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Fujifilm X100S Digital Split Image focus - how it works

By Richard Butler on Jan 10, 2013 at 20:34 GMT
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The Fujifilm X100S is the latest in a recent rush of cameras to include phase-detection elements on its imaging sensor, giving an AF system that is a hybrid of contrast and phase-detection methods. However, Fujifilm also uses this system to provide a unique and incredibly clever manual focus aid - which could finally allow digital cameras to offer the speed and convenience enjoyed by manual-focus SLR and rangefinder users. Fujifilm UK has posted a video showing 'Digital Split Image' focusing and Japanese camera site DCWatch has published details that allow us to show how it works.

What Digital Split Image focusing offers

The X100S's Digital Split Image system splits the central section of the camera's live view into four black-and-white stripes of the scene. These stripes line-up when the camera is in focus - in a similar way to a split prism viewfinder on a manual-focus film SLR. This gives a method of achieving manual focus while retaining a view of the entire scene, making it possible to assess focus and framing at the same time. This speed and convenience is what has helped focus peaking (a feature the X100S also offers) become a highly desirable feature in mirrorless cameras.

How it works

The best way of understanding how the system works is to understand how on-sensor phase detection works. Because the Digital Split Image focusing system is essentially presenting the camera's phase detection information visually.

Fujifilm was the first company to offer on-sensor phase detection in one of its cameras, when it launched its F300 EXR and Z800 EXR compact cameras. When they were launched, we explained how the system works. The key thing is that the light entering the left-hand-side of the lens will only give the same image as the light from the right-hand-side when the lens is in focus. So if you can 'look at' the left- and right-hand sides separately, you can compare the two images and calculate how much you need to move the lens to get them to match up.

Roll-over the buttons below to show what happens as you focus the lens:

Back Focus
In Focus
Front Focus
In this simplified schematic, you can see what happens to the image cast by the light passing through the left (blue dotted line) and right (red dotted lines) sides of the lens.

When in focus, the light from both sides of the lens converges to create a focused image. However, when not in focus, the images projected by two sides of the lens do not overlap (they are out of phase with one another).

Of course this is a massively simplified diagram with a single, vertical straight line as the subject (and no inversion of the image as it passes through the lens). The point is that we can derive information about focus if we can separately view light coming from opposite sides of the lens.
 
How does a phase detection sensor 'see'?

And we don't need the whole image to do this. Think about a strip of pixels taken from the sensor in the previous diagram. If you could make one such strip that receives light only from the left hand side of the lens and another that 'looks' only to the right-hand side of the lens, then you have enough information to find focus.

By comparing images from just these two strips it's possible to work out not only how far but also in which direction the lens needs to be moved to bring them into phase.
Back Focus
In Focus
Front Focus

As the slide published by DCWatch shows, the Digital Split Image system works by showing these left and right-looking images in the camera's live view - allowing you to visualize what the phase-detection system usually 'sees.' The first and third stripe shown in the viewfinder shows the image being gathered by the left-facing pixels while the second and fourth stripe show what the right-facing pixels are showing. Matching them up (bringing them into phase), brings the image into focus.

Fujifilm explanation of Digital Split Image focusing - from DCWatch

The focus region is black-and-white because the left- and right-facing pixels are all 'green' sensor elements, so aren't capturing any information about any of the other colors in the scene.

If the feature works in practice (and our brief hands-on experience is positive), it's a feature we expect to see in an increasing number of cameras - particularly mirrorless models, many of which still lack a quick method for assessing manual focus. Sadly, because they lack phase-detection elements, it's not a feature Fujifilm can add to its existing X-Pro1 and X-E1 models.

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Comments

Total comments: 101
Boxbrownie
By Boxbrownie (Apr 3, 2013)

It is such a shame the Fuji split image system does not work the same as the old film way, I tried the Fuji at a show and found the split image implementation to be very messy as the image is out of focus until lined up (obviously as only sees through the lens). The whole point of the old split image was that you could see two pin sharp images moving into line as you focused so critical focus was easy as you lined up an edge in view, when the two "parts" are blurred its basically a bit of a naff split image system. I understand the only way to implement this is to use a real optical system, so why call it what it isn't?

Doesn't stop me wanting one of these beauties though, lovely little camera.

