-bit-depth images were acquired with multilayer narrow-band filters either placed in front of the illumination or mounted on the camera lens. Second, a color-mapping method is proposed, using which the input data can be transformed onto the entire display color gamut with a continuous and perceptually nearly uniform mapping, while ensuring optimally high information content for human perception.
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