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Tuesday, March 05, 2013
Canon Develops 35 mm full-frame CMOS sensor

Canon has successfully developed a high-sensitivity 35 mm full-frame CMOS sensor exclusively for video recording.

The new CMOS sensor enables the capture of Full HD video even in exceptionally low-light environments. It features pixels measuring 19 microns square in size, which is more than 7.5-times the surface area of the pixels on the CMOS sensor incorporated in Canon's top-of-the-line EOS-1D X and other digital SLR cameras. In addition, the sensor's pixels and readout circuitry employ new technologies that reduce noise, which tends to increase as pixel size increases. Thanks to these technologies, the sensor facilitates the shooting of clearly visible video images even in dimly lit environments with as little as 0.03 lux of illumination, or approximately the brightness of a crescent moon - a level of brightness in which it is difficult for the naked eye to perceive objects. 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.

Using a prototype camera employing the newly developed sensor, Canon successfully captured a test videos, including footage recorded in a room illuminated only by the light from burning incense sticks (approximately 0.05 ~ 0.01 lux) and a video of the Geminid meteor shower.

Canon will consider using the new technology for astronomical and nature observations and medical researches and applying it to monitoring and security devices. The Japanese company is exhibiting a prototype camera that incorporates the newly developed 35 mm full-frame CMOS sensor and sample footage captured with the camera at SECURITY SHOW 2013 (, which is held from Tuesday, March 5, to Friday, March 8, at the Tokyo International Exhibition Center in Tokyo, Japan.

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