1 upvote
Frank C.
By Frank C. (Mar 21, 2013)

what we need now is a non-fixed lens version of the x100s with built-in IS for all us tele shooters

0 upvotes
bobbarber
By bobbarber (Jan 20, 2013)

I think this does look cool, and I'm interested in trying it out.

That said, I'm wondering about the statement "many ...[mirrorless models] still lack a quick method for assessing manual focus."

Which models?

I have "crude" manual focus (no split-screen, no focus-peaking) on my Panasonic GH2, and I don't find it lacking. I can focus on an eyelash quickly and accurately. What is missing from current technology? Ordinary old zoom-in manual focus, which is not color blind, might be more accurate in more situations than this manual focus.

This is an appeal to nostalgia, in my opinion. If there is an increase in functionality over current systems, I'm missing it.

0 upvotes
brdeveloper
By brdeveloper (Jan 22, 2013)

I wonder why doesn't this model have a standard rangefinder focusing mechanism. This would be nicer than an electronic one, although this method of manual focus would be only available through the viewfinder.

Anyway, this electronic digital split image system would be very useful in low-light situations if it can do IR capturing.

1 upvote
umbalito
By umbalito (Jan 25, 2013)

If you can focus on an eye-lash quickly, then good for you.

I've tried the EM5 and the XE1 for street photography, and I personally cannot even focus fast enough on a person walking towards me at f/4 using any focus-by-wire system.

I've been forced to rely entirely on shooting at f/8 and zone focusing when using fly by wire focus.

0 upvotes
Rage Joe
By Rage Joe (Jan 15, 2013)

Fuji is going strong these days. All kinds of innovative out of the box stuff coming out continuously. Hybrid viewfinder and so on. Almost comparable to Nokia's Pure view technology. We are getting spoilt ;)

2 upvotes
brdeveloper
By brdeveloper (Jan 22, 2013)

Panasonic, Fuji and Nokia - The most innovative compact camera makers.

1 upvote
peevee1
By peevee1 (Jan 14, 2013)

Would be more or less (with existing peaking) useful for manual focus lenses on interchangeable lens cameras, but why on a fixed-lens cam?

0 upvotes
Alizarine
By Alizarine (Jan 13, 2013)

Great move from Fuji here. Very innovative technology!

1 upvote
nonuniform
By nonuniform (Jan 11, 2013)

Yeah, Fuji just lost an X-E1 sale, since I know they're going to release this feature on the interchangeable lens cameras late this year or early next year. I can wait.

0 upvotes
JohnBee
By JohnBee (Jan 11, 2013)

I hope it has catch in focus.

1 upvote
Pix Man
By Pix Man (Jan 11, 2013)

Fuji could and should have included this new version of its X-Trans CMOS II sensor on the only just on sale X-E1 model. Obviously they will include this sensor with associated focusing improvements in the next version of the X-E1 (the X-E1S?).

What this means is that I, and others who know this, will now have to postpone buying an X-E1 - which is ANNOYING, but what is the point in buying the newly announced X-E1 when we know what it will be replaced with?

Really there is no excuse for not putting the new sensor into the current X-E1. Come on Fuji, you know you want to .... so why lose sales in the meantime? After all some people might buy something else instead, if they 'can't wait' .......

0 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (Jan 12, 2013)

Dear Pix Man,
I am assuming you are interested in a real answer and you are not just venting. Fuji could have many reasons to do as they did, one being that both cameras are developed interleaved by different teams to increase the number of new cameras developed in a given time and one sensor was available early enough to be used in this model and the other was not. I also feel sad for Fuji Engineers that even when creating the most inspiring photographic tools they are still met with people complaining about their work. For myself, I am most impressed with Fuji's latest cameras!

5 upvotes
Pix Man
By Pix Man (Jan 12, 2013)

I agree with you that Fuji do an excellent job of making cameras and I appreciate your point. I suppose realistically I would be unlikely to notice much difference in performance between the present X-E1 and whatever follows it. It just seems a shame that with so little time between the X-E1 and this announcement, that Fuji couldn't wait to incorporate the new sensor into the X-E1.

I think Fuji certainly, but others too, are too keen to get a product to market, for example the flaky firmware in the original X100 must have lost them sales. Refining the firmware, as they did, before introducing a camera, might in the long term give them more sales.

Purely from a practical view of how people behave in real life, others too will find irritating the knowledge that we know what will replace the newly created X-E1 now. I'm sure it is a damn good camera and I essentially applaud Fuji's approach and well thought through product strategy. Perhaps their 2 teams should merge?

