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Taking a closer look at the new Fujifilm S3 Pro image sensor

From the press release on the Fujifilm S3 Pro announced this week, it's not obvious that Fuji has made a major step forward in the development of their Super CCD.  Looking at the features of the S3 Pro vs. the S2 Pro we see a 2.0" LCD (was 1.8") with the double amount of pixels, the use of xD-picture card (was SmartMedia), USB 2 connectivity (was USB 1) and slightly bigger dimensions and weight. But the real difference is in the CCD...
Flash introduction to the original SuperCCD concept As you might know FujiFilm announced in October 1999 the successful development of a new CCD called the Super CCD (Read more at this news item).

Through the years Fuji developed several new generations of the Super CCD and in January 2003, they announced the 4th-Generation Super CCD, This new generation Super CCDs enabled the development of two new CCDs - the Super CCD HR (High Resolution) and the Super CCD SR (Super Dynamic Range).

This Super CCD SR incorporates both large, high-sensitivity S-pixels and smaller R-pixels for expanded dynamic range. By combining data from both sensor elements according to the composition of the scene, the Super CCD SR is able to deliver both high sensitivity and expanded dynamic range.

In the new Fuji S3 Pro, Fuji has taken the development of the Super CCD SR one step further. As shown in the above picture, the new Super CCD SR II has its "R-pixels" relocated from the top of the "S-pixel" to a central location between the S-pixels.

The impact of this change can be dramatic; the effective size of the S-pixel doubled and the R-pixel can not only be used to expand the dynamic range, but - because of its new location - it can add improved image resolution when some clever in camera processing is applied.

I soon hope to look at a side-by-side image comparison, to see if the theory holds out in practice

Click here to view the S3 Brochure in PDF format

The Fujifilm S3 Pro and the Fujifilm S2 Pro side-by-side


FinePix S3 Pro

FinePix S2 Pro
Number of
12.34 million
(S-pixel: 6.17 million
R-pixel: 6.17 million)
6.17 million
CCD size 23.0 x 15.5 mm
23.0 x 15.5 mm
Super CCD
Number of
total pixels*
12.9 million
(S-pixel: 6.45 million
R-pixel: 6.45 million)
6.49 million
Number of
4,256 x 2,848 (12.1 million)
3,024 x 2,016
2,304 x 1,536
1,440 x 960
4,256 x 2,848 (12.1 million)
3,024 x 2,016
2,304 x 1,536
1,440 x 960
File format CCD-RAW
Exif (JPEG)
xD-Picture Card
SmartMedia Card /
Lens focal

Nikon F-mount

Nikon lenses

LCD 2.0" low-temperature
polysilicon TFT
235,000 pixels
1.8" low-temperature
polysilicon TFT
117,600 pixels
Movie Recording No No
Voice memo No Yes
Internet-conferencing No No
Video output NTSC & PAL NTSC or PAL
(playback only)
USB 2.0 (HS) / IEEE1394 USB & IEEE1394
PictureCradle No No
Power source

4 AA Ni-MH
AC Power Adapter

AA x 4
(Alkaline, Ni-MH)
or AC Power Adapter
CR123A x 2
(Lithium Battery)

(W x H x D)
147.8 x 135.3 x 80.0 mm 141.5 x 131 x 79.5 mm
5.6 x 5.2 x 3.1 in.
(excluding battery)
760 g / 27 oz.
(excluding batteries and lens)

Additional information: Flash introduction to the original SuperCCD concept
July 31, 2004
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