Phase Detection Evolution: Fujifilm patents hybrid AF Pixel !

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Fujifilm continues its research in order to develop new sensor technology. After the organic sensor and the one with different pixel size (enlarged green pixels) egami (click here) spotted a new patent: the hybrid AF pixel.

If I deciphered correctly the google translated text, then here is what this sensor is about:

If you implement phase detection pixels into the sensor (like on the X-Trans II sensor or on the Sony A6000 sensor) you’ll benefit of faster AF. But, on the other hand, as these pixels can’t be used to gather light, you’ll have some “image quality degradation.”

But the hybrid Pixel is supposed to be able to do both: improve the AF speed and at the same time gather light. As egami explained: “Transmittance would not be 100% that there is an optical element, but I will be able to minimize the image quality degradation.” Egami explains that Fujifilm’s “hybrid pixel approach” is different from the Dual Pixel AF technology of Canon.

What do you think? Is it a wise move of Fujifilm to put R&D into new sensor technology, or should they simply continue to purchase the APS-C sensors of Sony (although Fuji has to wait half a year to get its hands on the newest Sony sensors)?

spotted by egami (translation)

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  • Happy10006

    Canon and Fujifilm have excellent color rendition, and they produce their own sensor.
    I prefer less dynamic range and beautiful colors.
    I hate Sony’s color ! So digital.

    • Plextor

      Fujifilm uses Sony sensors….

      • frank

        Palm to the face.

      • worker88

        Prove it.

    • I think Canon too is using Sony sensors with tweaks and modifications… but not too sure. For Fuji, that’s certain, although they heavily modify the color grid, of course.

      • nwcs

        Canon fabs their own sensors.

    • jim

      Yes, because having a low dynamic range will absolutely give you such a good tonal range. Beautiful colors with with excellent banding!

      Oh wait…

  • Mike

    After having Fuji X-E1 first and than X-E2 I do not know if I should take Fuji “imprvements” seriously. Image quality of X-E2 in JPEGs is inferior to X-E1 (some say it also refers to X-T1), AF in X-E2 is just a little better than in X-E1 although X-E2 has 9 Pahse Detection areas, and it focuses quite often on background instead on chosen objects, not to say about moving people were X-E2 sometimes catch them in focus but too many times it fails. Fuji would better take Sony sensor with PD AF, I lost trust to Fuji AF system technology.

    • Two things:

      1) The JPEG engine is separate from the abilities of the sensor. The X-E2 has just a tad more raw latitude than the X-E1 due to 14bit files. The JPEGs are “worse” because Fuji changed the JPEG rendering engine (software), not because of a hardware change.

      2) The X-E2 uses the same sensor as the one found in the Sony NEX 6, but with Fuji’s proprietary CFA applied (the X-Trans layout).

      • MJr

        To add:

        1) The same thing happened with Olympus. While the E-P1 got rave reviews of the awesome JPG quality, they went overboard trying to ‘improve’ it by over-processing, which of course just means more noise reduction etc. It wasn’t until the E-P5 that it actually got a new sensor. Still over-processed though for my taste. (not just the E-P but also E-PL, E-PM and OMD series of course)

        2) Indeed, which is really only a good thing for the advanced, and the patient, willing to put in the extra work it takes to understand and adjusting their workflow accordingly. Or those who don’t mind the occasional loss of fine detail (then there are low-noise advantages), and do care for the Fuji colors.

    • nwcs

      The “inferior” jpg files really only refer to high ISO portraits where *some* people think they are not as nice as the original X-Trans. It is incorrect to say it is universally inferior. Having shot with an E1 and E2 (and still have both) I have had plenty of opportunity to tell that. The E2 is significantly better overall than the E1. I only use the E1 for specialist duty now. Wouldn’t go back if I had to.

      • Mike

        Agree – X-E2 is overall better than X-E1 but not in case of JPEGs IQ, especialy if you see biger prints, And it does not refer only to high ISO, smearig accurs already on ISO 200. “Some people think they are not as nice as….” High Iso JPEGs are in portraits terrible, if you do not see it than you must be blind or we have different cameras.

