While 50-megapixel cameras offer more than enough resolution for most people, Canon thinks you might be hankering after a bit more, 200-megapixels more to be precise, as it's just revealed a 250-megapixel sensor. The new APS-H sensor is said to be the world's highest resolution CMOS sensor for its size.
Earlier this year Canon showed it was serious about resolution when it unleashed the full-frame 5DS and 5DS R duo which pack 50-megapixel sensors. The newly-developed sensor makes those look positively low-res by offering a 250-megapixel (19,580 x 12,600 pixels) resolution, and doing so on a smaller APS-H-size (29.2 x 20.2 mm) sensor.
The increased signal volume of sensors with larger pixel counts can traditionally cause problems such as signal delays and slight discrepancies in timing, but the new sensor has an ultra-high signal readout speed of 1.25 billion pixels per second. Canon says this is thanks to advancements in circuit miniaturization and enhanced signal-processing technology.
Installed in a camera prototype, the resolution of the sensor is reported to have made it possible to read the lettering on an airplane flying 18 km (11 miles) from the shooting location, which is impressive whatever lens was being used. The sensor can also be used to record video footage at a resolution 125 times that of Full HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels), and 30 times that of 4K (3,840 x 2,160 pixels), though only at five frames per second. This would let users crop and magnify video images while retaining Full HD or 4K resolution.
Though we don't expect to see a 250-megapixel DSLR on the shelves of our local camera store any time soon, Canon says it's considering the application of this technology in specialized surveillance and crime prevention tools, ultra-high-resolution measuring instruments and other industrial equipment.
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