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RGGB Bayer matrix in typical digital sensor

Blur by Bayer Pattern Demosaicing

Every major camera brand as of 2020 utilizes a variant of the Bayer Pattern matrix, in which half the pixels are green, a quarter are blue, and a quarter red (there are variants with 4 colors but these have largely gone out of favor).

The Bayer Pattern sensor measures one monochrome value at each photosite; one brightness level filtered to one color (red or green or blue). Therefore, the Bayer sensor has much lower color resolution than simple megapixel math would suggest.

A distinctly different approach is Sigma’s true-color Foveon sensor, used only in Sigma’s cameras such as the Sigma DP Merrill and Sigma dp Quattro. The Sigma true-color Foveon sensor can sample red, green and blue at every photosite. Sigma rates the Foveon sensor as having a 2X resolution factor, suggesting that a 3MP Foveon sensor is equivalent to a 6MP Bayer sensor. That is arguably true for subjects having strong primary colors, but I deem it overly optimistic in the general case. A more realistic overall rating of the resolution advantage is somewhere around 1.5X. See the review of the Sigma DP-2 in diglloyd Mirrorless Cameras.

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Intrigued? See Focusing Zeiss DSLR Lenses For Peak Performance, PART ONE: The Challenges, or (one topic of many) field curvature.

Color photosites, and depiction of black square as seen by photosites

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