Eastman Kodak, one of the world's largest makers of cameras and films has announced what it claims is a groundbreaking color-filter technology that increases the sensitivity to light of the image sensor in digital cameras by up to four times, enabling users to take better pictures in poor light.

The new sensor layout is intended to succeed the industry-standard "Bayer Pattern," an arrangement where half of the pixels on the sensor are used to collect green light, with the remaining pixels split evenly between sensitivity to red and blue light.

'Now, we are using panchromatic pixels - which are more sensitive than green pixels because none of the photons get filtered out or wasted - to act as the luminance. This gives us a more sensitive luminance channel in the final image which raises the sensitivity of the entire sensor,' claimed John Hamilton who helped develop the technology.
After exposure, a full color signal for each pixel in the final image is reconstructed by software. In a low light situation, these new patterns will produce a lot less color noise overall than a Bayer pattern sensor and would reduce camera shake as well. Although this new technology has yet to be introduced into any camera, a sample of Kodak's new image sensor will be available to manufacturers in the first quarter of 2008.