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Fuji shines light on new camera chips

The Japanese photo giant says its two new high-resolution CCD image sensor chips for digital cameras will capture more detail.

Japanese photography giant Fuji Photo Film announced Wednesday that it has developed two new high-resolution image sensor chips for digital cameras.

Both are CCD (charge-coupled device) chips expected to appear in Fuji cameras later this year.

The Super CCD HR is a high-resolution chip capable of capturing images at resolutions up to 6.63 megapixels, thanks to a new chip design. The design shrinks the size of each pixel sensor in the camera, allowing twice as many to fit on the same size chip. High-end consumer digital cameras currently average 3 or 4 megapixels.

The second new Fuji sensor chip, the CCD SR, has a similar megapixel count but mixes regular pixel sensors with a new type designed to capture high-intensity light. The result, Fuji says, is a chip capable of capturing much greater dynamic range, which is the spectrum of light and dark elements in an image.

"These...CCD technologies represent a monumental change in the way that digital cameras read the data available in scene composition and translate that information into truer-to-film image quality," Darin Pepple, brand manager of consumer digital imaging products for Fuji's North American branch, said in a statement.

The new Fuji chips are likely to provide more fuel for the ongoing debate among camera buffs as to whether CCD or CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductors) image sensors offer superior quality. CCD sensors dominate the digital camera market, appearing in most consumer-level models.

But some chipmakers are counting on the lower power consumption and smaller size of CMOS sensors to promote their adoption in a wide range of imaging devices.