Back in January 2003 Fujifilm announced a new type of image sensor called SuperCCD SR, this new sensor was set to revolutionize digital cameras by extending their dynamic range so that highlights would be maintained and bringing photo reproduction even closer to film. This new sensor achieves extending dynamic range by having to photodiodes at each photosite location, one large photodiode which captures the majority of the dynamic range (much like a normal digital camera photodiode), a second much smaller photodiode which is less sensitive and captures mostly highlight detail. The information from the two photodiodes is combined to deliver extended dynamic range.

The FinePix F700 was announced just before PMA 2003 in February approximately a month after the announcement of the sensor, this new camera is the first to feature the SuperCCD SR sensor. After this announcement things got complicated, the F700 was delayed not once but twice, first in April for 'Summer' and then at the end of June for 'October'. I'm glad to report that we now have a full production FinePix F700 and can therefore bring you this review.

SuperCCD SR: Frames from slideshow presentation

Note that the slides below are from a Fujifilm presentation given to UK journalists.

SuperCCD SR structure diagram, one microlens, one color filter, two photodiodes per photosite SuperCCD SR designed to replicate negative film by having two photodiodes of different sensitivity
Primary photodiode has high sensitivity but a relatively narrow dynamic range, captures dark and medium tones Secondary photodiode has low sensitivity but high dynamic range, four times that of the high sensitivity photodiode
Camera's DSP processor combines the output from the two sets of photodiodes to produce the final 'extended dynamic range' image The time flow of capture, both photodiodes are exposed at the same time, primary is read first, secondary is read last
Simulated advantage of SuperCCD SR Simulated advantage of SuperCCD SR