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Foveon updated X3 Pro 10M sensor

By dpreview staff on Oct 27, 2003 at 00:03 GMT

Foveon today announced an updated version of its X3 Pro 10M sensor, this new sensor is used in the new Sigma SD10 which has also been announced today. While the sensor has the same resolution as that used in the SD9 (2268 x 1512 x 3) Foveon has finally taken the step to calling this a 10.2 megapixel sensor. The new sensor is said to have improved dynamic range and color response as well as increasing sensitivity by utilizing a microlens over each pixel location, sensitivity for the SD10 is up to ISO 100 to 800 with ISO 1600 available as an extended option.

Press Release:

FOVEON INTRODUCES NEW 10.2 MEGAPIXEL DIRECT IMAGE SENSOR

Sigma SD10 Digital Camera First To Incorporate Improved Foveon Image Sensor

Santa Clara, CA (October 27, 2003) – Foveon Inc., a technology leader in high-quality digital photography, announces the immediate availability of the F7X3-C9110, an enhanced version of the Foveon X3® PRO 10M direct image sensor. The improved 10.2 megapixel (red + green + blue pixels) image sensor doubles the sensitivity and maximum exposure times and offers increased dynamic range over its predecessor. The new Foveon sensor is used in the Sigma SD10 digital Single-Lens Reflex (SLR) camera. The new Foveon X3® PRO 10M direct image sensor will allow users to capture outstanding photographs at higher shutter speeds ideal for sports action as well as in low light situations requiring long exposures up to 30 seconds.

The new Foveon image sensor is a result of design and fabrication process improvements that result in higher image quality and superb color fidelity. “These improvements demonstrate the speed at which we are evolving the technology and support our confidence that X3 is the most advanced image sensor technology for capturing color images,” said Federico Faggin, Foveon’s CEO.

The first camera to incorporate the new image sensor is the newly introduced Sigma SD10 digital Single-Lens Reflex (SLR) camera. The camera supports an ISO range from 100 to 800, plus an extended mode option to ISO 1600, and exposure durations of up to 30 seconds.

“The choice of image sensor is becoming a top criterion, when choosing a digital camera, because it is the primary factor that determines the image quality. We believe that with Foveon X3 technology, the Sigma SD10 digital camera offers color resolution and color fidelity comparable to other cameras costing four times the price,” said Faggin.

The Foveon X3 PRO 10M direct image sensor has a total of 10.2 million red, green, and blue pixels that are organized into three layers (2268 x 1512 x 3 layers).

About Foveon X3 Direct Image Sensors

Foveon X3 image sensors are the world’s only direct image sensors, which capture red, green, and blue light at every pixel location, and are the first image sensors that leverage silicon’s inherent color separation property. When silicon is exposed to light, blue light is absorbed near the surface, green light is absorbed in the middle, and red light is absorbed deep within the silicon. Pixel sensors are stacked at the corresponding depths within the silicon so that red, green, and blue light is captured for each pixel location.

Other image sensors on the market such as CCD and CMOS image sensors have only one layer of pixels and use colored filters to capture a single color per location, resulting in color artifacts and image blurring.

Foveon X3 technology is highly scalable for a wide range of cameras including digital still/video cameras, PDAs, cell phones, security cameras and scientific cameras.

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