In a surprise announcement that underscores how dedicated Sony has become to its digital camera division, the company says that it has developed a full-frame, 35mm-format 24.81-megapixel CMOS sensor. As if a high-rez, full-frame sensor isn't good enough, Sony says that the new sensor will be able to yield an impressive 6.3 frames per second. By contrast, Canon says its 21.1MP EOS 1Ds Mark III can shoot up to 5fps. The strange part about the new Sony sensor is that it only offers 12-bit output, while higher-end SLRs, such as Canon's 1Ds Mark III and Nikon's D3, already offer 14-bit output.
Further details remain murky, for the most part, though Sony did say that the sensor uses what they call a Column-Parallel A/D Conversion Technique, which means that each column of pixels on the sensor gets its own analog-to-digital converter. Sony says that this helps keep noise levels low, while allowing for faster A/D conversion, which likely contributes to the sensor's fast frame rate. However, Sony hasn't said whether this new sensor will be part of its Exmor line of sensors or if it will be included in the company's upcoming pro-level SLR, which was first announced at last year's PMA show. We will continue to try to dig up more information about the sensor while at the show and will provide an update if any new information comes to light.