Canon develops 35mm full-frame CMOS sensor for video capture


Canon announced the development of a new 35mm full-frame CMOS sensor designed specifically for video capture:

TOKYO, March 4, 2013—Canon Inc. announced today that the company has successfully developed a high-sensitivity 35 mm full-frame CMOS sensor exclusively for video recording. Delivering high-sensitivity, low-noise imaging performance, the new Canon 35 mm CMOS sensor*1 enables the capture of Full HD video even in exceptionally low-light environments.

The newly developed CMOS sensor 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. When recording video of astral bodies, while an electron-multiplying CCD,*2 which realizes approximately the same level of perception as the naked eye, can capture magnitude-6 stars, Canon's newly developed CMOS sensor is capable of recording faint stars with a magnitude of 8.5 and above.*3

Using a prototype camera employing the newly developed sensor, Canon successfully captured a wide range of test video,*4 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. Through the further development of innovative CMOS sensors, Canon aims to expand the world of new imaging expression.

Canon Marketing Japan Inc. will be 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 will be held from Tuesday, March 5, to Friday, March 8, at the Tokyo International Exhibition Center in Tokyo, Japan.

*1 An imaging element (aspect ratio: 16:9) that supports the largest image circle size possible when shooting with a Canon EF lens.
 *2 A CCD sensor with a readout mechanism that multiplies electrons after being converted from light. Applications include nighttime surveillance and the capture of astral bodies and nighttime nature scenes.
 *3 The brightness of a star decreases 2.5-times with each 1 magnitude increase.
 *4 Recording of test video footage was made possible through cooperation from ZERO Corporation.
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  • gerfa

    i want a camera like that prototipe! a box, no buttons, only lens and FF sensor!! :-Q__

  • I don’t see any practical use of this technology for a photo hobbyist. It may br good for the Military and Scientists, but how will it help the vast majority of Rebel owners??

    • docphoto

      this is not designed for photographers, but for videographers… i would personally have no use for this, but i think it is a great development for the ones that want to capture 1080p!

    • Moopheus

      Would it surprise you that Canon makes products for other markets than photo hobbyists? Typically, cameras used for research are cooled to reduce noise, either thermoelectrically or in a liquid nitrogen bath (lab-grade cameras aren’t cheap!). One wonders if this would be as good–the copy is somewhat vague on that point.

  • henri

    Looks stupid and very unscientific…

    • ageha


  • Am I

    just when we thought there possibly couldn’t be any more nails on Nikon’s video coffin

    • ageha

      If this is supposed to be a nail it will be a nail on Canon’s coffin for sure.

  • Jambaba

    Looks like a studio camera, but with a “small” sensor.

    Japanese are keen amateur astronomers, maybe this camera will help them to detect the next messenger of doom?

  • Wouter

    I’ve seen this news on quite a few tech sites today but none of them share the resolution of the sensor. Anybody care to calculate based on pixel pitch? If it only records on 1080p then it’s fairly logical it’s so sensitive – it’s a full frame 2MP sensor….

    • icSlowMo

      On Canon’s site, the 1DX has a total of 19.3 MP. Divide that by approx 7.5 and you get 2.57 MP. So it would be far to say the sensor is about 2.3 MP. Which is good for 1080P shooters, but what about 4K video??? Canon would have to up the res a little to get it there. Just my thoughts.

  • jake

    this is not for cameras , at least not for consumer grade D-SLRs or Mirrorless cameras.

  • I like the dark…

    Oh well, that’s the end of film noir then.

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