Canon Develops High-sensitivity CMOS Sensor for Video Shooting

Mar 5, 2013
Ikutaro Kojima, Tech-On!
The newly-developed sensor (left) and a prototyped camera (photos courtesy of Canon)
The newly-developed sensor (left) and a prototyped camera (photos courtesy of Canon)
[ If it clicks, the expanded picture will open ]
A comparison with an electron-multiplying CCD (left)
A comparison with an electron-multiplying CCD (left)
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Another comparison
Another comparison
[ If it clicks, the expanded picture will open ]

Canon Inc announced that it has developed a 35mm full-size high-sensitivity CMOS sensor dedicated to video shooting.

The company uploaded videos taken by a camera equipped with the sensor to its website.

The pixel of the sensor measures 19 x 19μm, which is 7.5 times or more larger that the pixel area of the CMOS sensor used in, for example, the "EOS-1D X," Canon's highest-end digital single-lens reflex (SLR) camera. Also, a new technology was applied to the pixel area and readout circuit of the new sensor to reduce noise, which tends to increase as pixel size increases.

With those technologies, the new sensor enables to take clear video even with an illuminance of about 0.03lux, which is equivalent to the illuminance of the light of the crescent moon. For example, while an electron-multiplying CCD whose sensitivity is equivalent to that of the naked eye can take video of stars of up to the sixth magnitude, the new CMOS sensor can take video of stars of up to the 8.5th magnitude or more, Canon said.

Canon succeeded in using a prototype of a camera equipped with the new CMOS sensor to take video in a variety of situations such as in a room in which the only light source is an incense stick (about 0.01-0.05lux) and video of the Geminids. Those videos can be watched on the company's website.

Canon will consider using the new technology for astronomical and nature observations and medical researches and applying it to monitoring and security devices. In addition, the company will show a prototype of a camera equipped with the new CMOS sensor and videos taken by the camera in Canon Marketing Japan Inc's booth at Security Show 2013, which runs from March 5 to 8, 2013, in Tokyo.