Canon Built An Image Sensor That Sees In the Dark

The one thing we always wish our cameras did better is take better pictures in low light. It looks like Canon is attacking the problem guns a'blazing, because its new 35mm image sensor spits in the face of darkness.

Before we say more, you should know that this technology isn't likely to turn up in your DSLR or camcorder any time soon. It looks like it is geared toward industrial devices like security cams and crazy astronomical imaging rigs. Why? Well, details are slim, but it seems like the main reason is that the CMOS sensor relies on really big pixels—7.5x the surface area of the pixels on the Canon 1DX sensor. These pixels are super light-sensitive, but make for lower resolution output. That is probably why Canon is touting the sensor for video applications only, as video frames are only a fraction of the resolution of most modern digital photographs.

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So that part sucks. But still, the seed is sown and could mean that a few years from now a revolution in consumer cameras could take place. Just take a look at Canon's test video at the top of the post. Imagine pointing a camera at the sky and seeing a full spectrum of star-studded glory that you can't even see with the naked eye. A glorious future, and one that'll be here before you know it. [Canon via CanonRumors]

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DISCUSSION

joebrockhaus
Joe Brockhaus

Is this the same as the 'Starlight' camera the BBC crew uses in the "David Attenborough's Africa" series? Night vision without infrared floods and cameras.

THAT was really amazing to see in action. (A little more info int he behind-the-scenes addendums) Looking out over a pitch black Savannah at rhinos at a watering hole, lit completely by starlight AND showing shadows. You can still see beneath the shadows, leading me to believe the light which cast them is coming from the moon .. but still things would be visible on a dark night!