There’s a dimly lit moon out tonight, but Canon’s new CMOS sensor can see it just fine

canon-full-frame-cmos-1

It’s a given that many cameras have difficulty working in low-light situations. But Canon’s newly developed high-sensitivity 35mm full-frame CMOS, designed especially for video recording, “enables the capture of Full HD video even in exceptionally low-light environments,” according to the company. The sensor is so sensitive that it could record a meteor shower and a room lit only by the light from a burning incense stick.

canon-full-frame-cmos-2How is the sensor able to capture that much light? The new sensor is more than 7.5-times the surface area of current CMOS sensors found in the Canon EOS-1D X and other DSLR cameras, 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). “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,” Canon says. When recording the night sky, the new CMOS sensor can capture faint stars with a magnitude of 8.5 and above, versus the magnitude 6 of an electron-multiplying CCD sensor.

With a prototype camera, Canon shot a test video (see below) with a variety of footages, including the aforementioned meteor shower and incense stick illumination (around 0.05–0.01 lux). Don’t expect this sensor to show up in the next DSLR just yet. Canon is focusing on astronomical and natural observation, medical research, and security and surveillance as initial customers, but there’s no word on applications for the general consumer. Canon is showing off the prototype at a security industry trade show in Tokyo.

(Images and video via Canon)

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robots that eat landmines and clean your floors

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Photography

These point-and-shoot cameras make your smartphone pics look like cave paintings

If your smartphone camera isn't giving you the results you want, maybe it's time to step up your game. The latest and greatest point-and-shoot cameras offer large sensors, tough bodies, and long lenses -- something no phone can touch.
Movies & TV

The best new movie trailers: Avengers: Endgame, Child’s Play, and more

Everyone loves a good trailer, but keeping up with what's new isn't easy. We round up the best ones for you. This week, it's Avengers: Endgame, a Child's Play reboot, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, and a terrifying gothic mystery.
Photography

Panasonic Lumix S1R vs. Sony A7R III: Which pixel-shift powerhouse is better?

The Lumix S1R and Sony A7R III are different in design, but similar in performance, and both offer pixel-shift high resolution modes which pull even more detail out of their already high-resolution sensors. Here's how they compare.
Cars

Apple’s interest in self-driving cars reported to be revving up

A new report suggests that Apple is in talks with a number of suppliers to purchase lidar sensors, an essential tool for self-driving cars. The news is once again spiking rumors that Apple might be building vehicles.
Photography

Earn more likes on your photos with the best cameras for Instagram

Looking to snap better Instagrams? Instagram doesn't demand high-resolution files, but upgrading your camera can deliver better bokeh and low-light quality. Here our the best cameras for Instagram.
Photography

Capture life in every direction with the best 360 cameras

While 360 cameras are still a new technology, that doesn't mean there's not a few that are worth a look. Whether you want to shoot from the middle or just need a simple, affordable option, here are the best 360 cameras on the market.
Photography

These are the best action cameras money can buy, from GoPro to Garmin and more

Action cameras are great tools for capturing videos of your everyday activities, whether it's a birthday party or the steepest slope you've ever descended on your snowboard. These are the best money can buy.
Photography

Starting your very own vlog? Here are the best cameras to buy

Any camera that shoots video can be used to vlog, but a few models stand out from the crowd thanks to superior image quality, ergonomics, and usability. When it comes to putting your life on YouTube, here are the best cameras for the job.
Mobile

Which smartphone has the best camera? We found the sharpest shooters

They say that the best camera is always the one you have with you and that makes your smartphone camera very important indeed. Join us for a closer look at the best camera phones available right now.
Photography

Wet or dry, these rugged waterproof cameras capture your every adventure

Rugged cameras are designed to withstand nature's elements. These waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof shooters can go wherever you take them, making them the perfect travel companions.
Photography

Free your digital memories, and frame them, with the best photo printers

Printed photos are experiencing a revival at the moment, but you don’t need to go to a special lab. Here’s our favorite options for making quality prints, from pocket-sized printers to wide-format photo printers capable of spitting out…
Photography

When you're ready to shoot seriously, these are the best DSLRs you can buy

For many photographers the DSLR is the go-to camera. With large selection of lenses, great low-light performance, and battery endurance, these DSLRs deliver terrific image quality for stills and videos.
Photography

Selfie-taking millennials told to stop trampling about in Dutch tulip fields

Enthusiastic selfie snappers have been causing damage to fields of tulips in the Netherlands, with local growers complaining of travelers trampling over the flowers in search of the best shot.