While the design of the Fujifilm X-T1 and Nikon Df hark back to an age when 35mm film was king and SLRs had few knobs and dials, do these digital models fulfil the desire of many photographers to return to that time?

Image: The standard 2×2 Bayer pattern (left) looks far more random than the 6×6 X-Trans array (right)

The sensors from each camera have similar resolutions: 16.2 million pixels in the Nikon Df, and 16.3 million pixels in the Fujifilm X-T1. However, the two sensors are very different in their design.

The Nikon Df uses the same sensor as the company’s professional-level D4. This 16.2-million-pixel, full-frame CMOS sensor is designed by Nikon and manufactured by a third-party. Chipworks (www.chipworks.com) revealed the details of the sensor when it took apart a Nikon D4.

In contrast, the Fujifilm X-T1 has a smaller 16.3-million-pixel, APS-C-sized sensor, which is the same as that used in Fuji’s X-E2 and is believed to be the same Sony 16.3-million-pixel unit that is used in a number of other cameras. Fujifilm then supplies the X-Trans filter array, which is fabricated onto the sensor.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Fujifilm X-Trans filter array, it uses a 6×6-pattern array. In comparison, most other digital cameras, including the Nikon Df, use a standard 2×2 Bayer pattern filter. The result is that the X-Trans array appears more random in appearance, as can be seen in the diagrams above. The more random pattern helps to reduce false colour and moiré patterning. As a result of this, the X-Trans sensor doesn’t need an anti-aliasing filter, which makes the X-T1 capable of resolving more detail compared to the Nikon Df. Where the Df hits around 26 on our resolution chart, the X-T1 is able to reach almost 30. However, in real-life examples there was very little difference in edited raw images, although the X-T1 raw files require a little less sharpening.

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