It is commonly believed that having more white pixels in a color filter array (CFA) will help the demosaicing performance for images collected in low lighting conditions. However, to the best of our knowledge, a systematic study to demonstrate the above statement does not exist. We present a comparative study to systematically and thoroughly evaluate the performance of demosaicing for low lighting images using two CFAs: the standard Bayer pattern (aka CFA 1.0) and the Kodak CFA 2.0 (RGBW pattern with 50% white pixels). Using the clean Kodak dataset containing 12 images, we first emulated low lighting images by injecting Poisson noise at two signal-to-noise (SNR) levels: 10 dBs and 20 dBs. We then created CFA 1.0 and CFA 2.0 images for the noisy images. After that, we applied more than 15 conventional and deep learning based demosaicing algorithms to demosaic the CFA patterns. Using both objectives with five performance metrics and subjective visualization, we observe that having more white pixels indeed helps the demosaicing performance in low lighting conditions. This thorough comparative study is our first contribution. With denoising, we observed that the demosaicing performance of both CFAs has been improved by several dBs. This can be considered as our second contribution. Moreover, we noticed that denoising before demosaicing is more effective than denoising after demosaicing. Answering the question of where denoising should be applied is our third contribution. We also noticed that denoising plays a slightly more important role in 10 dBs signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) as compared to 20 dBs SNR. Some discussions on the following phenomena are also included: (1) why CFA 2.0 performed better than CFA 1.0; (2) why denoising was more effective before demosaicing than after demosaicing; and (3) why denoising helped more at low SNRs than at high SNRs.
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