Canon's New Sensor Can Shoot 100fps Video... in the Dark!

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There's a lot of competition in the sensor market, with Sony, arguably dominating. Canon has responded by announcing three new CMOS sensors already this year, a 120 Megapixel CMOS sensor, a 5 Megapixel Global Shutter CMOS and now they're announcing a 19μm Full HD CMOS Sensor, the 35MMFHDXS

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(screenshot from video taken with new 35MMFHDXS by Canon)

For those not in the know, the symbol μm stands for micrometer or one-millionth of a meter. The number 19 refers to the size of each pixel. The Canon 5D Mark IV, for example, features a 35mm full-frame sensor with 5.36µm-sized pixels. So, by enlarging the 35MMFHDXS sensor's pixels to 19µm each, you end up with a lower 2.2MP (2000h x 1128v) resolution, but you can effectively see in the dark with little-to-no grain even when you're shooting 100fps slow-motion, which typically requires more light than standard 24-60fps footage.

Here's what it look like:

Canon has this to say about their insane new 35MMFHDXS sensor:

"The 35MMFHDXS CMOS sensor delivers highs ensitivity, low-noise imaging performance, even in exceptionally low-light environments. The sensor's pixels and readout circuitry employ new technologies that reduce noise, which tends to increase as pixel size increases. High sensitivity and increased well depth have been achieved through a larger pixel size of 19μm x 19μm (square) with proprietary device design technologies. The 35MMFHDXS CMOS sensor is available in RGB or Monochrome"

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(screenshot from video taken with new 35MMFHDXS by Canon)

Granted, this sensor is going to be for a very specific kind of photography, especially as it's offered in color or B&W options. But as it's just a sensor, there's no reason this couldn't end up inside security cameras, car cameras, or other devices. I could totally see law enforcement using a sensor like this to record ne'er-do-wellers doing bad things to good people in the dark. 

Full specs of the sensor:

  • Sensor size: 35mm film size (36.48mm x 20.52mm)
  • Number of effective pixels: 2000h x 1128v, Approx. 2.2MP
  • Filter types:
    • 35MMFHDXSM: Monochrome
  • Pixel size: 19μm x 19μm
  • Progressive scan
  • Rolling shutter
  • Serial communication
  • 180pin ceramic PGA
  • Sensitivity:
    • 35MMFHDXSC (Green): 1,100,000e/lx/sec @gain x1
    • 35MMFHDXSM: 2,100,000e/lx/sec @gain x1
  • Saturation: 61,000e @gain x1
  • Dark RN: 2.2e rms @gain x16, around 35 °C
  • Dark Current: 250e/sec @gain x16, 60°C
  • Simultaneous reading of vertical 4 lines
  • Drive frequency: 16ch x 18MHz (Recommended)
  • Output format: Source follower output (Analog)
  • Built in column amplifiers: (Basic pre-amplifier gain: x1, x4, x16)
  • Power consumption: 2.2W (At 60 fps under recommended operating
  • conditions)
  • Power supply voltage: 5V, 3.3V, others
  • Package size: 60.9mm x 44.6mm x 3.57mm

So, watch out, even if it's pitch black out, someone might be watching you. 

Source: CANON