Due to the violent onslaught of smartphones, camera manufacturers had to prepare to offer features that would be difficult to achieve with a mobile device. Most have started turning DSLRs and ILCs into webcams, for example, to take advantage of the wave of video conferencing platforms today. Fujifilm has another feature that would probably be impossible with smartphones today, allowing the GFX100 102MP mirrorless camera to generate photos at 400MP resolution.
It almost sounds like the opposite of pixel binning, in which smartphones use adjacent pixels to produce an image with a lower resolution, but with a greater level of detail. The principle behind Fujifilm’s “Pixel Shift Multi-Shot”, however, is not exactly new and can be found on cameras and smartphones with different names. In short, it takes several photos in slightly offset positions that are then combined into a single 400MP image.
When the user presses the shutter button, the GFX100 records 16 frames in quick succession, using body image stabilization or IBIS to shift the sensor slightly in each frame. This does not end on the camera, however, and requires separate Pixel Shift Combiner software for PCs and Macs to combine these 16 frames into a single RAW file in DNG format. Different software like Capture One can then transform it into a 400MP TIFF or JPEG.
The resulting image naturally contains more detail than an equivalent 100 MP photo. Fujifilm claims that these 400MP images are able to more accurately reproduce the details and colors of your subjects. Of course, this also means that file sizes are also exponentially larger, with a single JPEG occupying hundreds of megabytes.
This can be an obstacle for amateurs and even some professionals, but Fujifilm may not have these users in mind anyway. He is positioning this feature for digital archiving of works of art, architectures and other cultural assets where storage is a small price to pay for being able to faithfully preserve these artifacts. Pixel Shift Multi-Shot is available in the latest firmware update for the Fujifilm GFX100, but the Pixel Shift Combiner and Capture One programs must be downloaded separately.