0 upvotes
Ivan Glisin
By Ivan Glisin (Jan 11, 2013)

Love the technology, more functional than good old circular split image focusing screens. Even better, does not black out in low light! (Also liked "Highly Confidential" classification on a slide aimed at the widest possible audience.)

1 upvote
inspiredan
By inspiredan (Jan 11, 2013)

My old Kodak P880 uses phase detection auto focus for faster AF. so this is really not the first time FDAF has been included in a non-slr camera.

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Jan 11, 2013)

The key distinction is on-sensor phase detection. I don't think either this article or the older one about the F300 EXR claims that these cameras are the first with any attempt at phase detection.

2 upvotes
inspiredan
By inspiredan (Jan 11, 2013)

What led me to write the original comment was the following statement from this page: " Fujifilm was the first company to offer on-sensor phase detection in one of its cameras". Thanks Mr. Butler for clarifying the differences in the two AF technologies in question.

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Jan 11, 2013)

You're welcome. Sorry that there was some ambiguity.

0 upvotes
_sem_
By _sem_ (Jan 11, 2013)

So, this PDAF will have issues on red and blue objects, hehe
Why are the PDAF pixels not white?

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Jan 11, 2013)

They might be white (we don't know for certain) but they're certainly not red or blue, so can't perceive colour.

0 upvotes
povetron
By povetron (Jan 17, 2013)

If it is white, than that's cause the pixel without color filter can perceive much more light. This could be helpful in low light.

0 upvotes
digby dart
By digby dart (Jan 11, 2013)

Excellent article.

0 upvotes
smatty
By smatty (Jan 11, 2013)

smatty
By smatty (3 min ago)

I am just curious to find out if the X100s is now finally able to lock focus on horizontal lines im landscape orientation?

Although the way they have implemented the split screen mode I am afraid that it still wont't be abel to do that (just like the X100, XE-1 and X-Pro 1)
Maybe DPREVIEW can check on this during the in depth review?

Here is what I'm talking about (look at paragraph No. 1):

http://fujixfiles.blogspot.com/2012/08/fuji-x-pro-1-af-autofocus-speed-and.html

1 upvote
digby dart
By digby dart (Jan 11, 2013)

If not, just like the old film camera split center focus just tilt the camera a bit and re frame.

1 upvote
smatty
By smatty (Jan 11, 2013)

Yes that is how I work it and also the tip that I gave in my blog. But the X-Cameras AF seem to be troublesome for "newer photographers" who grew up with DSLR's or face detection AF cameras and never used analog split center focus screens.

If Fuji would overcome this issue (maybe the phase detection pixels are already the answer?) than the X-Cameras would become even more popular :)

1 upvote
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (Jan 11, 2013)

Pretty well every CDAF camera on the market has the same 'limitation' of only being sensitive to horizontal lines - it's in no way limited to Fujifilm. It's rarely a problem in practice.

2 upvotes
smatty
By smatty (Jan 11, 2013)

Andy, it can be a problem if you try to focus on eyes during events and weddings. Bride and Mom next to each other and no focus lock on the eyes (eyelids = horizontal lines) possible.

I have found my workarounds as mentioned in my blogpost earlier. But this still seems to be an issue for a lot of photographers. The amount of visitors to my plogpost concerning these Fuji X-Camera AF tipps are an indication for that.

It seems as if some other cameras cope with it better... (i.e. Olympus OM-D, Sony NEX)

0 upvotes
ogl
By ogl (Jan 11, 2013)

Useless marketing trick.

2 upvotes
Robert Eckerlin
By Robert Eckerlin (Jan 11, 2013)

Useless?

Even if I do not know yet how well it will work in real-life; I would love to have something like that on the X20....or on my Nikon DSLR (that I love).

1 upvote
gl2k
By gl2k (Jan 11, 2013)

Why would someone use manual focus ? Especially since CDAF prevents all problems with back/front focus.

1 upvote
neo_nights
By neo_nights (Jan 11, 2013)

People using manual lenses...?

1 upvote
whtchocla7e
By whtchocla7e (Jan 11, 2013)

1) CDAF doesn't prevent one from accidentaly locking focus onto the wrong object

2) CDAF focusing provides little feedback whereas by focusing manually you can see how the focus plane changes if you go slow enough

3) Maybe some people want to experiment with focus for artistic reasons?

