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Bryce Bayer, inventer of Bayer Filter, passes away aged 83

By dpreview staff on Nov 21, 2012 at 19:12 GMT

Imaging Resource has published an obituary of Bryce Bayer, who passed away recently. Often called the 'father of digital imaging', former Kodak scientist Bryce Bayer invented and gave his name to the so-called 'Bayer Filter' - a mosaic pattern of red, green and blue filters which allows silicon sensors that are only sensitive to luminance to capture information about the color in a scene. Patented in 1976, the RGBG Bayer Filter has since become essentially ubiquitous, being used in virtually all digital imaging systems from medium-format backs to smartphones. Click the links below to go straight to the obituary at

In the obituary, author Dan Havlik ends by saying 'We salute Bryce Bayer for his huge contribution to digital imaging; a significant portion of the entire human population benefits from his invention every day'. We couldn't have put it better ourselves. 

This illustration shows the now-ubiquitous 'Bayer' arrangement of color filters on an imaging sensor.
(Picture: imaging-resource)


Total comments: 38
By S2ISSA (Nov 28, 2012)

R.I.P. Bryce. Great inventor and visionary.

By Duckie (Nov 26, 2012)


By RC (Nov 25, 2012)

R.I.P. indeed, a great inventor.

Which brings me to English language: I am German but I always thought that it is inventor, not inventer. Am I missing something?

1 upvote
Denis Reggie
By Denis Reggie (Nov 25, 2012)

You are correct, sir. The editor missed that typo.

1 upvote
By Peiasdf (Nov 23, 2012)

He passed away at a time when many companies are exploring alternatives to Bayer Filter. This is truly the passing of an era. RIP Mr. Bayer and Bayer Filter.

max metz
By max metz (Nov 22, 2012)

Thank you Bryce and may God bless you.

1 upvote
By zubs (Nov 22, 2012)

R I P and thank you for bringing your heart and soul into the digital photography world. May others feed off it and help stay alive forever.

By Camediadude (Nov 22, 2012)

The man will live forever as a legend. Together with other brilliant minds he has helped bring photography to so many people, and helped so much science to be made, and art too of course ... and the environment of our Earth warmly thanks him too, no doubt.

By tojkr (Nov 22, 2012)

RIP Dr Bryce Bayer. Thank you for making me a photographer. Without your innovation I would not have become this much skilled.

1 upvote
Wally Brooks
By Wally Brooks (Nov 22, 2012)

Ditto on the fine comments Bruce Bayer contributions enabled all of us to have digital imageing

By FreeRadical009 (Nov 22, 2012)

Thank you for your work and dedication, Mr. Bryce Bayer.

You are one of the people that everyone here owes to for the technology you developed which helps us create our work everyday.

Me being a son of digital photography, owe you a lot.

Thank you, sir. May you rest in peace.

We will put your work into good use and make you proud. We shall carry the torch from here on out.

My condolonces to the Bayer family.

By Madaboutpix (Nov 22, 2012)

The cutting-edge standard of modern DSLRs sometimes lets us forget about the pioneers who ultimately made all this possible. Even when I look at some native-ISO RAWs from my (sensor-wise) slightly long-in-the-tooth K-7, I sometimes go, "Boy, you wouldn't have been able to do this in the old analog days!" Going digital has made photography so much easier, immediate, affordable - and rewarding. Thank you, Mr. Bayer.

daniel wolf
By daniel wolf (Nov 22, 2012)

Thank You and Buddha Blessings

1 upvote
By budi0251 (Nov 22, 2012)

Good bayer CFA, hate the AA filter in front of it.

Maybe fuji's X-Trans CFA algorithm is better.

Definitely not Foveon, way too expensive.

1 upvote
By benmlee (Nov 22, 2012)

The fact is he was a Kodak scientist. Kodak had the technology, resource, and people, and totally blew it.

1 upvote
By Martin87 (Nov 22, 2012)

They had such a promising future back in the 90's. They used to make the best cameras and sensors back then. I wonder what happened to them. Bad management perhaps :(

By zodiacfml (Nov 22, 2012)

They probably spent more time protecting the film business instead of being aggressive on digital and put more business into it. To me, this story is not far from US car manufacturing industry where other nations were relentless with innovation.

1 upvote
By mosc (Nov 30, 2012)

Kodak was a film company not a lens company. The companies that transitioned well to digital were all heavily tied to lens systems and at the same time had little ties to what was attached to them. Canon, Nikon, and Minolta worked quickly on DSLR's to provide a digital use for their existing lens lineups. Kodak favored cheaper fixed lens designs. APS-C was "big enough" to replace film with existing lenses making a smooth transition for pros.

