Researchers at Panasonic's imaging division have found a way to increase the sensitivity of digital camera sensors, which in turn equates to almost double the brightness in photos taken in low light conditions. But the discovery has nothing to do with the sensor itself; instead, the company's improved the color processing filter placed in front of it.

The current technique for producing a color image from a sensor involves placing red, green, and blue filters over every pixel. It works, but it ends up preventing about 50 to 70 percent of the light from actually hitting the sensor. Which is a big reason why so many cameras have poor low light performance. So Panasonic has developed a new kind of filter that instead uses color splitters to deflect light across several pixels at once. A red and blue deflector are positioned over four pixels in total, but are arranged vertically so virtually all of the light entering a camera hits the sensor.

What's particularly neat about this new approach is that it can be used with any kind of sensor without modification; CMOS, CCD, or BSI. And the filters can be produced using the same materials and manufacturing processes in place today. Which means we'll probably be seeing this technology implemented on cameras sooner rather than later. [DigInfo TV]