4 upvotes
joejack951
By joejack951 (Jan 11, 2013)

neo_nights, perhaps that's relevant for MILCs, but not on a fixed lens camera like the X100S.

5 upvotes
Josh152
By Josh152 (Jan 11, 2013)

lets face it. It has such an advanced manual focus system because that appeals to the hipster/elitist/"real photographer"/"I wish a could afford a Leica" crowd the camera is marketed toward.

1 upvote
peevee1
By peevee1 (Jan 14, 2013)

"People using manual lenses...?"

On X100s? ;)

0 upvotes
umbalito
By umbalito (Jan 25, 2013)

Typical statement from people who only take pictures of flowers and other stuff that doesn't move.

0 upvotes
Aaron C Greenman
By Aaron C Greenman (Jan 11, 2013)

Richard - the split image focusing aid works ONLY with the EVF, correct?

In my mind, the breakthrough will be when this can be overlaid with the OVF.

Thanks,

ACG

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Jan 11, 2013)

EVF and the rear screen. Projecting into the OVF with sufficient brightness would be a challenge, I suspect.

0 upvotes
Maxfield_photo
By Maxfield_photo (Jan 11, 2013)

This camera just became more appealing

2 upvotes
whtchocla7e
By whtchocla7e (Jan 11, 2013)

The split image focusing can be used with the EVF also, correct?

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Jan 11, 2013)

Yes.

0 upvotes
plasnu
By plasnu (Jan 11, 2013)

It seems like only XTrans camera can do this without degrading the sensor sensitivity because X trans has huge green area at the sensor block, so PD is possible on them without disturbing the IQ.

0 upvotes
MarkInSF
By MarkInSF (Jan 11, 2013)

Almost every other mirrorless camera announced in the last six months has a hybrid focus system with on-sensor pdaf elements. Nikon showed what outstanding focus performance could be achieved this way with the first Nikon 1 cameras 18 months ago. So no, x-trans is not needed to make this work. Any camera with sufficient pdaf elements on the sensor could do it, and that includes the many hybrid sensors with Bayer arrays. X-Trans arrays increase the number of green sensels only slightly, from 1/2 the total to 5/9.

2 upvotes
CarVac
By CarVac (Jan 11, 2013)

You can do PDAF with any of them, but you can't display a shifted image in the way that this one does; one in nine pixels in the entire central area is masked for PDAF instead of being focused in lines.

0 upvotes
LaFonte
By LaFonte (Jan 11, 2013)

they should make the bands more visible, more contrasty

1 upvote
Tom Caldwell
By Tom Caldwell (Jan 11, 2013)

I played the little video over and over again and failed to see why it might be quicker or more effective when used to manual focus than contrast detect focus peaking. Maybe auto-focus phase detect might be lightning fast but any manual focus relies on humans twiddling a lens to focus it. Furthermore I am supposing it only works on the centre of the screen - you have to point the camera directly at he object you wish to focus. Contrast detect focus peaking shows points in focus over the entire screen area and also can show the dof actually in focus if the photographer pays attention.

1 upvote
CarVac
By CarVac (Jan 11, 2013)

With split image focusing a human needs no 'twiddling'; just by looking at the amount of offset, you know exactly how much to turn the ring. At least with mechanically-linked focus rings, that is.

Peaking requires confirmation: you have to slow down as you approach the correct focus setting.

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Jan 11, 2013)

I don't think I said it's quicker (though CarVac is right that, in theory, you could learn how far you'd have to move the lens to correct any given phase difference, like the AF version does).

The point is that (like focus peaking) it allows you to asses focus and framing at the same time, which is faster than magnified live view. Focus peaking also has precision issues (at least with current screen resolutions), with fast lenses. It remains to be seen if this does (and it may).

1 upvote
Esa Tuunanen
By Esa Tuunanen (Jan 11, 2013)

CarVac, that video makes clear it definitely isn't fast and twiddling free method for even semi accurate guessing of how much you have to move focus. (at least unless target is extremely simple)

1 upvote
CarVac
By CarVac (Jan 11, 2013)

Have you ever used primarily a manual-focus only SLR with a split-image focusing screen? Once you get to know the relationship between focusing rotation and offset, focusing instantly becomes second nature.

1 upvote
MarkByland
By MarkByland (Jan 11, 2013)

Help, I can't stop moving the lens back and forth.