By JorgeLima (Dec 3, 2012)

As far as I know Kodak was an important player in the digital sensor business, was not just a film company. They were even supplying CCDs for scientific applications, not to mention the sensors found in Leica cameras. Maybe they made some wrong moves in the business.

By zodiacfml (Nov 22, 2012)

Wow, I'm seeing the regular posters from the Sigma(Foveon) forums here. Anyway, I bring out my respect and condolences to his family as I'm fortunate that photography was made easier and cheaper for the most part of my lifetime.

By teeranui (Nov 22, 2012)


By WhoozOn1st (Nov 22, 2012)

In an era when every incremental improvement is hyperbolicly (and erroneously) praised as innovative and/or revolutionary, here was a man whooz signature contribution was truly both.

1 upvote
By NancyP (Nov 22, 2012)

Condolences to his family.
Thank you, Dr. Bayer.

1 upvote
By solarsky (Nov 21, 2012)

I have 2 Bayer-CFA-sensor cameras: a Minolta Dimage S304 (3.1 CFA-MP) and a Nokia 808 (41 CFA-MP); as well as 2 Foveon-RGB-sensor cameras: a Polaroid X530 (1.5 RGB-MP) and a Sigma DP2s (4.6 RGB-MP).
So Bayer's concept, along with that of the late Dick Merrill, after which Sigma, who now owns Foveon, even named their latest cameras, are still very much alive and remain a very present reality in the picture-making-&taking-world today.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Ignacio Feito
By Ignacio Feito (Nov 21, 2012)

Godspeed to one of the greatest inventors. Few people realize they're seeing everything through his eyes.

1 upvote
By Martin87 (Nov 21, 2012)

It's a shame that this news got only 10 comments while some news about some stupid dust issues gets almost 100 comments :(
This man was much more important than some dust issues people!!

By (Nov 21, 2012)

We need about 1000 times more people like him in the world to continue to innovate and create our futures.

1 upvote
By Jeremy (Nov 21, 2012)

There is even a nice Bayer-pattern filter sitting over the CCDs on Mars Curiosity rover. I guess we are seeing almost everything through his eyes!

By GregGory (Nov 21, 2012)

Lots of headache will follow his far too early death.


Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Nov 21, 2012)

So simple, yet so ingenious, The Bayer CFA pattern. No matter how you think, you cannot find a more economic pattern. Many people have tried. There are variants, like the ones Fuji dreams up now and then. But, its only variants, in some way better, bit overall less efficient.

Not many people have made an invention that have had such an impact.

Now, we really want a real three layer RGB sensor. But ... its very hard to make one. The Foveon is a good try. It works. And it has some merits. But, it still dont beat the Bayer CFA in economy. Eventually someone will make a three layer sensor that do beat the Bayer CFA solution. But, it will take several years from now.

My thoughts go to Bruce Bayer´s family and friends. May they find some comfort in that Bruce Bayer was one of the more influential persons on this planet.

Samuel Dilworth
By Samuel Dilworth (Nov 21, 2012)

Bryce! It’s Dr Bryce Bayer, not Bruce.

The rest I agree with, except I think it will be very many years before a three-layer sensor replaces Bayer’s invention.

By lylejk (Nov 21, 2012)

Not sure it's better, but you forgot the Foveon sensor. Theoritically better, but actually, I find little difference between it and standard digital captures from modern cameras. :)

Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Nov 21, 2012)

@Samuel - yeah I cant spell English names, and "Dr", sure, I am one to. Never mind .... the man has set deeper tracks in history than anyone of us.

G Davidson
By G Davidson (Nov 21, 2012)

I totally agree. What made digital cameras mass-market devices was economies like this and using cropped sensors. I look forward to Fovenon-like cameras that are just as usable as what I have today, once we can process all that data quickly, but thanks to Mr Bayer, we don't have to wait for it to take high quality images.

By HumanTarget (Nov 22, 2012)

I don't see a three-layer sensor outperforming a Bayer sensor. It's less sensitive by design (among other issues). I think the fact that Bayer's design is still the top-performing one 36 years later says a lot about the brilliance in his solution.

Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Nov 25, 2012)

@HumanTarget - the Foveon is less sensitive by design - an optimal three layer sensor is more sensitive by design, as the CFA solution throws away 2/3 of the photons. But - never mind - this is not the place and time to discuss it.

By Martin87 (Nov 21, 2012)

You will never be forgotten, nor your great name Bayer.

By HBowman (Nov 21, 2012)

Rest in Peace, genius.

Total comments: 38