What Will the Next Fujifilm Sensor Be?

According to Fujirumors, the next Fujifilm APS-C camera will be the X-H2, which won’t be released until early 2022, and it will have a new sensor that’s capable of 8K video. Not a whole lot else is known about it at this point. What will the new sensor be? What specs will it have? Absolutely nobody outside of Fujifilm has any idea, so it’s a fun opportunity to wildly speculate. To be clear, I have no inside information. This isn’t a rumor. What I’ll discuss below is a bad guess at best. I just thought it would be fun to talk about the possibilities.

The assumption is that the next sensor will be X-Trans (X-Trans V), which is logical—most likely it will be. I don’t know what would differentiate X-Trans V from X-Trans IV. The theory is that because Fujifilm has been developing sharper lenses with more resolving power, they’re preparing for a higher-resolution sensor (in fact, they’ve said as much). But how much more? 28-megapixel? 30? 32? 36? 50? Nobody knows, but don’t be surprised if it’s 36-megapixels. Unless you crop steeply or print largely, that extra resolution won’t do much for you. I personally wish that Fujifilm would focus less on megapixels and focus more on other advancements, but that’s just my opinion.

It’s possible that the new sensor inside the X-H2 won’t be X-Trans, or at least not a Sony X-Trans. Fujifilm has partnered with Samsung to create the ISOCELL technology that Samsung uses in their cellphone cameras. In an oversimplified explanation, ISOCELL allows pixels to more accurately capture light, which means that smaller pixels act more like larger pixels. Samsung uses ISOCELL in conjunction with Pixel Binning (“Tetracell”), a technology that uses a group of pixels to act as a singular larger pixel for improved dynamic range and high-ISO performance. This technology allows tiny cellphone sensors to perform better than they should. Why can’t this be applied to larger sensors? Remember when Samsung used to have a highly-acclaimed 28-megapixel APS-C sensor before their NX camera line went suddenly defunct? Maybe Fujifilm and Samsung will partner to bring some of Samsung’s innovative sensor technology to Fujifilm cameras.

I’d be surprised if Fujifilm included a Sony Bayer sensor in the X-H2, but it’s possible. Anything is possible. More likely, if Fujifilm were to move on from X-Trans, the sensor would have to have some unique marketing aspect to it. Fujifilm X cameras are the only cameras with X-Trans sensors, and all other current cameras use Bayer (except for some Sigma models). X-Trans has some advantages and disadvantages, but more importantly it’s unique, which Fujifilm takes advantage of, both in terms of technology and marketing. There’d have to be something especially special about a non-X-Trans sensor for Fujifilm to suddenly abandon what has brought them this far.

Now imagine this: a Fujifilm X-H2 with a 144-megapixel ISOCELL and Pixel Binning sensor, that “normally” captures 36-megapixel images, with the option to capture 144-megapixel images in good light and 9-megapixel images in very low light. That would stir a lot more attention than an ordinary 36-megapixel Bayer sensor, and would also have some advantages over it. It would certainly make headlines!

The way it would work is that under most conditions the camera would capture a 36-megapixel image that would perform, in dynamic range and high-ISO, similar to the 26-megapixel X-Trans IV sensor. When the ISO is set to 320 or lower, the camera would have the option to capture a full 144-megapixel image (with the limitation of DR400 not available). Of course, Fujifilm lenses, while exceptionally sharp, cannot resolve that much detail, so you’d likely get details more in line with 50-megapixel cameras (maybe more, maybe less, depending on the lens). The camera would also have the option at higher ISOs—perhaps ISO 3200 and above—to capture extraordinarily clean 9-megapixel images (and perhaps 1080p video). I know that 9-megapixels are hardly anything to get excited over, but think of this as being sort of like the Sony A7S, which has only 12-megapixels, but is highly regarded for its low-light capabilities. So, yeah, the picture might only have 9-megapixels of resolution, but it was captured at ISO 25,600 and looks as clean as ISO 800. Maybe pixel-shift could even be incorporated into this somehow.

There would be a whole host of issues if Fujifilm incorporated Samsung’s technology into the X-H2, most notably the RAW files. I don’t think my suggestion is likely, but since anything is possible, I thought that I’d wildly speculate, and this is as wild of a speculation as you’ll likely find on this topic. It will definitely be interesting to see what Fujifilm comes up with, and as soon as I know something, I’ll be sure to share it and my ideas about it with you.