0 upvotes
doreme
By doreme (Jan 11, 2013)

Sony RX1 has a focus peaking contrary to what people say. It just works a bit different from RX100, NEXs. In RX1, the focusing peaking becomes visible only in the magnification mode. That is, as soon as one rotates the focus ring, it automatically zooms and displays focus peaking.

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Jan 11, 2013)

Yes, which loses one of the main advantages of focus peaking - the ability to assess focus and composition at the same time.

2 upvotes
Lucas_
By Lucas_ (Jan 11, 2013)

I don't think so, focus peaking main advantage is to provide a very viewable and precise focus information to aid MF ( or DMF in case of AF ), both on the LCD and EVF. You can always quickly compose after fine focusing ( which is a most usual way even with AF ). IMHO good composition is to be a photographer's gift, with very little dependency on the camera's LCD, EVF, OVF, etc, system.

Comment edited 10 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 11, 2013)

Ha-ha-ha-ha, split image assist optical focusing has been out for like forever, now someone like Fuji is making it "digital," so we are supposed to fall backwards in awe?

0 upvotes
vodanh1982
By vodanh1982 (Jan 11, 2013)

Ha-ha-ha-ha, film sensor has been out for like forever, now someone like Kodak is making it "digital," so we are supposed to fall backwards in awe?

14 upvotes
Shamael
By Shamael (Jan 11, 2013)

Good feature, I see here the focusing square in the center only. Is this square flexible, so that you can select the area? On the other side I prefer Sony's peaking feature, you need no point to select, you just see on the color aura where the sharpness is. With super wide angle lenses it is tricky, but you get into iot quiet fast. This Fuji system will need a short time to get into it too, but after a short while it will make you focus manually quiet fast. Despite this the X100 remains a (too) expensive camera. For that price I get a NEX-6 with a second lens.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 11, 2013)

With super wide angle lenses, you do not need to worry much about the exactness of your focusing, if at all.

0 upvotes
Esign
By Esign (Jan 11, 2013)

For critical work, yes you do. That's why they invented autofocus in the seventies.

0 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (Jan 12, 2013)

Autofocus in mass produced cameras was popularized as a sales aid, not a focusing aid and there was nothing about AF that applied specifically to wide angle lenses--in fact, it made a very poor demo with a wide angle lens. People who were doing critical work had managed to focus accurately even before autofocus.

0 upvotes
Dan Tong
By Dan Tong (Jan 10, 2013)

A very good explanation of this feature. We need more articles of this caliber.

Another reason to admire Fuji for innovative thinking and the courage to be different.

Thanks,

Dan

Comment edited 38 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
Jeff Seltzer
By Jeff Seltzer (Jan 10, 2013)

Is this software or hardware driven? Could this appear in a firmware update of the X-Pro1?

0 upvotes
vodanh1982
By vodanh1982 (Jan 10, 2013)

I think it cannot be done because it requires phase detection pixels

1 upvote
Lucas_
By Lucas_ (Jan 10, 2013)

This digital split-image is a very interesting feature for Fuji, looks very similar to analog manual SLRs. Anyway, for manual focussing, IMHO Sony's "Peaking" feature that most of their new cameras ( NEX, SLTs, RX100, RX1 ) already have, seems to be unbeatable.

1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Jan 10, 2013)

The X100S also has peaking. However, it's not unbeatable, since it has precision problems with fast lenses (Sony's reason for removing it from the RX1).

5 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (Jan 10, 2013)

no no..I think olympus's "Key Line" art filter hack..err..feature is unbeatable.

4 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 11, 2013)

Fujifilm's own FOCUS PEAKING feature in their new FinePix HS50 EXR is probably a tad better than what you see in the Sony Alphas.

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Jan 11, 2013)

In response to doreme's post - I should clarify that it's normal view focus peaking that's been removed from the RX1. It's still available in magnified live view mode, which allows the required precision but forgoes the ability to focus and compose at the same time.

0 upvotes
_sem_
By _sem_ (Jan 11, 2013)

> The X100S also has peaking. However, it's not unbeatable, since it has precision problems with fast lenses (Sony's reason for removing it from the RX1).

Then there are also precision problems with focus peaking in macro due to thin DoF (generally, not specifically to X100S)?

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Jan 10, 2013)

Clever.

