Canon captures fireflies in darkness with prototype high-sensitivity CMOS sensor

Back in March, Canon unveiled a new high-sensitivity 35mm full-frame CMOS sensor that can record Full HD video in extreme low-light conditions. The sensor is so sensitive that Canon was able use it to record a meteor shower and a room lit by the light of a burning incense stick. Six months on, Canon has released a new video that shows fireflies floating around in complete darkness.

canon-full-frame-cmos-1With the sensor inside a prototype camera, Canon captured the Yaeyama-him fireflies of Japan’s Ishigaki Island. The video was shot entirely in the dark (less than 0.01 lux, nearly impossible for the naked human eye to see) just after sunset, without the assistance of artificial light. The camera was able to capture the color of the fireflies’ light as well as track their movement.

As we first reported, the new sensor is more than 7.5-times the surface area of current CMOS sensor found in the Canon EOS-1D X, with pixels measuring 19 microns square in size. When pixel sizes increase, so does the noise level, but Canon says they are using new tech in the pixels and readout circuitry to reduce noise (but not completely noise-less).

The sensor is being designed for astronomical and natural observation, but Canon says it’s looking into using this sensor for medical research and security applications. While it isn’t destined for consumer products, this sensor’s research and development could lead to a future consumer-focused CMOS sensor down the road.

(Canon Inc. via PetaPixel)

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