Fujifilm X-M1 (X-Trans I) Film Simulation Recipe: Monochrome

Broken View – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1

Fujifilm introduced the world to the X-Trans sensor in January of 2012 with the announcement of the X-Pro1 camera. Later that same year the X-E1 became the second camera with this new sensor, and a year later the X-M1 became the third and final camera to have the original X-Trans sensor. Even before the X-M1 was released, Fujifilm had begun selling cameras with the X-Trans II sensor, so the original sensor was already old news by the time the camera was released. It seems that, more-or-less, Fujifilm had some spare X-Trans I sensors laying around, so they put them inside of the X-A1, a Bayer sensor camera, and renamed it X-M1. There never was an X-M2.

Even though only three cameras have an X-Trans I sensor, I’ve had many requests for film simulation recipes that are compatible with the X-Pro1, X-E1 and X-M1. I used to own an X-E1 (two, actually), but I mostly shot RAW with it and never developed any film simulation recipes for it. Some X-Trans II and Bayer recipes are technically compatible, but produce slightly different results. I purchased a cheap, gently used X-M1 to create some recipes with, and this is the very first one!

White Trees – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1

The X-M1 only has one black-and-white option. There’s no B+Y, B+R and B+G. There’s just standard B, which is the abbreviation for the Monochrome film simulation. I wanted to create a B&W recipe that produces dramatic results, but the JPEG options are limited on this camera compared to the newer models, so I had to get creative with the white balance to get the look that I wanted. This recipe is intended for X-Trans I cameras, but those with Bayer and X-Trans II cameras can use it, too, but the results will be slightly different.

Monochrome
Dynamic Range: DR200
Highlight: +2 (Hard)
Shadow: +2 (Hard)
Sharpness: +1 (Medium-Hard)
Noise Reduction: -2 (Low)
White Balance: Incandescent, -5 Red & +9 Blue
ISO: Auto, up to ISO 3200
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +2/3 (typically)

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs made using this Monochrome film simulation recipe on a Fujifilm X-M1:

Old Phone – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Dark Chocolate – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Ice Cream Bowl – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Countertop – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Steel Deck – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Good Sam – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Tool Ghosts – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Timesaver – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Saw Table – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Abandoned Workshop – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Buy American – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Anchor Screw Drawer – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Open Drawers – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Indoor Hoop – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Window with Broken Glass – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1
Abandoned Garage – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-M1

See also: Film Simulation Recipes

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My Fujifilm X-T1 (X-Trans II) Kodachrome 64 Film Simulation Recipe


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Sun Roof – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1 – “Kodachrome 64”

One of my favorite film simulation recipes is Kodachrome 64. It’s also one of the most popular recipes on Fuji X Weekly. Those with X-Trans III and IV cameras, such as the Fujifilm X-T30 that I created it on, have been enjoying it since August, but those with X-Trans II cameras—X-T1, X-T10, X-E2, X-E2s, X100T, and X70—have been left out of the fun. Those with Bayer sensor cameras, such as the X-T100, XF10, X-A7, etc., have been out of luck, too. That all changes, starting now. I have cracked the code, and created a Kodachrome 64 recipe for my X-Trans II camera! Unfortunately, it won’t work on the X100, X100S, X-E1 or X-Pro1 because it requires the Classic Chrome film simulation, which those cameras don’t have. But those who own a Fujifilm X-Trans II or Bayer camera, which do have Classic Chrome, I’m sure will appreciate this Kodachrome 64 recipe.

Classic Chrome
Dynamic Range: DR400
Highlight: +2 (High)
Shadow: +1 (Medium-High)
Color: 0 (Medium)
Sharpness: 0 (Medium)
Noise Reduction: -2 (Low)
White Balance: Daylight, 0 Red & -3 Blue
ISO: Auto, up to ISO 3200

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this Kodachrome 64 recipe on my Fujifilm X-T1:

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Watered Tree – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Reflection in the Grass – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Reed Grass – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Reeds In Water – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Sisters on a Bridge – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Red Mustang – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Wrangler – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Parking Lot Sunset – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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January Evening Hill – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Rooftop Birds – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Suburban Silver Lining – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Coffee Cup – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Prerequisite – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Yellow Pillows – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Smiling Jon – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

See also: First three Fujifilm X-T1 Film Simulation Recipes

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Comparing JPEGs: Fujifilm X-T1 vs X-T30

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Fujifilm X-T30 with Astia film simulation.