        • nwcs

          I don’t see it. I’ve certainly played with my share. We just don’t agree on the criteria of image quality. But then again, the easy solution is to not use the camera jpgs.

  • DoesntMatter

    Best photography was made before the invention of autofocus. Autofocus is unnecessary in photography. If you look at photos of sports games or racing cars you are a moron. You can set your camera to f8 or higher and prefocus to about 2 meters and EVERYTHING UNTIL INFINITY will be in focus, is that so hard???????????????????????????????????????????????? You want shallow depth of field? More like you are a shallow human being. You pay for companies to pollute this planet to make your little disposable toys you are a cancer on this planet. Used markets are FULL of quality glass, if you cant choose a camera from all those MILLIONS of cameras and ACTUALLY MAKE ART with it instead of being a cancer then you are not human.

    • Ben

      ah, right. I forgot about the inhuman cancer to the earth downside of AF.

      Seriously though, you probably should talk to a psychologist about your anger. I don’t want to read any news reports about someone going on a shooting spree because he was angry at AF users.

      • DoesntMatter

        Not only you, everyone does. Im not angry, im sad at humans forgetting who they are and why they live, what they do to other humans and to the planet that they live on. You cant be a good photographer without being a human first. Can you link to a website with your photos please? And then would you please explain to us why ruining the planet is worth those. Thank you.

        • Ben

          Oh, your point is that the manufacture of new cameras (and any non-essential electronic device) is an unnecessary waste of resources and cause of pollution. I misunderstood. Yes, I agree that the disposability of devices is a serious problem in our society. I don’t think it’s inhuman. In fact judging from centuries of our behaviour I would say it’s human nature to consume every resource on this planet until we push too far and society collapses. To consume and waste is, apparently, very human. And since you asked: http://lividphoto.com/

          • nwcs

            I like those pictures :)

          • Ben

            Thank you. Hopefully some of them might inspire people to protect the natural world. The waste that @DoesntMatter is concerned about is a valid concern. In my opinion there are more useful ways to articulate that view then was done here. If a striking image of a polluted junk yard infringing on a wildlife habit changes people’s attitudes then hopefully the image was worth the expense of creating and distributing it.

          • DouglasGottlieb

            Nice image collection Ben! I particularly enjoyed the wildlife photos. Thanks for the link

          • Ben

            Thanks, I just added a few more under Animals.

          • DoesntMatter

            thats what i thought, you need that 0.04 x faster autofocus for that photo of a staged water balloon pop. Theres absolutely no way to use manual focus in that situation you spoiled spoiled talentless shamebag of a photographer. Pick up a pencil and draw your photo on a paper, think about, why is a drawing of a water balloon worth reproducing photographically? who is your audience? WHAT are you saying with that photo? google: water balloon pop, are there 2396352 images of that already out there? yes? your ideas is unoriginal and empty of meaning? now cross in out with your pencil and try to think of a new one… with your pencil, you dont need to buy a camera for that. When you have 20+ original ideas that are worth sharing and that you carefully planned in advance, you can just borrow or rent a camera for a day and get those 20 shots. You saved everywhere. Especially you showed others how its done instead encouraging them to buy more crap to produce more crap. Less is more.

          • Ben

            Those balloon photos were manual focus as were many of the other ones on my site. When did I say manual focus was bad? The heart shape is original. Did you bother to click onto any other categories like Animals? Do you think that might inspire anyone to engage in animal conservation?

            Also, I completely disagree with your premise that every photo taken must have a meaning. Photography is nothing more than a creative outlet for me. The act of doing it makes me happy. I care not one bit whether you like them or approve. I am DYING to see your photos though. Please share a link.

          • nwcs

            They won’t. They’re just getting their jollies by trying to rile us up. They must be frustrated, though, because they’re not getting the reaction they really want. I doubt they’ll be back tomorrow.

