Thought the Fujifilm X-H2 packed the highest-resolution APS-C sensor? Think again

Fujifilm X-H2
(Image credit: Digital Camera World)

In recent years the megapixel count of APS-C cameras has been steadily increasing. 2019 gave us the 32.5MP Canon EOS 90D, with the same sensor then being repurposed in 2022 in the EOS R7). Shortly after that, Fujifilm upped the ante with its 40.2-megapixel X-H2, which today still stands as the highest resolution APS-C consumer camera you can buy. But that's not to say it contains the highest resolution APS-C sensor on the market. That's because a new contender to the throne has recently been announced, boasting 42.9MP spread over its 26.2 x 16.7mm APS-C sensor area. Who could have produced such a potentially record-breaking chip? Sony? Samsung? No, in fact the sensor manufacturer is likely a company you've never heard of: Gpixel.

(Image credit: Gpixel)

While it may not the first name you think of when it comes to sensor manufacturers, Gpixel has been around since 2012, so it's no newcomer to the sector. It produces sensors primarily for use in applications like cinematography, drones, production imaging and other video devices. But here's the interesting bit: unlike the two best-known image sensor manufacturers, Sony and Samsung, headquartered in Japan and South Korea, respectively, Gpixel is a Chinese company, based in the city of Changchun (though it does have offices around the world, including Japan).

(Image credit: Gpixel)

The news that the Chinese are producing their own image sensors shouldn't come as a shock - plenty of Chinese companies have been doing this for years. The more noteworthy take-home from the latest Gpixel sensor news is that China isn't just producing image sensors, it's also beating the likes of Sony and Samsung, at least in metrics like outright resolution. Should we be surprised by this though? After all, China is the world's manufacturing superpower. It's long had the facilities, manpower and expertise to produce world-beating products in almost any product segment, so why not image sensors too? Earlier in the year we wrote about Chinese lenses now being at least as good as - if not better - than Japanese lenses. Maybe we're not far off Chinese image sensors also becoming superior to their Japanese (and Korean) rivals.

(Image credit: Gpixel)

Back to that (potentially) world-beating new 42.9MP APS-C sensor. Gpixel calls it the GCINE3243, and it's been designed for use in cinematography, drones, production video as well as astronomy and scientific imaging. It features back-side illumination, a 3.2 μm2 pixel size and a bit depth of up to 14 bits per pixel. That overall resolution is no accident, either. With a resolution of 8192 x 5232 pixels, it's been designed squarely for 8K DCI (8192 x 4320) video capture. If you want more detail about the sensor's construction and specifications, check out Gpixel's original press release.

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Ben Andrews

Ben is the Imaging Labs manager, responsible for all the testing on Digital Camera World and across the entire photography portfolio at Future. Whether he's in the lab testing the sharpness of new lenses, the resolution of the latest image sensors, the zoom range of monster bridge cameras or even the latest camera phones, Ben is our go-to guy for technical insight. He's also the team's man-at-arms when it comes to camera bags, filters, memory cards, and all manner of camera accessories – his lab is a bit like the Batcave of photography! With years of experience trialling and testing kit, he's a human encyclopedia of benchmarks when it comes to recommending the best buys.