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New Canon Sensor Captures Fireflies in Extremely Low Light

By Anthony Thurston on September 14th 2013


Back in march Canon announced its new 35mm CMOS sensor which they said was capable of shooting in extremely low light situations. Though at the time all they had to prove it was a few frame grabs. This time around Canon comes with proof that is almost hard to believe.

Canon decided to test their sensor in an extremely challenging environment, the dead of night with the only light being the moon/stars. Just HOW dark was it though? .01 lux, that is how dark; this means you would have a hard time seeing anything with your naked eye. That – while impressive in its own right – is not what has everyone all excited, the feat that has everyone buzzing (pardon the pun) is the fireflies that you can see flying around in the video. Fireflies give off very minimal light, so the fact that this sensor was able to pick up the light from these tiny bugs is quite amazing.

The Catch

The only problem with getting excited about how awesome this new sensor is has to do with Canon’s assertion that this sensor is not meant for professional/consumer uses like video cameras or DSLRs but for medical research, astronomical observation and surveillance.

Some have speculated that the reason that these sensors perform so well in low light is due to them having such a high sensitivity, which would make them unsuitable for daylight where they would be unable to cope with the amount of light. Regardless, even if this was meant for night only shooting I could see some great uses in the filmmaking and photography realms.

How cool would it be to be able to shoot in near complete darkness and be able to get neat video or still images? Do you think that this sort of sensor technology will eventually make it into DSLRs or cinema cameras? Let us know in a comment below. 

[via Engadget]

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Lewis Santos

    I sure hope so

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  2. DSH

    Why can’t they just include selectable high quality ND filters? Wouldn’t that make it both useable in bright sunlight and super low-light situations?

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