Thursday, July 30, 2015

Canon Commercializes its ISO 4,000,000 FF Image Sensor

BusinessWire: Canon introduces its first multi-purpose camera, the new ME20F-SH, with exceptionally high sensitivity to capture Full HD video with a minimum subject illumination of less than 0.0005 lux (color, no light accumulation, f/1.2, 30P fps, 50 IRE, at maximum 75 dB gain setting, equivalent to an ISO sensitivity of over 4,000,000). Nighttime surveillance and security, cinematic production, reality television, and nature/wildlife documentaries are just some of the ME20F-SH’s many possible usage applications.

Canon’s new multi-purpose camera employs an enhanced version of the 35mm full-frame CMOS sensor that was originally developed in 2013. The ME20F-SH sensor has pixels measuring 19 μm, said to be more than 5.5 times the surface area of the pixels on the CMOS sensor featured in select top-of-the-line interchangeable lens cameras. Furthermore, the sensor’s pixels and readout circuitry make use of Canon proprietary technologies to achieve both reduced noise and exceptionally high sensitivity on subjects with a minimum illumination of less than 0.0005 lux. This multi-purpose camera allows users to discern subjects under even some of the dimmest lighting conditions, such as environments lit by artificial illumination or under a moonless night sky. Furthermore, similar to Canon’s Cinema EOS System of professional digital cinematography cameras, the ME20F-SH camera includes Canon Log and Wide DR.

ME20F-SH is expected to be available in December 2015 at a suggested retail price of $30,000.

A DSLR comparison picture from Canon Japan site:

Canon plans to make sample images avaliable in Sept 2015 on this link.


  1. Albert TheuwissenJuly 30, 2015 at 8:12 AM

    The Canon table indicates a pixel pitch of 19 um, the text indicates a pixel area of 19 um2. Here is some contradiction. The pixel area should be 19 x 19 um2, based on total chip area and number of pixels.

  2. Sony A7s x10 !!!

  3. For what is this camera meant to be used for ? considering the resolution, sensitivity and price?

  4. At 0.0005 lux, do you get real colors?

  5. Let’s see:

    One lux at 555 nm is 4.12x10^15 photons per second. Then one pixel would have
    4.12x10^15 * 0,0005 * (19x10^-6)^2 = 744 photons per pixel at 0.0005 lux.

    Using 30 fps, one pixel would have 744/30 = 25 photons per pixel per frame.
    Assuming total quantum efficiency 50% (?), the final photon count per pixel per frame would be about 12.

    Not bad, if the camera can create a color image using that small count of photons per pixel!


    1. Canon is talking about the subject illumination. You need to add F1.2 lens and 20% Lambertian reflectivity to your calculations.

  6. Two Long Demos of the Camera pointed at the Aurora:


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