          • DoesntMatter

            Im a very hard critic of my own work and because of that I have only about 10 photos that are worth sharing with the whole world, which I judged is not enough yet to make a website. I have been shooting film since around 1998 using second hand cameras. You should read more you are not ready to take photos.

          • Ben

            If you’ve been taking pictures for 16 years and have 10 photos worth showing anyone, I would argue that you are the one who has no business taking pictures. Enjoy that trip to Japan during which you will buy another camera to take photos no one will ever see. That in no way contrasts with the sentiment of every one your comments. I’m done with this discussion until you post even one photo.

          • DoesntMatter

            this wasnt a discussion, it was more of slap in the face to snap you out of your delusion. Taking photos makes you happy? Its your creative outlet?? More like spoiled brat who always yelps for more toys without a care about their cost, then plays with it for a second and throws it away only to start crying for some icecream. Wake up, there are people dying of hunger or from being shot so that their lands resources and their labor could be used to create all this junk.. “but 0.04 faster autofocus and a longer battery life..” disgrace!

          • Ben

            You just quoted yourself. I have never once complained about camera features on this site. You’re an actual lunatic. Huh.

      • Guesst

        Not only photo cameras, cellphones, any electronics. Do you know about the mineral mines pollution, factories in asia, insane landfills of discarded man made products, the gas it takes to power all the transportation, etc. Educate yourself before you babble about “uhhh but i want that new codec in my camera, make a new oooone so i can take a photo of my feet” What, you dont like talking about that? tryin to hide yourself on a photo forum from the truth? Show us your photos.

        • nwcs

          The problem you speak of is a symptom not the cause. The cause is human nature. You might find it interesting to read Ecclesiastes.

          • DoesntMatter

            Listen, you are clearly a consumer, you have an influence on any company with your money. You buy a bottle of softdrink, 1 more will be made. You buy a new camera, one more will be made. You replace a perfectly working camera with another one. Why? Art is about creativity. Creativity is about finding elegant solutions to a problem, NOT CREATING A NEW ONE. Why have people used view cameras and had no problems focusing? Why even the most action intense photos (war photos, Capa, etc) were taken with manual focus lenses? Why do you support companies that make cameras that you “need” to replace in not even one year? Why there are people who still pass down old (and working) leicas to their grand children? Why do you refuse to admit that you are wrong? Let me tell you why, because you are stuck in your evolution, you gave up, no need to slow down and ask some questions, you accepted the mediocrity, you blame others, “here i referred you to some book now i feel better, i did my part”,you think that everything is ok and it will continue to be ok until..

          • Ben

            I showed you my pictures. Where is your anti-consumerism advocacy site?

          • DoesntMatter

            put time into creating instead of “but the screen is not tilting and i want water proof! re do your whole lens line up but make them water proof, and put image stabilization in them and 4k recording and then better high iso performance! blah blah” such cry babies everywhere. You got a camera? yes? go work it! and shut up. YOU HAVE NOTHING TO SAY with your photos, thats why you spend your time complaining about camera functions.

          • nwcs

            And you spend so much time complaining about the people complaining about cameras. What does that make you? YOU SUPER DUPER HAVE NOTHING TO SAY I’d guess.

          • DoesntMatter

            how can you contradict yourself twice in the same sentence while at the same time displaying complete incomprehension of the very conversation you are trying to be a part of – I dont know, but you somehow did it. Ok Im done here.

          • nwcs

            Your logic is incoherent.

          • Andrew Hope

            Weather proofing is & has been the pro industry standard for a long time & in many parts of the world an absolute necessity. Just because you are not interested in sports photography, doesn’t mean it is wrong or moronic. Indeed, that is a pretty moronic fucking comment in itself, because art is completely subjective.

          • Andrew Hope

            You truly give a unique insight & indeed made me chuckle but, seriously mate, lighten the fuck up! You’re on Fujirumors website, this probably isn’t the place to air your grievances…A padded room with men in white coats & lots of sedatives would be more fitting & appropriate for you, Fucktard!