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Fujifilm X-T1 with Astia film simulation.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to make my Fujifilm X-Trans III & IV film simulation recipes compatible with my X-T1 camera, which has an X-Trans II sensor. The X-T1 has the same film simulations as my Fujifilm X-T30, minus Acros and Eterna, but many of the customization options to fine-tune the image are different. For the X-T1, everything maxes out at plus and minus two, while X-Trans III & IV cameras can go to plus and minus four on many settings. There are other tools that the newer cameras have that the older ones don’t. The simple fact is this: X-Trans III & IV recipes aren’t directly compatible with X-Trans I & II cameras; can I recreate those recipes for the older models?

When I looked at the pictures that I captured with the different film simulations on my X-T1, it seemed like the results were different than with the same film simulations on my X-T30. Do the film simulations look different on different sensors? I did some tests to determine what is the same and what is not. I think there are some subtle changes, and you won’t get precisely the same results from X-Trans II as you will from X-Trans III and IV. It’s close, but not exact.

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Fujifilm X-T30 with Monochrome film simulation.

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Fujifilm X-T1 with Monochrome film simulation.

Something that I determined is that, with everything set at 0, X-Trans II has slightly darker shadows and X-Trans IV has slightly lighter highlights. It makes it seem like the pictures from my X-T30 are brighter than those from my X-T1, although mid-tones are identical. I made the mistake in the test below (with the exception of Provia) of trying to compensate for that by dropping the exposure by 1/3 stop on my X-T30, which made it darker than the X-T1. That overcompensated for the highlight and shadow difference, while making the mid-tones all wrong. Instead of lowering the exposure on the X-T30, I could have adjusted shadow and highlight by one (-1 Shadow and +1 Highlight) on the X-T1 to get a closer match. Actually, if I had adjusted shadow and highlight (+1 Shadow and -1 Highlight) on the X-T30, it would have been an even closer match, as I also discovered that +1 on the two cameras are different. I think that +1 on the X-T1 is equal to about +1.25 on the X-T30 (if it could adjust in 1/4 increments), and +2 is equal to about +2.5. I think that, because highlights have a brighter starting point on the X-T30, +2 Highlight is about the same on both cameras, while +2 Shadow on the X-T1 is actually closer to +3 on the X-T30. Interestingly enough, I think that -1 and -2 highlight and shadow on the two cameras are similar to each other, and with the same exact minus settings applied to both cameras, the X-T30 will have lighter highlights and shadows than the X-T1. Color on the X-T1 seems to move in +/-1.25 increments when compared to the X-T30, which means +2 Color on the X-T1 is in-between +2 and +3 on the X-T30, while -2 Color on the X-T1 is in-between -2 and -3 on the X-T30.

There’s another difference that I discovered between X-Trans II and X-Trans IV: the white balance is not the same. The X-T1 is actually slightly warmer, leaning towards yellow or yellow-green. It’s not a huge difference, but it’s not exactly the same, which means a slight adjustment will be required to the white balance shift for recreating recipes. What I anticipate as I attempt to translate X-Trans III & IV recipes for X-Trans II is that some will be easy, and some will be difficult or maybe impossible. Because there are less tools to work with on my X-T1, the aesthetic won’t be as precise, as it’s not as fine-tune-able. Despite that, I hope to have some good film simulation recipes very soon for those with older Fujifilm X cameras.

Provia:

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Fujifilm X-T30

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Fujifilm X-T1

Velvia:

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Fujifilm X-T30

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Fujifilm X-T1

Astia:

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Fujifilm X-T30

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Fujifilm X-T1

Classic Chrome:

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Fujifilm X-T30

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Fujifilm X-T1

Pro Neg. Hi:

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Fujifilm X-T30

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Fujifilm X-T1

Pro Neg. Std:

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Fujifilm X-T30

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Fujifilm X-T1

-2:

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Fujifilm X-T30

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Fujifilm X-T1

-1:

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Fujifilm X-T30

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Fujifilm X-T1

+1:

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Fujifilm X-T30

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Fujifilm X-T1

+2:

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Fujifilm X-T30

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Fujifilm X-T1

+3:

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Fujifilm X-T30

+4:

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Fujifilm X-T30