Japanese optics manufacturer Canon is exploring the industrial-grade large sensor image segment with its unveiling of a camera sensor forty times larger than its normal “FF” sensor according to Mirrorless Rumors.
In a press release discussing the exploration of this market, Canon talked about the market potential for CMOS image sensors in academics and industry “through ultrahigh-sensitivity CMOS image sensors and ultrahigh-resolution CMOS image sensors.” At 20 cm square, Canon boasts that their new CMOS image sensor is among the world’s largest. Image via Canon. One benefit of this gigantic sensor is that it is capable of taking pictures using very little light. As Canon highlights in their press release: “Increasing the size of CMOS sensors entails overcoming such problems as distortion and transmission delays for the electrical signals converted from light. To resolve these issues, Canon not only made use of a parallel processing circuit, but also exercised ingenuity with the transfer method itself. As a result, the sensor makes possible the shooting of video at 60 frames per second with only 0.3 lux of illumination (approximately the same level of brightness as that generated by a full moon).” Among the potential uses for a sensor this size and with these capabilities include astro-photography, photographing animals at night, capturing images of auroras, and in nightwatch cameras. And Canon isn’t just offering empty marketing speak to back up its new industrial-grade large sensor image. In a trial with Tokyo’s Kiso Observatory, a part of the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Astronomy, the company’s sensor “made possible the world’s first video recording of meteors with an equivalent apparent magnitude of 10, a level so dark that image capture had not been possible until now. As a result, the sensor provided proof that the frequency with which faint meteors occurred coincided with theoretical estimates to date. By supporting more detailed recording and statistical analysis of meteors, the technology could lead to an increased understanding of the influence that meteors may have exerted on the development of life on Earth.” That’s pretty amazing stuff, if we don’t say so ourselves. Here’s a video from Canon explaining the whole thing on YouTube.