          • DoesntMatter

            America

          • Andrew Hope

            Wrong again, but nice try…

          • DoesntMatter

            It wasnt a guess, its your zombie mindstate. forever seeing only one side, unable of being human :(

          • Andrew Hope

            Errrrrrrr, wrong again…I’m anti-establishment, anti-consumerism, anti-globalism,an athiest & an anarchist in my views, I just don’t believe in pushing them on other people & certainly not on Fuji Rumors website. The world just isn’t as “Black & White” as your narrow perspective & it certainly isn’t Manual focused! ;-) Hate to break this to you, but Auto-focus isn’t the route of all evil & most of us aren’t lucky enough to have a fucking Leica passed down to us by Grandpa, much as though I woulda loved that!

          • Hasi

            Leave the guy alone, will ya? He’s a Palestinian.

          • nwcs

            You’re on quite a roll here. You speak as if you know who I am or what I stand for and that’s the height of arrogance. If you actually read that book you might learn something. In any case, you seem to be on some kind of crusade. I guess it brings you happiness even if you’re being arrogant, judgmental, and rhetorically weak.

    • nwcs

      Do you use a computer? Why? People did great without computers for millennia and they pollute and destroy far more than cameras. I am all for environmental conservation but let’s get some perspective here.

      • DoesntMatter

        Ok lets, what is your perspective?

        • nwcs

          My perspective specifically is that technology is a tool of humanity that has the potential to improve our lives. The waste and such you refer to is not a cause of technology but comes from the nature of the human condition. When it comes to this particular topic I refer people to Ecclesiastes. That’s all I’ll say here because this forum and web site is about Fuji products and related and I want to be respectful of that.

    • Graf Almassy

      PHOTOGRAPHY IS SATANISM! PHOTOGRAPHS STEALS HUMAN SPIRITS!!!! Please be careful!!!

      • DoesntMatter

        Yes judging from your profile pic I can see how you enjoy photos of people killing people, death and its glorification, not far from satanism. If you could just somehow make money off taking photos of suffering people and war.. I guess you need war and suffering in this world in order to be able to take photos of it otherwise you wouldnt know what else to do.. you satanic scum.

        • Graf Almassy

          I was born in a catholic family, but 15 years ago something went wrong. I bought my first AF capable camera!!!

          Now I love Satan!!! I LOVE SATAN BECAUSE I USE AUTOFOCUS!!!

    • DrunkenRant

      Skip your meds?

    • Mike

      DoesntMatter doesn’t matter.

  • They sure as hell should keep working on their own sensors. It is never good if you depend on your competitors.

  • rg

    I think they should make a regular Bayer version XT1 with 4K video. They have the wonderful color on lock and need to have an all around camera.

    • Shawn S

      Why Bayer? 4K would be nice when it comes, but I did buy my camera for the quality of stills.

      • MJr

        Bayer *can be* easier to work with if you are a Raw shooter, or even the fine detail rendering in jpg may be of preference.

        I don’t care so much for 4K, at least not until they at least have the image processing, video codec specifications, and encoder of it all under control for ‘basic’ 1080p in the first place. :-(

        Ask any video-nut, it’s insane how bad Fuji’s video is now, and resolution is not the problem. Just like an upgrade in megapixels for stills don’t mean **** until at least the base res is optimal.

        • Shawn S

          The baying for bayer seems a bit of an odd choice – Fuji have gone with X-trans for better or worse and quite frankly haven’t gone through enough development cycles to see whether it’s an overall improvement or not.

          I do agree that there are certainly many things wrong with the current video, and lack of 4k is low on that list. The randomly hunting to refocus when in AF is bizarre to say the least, and the lack of frame rate adjustment is also disappointing. I’m glad I don’t shoot much video.

          • MJr

            I’m not baying for bayer myself just so you know, but i can see why people might be a little afraid of xtrans. I’m certain though that there is much more potential in it for Fuji to exploit in the (not very distant) future, so indeed they should continue with their investment. Wouldn’t be very smart to give up on such a unique and exclusive selling point so easily.

