Fuji and Panasonic’s New Organic Sensor Boasts Insane 29.2 Stop Dynamic Range


Fujifilm and Panasonic have joined forces and created an image sensor that blows everything currently on the market completely out of the water. By using Fuji’s patented “organic photoelectric conversion material” to collect light instead of the traditional silicon photodiode, they’ve created a sensor that nearly doubles the dynamic range of the best sensor currently on the market.

No, that’s not a typo. According to the joint Fujifilm/Panasonic press release, the new sensor can capture 88dB signal-to-noise ratio, which translates into approximately 14.6 stops of dynamic range in each direction or 29.2 stops EV. By comparison, the best sensor currently on the market (according to Adorama) is found in the Nikon D800E, and clocks in at only 46dB or approximately 7.7 stops in each direction or 15.3 stops EV.

Together with the newly-developed noise-cancelling circuit also packed inside, the sensor is said to “[prevent] highlight clipping in bright scenes and captur[e] a vivid and texture-rich image in low light.”


The improvements don’t stop there either. In addition to the giant leap in dynamic range, the organic layer can also detect light from a wider angle because of how thin it is (1/7th that of the traditional silicon layer). Normal sensors detect light between 30 and 40-degrees of incidence, this one can expands that number to 60-degrees.

In the real world, this translates into more accurate color reproduction, no color mixing, expanded lens-design options, and the possibility of developing smaller cameras.

Last, but certainly not least, each pixel in the new sensor offers 1.2-times the sensitivity of traditional pixels. In a traditional sensor, some light-detecting surface area is taken up by the connections between pixels, but those “metal interconnects” have also been coated in the Fuji’s organic material in this sensor. All of the pixel’s surface area can be used:


To be sure, this is an exciting breakthrough. While it’s no 1000x more sensitive graphene sensor, the organic sensor has already cleared reliability tests, “paving the way for the use of the organic CMOS image sensor in a wide range of applications.” Translation: we could be seeing these sensors on the market within a couple of sensor generations.

For the full technical overview, you can check out the entire press release over on Fujifilm’s website.

(via Fujifilm via SLR Lounge)

P.S.: There was actually some rumors of a “revolutionary organic sensor” coming to Fujifilm cameras all the way back in 2011.

  • aa

    what about the black magic pocket camera with 13 ev stops?

  • visualbassist

    arri alexa 15 stops. red epic 12 stops (with hdr mode, 18). kodak’s portra 400 18 stops. what’s the big news again?

  • n00b

    7.7 fstops? i regularly read values of around 11-12 fstops on dxo-mark. just want to understand whats going on here

  • bogorad

    You link to adorama article that clearly states:

    “Dynamic range exceeds 14 stops at the native ISO of 100, and stays above 10 stops through ISO 1600, also an amazing result.”

    So what’s with 7.7?

  • l0k

    the fact that the incident light can now come at a wider angle – could this make the DOF thinner?

  • DLCade

    Sorry for the confusion. The numbers are based on dBs signal-to-noise ratio approximation of dynamic range, with 6dB = approximately 1 stop dynamic range.

    The new sensor with its special noise-canceling circuit clocks in at an unprecedented 88dB signal-to-noise ratio, which translates into approximately 14.6 stops dynamic range. The D800E only logs 46dB at ISO 100.

  • bogorad

    Actually, it’s not Adorama’s data, but DxO’s. And we kinda know how they come up with it. How’s this data obtained and how it relates to DxO’s – not very clear.

  • Monteraz

    I presume they mean 7,7 on each direction, +EV, -EV, so 7,7×2= 15 stops or so from the D800. Then this would be 14,6×2= 29 stops or whatever. I understand this but I find it a bit of confusing also. Otherwise this would not be a new thing (which I dont care, my D3 still rulez :)

  • German Breus


  • Pnuu

    The stop-values given on this page give a 120-fold improvement (2^(14.6-7,7)). The decibel values result in 128-fold improvement (doubling every 6 dB, 42 dB difference -> 7 doublings -> 2^7 = 128-fold improvement).

