Photography

Canon goes resolution-crazy with a 250-megapixel sensor

Canon goes resolution-crazy wi...
Canon has developed a 250-megapixel CMOS APS-H sensor
Canon has developed a 250-megapixel CMOS APS-H sensor
View 2 Images
The 250-megapixel Canon sensor has been tested in a camera prototype
1/2
The 250-megapixel Canon sensor has been tested in a camera prototype
Canon has developed a 250-megapixel CMOS APS-H sensor
2/2
Canon has developed a 250-megapixel CMOS APS-H sensor

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.

The 250-megapixel Canon sensor has been tested in a camera prototype
The 250-megapixel Canon sensor has been tested in a camera prototype

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.

Source: Canon

13 comments
Hugh Simons
Hmm interesting. I wonder what the quantum efficiency of the ~1 µm pixels are...
Gavin Roe
wondering about the range infra red, ultra violet ?
Buellrider
I imagine a photo taking up boo-coo storage space. Should provide quite the photo quality though. Me likey.
Buellrider
They will find that they can zoom in a take a photo of an electron.
VincentVanur
This is really a breakthrough in imaging technology. Hope it will soon find a place in a DSLR.
Island Architect
Nice Design!
MikeDalton
This is not a camera - it is a recording telescope suitable for a neck strap. If they are talking about this publicly, can you imagine what the NSA and CIA already have?
Calson
This is obviously designed for the industrial automation and manufacturing environment for visual detection of defects. As such there is no need to store 250MB per image, and to archive it.
50MP is already gross overkill for cameras. Too many gullible people without any understanding of normal viewing distance with relation to picture dpi and the ppi file requirements. A giant billboard photo is made from a file that is at 110dpi and a giant poster only requires 140pppi based on the distances at which they are meant to be viewed. Digital printers also dither and fill in the gaps between the dots and this also increases the potential print size that can be obtained.
No one goes into a museum and looks at a large painting at a distance of 25 inches but there is the expectation that a photo print needs to be generated from a file with 300ppi. With that kind of thinking a 24MP file that is 6000 x 4000 pixels in size can only be used to produce a print that is at most 20 x 13 inches in size. Thousands of gallery prints at 20x30 inches in size were produced with 2MP sensor equipped cameras.
kalqlate
There are plenty of applications for this. One primary one that I'm excited about is in single-sensor, single-lens 360 still and video capture. Currently, Kodak is tops at 4K with their newly introduced Pixpro SP360-4K: http://www.gizmag.com/kodak-pixpro-sp360-4k-actioncam/39267/. I'm sure they'll continue to increase the resolution of this camera going forward to better compete with multi-camera setups like GoPro's new Odyssey 16-camera device: http://www.gizmag.com/google-vr-io-2015/37764/.
A single-lens setup has no worries of timing, needing to properly calibrate, stitch together, and post-process multiple images/video streams from multi-camera setups.