Imaging-Resource "Technology Of The Year Award" Fuji X-Trans Sensor

Started Feb 27, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Imaging-Resource "Technology Of The Year Award" Fuji X-Trans Sensor
Feb 27, 2013
"Technology of the Year: Fujifilm's X-Trans Sensor

Everyone talks about the importance of out-of-the-box thinking, but few are willing to endure the struggle that's needed to bring something truly radical to market. Fujifilm stuck it out, and we're happy to see them finally enjoying the fruits of their long years of effort and innovation in sensor technology."

Late in the year, Fujifilm launched the X-E1 with the same X-Trans sensor, and we've been equally impressed with the first shots from this smaller, less expensive sibling to the X-Pro1. The manufacturer hasn't rested on its laurels, either. At CES in January, Fujifilm introduced the X-Trans II sensor technology that's at the heart of two new cameras, the X100S and smaller-sensor X20. We can't wait to test these cameras and see how the continued evolution of Fujifilm's revolutionary camera technology is playing out.

As noted, Fujifilm has been pushing the envelope of sensor design for years now, with varying degrees of success. With their X-Trans technology, though, they appear to have finally delivered something truly special. In testing the X-Pro1, we found exceptionally sharp images, with clean detail and very few artifacts -- and the X-Pro1's image sharpness was realistic, not oversharpened and rife with halos like we often see in JPEGs from even top DSLRs.

There seems to be a developing trend in the camera industry of late, with manufacturers dramatically weakening or even entirely removing low-pass filters, in an effort to increase perceived sharpness. This does in fact yield crisper, more well-defined detail, but does so at the considerable cost of increased susceptibility to color moirĂ© patterns and other aliasing artifacts. With X-Trans, Fujfilm took an entirely different approach. They eliminated the low-pass filter, but the unique CFA pattern and the tricky math they developed for reconstructing full-color images from it effectively created a "virtual" low-pass filter at the hardware and firmware level. Mathematically, there's no getting around the Nyquist limit, but Fujifilm's unique CFA structure and the clever math they developed to interpret it apparently have managed to shift the unavoidable artifacts into forms that aren't obvious to the human eye.

Fujifilm has been at the forefront of sensor innovation for years now, although some of their previous efforts saw only limited success. In 2012, though, they released their X-Pro1 camera, using their new X-Trans sensor technology, introducing an entirely different color filter architecture that's truly a revolution in sensor technology. Fujifilm's X-Trans technology replaces the near-universal 2x2 pixel Bayer-pattern color filter array (CFA) with a much larger 6x6 cell having a quasi-random arrangement of the red, blue, and green pixels. Because the X-Trans pattern includes red and blue pixels in every horizontal line of the array -- whereas Bayer-filtered cameras display these two colors only in alternating rows -- it can produce more consistently accurate colors and color boundaries. The net result is a real step forward in image resolution and crispness, as well as a more "filmic" look to its image noise pattern.

Fujifilm X100S Fujifilm X20 Fujifilm X-E1 Fujifilm X-Pro1
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