The Japanese imaging and optical manufacturer Canon has unveiled a new multipurpose video camera which can shoot crystal clear video in the dark! Yes, you read it right. It is actually a night vision camera.
The camera dubbed ME20F-SH can shoot videos with a maximum ISO of over 4,000,000! This is tremendous, considering the fact that high end digital cameras can shoot at 6,400 ISO max. According to Cannon's press release, the camera is capable of shooting 1080p video at a minimum subject illumination of less than 0.0005 lux. This may appear pretty geeky stuff to you. But a guy from Petapixel can help you out. He writes, "A full moon on a clear night is about 0.27 to 1.0 lux, and 0.0001 lux is a moonless, overcast night. The camera can capture high-quality images of things the human eye cannot see." Crazy stuff!
What makes this camera unique?
The other night vision cameras out there use Infrared illumination to focus on the object and thereby rendering the video in black and white. This on the other hand is able to capture Full HD videos in true colours!
Time to see, what others can't!
This thing seems unreal, and Canon has already laid out a myriad of possible real world applications, including nighttime surveillance and security, cinematic production, reality television, and nature/wildlife documentaries. What's more, because of the camera's design, Canon boasts that it can be "easily incorporated into existing infrastructures and systems to provide high-quality video capture even where subjects might not be seen with the naked eye."
But, what's the technology used?
The company explains, "The ME20F-SH camera's CMOS sensor has pixels measuring 19 μm square3, which is more than 5.5 times the surface area of the pixels on the CMOS sensor featured in select top-of-the-line interchangeable lens cameras4. Furthermore, the sensor's pixels and readout circuitry make use of Canon proprietary technologies to achieve both reduced noise and exceptionally high sensitivity on subjects with a minimum illumination of less than 0.0005 lux.
This multi-purpose camera allows users to discern subjects under even some of the dimmest lighting conditions, such as environments lit by artificial illumination or under a moonless night sky. Furthermore, similar to Canon's Cinema EOS System of professional digital cinematography cameras, the ME20F-SH camera includes Canon Log and Wide DR, which make possible a wide dynamic range, delivering high-image-quality video results across a range of illumination environments, from low- to brightly lit conditions."
Nevertheless this new technology wasn't discovered overnight. Rather it required two years of rigorous development to develop this piece of art. It goes without saying that this gem of a device will cost you a dime - $30,000. The camera is set to go on sale from December, this year.