Canon takes a shot in the dark with latest low-light sensor

Canon 1DX
The new Canon prototype sensor features pixels which are significantly larger than those on the 1DX

Canon has developed a new sensor to be used exclusively for video recording which features larger pixels than those found on standard DSLR sensors.

The newly developed CMOS sensor features pixels measuring 19 microns square in size, which is more than 7.5 times the size of the pixels on the CMOS sensor found in the company's top-of-the-line DSLR, the Canon 1DX.

Additionally, the sensor's pixels and readout circuitry have been designed to reduce noise, which tends to increase as pixel size increases.

Very low light

These technologies, Canon claims, means that the camera is capable of recording images even in dimly lit environments where it would be difficult for the human eye to perceive objects. The newly developed sensor is also capable of recording faint stars.

Canon employed a variety of test scenarios to put the new sensor through its paces, including a room illuminated by burning incense sticks and a video of the Geminid meteor shower. The company is researching to see how the new technology can be used in a number of fields including medical, astronomical and security fields.

The sensor cannot be found in any current models, but a prototype will be on display at a Tokyo show until March 8th.

Amy Davies

Amy has been writing about cameras, photography and associated tech since 2009. Amy was once part of the photography testing team for Future Publishing working across TechRadar, Digital Camera, PhotoPlus, N Photo and Photography Week. For her photography, she has won awards and has been exhibited. She often partakes in unusual projects - including one intense year where she used a different camera every single day. Amy is currently the Features Editor at Amateur Photographer magazine, and in her increasingly little spare time works across a number of high-profile publications including Wired, Stuff, Digital Camera World, Expert Reviews, and just a little off-tangent, PetsRadar.