Monday, March 04, 2013

Canon Announces Full HD Video Sensor with 19um Pixels

Canon announces a high-sensitivity 35 mm full-frame CMOS sensor developed exclusively for video recording. Delivering high-sensitivity, low-noise imaging performance, the new sensor enables the capture of Full HD video in exceptionally low-light environments.

The sensor pixel size is 19um, 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 are said to 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. When recording video of astral bodies, while an electron-multiplying CCD, which realizes approximately the same level of perception as the naked eye, can capture magnitude-6 stars, Canon's newly developed sensor is capable of recording faint stars with a magnitude of 8.5 and above.

Using a prototype camera employing the newly developed sensor, Canon successfully captured a wide range of test video, such as footage recorded in a room illuminated only by the light from burning incense sticks (approximately 0.05–0.01 lux) and video of the Geminid meteor shower. The company is looking to such future applications for the new sensor as astronomical and natural observation, support for medical research, and use in surveillance and security equipment.
The newly developed 35 mm full-frame
CMOS sensor for video use
Prototype camera incorporating the newly
developed 35 mm full-frame CMOS sensor

A Youtube video shows the sensor's low-light capabilities:


  1. sCMOS and all others are ridicule in front of this performance. This should be the real king of solid state night vision sensors.

  2. Does Cannon say if the sensor utilizes a global shutter or a rolling shutter?

  3. Someting is strange in this propaganda.
    1. Just turn up the EMCCD gain up a bit.
    2. Where is the photon noise?

  4. The pixel are is 11 times larger than that in their DSLR camera, so the sensitivity should be boosted 11 times too.

    1. "Each pixel on the new sensor measures 19 microns square"
      Is this the area? Or the width (19*19=361um^2)
      sqrt(19) = 4.36um pixels?

      Canon 5D has 8.2um pixels (67.24 um^2 area)

    2. I think a marketing guy wrote the press release, and it's wrong, 19um is the width, not the area.

      The 1dx has pixels that are nearly 7um wide, area around 48 um2.
      7.5 times that means 361 um2, or a 19um-wide pixel.
      A 36mm-wide sensor with 1920x1080 resolution has 18.75nm-wide pixels.

    3. FYI,
      19 microns square means 19x19.
      19 square microns means the area is 19.
      This is standard engineering convention.

    4. Sorry then, Sir. And thanks for the free education :)

  5. I would really like to find a consumer video camera, with the largest sensor and pixels, that is reasonably affordable. Full HD 1080p60 (and now probably 4k video as well).

    I don't like that the handheld video cameras these days all have small sensors/pixels, same as point-and-shoot cameras - with poor low-light and noise performance.

    If anybody knows of some good options, a reply here would be much appreciated.


    1. Look at the Sony Nex range of mirrorless camera's they also have some impressive video funtions. There are a couple of people bulding cages and adapters if you need it to have a more camera like grip same for Panasonics m43 (the panasonic has industry leading autofocus but no focus peaking like the sony). There's also the Samsung NX (200,210,1000 and 20 not the 10 or 100) range which I've personally found to be more than a replacement for handheld cam (but donesn't have focus peaking). What you do have to realise is the bigger sensor and the bigger lenses lead to a decreas in the depth of field so throwing something out of focus becomes alot easier.

  6. This is great, finally some large pixel design, never mind it is expensive. It is fascinating to see this video of objects under moonlight with color (the corner of the building and a tree).


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