X-Trans, Bayer, and Film


There has been a lot of discussion about X-Trans and Bayer Sensor layouts since the introduction of X-Trans by Fujifilm in 2012, but it is also worth noting where Fujifilm got its inspiration: Film.

I recently read Dan Bailey’s analysis of why X-Trans looks so film-like on the Fujifilm X-T2, and it made me go back and do some reading about color film in general, which is an interesting topic that inspired me to build on what is out there. Since sensors and film have been covered pretty in depth, I thought about how X-Trans does indeed look similar in design to the photo above, but I know of no one who has scaled up the diagrams to see how they compare the bigger they get.


So, I created a 9×9 grid of the Bayer pattern and X-Trans pattern from the stock marketing image above. The X-Trans pattern still looks very film-like, to me, in layout compared to the bayer design at this size. I then tried to scale it to make the pixels match the magnified film image, and here are the results.

The patterns aren’t as pretty as film, but the green stands out on the X-Trans side, which is similar to film, while on the Bayer side, the green blends in and the pattern looks busy.

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  • Neopulse

    Very interesting…. thanks for this post

  • Franko

    but why won’t they use it for their medium format?

    • Who knows if they will or if the medium format rumor is legitimate. We have been hearing about it for such a long time that at some point it will have to be right… or Fujifilm won’t be making cameras anymore (end of human civilization comes to mind). I would love to have another affordable medium format option on the market, but it’s such a niche camera. I’m really looking forward to testing the Hasselblad X1D.

      One of the issues Fujifilm might run into if they try to us X-Trans to build an affordable medium format camera, at this time, is that all of the cameras on the market are using the 50MP medium format Sony sensor (Sony isn’t the issue they use a sensor based on the a6300 sensor in the X-Pro 2 and X-T2). 50MP might be a bit much computationally, which could require a very expensive custom processor which would put the price of the Fujifilm camera above its competition to manufacture.

      X-Trans also takes a lot of processing power to edit so 50MP X-Trans files could load very slowly in Lightroom… I still hear about people complaining about 24MP RAW files.

      I like many hope that Fujifilm shocks us with a Medium Format X-Trans camera at Photokina, but I’m not holding my breath. One thing is for sure if it doesn’t happen there will be a million excuses for why it didn’t happen and the rumor will be shelved for another year until it ends up being true or it’s forgotten.

  • Hi Louis, I love your expanded extrapolation of the X-Tran sensor pattern when compared to the actual film gran photo. The X-Trans is such an ingenious design, and when you see it replicated on a large scale, like you have done here, it becomes even more apparent why Fuji chose that pattern for their X Series sensors. And thanks for the link love. 🙂

    • Thanks Dan… It seemed like the logical next step and I’m surprised I haven’t come across it before. Of course it would be nice to get a proper shot of the sensor, but I do not think you could tell the difference under magnification.