Update: It seems that this rumor was off base. The latest word is that there is indeed a 2/3 sensor coming, but it will appear in a new XS2 fixed lens camera. The upcoming entry-level X-Series camera will continue to feature a APS-C-sized sensor. That makes a lot more sense.
We’ve heard that Fujifilm is primed to make some camera announcements this summer, and according to Digicame-Info one of those announcements may be a new entry-level X-mount mirrorless camera. The camera is expected to be announced in the summer (possibly June, according to PhotoRumors) and made available in the fall for anywhere between $550 and $700.
But it’s not the price, release date, or even the existence of a potential entry-level mirrorless ILC from Fujifilm that has people talking. Instead, it’s the rumor that the camera will come to market sporting a tiny 2/3-inch X-Trans CMOS sensor.
Fujifilm has released seven official sample photographs shot using the new X20, a slick little retro-styled compact camera with a 12MP 2/3-inch X-Trans CMOS sensor. The X-Trans sensors in Fujifilm’s APS-C X-Series cameras (e.g. X-Pro1 and X-E1) are very highly regarded for their image quality and low light performance, so it’s interesting to see how the same tech performs on a much smaller sensor size (APS-C sensors are about 6.5 times larger than the X20′s 2/3 sensor).
Fujifilm’s new X-Trans sensors diverge from the traditional way CMOS sensors are designed by using an irregular pattern of red, green, and blue pixels. This allows the sensors to eschew the standard anti-aliasing filter, eliminating moiré patterns without putting an extra component in front of the sensor. Roy Furchgott over at The New York Times has an interesting piece on how the new tech is inspired by Fujifilm’s glory days in the film photography industry:
Old fashioned analog photographs didn’t get a moire pattern because the crystals in film and photo paper aren’t even in size and placement. That randomness breaks up the moire effect.
So Fuji built a new sensor employing what it knew from the film business. Instead of using the Bayer array, it created a pattern called the X-Trans sensor which lays out the red green and blue photo sensors in a way that simulates the randomness of analog film.
Furchgott does a good job of explaining the new sensor design (and its benefits) in an easy-to-understand way.
Old Technology Modernizes a Camera Sensor [NYTimes]
Fujifilm made quite a splash in the camera industry when it announced the sleek X100 back in September 2010, but since then the camera’s spotlight has been stolen by newer interchangeable-lens followups, namely the X-Pro1 and the X-E1.
When the X100 was discontinued back in July, many expected to see a followup announced at Photokina in September. It wasn’t. However, it now appears that the camera will be launched in early 2013, equipped with the same X-Trans sensor technology as its interchangeable-lens siblings.