Canon unveils 120-megapixel camera sensor

DSLR maker unveils 13,280 x 9,184 sensor - but don't expect it to arrive in cameras anytime soon

Barry Collins
24 Aug 2010

Canon claims to have developed a digital camera sensor with a staggering 120-megapixel resolution.

The APS-H sensor - which is the same type that is used in Canon's professional EOS-1D cameras - boasts a ridiculous resolution of 13,280 x 9,184 pixels. The CMOS sensor is so densely packed with pixels that it can capture full HD video on just one-sixtieth of the total surface area.

Processing such enormously high resolution images should, by rights, cripple the average camera. However, Canon claims it would be possible to shoot 9.5 frames per second with the new sensor "by modifying the method employed to control the readout circuit timing". Whether the camera could buffer such high resolution images in its memory is another matter altogether.

Canon 120-megapixel sensor

The 120-megapixel sensor has seven and a half times as many pixels as the company's current top dog, the 16-megapixel sensor found in the 1D.

However, those expecting an enormous boost in image resolution in the near future are set to be disappointed. The company unveiled a 50-megapixel CMOS sensor in 2007, but that has yet to arrive in a DSLR.

"While we have no plans for a consumer product [containing the 50-megapixel sensor], we are looking at it for commercial products," a Canon spokesperson told PC Pro, with medical imaging devices among the likely uses.

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