Only just announced this new Super CCD SR technology from Fuji is already
creating quite a stir. Promising an improved ability in capturing highlight
and shadow detail, the technology is both exciting and confusing. For your convenience,
this Frequently Asked Questions will resolve most questions you might have about
the Fujifilm Super CCD SR or Super CCD HR
Super CCD SR
Q. What are the main benefits of Super CCD SR?
A. Due to an innovative new CCD arrangement, cameras featuring Super CCD SR
are able to capture highlight and shadow detail that conventional digital cameras
miss. Overall, it will provide a more faithful representation of the actual
subject and greater dynamic range. Specific benefits are:
it combats the bleached out effect that often ruins flash photography
it allows you to shoot confidently even in very bright, contrasty conditions
it delivers detail in areas that normally get lost, such as cloud detail
increased exposure latitude provided by the sensor means that it is
more forgiving of incorrect exposure
Q. How is Super CCD SR different from a normal CCD?
A. Super CCD SR uses a new CCD arrangement, based on the diagonally mapped,
octagonal sensor arrangement that Fujifilm pioneered with Third Generation (3G)
Super CCD. However, with Super CCD SR, not one, but two photodiodes capture
information on the same area of the image (these are arranged in a 'double honeycomb'
The sensitive primary photodiode registers the light reflected off the subject
at a high sensitivity (similar to a conventional Super CCD photodiode), whilst
the secondary photodiode captures highlight information from the same part of
the image, recorded at a lower sensitivity.
Because it is set at a lower sensitivity than the primary photodiode (in other
words, records a darker image), the secondary photodiode is able to 'see' additional
detail in bright areas normally beyond the reach of conventional photodiodes.
This also frees up the primary photodiode to deliver a better quality rendition
of mid to dark tones.
This combination of primary and secondary photodiodes produces an image that
is more richly detailed than conventional CCDs, resolving more detail in highlight
and dark areas of the image.
Q. Is there a simpler way of explaining the technology?
A. A useful way of explaining this is to compare the technology to an audio
speaker. Formerly, audio speakers relied on just one large speaker cone to deliver
all of the musical range, meaning that bass and treble notes were obscured.
This was overcome by developing a secondary, high sensitivity cone (known as
a 'tweeter'), radically improving the sound quality. The primary and secondary
photodiodes in Fujifilm's new technology effectively mirror the hi-fi speaker.
This is why Fujifilm is marketing this as 'High Fidelity Photography'.
Q. Surely you can achieve the same exposure effect as Super CCD SR by adjusting
the balance and contrast in an editing program like Photoshop?
A. You can alter contrast and brightness in an editing program such as Photoshop,
but you cannot retrieve detail that the camera has failed to capture. For instance,
when a bright area on an image 'burns out', the detail cannot be retrieved,
as the relevant photodiodes in that area have hit their relative maximum values.
Q. Is there any similarity between Super CCD SR and the recently launched
A. Technically, the sensors are fundamentally different to each other. The only
common ground is that both have opened up a worthwhile discussion on new definitions
for the traditional 'pixel'.
Q. Why is Fujifilm using new terms such as 'photosite' and 'photodiode'?
What's wrong with 'pixel'?
A. 'Pixel' is a potentially ambiguous term, and should only be used to describe
a point of information in the final image. When innovative technology is brought
onto the market, it is not always appropriate to describe it in the same way
as existing, conventional technologies.
In the past, one tiny light sensor on the CCD delivered one dot on the final
image. Then, it was convenient to use the general term 'pixel' to refer to this.
Now, Fujifilm has developed a system where two tiny light sensors (the primary
and secondary photodiodes) are located at each light point (the photosite).
There are 6.2 million effective photodiodes, grouped in pairs at 3.1 million
photosites. These generate 3.1 million richly detailed points of information
on the image. However, before the final image is recorded to the media, the
camera's LSI algorithms calculate intermediary values, which then produces an
output image of 6.03 million pixels (points of information in the final image).
Q. Who will find Super CCD SR more beneficial - mainstream consumers or
A. It will appeal to anyone who appreciates genuine image quality. Initially,
we expect great excitement from the enthusiast sector, but the innovation is
beneficial to photographers of all levels.
Q. Is Fujifilm going to equip all its future digital cameras with this
A. No. The cost of the sophisticated manufacturing techniques involved in making
the Super CCD SR structure will make the technology unsuitable for entry level
cameras. Also, Fujifilm recognises that it will still need to satisfy the market
demand for out-and-out resolution: this is fulfilled in the form of the 1/1.7"
Super CCD HR (High Resolution).
Q. What is the difference in resolution between a 3G Super CCD camera outputting
6 million pixels, and Super CCD SR outputting the same amount?
A. Neither conforms to the description of a 'true' six million pixel camera.
However, the Super CCD SR camera offers six million sensors and also delivers
better quality resolution than 3G Super CCD.
Q. Would you compare a camera featuring the Super CCD SR sensor to a 'true'
6 million pixel camera?
A. Yes. Not because it delivers the same resolution, but because it will deliver
a better overall image. Our experience is that there is a tendency to over-concentrate
on looking at magnified resolution detail in an image, rather than assessing
how impactful the picture will be to an everyday observer. With Super CCD SR,
the camera will be able to resolve and handle a greater range of light intensities,
thus giving a balanced image free from burnt-out highlights and featureless
shadows. A 'true' six million pixel camera will probably have an edge over Super
CCD SR in resolution, whilst the Super CCD SR camera will deliver a better overall
image. We would expect the comparison to be an interesting one.
Q. When will a digital camera with Super CCD SR be launched in the UK?
A. An announcement will be made prior to PMA in February.
Q. How much will it cost?
A. TBC, although it can be confirmed that the product will not be a low-end,
Q. Are any other digital imaging companies using Super CCD SR or similar
A. No, this technology is unique to Fujifilm.
Q. Is Super CCD SR only available with 6mp output?
A. For the moment, yes.
Super CCD HR (High Resolution)
Q. What are the benefits of Super CCD HR (High Resolution)?
A. It allows for a smaller camera body by taking the technology of 3G Super
CCD and fitting it into a smaller sensor, meaning that you don't need a bulky
camera to achieve high resolution images. Despite its small size, virtually
no compromises are made in the image quality currently offered by 3G Super CCD.
It means that high resolution cameras of the future need not possess a large
Q. When will digital cameras incorporating Super CCD HR be launched?
A. An announcement will be made prior to PMA in February.
Q. How will the cameras be priced in comparison to Fujifilm's current digital
A. This information is not currently available.
Q. In terms of hierarchy, how will the two new sensors be positioned in
relation to each other?
A. We expect Super CCD HR to be the more widespread of the two, becoming the
definitive mid- to high-end sensor for Fujifilm cameras, effectively superseding
the current 3G Super CCD.
The increased photographic scope of the Super CCD SR product will mean that
it fulfils even more demanding needs, used by photographers who want to enhance
the impact of their photographs. Therefore, it will be positioned at a premium
to other Fujifilm sensors, however the company's offering will not necessarily
focus on the extreme 'high end' of the market. Anyone who wants to improve the
depth and quality of their photographs will want to be using this sensor.
For more details, visit the new Fujifilm Super CCD website