In addition to the breakthrough in color resolution, Foveon X3 image sensors
are reportedly the first to incorporate a capability known as Variable
Pixel Size (VPS). The sensors' full-color pixels can be grouped together
to create larger, full-color "super pixels," ushering in a new
class of dual capability still/video cameras, the company says.
According to the company, the Foveon X3 image sensors dramatically improve
photographs from digital cameras by capturing three times the color resolution
of comparable image sensors found in digital cameras. Use of the image
sensors will reportedly lead to digital cameras that are simpler to design
and that provide more image quality and performance value to end users.
company maintains that the Foveon X3 represents the most significant
breakthrough in digital camera technology since the invention of CCDs
more than 30 years ago. According to the company, CCD and CMOS image
sensors detect only one of the three required colors at each pixel and
must mathematically estimate the remaining two colors not detected. This
limits the range and accuracy of the color captured, thereby increasing
the possibility of unwanted color artifacts in the photograph, Foveon
The Foveon X3, however, is reportedly the world's first color image
sensor that captures red, green, and blue light at each pixel, reportedly
in sharper images, enhanced color, and freedom from unwanted "color
rainbow" artifacts common in photographs from most digital cameras.
By capturing three colors at every pixel instead of just one, Foveon
says that cameras can produce higher quality photographs with fewer numbers
of pixels because the pixels are based on real measurements. Fewer pixels
results in smaller file sizes, which can allow digital camera users to
send a higher quality photograph more quickly through e-mail. It also
means that more digital photos can be stored on a digital camera storage
card, the company says.
The sensors are said to detect color in a manner
similar to that of color film. With film, different colors of light
penetrate to different layers
of photosensitive material, with each layer detecting a specific color.
Using a similar concept, the X3 sensors consist of three layers of
photo detectors embedded in silicon.
The Foveon X3 technology is said
to be highly scalable and will be used in designs for small, mid-range,
and large-size image sensors.
image sensors are targeted for professional, advanced amateur, and
high-end point-and-shoot camera users. Additional Foveon X3 image
being designed that are suitable for a wide range of cameras, including
digital still/video cameras, PDAs, cell phones, security cameras,
and fingerprint-recognition systems.
This information is provided by
Foveon, Inc., Santa Clara, CA, U.S.