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Why digital photography sucks.

January 13, 2003

I’ve noticed through two digital cameras and multiple scanners that something’s not quite right about digital imaging technology. I always attributed it to the inherent differences between CCDs and traditional film, but my knowledge ended there.

Found on Slashdot, this lengthy Discover article details the next revolution in digital imaging, called X3. It turns out we’re only getting, quite literally, half the picture, as CCDs capture only a single channel (Red, Green, or Blue) at a time and interpolate the rest.

Based on the knowledge that the Green channel is used quite heavily in actual image detail, CCD manufacturers create a mosaic of sensors that capture 25% of the red and blue light in an image and 50% of the green. The rest of the colour data is interpolated based on surrounding pixels. This approach introduces complicated, ugly moiré patterns and discards about two thirds of the available colour data.

Using a layered silicon approach, X3 offers digital technology the ability to capture all available colour data for the first time. The resulting images are sharper, brighter, and much more representative of the source image than traditional methods have allowed.

This is the point where digital will really take off as an alternative to film.


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