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Dennis Hissink : August 14th 2003 - 14:02 CET

Fujifilm announces SuperCCD HR and SR sensors


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FujifilmFuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. today reached a new landmark in the industry's quest for a perfectly life-like digital image. Its proprietary Super CCD technology has created new standards for exceptional digital camera imaging quality since 2000. Now, its fourth-generation devices provide increased resolution, and extended dynamic range, creating for the first time pictures that can begin to match those taken with film. The technology will be marketed under two names - Super CCD HR and Super CCD SR - and will appear in products later this year. The new Super CCD HR (high resolution) announced today incorporates a total of 6.63 million pixels into a 1/1.7" chip, performance made possible through new strides in miniaturization.
Cameras equipped with this imaging device can produce up to 12.3 million recording pixels, resulting in remarkably high-resolution images.

Incorporating the same miniaturization technology as the HR version, the Super CCD SR also features a new configuration that produces approximately four times wider dynamic range than third-generation Super CCD. Also measuring 1/1.7" in size, the new Super CCD SR incorporates 6.7 million total pixels (3.35 million S-pixels and 3.35 million R-pixels). Super CCD SR produces a smooth and wide tonal range without losing detail in dark areas or washing out in bright areas.

Based on almost 70 years of photographic experience and technology expertise, Fujifilm recognizes the importance of resolution, sensitivity and dynamic range as factors that determine overall image quality. Super CCD, which Fujifilm developed in 1999 and introduced to the international marketplace in 2000, aimed for a balance of these enhanced performance factors. The second-generation Super CCD, introduced in 2001, focused on enhancing resolution even further. Next, the third-generation Super CCD, introduced in 2002, successfully boosted light sensitivity. Now, the new fourth-generation Super CCD HR offers significantly enhanced resolution, while the new Super CCD SR delivers greatly expanded dynamic range.

In recent years, the industry's race to boost pixel counts has resulted in ever-smaller pixels incorporated in greater numbers without increasing chip size. In the new Super CCD HR, each pixel has been miniaturized, resulting in a total of 6.63 million total pixels in a 1/1.7" CCD. Cameras equipped with this device produce a remarkable 12.3 million recording pixels. A 1/2.7" version of the Super CCD HR incorporates 3.14 million total pixels, for 6.0 million recording pixels. In addition to greatly enhanced resolution, sensitivity has also improved over the third-generation technology.

In addition to the pixel race, the industry has pursued the creation of digital image quality that approaches that of photographic film, and has approached this problem by increasing resolution and boosting sensitivity. To date, however, among the most important image quality characteristics, even the performance of Fujifilm's previous Super CCDs fell short of film in the area of tonal range. While the pursuit of digital image quality that matches film continues to be the industry's aspiration, Fujifilm's new Super CCD SR technology is an important step in making that goal a reality.

Traditional digital cameras have difficulties reproducing high-contrast images containing both dark and bright areas, with dark areas tending to lose detail and whites washing out. Fujifilm's Super CCD was designed so that the photodiodes in each pixel could be larger, enhancing sensitivity and expanding dynamic range. The newly developed, fourth-generation Super CCD SR achieves a dynamic range approximately four times greater than its predecessor, and which produces a smooth and wide tonal range without losing detail in dark areas or washing out in bright areas.

The Super CCD SR incorporates both large, high-sensitivity S-pixels and smaller R-pixels for expanded dynamic range. By combining data from both sensor elements according to the composition of the scene, the Super CCD SR is able to deliver both high sensitivity and expanded dynamic range.

A world leader and technology pioneer in digital cameras and their component technologies, Fujifilm will continue to introduce innovative solutions to constantly expand and improve the horizons of digital imaging quality.




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