Could the Next Fujifilm GFX Camera Have a 127-Megapixel Global Shutter Sensor?

Could the Next Fujifilm GFX Camera Have a 127-Megapixel Global Shutter Sensor?

Sony has announced a new 127-megapixel medium format sensor that has a global shutter. Sony has described it as having "the industry's highest effective pixel count of 127.68 megapixels." This does, however, come with a number of caveats, although it is effectively the highest-resolution sensor with a global shutter. 

Sony's latest sensor the Sony IMX661 could bring some huge changes to the medium format industry. As of right now, it's being discussed for industrial uses only. Currently, there's no word about whether or not this kind of sensor will or even can be used in a conventional camera system. The sheer amount of data coming from the sensor may be too much for current data channels to handle. 

Another point about this new sensor is the fact that it is slightly larger than current sensors in Fujifilm GFX cameras. The dimensions of this sensor are 46.2 mm x 32.9 mm (H x V), whereas Fujifilm GFX camera sensors are 43.8 x 32.9 mm. 

The biggest innovation in this sensor is the chip-on-wafer process. Essentially, microchips are stacked on top of the pixel wafer, where they're able to handle some of the functions. This helps the sensor manage faster readout speeds. In practical terms, the sensor can manage super-fast burst rates with full pixel readout. At 10-bit, the sensor can shoot a whopping 21.8 frames per second, and due to its global shutter mechanism, this will be without any distortions. 

Key Specifications

  • Pixel Size: 3.45 μm x 3.45 μm (H x V)
  • Effective Resolution: 13,400 x 9,528 (H x V), 127.68 megapixels
  • Sensor Size: 46.2 mm x 32.9 mm (H x V)
  • Frame rates: 14 bit: 12.9 fps, 12 bit: 19.6 fps, 10 bit: 21.8 fps
  • Main functions: Global shutter, trigger synchronization, ROI, gradation compression, multi-exposure, short exposure, pixel binning readout

In some cases, technology produced for industrial uses can migrate over to consumer products. This kind of large sensor is quite a niche product and could work extremely well in a medium format camera system. The size of the sensor is only slightly larger than current sensors in Fujifilm GFX cameras. Therefore, it shouldn't pose any major compatibility issues with current medium format lenses. 

Either way, it's pretty incredible what Sony has produced here, and it could lead to some interesting new cameras in the future. 

Usman Dawood's picture

Usman Dawood is a professional architectural photographer based in the UK.

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Minimum ISO and dynamic range? Another useless global shutter sensor for still cameras?

This chip appears to be for industrial uses, but frankly I'd like to see Sony make a lower res sensor in 6x6 and 6x7 size already.

This is just for industrial purposes. It won't be in any cameras.

Speaking of slightly larger sensor.... I have to wonder (and always have) if Fuji and Hasselblad (with their X mount) did themselves a disservice by not making the mount larger enough to accommodate a larger sensor (like the 150MP sensor in the Phase Ones, which is actually the same sensor as the GFX100, just not cut as small).

Yeah, that would have made the cameras bigger, but not by much. The GFX has a mount diameter of 65mm and the Hasselblad H mount is 67mm (and it supports that larger sensor). Even if it had to be a few mm wider for better telecentricity... I don't know. Maybe those sensors are just too far out from being economically viable.

Based on some conversations I've had, the XCD mount from Hasselblad could manage the larger full-frame medium format sensor. I'm not sure if they will but apparently it is feasible.

Interesting, good to know. Maybe the GFX mount can too, though I feel like for some reason the X mount is a bit wider. Could be wrong.

Mount can handle larger image circle with limitations, but existing glass can not.