The detective quantum efficiency (DQE) of an x-ray detector, expressed as a function of spatial frequency, describes the ability to produce high-quality images relative to an ideal detector. While the DQE normally decreases substantially with increasing frequency, we describe an approach that can be used to improve the DQE response by increasing the DQE at high spatial frequencies. The approach makes use of an apodized-aperture pixel (AAP) design that requires use of a high-resolution x-ray converter such as selenium coupled to a sensor array with very small physical sensor elements, such as CMOS sensors. While sensors with elements of 10 - 25 μm are too small for most practical applications in medical radiography, we describe how larger image pixels of a practical size can be synthesized to provide a better DQE than simple binning or using physical pixels of the same size. A theoretical cascaded-systems analysis shows the DQE at the image sampling cut-off frequency can be improved by up to a factor of 2.5x. The AAP approach was validated experimentally using a CMOS/CsI-based detector having 0.05-mm sensor elements. Using AAP images with 0.2-mm pixels, the high-frequency DQE value was increased from 0.2 to 0.4 compared to simple 4x4 binning. It is concluded that ultra-high-resolution sensors can be used to optimize the high-frequency performance of x-ray detectors and make substantial improvements in image quality for visualization of small stuctures and fine image detail in comparison to current imaging systems.