Steve's Digicams - Breaking News - Fujifilm 01/22/03 Press Releases



Fujifilm

Press Releases - January 22, 2003





Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. Announces Fourth-Generation Super CCD Technology

Leading-edge digital camera device reaches new frontiers in film-like image quality



ELMSFORD, NY, January 22, 2003 � Fuji 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.

Super CCD HR � High Resolution

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.

Super CCD SR � Super Dynamic Range

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.

"These fourth-generation Super CCD technologies represent a monumental change in the way that digital cameras read the data available in scene composition and translate that information into truer-to-film image quality," said Darin Pepple, Brand Manager of Consumer Digital Imaging Products, Consumer Markets Division, Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. "Super CCD HR and SR bring us closer than ever to reaching the same image quality with digital as with film, especially when images are printed at retail."

Why Super CCD?

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, 4th-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.

About Super CCD:

Fujifilm developed its proprietary Super CCD technology in 1999. The diagonal pixel array of conventional interline CCDs was rotated 45 degrees to form an interwoven configuration of large, octagonal photodiodes, combined with proprietary signal processing to create an integrated imaging system. Highly sensitive to incoming light, this innovative system offered a balanced combination of resolution, sensitivity, dynamic range, signal/noise ratio, and color fidelity, which ushered in a new era in high-quality digital camera imaging.

The principle behind the interwoven array of octagonal pixels was recognized in 2001 with the prestigious Walter Kosonocky Award for significant advances in solid state imaging sensors. A subsequent generation of Super CCD technology was developed in 2001, offering an increase in the number of pixels and reduction in noise to achieve sharper image quality. A third-generation Super CCD technology was developed in 2002. That version combined high-quality VGA-sized 30 frames/second movie recording function with a new image-processing algorithm that produces an ISO 1600 sensitivity.


See a flash presentation of 4th Generation Super CCD technology at
Fujifilm's UK website





About Fujifilm

Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. is the U.S. marketing subsidiary of Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd. of Tokyo (FUJIY), a leading global manufacturer in three business segments, including Imaging Solutions, Information Solutions and Document Solutions. Recognized for its technological innovation and high quality, Fujifilm offers a complete portfolio of imaging, information and document products, services and e-solutions to retailers, consumers, professionals and business customers.

The complete Fujifilm product portfolio in the U.S.A. includes: professional and consumer film and cameras; digital imaging products, including cameras and printers for commercial and consumer use; digital minilabs and kiosks; photographic paper and photofinishing supplies; professional motion picture film; high-capacity floppy disks, CDs and DVDs, tape cartridges and other data storage media; videotape and audiocassettes; professional and consumer optical discs; microfilm and other micrographic products; and graphic arts film, conventional and digital printing plates, analog ad digital color proofing systems, drum and flatbed scanners, imagesetters and computer-to-plate systems. Fujicolor Processing, Inc., a subsidiary of Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc., provides wholesale photofinishing through a network of laboratories across the country. Fujifilm e-Systems is a subsidiary of Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc., that develops workflow solutions to support the company�s photofinishing labs and consumer photographic businesses, including online imaging services such as Fujifilm.net.

For more information on Fujifilm products, consumers can call 800-800-FUJI or access the Fujifilm USA Web site at www.fujifilm.com.

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All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their registered owners.


Super CCD SR Structural Diagram





Analogy between film and Super CCD SR



Silver halide film is coated with crystals of various shapes- highly sensitive grains with large surface areas that respond to small amounts of light, and low sensitivity grains with small surface area that responds to large amounts of light. The Super CCD SR achieves a similar division of labor by mixing low-sensitivity and high-sensitivity pixels.



4th-Generation Super CCD-equipped camera specs (planned)

 Super CCD HR-equipped cameraSuper CCD SR-equipped camera
Effective pixels6.35 million6.2 million (3.1 million S-pixels +3.1 million R-pixels)
Image sensor1/1.7" Super CCD HR 6.63 million total pixels1/1.7" Super CCD SR 6.7 million (3.35 million S-pixels +3.35 million R-pixels) total pixels
Number of recorded pixelsMax. 4048 x 3040 (12.3 million)Max. 2832 x 2128 (6.03 million)
Sensitivity
ISO 200 - 1600 (at ISO 1600, in 1280 x 960 pixel mode)
A/D conversion12 � 14 bits14 bits
Dynamic rangeSame as existing Fujifilm digital cameras with 3rd generation Super CCDApproximately 4x (vs. existing Fujifilm digital cameras with 3rd generation Super CCD)
Movie
30 frames/second in VGA size





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