Canon's new CMOS image sensor
Canon's new CMOS image sensor
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Canon Inc announced that it has developed an APS-H-size (imaging screen size: approximately 29.2 x 20.2mm) CMOS image sensor with a pixel count of about 120 million.

It is the APS-H-size CMOS image sensor that has the world's highest pixel count, the company said.

The pixel count of the new CMOS image sensor is about 7.5 times larger than that of the APS-H-size CMOS image sensor that has the largest pixel count of all the APS-H-size CMOS sensors Canon has already commercialized (about 16.1 million). Also, the resolution of the new CMOS sensor is 2.4 times higher.

The CMOS image sensor that has the largest pixel count of all the CMOS sensors Canon has already commercialized has a pixel count of about 21.1 million (35mm full size). It is equipped in the "EOS-1Ds Mark III" and the "EOS 5D Mark II" digital SLR cameras. And, in 2007, the company announced that it developed an APS-H-size sensor with a pixel count of about 50 million.

Capable of outputting images at 9.5fps

When the pixel count of a CMOS sensor increases, parallel processing becomes necessary to read out many pixels at high speeds. But, when the number of signals processed in parallel increases, signal delay and even slightly inaccurate timing become problems.

This time, Canon succeeded in reading out sensor signals at a high speed by making improvements to the method of controlling the timing for the readout circuitry. Specifically, it became possible to output images at a speed of up to 9.5 frames per second (fps) and to continuously take super resolution images, the company said.

The new CMOS sensor is capable of outputting full HD (1,920 x 1,080-pixel) movies. Any given area (whose size is about 1/60 that of the imaging screen) of the imaging screen can be output as a full-HD movie.

Because of the high pixel count of about 120 million, it is possible to output a high-resolution and clear image even when part of an image is cut out (trimming) or electronically enlarged (electronic zoom), Canon said. It is also possible to chose an area after checking an entire still image and view the area as a full HD movie.