A week after announcing an image sensor with a whopping 120 megapixels, Canon revealed Monday it's created another boundary-pushing prototype: a chip with a light-gathering area measuring a vast 202x205mm.
The huge sensor is 40 times larger than even Canon's largest commercial image sensors, the full-frame chips measuring 36x24mm used in high-end SLRs. Indeed, it's a lot larger: big enough to swallow most of the surface area of the 300mm-diameter silicon crystal out of which it's made using a CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) process.
Notably, it employs new circuitry Canon had to develop to pump data off the processor fast enough to keep up with video.
One reason to build larger sensors is to increase their light-gathering area, and Canon delivers the goods here. It can record 60-frame-per-second video with light levels of 0.3 lux--about what a full moon overhead produces by some measurements. … Read more