      • Antonio

        One possible advantage of Bayer would be to get DxO support again, and this could be an interesting thing for people that are already using the software ( to convert X100 RAW files or from other cameras as DSLRs).
        Concerning a new Fuji sensor, to my advice to see the adoption of a stable basis (organic, dif size pixels, etc) can be very important, no matter if Sony continues to manufacturer it according to Fuji’s specs.

  • nwcs

    R&D is always a good move even if they still use Sony sensors. After all, Nikon used Sony sensors with their own designs and pipelines. I’m sure Sony would fab a Fuji sensor without any issues. And you never know where breakthroughs happen or when. Innovation is rarer than people like to think but it only happens when creative people are doing creative things.

  • d

    Fuji should design their own sensors, so they can avoid being dependent on Sony, or some other competitor, for sensors. That said, I would be far more excited to see them working on a 1:1 layered sensor (Fovean-like), as Bayer and Bayer-like sensors are not optimal for resolution (require far too many pixels and are prone to false details and artifacts). In my opinion, the Bayer sensor standard will need to be replaced with fully developed 1:1 sensors for any significant improvements in image quality.

    Although I love the design and feel of my X-Pro 1, the critics who claim that the X-Trans sensor produces soft images are correct. The same can be said about images from Bayer sensors as well, as both rely on interpolation and thus are limited in resolving power, which is well below their megapixel count. This is evident when using a DP Merrill, which only has a 15mp sensor (but 1:1) and image quality comparable to that from 36mp Bayer sensor cameras (D800E/A7r), but with better micro contrast and pixel-level image quality.

    Despite its shortcomings (no EVF, terrible battery life, and very poor high-ISO performance), I am considering buying another DP Merrill while I am in Japan later this month, because the image quality at base ISO is second to none. Also, with its leaf shutter, I am able to take sharp images with my DP1 Merrill even at 1/15th of a second, which was shocking to me. So, I don’t have to rely on high-ISO as much.

    • Mr_Electability

      Maybe I’m wrong, but it does seem that Sigma has hit some sort of ceiling in the Foveon design, given that their newer sensors are not fully 1:1, and likewise require some interpolation. Whether that’s a hard, physical ceiling or a temporary one, I don’t know; whether it’s due to lack of sufficient investment, or the simple need for time, I don’t know. Either way, though, they certainly *seem* to be diverging from the approach you advocate, even if only slightly.

      • d

        Yes, I believe the Quattro is a step backwards, which they have likely done to increase the battery life and processing speeds at the expense of pure image quality. So, I will stick with the DP Merrills, and compliment them with my X-Pro 1, for now.

  • DrunkenRant

    When do we get high speed sync in a firmware update…since that’s all it would take

    • Shawn S

      I would have thought if you’ve reverse engineered one to the point where you can confirm that firmware is the only change required, that you’d be able to easily create the new firmware to do that yourself!

      • DrunkenRant

        The EF-42 should be capable as it is an ‘official’ Fuji flash, and the Fuji engineers know the timing of the curtains, so yes they could do it with a firmware update. It’s a simple signal that goes from camera to flash saying “pulse at x frequency and for y time” . EF-42 should be able to do as it has Fuji’s name on it (regardless of built by Sunpack). I’m not taking 3rd party flashes (which is what would require reverse-engineering), but Fuji flashes.

  • Hybrid AF does not matter for my work. I usually shoot 101% manual all around and zone focus.

    Fuji, Nikon or Canon could never make AF to keep up with my style of shooting.

    (NSFW)

    http://familyicp.tumblr.com/

    http://whoopwhoopartistsbook.tumblr.com/

    Sure, some of my stuff could be AF, but why bother. I use my Leica if I need to focus.

    What Fuji needs to do is make a $3000 Leica knockoff.

    I used Fuji for 85% of this project and Leica %15. Fuji took a helluva beating, was in the rain for 45 minutes, got smashed in the mosh pit… Fuji is very tough.

    Dan

    • worker88

      They tried with the X-Pro1, and did a decent job. Got some things right and some wrong. Then seemed to change their ethos sometime after. They are moving in a strange direction to me.

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