Low- Pass Filter Removal (Part 3)

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Fujifilm’s new sensor - How the innovation works

Bayer array

Description: Bayer array

Bayer array

A conventional-colour filter array has a repeating arrangement of 2x2 pixel sets that generate moiré and false colours when shooting lines and other regular- repeating patterns. This can cause some serious issues and unwanted image artefacts for everyone, ranging from architectural to textile photographers.

Lens with optical low pass filters

Description: Lens with optical low pass filters

Lens with optical low pass filters


Traditional optical low-pass filters inhibit moiré and false colours but consequently lead to a loss in resolution. This is still the preferred option for the vast majority of photographers, but is unacceptable for many others, particularly those familiar with medium-format cameras.

Fujifilm’s new array

Description: Fujifilm’s new array

Fujifilm’s new array

The high aperiodicity (randomness) of the arrangement of pixels in 6x6 sets reduces the occurrence of moiré. Also, the presence of an R, G and B pixel in every vertical and horizontal pixel series minimises the generation of false colours and delivers higher colour-reproduction fidelity.

The X-PRO 1’s filterless system

By removing an optical low-pass filter, moiré and false colours are eliminated, but high resolution is maintained. Inspired by the natural random arrangement of the fine grains of silver halide in film, the new filter removes a major shortcoming of digital photography that prevented some commercial photographers using a DSLR.

A camera without filters

The inner workings of Fujifilm’s revolutionary new model

Description: A camera without filters

A camera without filters

Fujifilm’s X-PRO 1

The Fujifilm X-Pro 1 is a system camera and the first of its kind to lack an Optical Low-Pass Filter (OLPF).

Colour and shape

As light passes through the lens, the camera interprets the scene using a set of complex algorithms.

Pressing the shutter

As the image is taken, shapes and colours are interpreted by the colour filter and image processor.

Filtered out

At this point, a filter would normally reduce the effects of moiré and false colour at the sacrifice of sharpness.

New sensor

In this case, the X-Pro l’s new sensor, with a completely different RGB pattern to regular sensors, solves the problem.

Picture perfect

By the time the finished image hits the LCD, it has already been processed and corrected.

Nikon’s tips for cameras without an OLPF

Description: Nikon’s D800E allows light to pass straight to the sensor with no filtering.

Nikon’s D800E allows light to pass straight to the sensor with no filtering.

There are a few things that you can do to minimise the false colour and moiré that is inherent in a camera that does not incorporate an optical low-pass filter. The best way to solve the problem istofixthe shooting situation before the image is captured.

  1. Since the angle of the camera and subject causes moiré, slightly changing the angle of the shot (by rotating the camera) can remove or change any moiré that is present.
  2. Changing the angle relationship by moving left or right, up or down can reduce moiré.
  3. Moiré is caused by very sharp focus and high detail on fine patterns; this means that slightly changing the focus point changes the sharpness and can help to remove moiré.
  4. Different lenses or focal length settings can be used to alter or remove mol ré.
  5. Stop the lens down about 3 f-stops from its maximum aperture. This requires you to shoot around f5.6 or f8 all the time. Stopping the lens down to a smaller aperture (such as f11 or f16) will cause diffraction to lower sharpness, reducing the benefit of the OLPF. This will easily negate the benefits of the D800E.
  6. You can remove the false colour in post­-production on the computer easier than you can the moiré pattern itself. Nikon Capture NX2’s moiré reduction tool for NEF (RAW) files may be able to remove some or all of the colour moiré that appears in the final image.

As good as large format?

Description: Could this little powerhouse really rival a large-format film camera?

Could this little powerhouse really rival a large-format film camera?

Akira Kumagai thinks so. Born in Japan and studying at Sweden's Royal Institute of Art, Akira specialises in product photography and magazine work, and lectures at seminars both in Japan and abroad. “I still use a large-format film camera not only because of its capability for being enlarged for use in outdoor billboards, posters and full-page newspaper advertisements, but also because it offers finer colour gradations, superior to digital cameras," he explains. "When you shoot a blue sky, a large-format camera can capture natural and subtle gradation of colours, rather than single-colour reproduction typically done by digital cameras. I can somewhat relate to landscape photographers who still shoot with 4x5 cameras carrying positive film."

His experience with the Fujifilm X-Pro 1’s new sensor and the sharpness achieved without an OLPF has stunned him. "It has been about six years since I started shooting digital. The X-Pro 1 offers descriptive performance comparable to film cameras. This experience really made me think that I might even be able to give up a large-format camera for work as long as i had the X-Pro 1.”

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