Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2002/04/03

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Subject: Re: [Leica] X3 Chip - End of Conventional Film?? (Off-Topic)
From: John Brownlow <>
Date: Wed, 03 Apr 2002 12:43:44 -0500

On 4/3/02 11:07 AM, "Austin Franklin" <> wrote:

>> Anybody heard of the new X3 chip to be used in the
>> future digital cameras?
> Well, the X3 has been press released for some time now...whether it's "in
> the future" is another issue...

The Foveon chip (X3) is an interesting idea but as Austin has pointed out
elsewhere it essentially improves chrominance data rather than luminance
data. But it is luminance contrast that our eyes read as 'sharpness'.
Undoubtedly if it actually works as claimed the Foveon chip could improve
image quality over the normal RGB masked CCD. However it remains to be seen
how noisy the signal from the lower layers in the pixel array is.

At best, the Foveon chip offers an incremental improvement over conventional
CCDs. On certain kinds of image with very fine chrominance detail or very
sharp chrominance contrasts it may offer a significant improvement.

The Foveon site has a lot of information about the chip, but beware of the
comparison photos, since no information is given about what the foveon chip
is being compared *with*.

Still, if Foveon are one tenth as good at making chips as they are at
blinding mainstream media outlets with rather inflated claims, they may be
onto a good thing. According to...

> The first camera that will use the Foveon X3 chip is the SD9 SLR digital
> camera made by Sigma Corporation. Photographs from the SD9 can be enlarged up
> to 30 inches, exceeding the quality of 35 mm film. Sigma Corporation will
> demonstrate the SD9 camera at the Photo Marketing Association convention,
> Booth # 1635 in Orlando, Florida on Feb 24-27, 2002.

- -- 
John Brownlow

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