Huawei is rumoured to develop X-Trans color filter array for its smartphones

Huawei stands as one of the most prominent innovators in the realm of smartphone cameras, continually implementing new technology to enhance the smartphone photography experience. They were among the first to introduce periscope telephoto lenses and stepless variable apertures in smartphone cameras as well as setting the trend of larger camera sensors on mobile devices with their ‘P’ and ‘Mate’ series.

Perhaps the most interesting technology they have introduced is the Red, Yellow, Blue ( RYYB) color filter array (CFA) first introduced with the Huawei P30 series. According to Huawei it increases light sensitivity compared to regular (RGB) CFA. And now Huawei is reportedly developing an X-Trans color filter array for its smartphones.

Huawei X-Trans reference


But what is X-Trans? It’s a CFA pattern distinct from the conventional Bayer pattern. The X-Trans pattern aims to reduce moiré false colors while preserving sharpness and color accuracy.

Moiré occurs in Bayer sensors due to the interaction between the sensor’s regular color filter array pattern and the repeating patterns in the scene being photographed. To mitigate moiré, an optical low-pass filter is placed in front of the camera sensor, slightly blurring incoming light before it reaches the sensor. This blurring helps reduce moiré patterns and false colors by smoothing out high-frequency details in the image.

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However, the drawback of the low-pass filter is the reduction in sharpness and image quality. This is where the X-Trans pattern comes into play, as it doesn’t require the low-pass filter, thereby improving sharpness and image quality.

While X-Trans is not a novel concept, as Fujifilm pioneered and released it with the Fujifilm X-Pro1 in March 2012, Huawei may potentially become the first to implement it in smartphones with the upcoming Huawei P80 series. Although this remains a rumor, if true, it could mark the next significant leap in smartphone photography.

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