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Canon's Experimental Video Sensor Sees the World in Utter Darkness

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Back in March, Canon showed off an in-development video sensor that could capture the details of a scene in almost no light. The results were primitive, but impressive. A new video clip of fireflies in a dark forest shows the progresses Canon is making, and it's pretty amazing.


The new clip was shot with a prototype camera featuring the new full-frame CMOS sensor shooting in full HD at 30 fps. Clearly there's a lot of detail in the vegetation and glowing fireflies captured, despite the fact that the shot was taken after sunset with a light level of about .01 lux. That means that if you were standing in that forest you would hardly be able to see anything at all with the naked eye.

The caveat to all this is that Canon continues to insist that this technology will be used for things like medical research, astronomical observation, and surveillance—not consumer or pro DSLRs. That probably means that the sensors have some strict limitations in how they're used. Maybe they can only function at such high sensitivity, meaning they'd be severely limited during normal daylight conditions. We really don't know at this point.


But there's always hope that this technology will develop further to a point where its benefits will be enjoyed by us regular folk. Even if it doesn't, it's still plenty fun to look at in the meantime. [Canonrumors]