0 upvotes
rogerhyam
By rogerhyam (Jan 10, 2013)

What I would like is manual focus feedback in the *optical* viewfinder so these cameras behaved more like "real" range finders.

I find EVFs horrible to use. It feels like you are losing touch with the subject and going to watch TV instead.

As I get long sighted with age back-screens are becoming worse. I either need longer arms or half moon glasses - not sure which is worse.

This leaves me with DSLRs or Leica's as my only options. We need to eat so Leica's are out.

It is a shame as these Fujifilm cameras are soooo nearly right. Oh and Raw support on Mac would be nice ;)

3 upvotes
Dan Tong
By Dan Tong (Jan 10, 2013)

Get yourself eyeglasses that focus at the correct distance for your cameras LCD screens (measured for comfortable arm position). Bifocal or Trifocal should do the job and still allow you, normal reading, camera LCD, and long distance vision.

Comment edited 37 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
shigzeo ?
By shigzeo ? (Jan 11, 2013)

Dan, it's not just age. Why put digital split image on the LCD and not the OVF? What is the purpose of the OVF anyway other than framing if you can't use it to manually focus the lens? If you want to manually focus the camera, you have to use it like an SLR or a point and shoot digital, obviating the reason for the OVF.

I agree with roger, this function needs to be implemented in the OVF. When it hits the X-Pro, especially, as there is lots of wonderful glass out there that would be great to use via the OVF, but there is no way to other than by hyper focal guessing.

The X-Pro's hybrid OVF is useless with any non-FUji glass. It makes no sense how they seem to be wasting the OVF. Shame.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
zinedi
By zinedi (Jan 11, 2013)

My view on EVF is similar to rogerhyam. It would not be so bothering to wear reading glasses everywhere with me, but I still much, much prefer to shoot with camera supported against my forehead - it is not only more comfortable (for me), but better for un-blurred IQ. And optical finder - as roger says - is much better feeling of reality, colours, real detail resolution, fluent - not jerky and lagging reality, space deep reality. Artificial LED light of EVF and slow refresh rate of today's EVFs hurts my eye with conjuctivity, after longer time of shooting. The last, but not least favourable effect of RF style OVF is that it displays more than 100% of image with composition frame - this is very helpful and pleasant for composing. For me - camera without built-in viewfinder is no-camera, camera with built-in EVF is half-camera.
We are different, I know there are opposite views, but that's OK, Fuji has now hit the target for me.

0 upvotes
zinedi
By zinedi (Jan 11, 2013)

And one more small but pleasant detail: Fuji has placed the viewfinder on the right place - the left upper corner - one doesn't have to be Cyrano d' Bergerac to appreciate this. All these details shows that Fuji designers are photographers, not only electronic techies.

0 upvotes
Lucas_
By Lucas_ (Jan 11, 2013)

Sony was again first on that with the NEX-7 and now the NEX-6! Their excellent OLED EVFs are on the left upper corner. Fuji was smart enough to follow the design.

0 upvotes
Jorge Arenas
By Jorge Arenas (Jan 11, 2013)

Excuse me, Lucas_ but the Fuji X100 (not "s") is one year older than Sony NEX-7, so Fuji was first on that. In any case, it was the position of the OVF in Leicas and compact cameras of many brand in the age of film, so Fuji (and later Sony) only copy, or borrow, that desing.

2 upvotes
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (Jan 10, 2013)

A great start on digital split image focusing.

.

2 upvotes
MrPetkus
By MrPetkus (Jan 10, 2013)

This really needs to find its way into an ILC - it would be fantastic with fast manual primes. Like a X-Pro-2 or 1s with some old Pentax and Takumars.

3 upvotes
mike kobal
By mike kobal (Jan 10, 2013)

perhaps it wasn't possible due to pixel layout, but rather then horizontal, a 45 deg diagonal split image would have been a lot more practical as it would work equally well on vertical and horizontal lines

Comment edited 26 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
SHood
By SHood (Jan 10, 2013)

Likely not possible due to layout of Phase Detect pixels.

2 upvotes
liquid stereo
By liquid stereo (Jan 10, 2013)

Fantastic!

1 upvote
Dennis Linden
By Dennis Linden (Jan 10, 2013)

We live in interesting times... This makes me very interested in the X- xxx S models to come.