  • p.rock

    I wonder if technologies like this will change the commonly-accepted aesthetics of photography. Since the dawn of the art, we’ve never captured the same range of DR that our eyes see. Photography developed (no pun intended) a certain expected look, where highlights got clipped and shadows blocked. And photos still looked “right.”
    As much as I’ve enjoyed the massive DR of the D600, I found myself abusing the ability to push and pull the raw files, and a lot of my work ended up looking HDR-lite. Even some non-processed photos. I found myself going back to the 5DII because I guess I’m kind of accustomed to a certain “limited” DR because that’s what photography has always looked until very recently. In ten years, will photography instructors (if they are still around) still even discuss dynamic range? Will every photo made have that weird HDR look that you see in real estate listings? Very interesting times.

  • l0k

    I was also curious about this, so a while ago I tried making an image that was HDR, but not tone-mapped as you often see, simply just an expanded range of light captured.
    All I can say is, it looked odd. I think the photos we have nowadays match how our brains see information from our eyes. My outcome seemed way too low in contrast, since my screen couldn’t match the variation of light of the real scene.
    As you probably know, the raw data from the sensor is usually a reasonably high dynamic range, but when the camera processes it into a jpeg it generally compresses the highlights and shadows to make it look more “normal”

  • KC

    silicon, not silicone; silicon, not silicone; silicon not silicone

  • DLCade

    Thanks for pointing that out! It’s been fixed :)

  • DLCade

    We’ve clarified the language in the second paragraph a bit to clear up some of the confusion. As Montrez pointed out, the 14.6 stops is in each direction (EV+ and EV-) as calculated based on the signal-to-noise ratio, putting the total EV dynamic range at 26.2 for the organic sensor.

  • DLCade

    In fact, we did. Thank you for pointing that out :) We’ve adjusted the language in the second paragraph to reflect this.

  • Joe Gunawan

    Take a look at the dynamic range chart on the right hand side of this Wikipedia page for reference:

  • MS

    Go Fuji!!!

  • Mike

    It would at least solve the niose issue where cameras boost the ISO without telling you when using very wide apertures.

  • Trey Mortensen

    I was doing the math and coming out with 29 as well. I was really confused with the 26. Glad someone else is getting what I got

  • Joe Gunawan

    It is 29.2 stops of dynamic range, though, not 26

  • Jake

    ??? So when I’m using manual focus lenses on my D90, with no electronic connection, my camera is raising ISO levels when shooting wide open ???

  • Swade

    14 stops in each direction is the big news. That’s 29 stops.

  • sikdave

    Maybe I should hold off buying that D800… Exciting news!

  • Jonas N

    It could take something like five years. Even without this breakthrough, cameras in five years will be very good compared to the D800.

  • Daniel Scott

    Sounds like the usual marketing hype to me. What standard are they measuring their dynamic range to? I seriously doubt against the ISO. That being the case, it won’t be long until the other camera manufactures start declaring even greater dynamic range capabites. Long live marketing!! :)

  • Another Anonymous

    Calculate once again. In digital photography commonly used formula is 20log10. Thus 88dB translates to 14.6 EV (in total)

    D800 achieves 13.23 EV which in turn is 79.65 dB

    26 or 29 EV means you shall have 32 bit ADC and enormously big RAW files. And please consider CD players which uses 16 bit data and has maximum SNR of… 20log10(2^16) = 96 dB

  • Mangap

    I hope new camera using this better sensor will be available soon. so we can take better picture on low light

  • VaguelyAmused

    So Fuji have put their new tech into this sensor, Panasonic now just needs to add its new color splitter tech into the mix and they have something potentially rather special

  • Mangap

    If Panasonic and Fuji releasing new cameras using their new organic sensor, I believe the image quality will increase a lot. I hope it coming this year