Pre-PMA 2004: Foveon today announced that Polaroid's new x530 digital camera will use a 1/1.8" size X3 Direct Image Sensor. The x530 will have a three times optical zoom lens and is designed around a typical point-and-shoot digital camera body, similar to the Canon A70. The sensor used is Foveon's 'X3 5M' Direct Image CMOS Sensor (three layers of 1.5 million pixels each) which is the industry standard 1/1.8" Type size (7.1 x 5.3 mm effective). In a big step forward for Foveon the x530 can now produce JPEG images in-camera.
Phil: I'm glad to see the X3 sensor making its way into a consumer camera, although we will have to see how this camera can compete against the plethera of cheap four and five megapixel consumer cameras. I'm looking forward to seeing the output from the camera.
Disclaimer: the images below are of an x530 design model, essentially a hollow case intended to give an impression of the final dimensions and layout of the camera. Of course the final camera's finish quality and exact detailing will be different / better than this.
NEW POLAROID X530 POINT-AND-SHOOT DIGITAL CAMERA
USES FOVEON X3 DIRECT IMAGE SENSOR
Anticipated arrival of consumer camera with advanced technology due in 2004
LAS VEGAS, Nevada, February 11, 2004 Foveon Inc., a technology leader in high-quality digital image capture products, announced today that a new Polaroid brand digital camera will incorporate the 4.5 megapixel Foveon X3 direct image sensor. The camera is the worlds first point-and-shoot digital camera to incorporate X3 technology. Foveon X3 direct image sensors are the only image sensors that directly capture color in three layers, just like color film. This results in richer colors, warmer tones, and sharper images than are available through traditional image sensors.
First introduced in 2002, the X3 image sensor has only been available in a professional class digital camera. Now with the introduction of the Polaroid x530, consumers are able to enjoy the many benefits of X3 technology in an affordable full-featured point-and-shoot digital camera. The Polaroid x530 is scheduled to ship to retailers in June 2004 with a suggested retail price of $399.
The Foveon technology enables the Polaroid x530 digital camera to produce superb 8 x 10 images the largest print size that most consumers will print. The camera takes advantage of several key features of the X3 direct image sensor including X3F raw file format image capture, video clip capture at VGA resolution, and Foveons recently introduced X3 Fill Light software. The X3 Fill Light software tool digitally simulates the photographic method of "dodging and burning" adding extra light to shadow regions, while preserving highlight detail. It is a powerful method for simultaneously adjusting overexposed and underexposed areas of a digital image with a single simple control.
Foveon has received numerous technical awards and recognition including: Popular Sciences Best of Whats New Award, Time Magazines Best Inventions of the year, the European Imaging and Sound Association (EISA) award and the Technical Image Press Association (TIPA) Award. The Polaroid brand x530 digital camera is made by World Wide License Ltd under exclusive license by Polaroid and distributed in the United States through Uniden America Corporation. Information about the Polaroid x530 digital camera can be found at www.polaroid-digital.com.
About Foveon and X3 Direct Image Sensors
Since its establishment in 1997, Foveon has focused on the development of image capture technologies and products for digital cameras. The company's X3 direct image sensors are the only image sensors that directly capture red, green, and blue light at every point in an image. The design of the X3 direct image sensor leverages the natural color separation property of silicon. When silicon is exposed to light, blue light is absorbed near the surface, green light is absorbed deeper, and red light is absorbed deepest within the silicon. In Foveon X3 direct image sensors, pixels are placed at these corresponding depths in the silicon to detect the red, green, and blue light that has been absorbed. This stacked-pixel design ensures that all of the color is captured at every point in an image.
In contrast, the traditional CCD and CMOS image sensors used in todays digital cameras capture only one color per pixel location and must mathematically interpolate the two colors not detected. This interpolation process results in false colors, reduced color resolution and color artifacts.
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.