1 upvote
CarVac
By CarVac (Jan 10, 2013)

Ingenious; they really do duplicate the experience of split image. (though they blur more when out of focus than classic MF screens)

Also amusing is the HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL on the TV, and the odd mixture of Japanese and English ("Improvement 1 over the X100: Focusing" and "World's first digital split image") on the slide.

2 upvotes
Amnon G
By Amnon G (Jan 10, 2013)

So... When's the X-E1s coming out, then? :-)

A question about the phase detection sensor rows / pixels: Do the same pixels get used to form the image information or are these effectively holes in the sensor as far as image capture is concerned that similarly to mapped bad pixels need to be interpolated from surrounding pixels? Or are they around the edges of the sensor?

2 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Jan 10, 2013)

Nobody's saying (either from Fujifilm or the other makers using on-sensor phase detection).

0 upvotes
CarVac
By CarVac (Jan 10, 2013)

I would assume that they can use these sensels with some clever interpolation: they have to rely on the three surrounding green pixels and perhaps also the surrounding pixels that look in the opposite direction to avoid repeated patterns in defocused areas. Or that's what I would do if I were writing a demosaicing algorithm for this sensor.

This makes me wonder what layouts other camera manufacturers use and how they deal with the missing data; I remember reading somewhere that the Nikon 1 cameras use lines of sensels dedicated to phase detection, and that you can't distinguish the phase detection sensels on Canon's sensors.

0 upvotes
SHood
By SHood (Jan 10, 2013)

From the following link you can see that the Nikon 1 interpolates from surrounding pixels, but sometimes it gets messed up.

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3112619#forum-post-40082717

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3163563

1 upvote
micksh6
By micksh6 (Jan 10, 2013)

Fuji says in the linked article:

'we use several tens of thousands of pixels in the center area of a CCD, which is a very small number of pixels compared to the 12 megapixels used for imaging.' And, he says, they don't simply go to waste when taking pictures: 'sometimes they are used to compose image data and sometimes not, depending on the situation.'

2 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Jan 10, 2013)

I should have remembered that (having written it).

4 upvotes
CarVac
By CarVac (Jan 11, 2013)

The thing is, given the fact that they can do this split-view means that in the region covered by the split-image focus (1/4 of the area of the sensor), one in nine sensels sees somewhat less than half of the lens. This is continuous across the entire zone, unlike the Nikon 1. That's significantly more than "tens of thousands", it's (1/9)*(1/4)*16MP = 0.44 million sensels.

0 upvotes
MarkInSF
By MarkInSF (Jan 11, 2013)

Probably not too big of a deal. There are still plenty of adjacent green sensels from which to interpolate. In an X-Trans sensor, 20/36 sensels are green in a 6x6 block, so losing four to pdaf might not even be noticeable. For areas that are in focus, the pdaf sensels could be used, though they will be dimmer and have to be boosted, adding a bit of noise. I suspect that's what Fuji means when they say they sometimes use the sensel info - when those sensels are in focus.

1 upvote
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Jan 10, 2013)

Wow that is cool.

2 upvotes
ci-lee
By ci-lee (Jan 10, 2013)

Is this feature available in the EVF as well, or just the back screen? For that matter, what about focus peaking? If one/both isn't useable via EVF, I'd probably just get the X20 and wait for these new MF aids to mature and also become available in their ILC offerings...

1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Jan 10, 2013)

Yes, they're both available (separately) in the EVF.

3 upvotes
ci-lee
By ci-lee (Jan 10, 2013)

Wow, can't wait for your review of this and the X20 then. Had an X-Pro1 and sold it after finding out all i really needed and I really wanted was an X100...was going to buy it in February but guess I'll be per-ordering the X100s instead. May have to sell my X10 now too...depends on how good a shrunken X-Trans sensor performs.

As always, thanks for the great coverage!

0 upvotes
Stephen123
By Stephen123 (Jan 10, 2013)

I think I would prefer a combination of contrast, phase-detection and Sony's focus peaking; as long as the phase-detection is better than the current Sony on-chip system.

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Jan 10, 2013)

This is only talking about the X100S' new manual focus aid (it also offers focus peaking).

In AF, it does combine input from both the contrast and phase-detection systems.

2 upvotes
iforum
By iforum (Jan 10, 2013)

So it works on a high contrast (black and white chess pieces) image what about low light

0 upvotes
iampivot
By iampivot (Jan 11, 2013)

Any idea if the x100s has face recognition?

0 upvotes
Total comments: 101