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Canon develops CMOS sensor with approx. 250 megapixels


A camera prototype equipped
with the newly-developed
CMOS sensor (shown with an
EF 35mm f1.4 USM lens

Canon Inc. is developing an APS-H-size (approx. 29.2 x 20.2 mm) CMOS sensor incorporating approximately 250 million pixels (19,580 x 12,600 pixels). This is the world’s highest number of pixels (as of 7 September 2015, based on a Canon survey) for a CMOS sensor smaller than the size of a 35 mm full-frame sensor.

When installed in a camera, the newly-developed sensor was able to capture images enabling the distinguishing of lettering on the side of an airplane flying at a distance of approximately 18 km from the shooting location. This image capture employed a combination of optical and digital zooming while distinguishing of image content was realised through the magnification of an approximately 1/40,000th-sized area of the captured image. 

With CMOS sensors, increases in pixel counts result in increased signal volume, which can cause such problems as signal delays and slight discrepancies in timing. The new Canon-developed CMOS sensor, however, despite its exceptionally high pixel count, achieves an ultra-high signal readout speed of 1.25 billion pixels per second, made possible through such advancements as circuit miniaturisation and enhanced signal-processing technology. Accordingly, the sensor enables the capture of ultra-high-pixel-count video at a speed of five frames per second. 

Additionally Canon applied its sensor technologies cultivated over many years to realise an architecture adapted for miniaturised pixels that delivers high-sensitivity, low-noise imaging performance.

Video footage captured by the camera using the sensor achieved a level of resolution that was approximately 125 times that of Full HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) video and approximately 30 times that of 4K (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) video. The exceptionally high definition made possible by the sensor lets users crop and magnify video images without sacrificing image resolution and clarity.

Canon is considering the application of this technology in specialised surveillance and crime prevention tools, ultra-high-resolution measuring instruments and other industrial equipment, and the field of visual expression.


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