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Gear Rumors

Olympus Developing New RGBCMY Multilayer Sensor?

By Anthony Thurston on May 26th 2015

Sigma’s Foveon sensor has long been the only option available to the public if you want to shoot a multilayer sensor. A new patent uncovered by Egami shows that Olympus may be looking to change that.



The new patent, which was just recently published, depicts a new Olympus RGBCMY multilayer sensor. The idea behind the new sensor would be an improved level of sensitivity and a high level of color fidelity.

Think of this as sort of a more advanced, or a ‘next-step’ sort of sensor compared to Sigma’s Foveon technology. Where the Foveon sensor splits the layers up into red, green and blue layers, this new Olympus technology would take it a step further, having layers for red, green, blue, cyan, magenta and yellow.


It is unclear at this point for what purpose this sensor is being designed. It could easily be for medical instruments, rather than digital cameras. But that said, this would be a rather interesting way for Olympus to make a splash in the camera market, wouldn’t it?

What are your thoughts on this Olympus ‘Foveon’ sensor? Do you think it will make its way into a camera? Would you want one if it did? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

[via 4/3 Rumors]

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Dave Haynie

    Very interesting… if you can get past the Foveon pitfalls. Foveon uses the natural absorbtion of silicon to give them different color layers — they say RGB, it’s not really that simple. The top layer is essentially a luminance layer, but may be a bit skewed toward blue; the green layer is also taking in red, and even at the red layer, there is some absorption of the other colors. So lots of math.

    But the big problem has been that their sensor isn’t all that transparent, and the lower layers got much less light than the upper. So Foveon has traditionally been low ISO and noisy at pretty modest settings. They did address this a bit in the current-genertation sensors, by using full pixel resolution on the top layer and going to 2x pixels on the “G” and “R” layers. Also, no video.

    If Olympus has a way to avoid the attenuation issue in this kind of sensor, that would be pretty cool.

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  2. Jeremy Huynh

    Waiting for more of this technology so bad.
    A sensor combining the color fidelity and high detail images of the multilayer and the versatility of the Bayer CMOS.

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  3. Brandon Dewey


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