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LUMIX Digital Camera Know-Hows
Primary Color and Complementary Color Filters
Color filters are required to extract CCD color information, which is needed to create a color photograph. Two types of filters are used: an RGB primary color filter that consists of three colors (red, green and blue) and a CMYG complementary color filter that consists of four colors (cyan, magenta, yellow and green). Generally speaking, RGB primary color filters tend to produce more vivid colors, while complementary color filters excel in sharpness and sensitivity. However, the overall performance, including that of the camera's image processing engine, is most important.

Primary Color Filter Alignment
  • The primary color filter allows only the same colors as those of the RGB filter to pass through and converts that color data into RGB color space data to produce a photograph.
  • Given that the human eye is especially sensitive to green, this filter contains twice as many G (green) components as R and B (red and blue) components, resulting in a sharper image.
  • While a primary color filter produces vivid colors, it has relatively low light transmittance, so it tends to be less sensitive than a complementary color filter.
Complementary Color Filter Alignment
  • Compared to a primary color filter, a complementary color filter is designed to transmit a wider range of light wavelengths.
  • Color data is created from C(cyan), M(magenta), Y(yellow) and G(green) and includes the maximum amount of luminance information our eyes can see. Processing is used to recreate the image's RGB colors and produce a color photograph.
  • Compared to a primary color filter, the resolution of a complementary color filter is higher because it uses more incident light.
Which is best - A primary or a complementary color filter?
In general, a primary color filter has good color reproduction and color S/N, while a complementary color filter has high sensitivity and resolution. Today's digital cameras often use primary color filters. This is due to the importance placed on a digital camera's color reproduction, and the fact that resolution-improving signal processing has been developed for this filter.

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