Fuji has a history of unusual sensor design. While the big sensor designers and manufacturers like Canon and Sony focused on boring stuff like making tinier pixels, reducing on-board circuitry, and improving read-out speeds, Fuji was doing wacky stuff like non-square pixels, tiny helper dynamic-range boosting pixels, and 45 degree rotated pixels. Fuji abandoned their SuperCCD approach around 2010 and for 2012 we have another new tech: X-Trans. Will Fuji abandon this effort in a few years, suffering from mediocre sales and 3rd-party support? We’ll see. What is X-trans? Well, it’s basically a new way to filter color onto the sensor. Image sensors only detect the number of photons striking the sensor. To be capable of creating a color photograph,a color filter is applied over the sensor. Each pixels gets either a green, red, or blue filter. It’s arranged in a 4 pixels pattern: two greens, a red, and a blue. To create a human-pleasing image from this, a demosaicing algorithm is used to give each pixel intensity information for all three colors. This requires a bit of interpretation and guesswork using the adjacent pixels. Because virtually every digital camera ever made uses this filter pattern there is excellent support, from both the manufacturers and third parties for converting this information into a photograph. Bayer isn’t perfect though. How could it be? Each pixel on knows about one color. When resolving very fine detail the demosaicing algorithm can get confused and product strange patterns and colors – moire. This is dealt with by, believe-it-or-not, placing a filter in front of the sensor to prevent certain frequencies of light from passing through. Which blurs the image….
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