Received an interesting news release (early) from an anonymous poster which describes a little better how the SuperCCD technology differs from standard CCD's. "The number of sensors in conventional half-inch CCDs has increased dramatically in recent years, but it is generally believed the apex has been reached at around three million sensors. "

UPDATED: CCD pixel resolutions:

  • The Fuji FinePix 4700 has 2.4 million pixel SuperCCD sensor which produces a 4.3 million pixel image.
  • The Fuji Finepix S1 Pro has a 3.2 million pixel SuperCCD sensor which produces a 6.1 million pixel image.

FUJIFILM'S DIGITAL IMAGING BREAKTHROUGH: NEW SUPER CCD IMAGE SENSOR SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVES THE COLOR, CLARITY AND SHARPNESS OF DIGITAL PICTURES

New Cameras Featuring Super CCD Technology Make Their Debut at PMA 2000

PMA 2000, LAS VEGAS, NV -- Leading the way, once again, in digital imaging innovation, Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd., in collaboration with its subsidiary Fujifilm Microdevices Co., Ltd., has developed a new charge-coupled device (CCD) technology that dramatically improves the quality of digital images. Two digital cameras that feature this new technology - the Fujifilm FinePix 4700 ZOOM and Fujifilm FinePix S1 Pro - will be on display at PMA 2000.

Radically different from conventional CCDs with square photodiodes and sensor arrangements, Fujifilm's new Super CCD has octagonal-shaped photodiodes and sensors situated on 45-degree angles. This pattern increases sensitivity, improves signal-to-noise ratio and offers a much wider dynamic range, attributes that produce digital images with richer, true-to-life colors and sparkling clarity.

Down the road, Fujifilm's Super CCD technology can lead to many exciting new products, such as ultra-compact digital cameras and one that can capture both full-motion video with digital camcorder quality and megapixel still images using a single chip.

"This shift in CCD design can only broaden the consumer appeal of digital imaging, as pictures taken with a Super CCD camera are noticeably better than images captured using conventional CCD technology," said Manny Almeida, Vice President and General Manager, Digital Imaging Division, Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc.

The number of sensors in conventional half-inch CCDs has increased dramatically in recent years, but it is generally believed the apex has been reached at around three million sensors. Any further increase in the number of sensors - which, conversely, decreases the size of each sensor - is known to adversely affect sensitivity, dynamic range and signal-to-noise ratio.

The new sensor shape and arrangement of the Super CCD offers a number of advantages over the current, conventional CCD. For example, space efficiency for the photodiode located in each sensor has been dramatically improved by its octagonal shape. In addition, the arrangement of the sensors allows them to be packed at maximum density and this efficient use of space allows for larger photodiodes and higher resolutions.

Plus, the difference in the area of the photodiode is more pronounced with a larger number of sensors, a factor that results in better image quality. So, for example, the area of the photodiode in a ½-inch Super CCD with two million sensors is about 1.6 times as large as the area offered in the conventional CCD with the same number of sensors.

A larger photodiode area (a Super CCD photodiode is 50 percent larger than that of a conventional photodiode) proportionately improves sensitivity, the signal-to-noise ratio and the dynamic range, key elements in digital image capture. As a result, a Super CCD sporting 1.3 million sensors would reproduce the picture quality of a conventional CCD with 2 million sensors.

In addition, the Super CCD mirrors characteristics of the human eye to interpret collected information. Similar to the function of the retina, which is used to interpret color and light, the Super CCD transforms optical signals into electrical impulses.

These impulses are then passed through a signal processing system to form the image.
Fujifilm researchers also learned that the human eye recognizes information better in horizontal and vertical directions. By arranging the sensors at 45-degree angles, the new Super CCD sharply increases the image sensor's ability to capture more resolution in both the horizontal and vertical. This results in an image more pleasing to the human eye.

And by allowing skipped readout of image data without sacrificing quality, the Super CCD also streamlines the process by which electrical charges are transmitted through the photodiodes, making high-speed continuous photography possible and thus offering high-quality, full-motion video output.

"One of just a handful of companies that manufacture all of the key image capture elements of a digital camera, Fujifilm is the first to take this major step in CCD design," remarked Kevin Kane, Research Analyst, Digital Cameras and Scanners, International Data Corporation. "Super CCD's impact could become widespread across the digital imaging market."

For more information on regarding the Super CCD technology and Fujifilm digital imaging products, please visit Fujifilm at PMA booth #D101, the company's Web site at www.fujifilm.com or call at 1-800-800-FUJI.

About Fujifilm Digital Imaging
As the first manufacturer to offer a digital camera with removable storage media and the developer of the new Super CCD sensor, Fujifilm is a recognized digital imaging innovator. With a breadth of line that includes products for image capture, storage and output, Fujifilm offers a host of end-to-end imaging solutions, letting the user evolve from picture-taker to picture maker within minutes.

What sets Fujifilm digital imaging products apart is the technology that goes into each and every product. Fujifilm is one of only a handful of marketers that both designs and manufactures the key capture elements of a digital camera -- the lens, CCD and image processing mechanisms. This total control ensures strict adherence to design specifications.

Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. is the U.S. marketing subsidiary of Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd., of Tokyo, a leading manufacturer of imaging and information products.