What the heck is an APS-H Sensor?

Imaging Area of the APS-H Sensor Measures Approx. 29.2 x 20.2 mm

Canon develops world's largest CMOS sensor

Tuesday, 31 August 2010
Canon has announced it has developed the world's largest CMOS sensor measuring 202 x 205mm. Approximately 40 times the size of Canon's largest commercial CMOS sensor, it captures images with 1/100th the amount of light required by an SLR camera. Its advanced circuitry allows video recording at 60 frames per second with 0.3 lux illumination that according to the company is roughly one-half the brightness of a moonlit night. There is currently no information about the sensor's resolution. This follows last week's development announcement of Canon's 120 megapixel 29.2 x 20.2mm APS-H CMOS sensor.

Canon CMOS Image Sensor

Press Release:

Canon succeeds in developing world's largest CMOS image sensor, with ultra-high sensitivity

Canon's ultra-large-scale CMOS sensor (left) alongside a 35 mm full-frame CMOS sensor

TOKYO, August 31, 2010—Canon Inc. announced today that it has successfully developed the world's largest*1 CMOS image sensor, with a chip size measuring 202 x 205 mm. Because its expanded size enables greater light-gathering capability, the sensor is capable of capturing images in one one-hundredth the amount of light required by a professional-model digital SLR camera.

At 202 x 205 mm, the newly developed CMOS sensor is among the largest chips that can be produced from a 12-inch (300 mm) wafer, and is approximately 40 times the size of Canon's largest commercial CMOS sensor.*2

In the past, enlarging the size of the sensor resulted in an increase in the amount of time required between the receiving and transmission of data signals, which posed a challenge to achieving high-speed readout. Canon, however, solved this problem through an innovative circuit design, making possible the realization of a massive video-compatible CMOS sensor. Additionally, by ensuring the cleanest of cleanroom environments during the production process, the sensor minimizes image imperfections and dust.

Because the increased size of the new CMOS sensor allows more light to be gathered, it enables shooting in low-light environments. The sensor makes possible the image capture in one one-hundredth the amount of light required by a 35 mm full-frame CMOS sensor, facilitating the shooting of 60 frame-per-second video with a mere 0.3 lux of illumination.*3

Potential applications for the new high-sensitivity CMOS sensor include the video recording of stars in the night sky and nocturnal animal behavior.

Through the further development of distinctive CMOS image sensors, Canon will break new ground in the world of new image expression, in the area of still images as well as video.

    *1 As of August 27, 2010. Based on a Canon study.

    *2 The approximately 21.1 megapixel 35 mm full-frame CMOS sensor employed in the company's EOS-1Ds Mark III and EOS 5D Mark II digital SLR cameras.

    *3 Approximately one-half the brightness of a moonlit night.


TOKYO, August 24, 2010 —Canon Inc. announced today that it has successfully developed an APS-H-size*1 CMOS image sensor that delivers an image resolution of approximately 120 megapixels (13,280 x 9,184 pixels), the world's highest level*2 of resolution for its size.

APS-H Sensor

Compared with Canon's highest-resolution commercial CMOS sensor of the same size, comprising approximately 16.1 million pixels, the newly developed sensor features a pixel count that, at approximately 120 million pixels, is nearly 7.5 times larger and offers a 2.4-fold improvement in resolution.*3

With CMOS sensors, while high-speed readout for high pixel counts is achieved through parallel processing, an increase in parallel-processing signal counts can result in such problems as signal delays and minor deviations in timing. By modifying the method employed to control the readout circuit timing, Canon successfully achieved the high-speed readout of sensor signals. As a result, the new CMOS sensor makes possible a maximum output speed of approximately 9.5 frames per second, supporting the continuous shooting of ultra-high-resolution images.

Canon's newly developed CMOS sensor also incorporates a Full HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) video output capability. The sensor can output Full HD video from any approximately one-sixtieth-sized section of its total surface area.

Images captured with Canon's newly developed approximately 120-megapixel CMOS image sensor, even when cropped or digitally magnified, maintain higher levels of definition and clarity than ever before. Additionally, the sensor enables image confirmation across a wide image area, with Full HD video viewing of a select portion of the overall frame.

Through the further development of CMOS image sensors, Canon will break new ground in the world of image expression, targeting new still images that largely surpass those made possible with film, and video movies that capitalize on the unique merits of SLR cameras, namely their high mobility and the expressive power offered through interchangeable lenses.

*1The imaging area of the newly developed sensor measures approx. 29.2 x 20.2 mm.

*2 As of August 20, 2010. Based on a Canon study.

*3 Canon's highest-resolution commercial CMOS sensor, employed in the company's EOS-1Ds Mark III and EOS 5D Mark II digital SLR cameras, is equivalent to the full-frame size of the 35 mm film format and incorporates approximately 21.1 million pixels. In 2007, the company successfully developed an APS-H-size sensor with approximately 50 million pixels

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