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Canon 120-megapixel CMOS sensor unveiled at CP+ 2015

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Canon 120-megapixel CMOS sensor unveiled at CP+ 2015

Canon has revealed a prototype of a 120-megapixel CMOS sensor at CP+ Camera & Photo Imaging Show 2015 in an attempt to prove that the megapixel war is not over, yet.

Until recently, Nikon and Sony were offering the full frame cameras with the biggest megapixel count. The D810 and the A7R come packed with sensors offering roughly 36.4 megapixels and they are capable of capturing high-quality photos with a high image sharpness.

Nikon and Sony have been outpaced by Canon, which has introduced the 5DS and 5DS R full frame DSLR cameras powered by 53-megapixel sensors that are capable of shooting 50.6-megapixel photos (53MP is the total amount of pixels, while 50.6MP is the effective number of pixels).

Although both Nikon and Sony are rumored to launch cameras powered by sensors with more than 50 megapixels, it appears that Canon is at least one step ahead of them. The EOS maker has just demoed a 120-megapixel sensor at CP+ 2015.

Canon 120-megapixel CMOS sensor
This is the Canon 120-megapixel CMOS sensor prototype, which is said to capture videos at 60x times full HD resolution.

Canon 120-megapixel CMOS sensor prototype revealed at CP+ 2015

Canon is aiming to prove that it is serious about increasing the number of megapixels in an image sensor. Furthermore, the company is actually taking it to the extreme, as it has revealed a 120-megapixel CMOS sensor, which is said to be the pixel equivalent of photoreceptor cells found in the human eye.

This is an ultra-high-definition sensor that will be capable of shooting videos at about 60x times full HD resolution and up to 9.5fps in continuous mode, despite the pixel size. The Japan-based company says that this is all possible thanks to a technology called “parallel signal processor”, which can read the signals from multiple pixels at ludicrous speeds.

At the CP+ 2015 event in Yokohama, Japan, Canon says that its sensor will have implications in movie production, aviation, space industry, and monitoring. For now, it is unclear whether or not the sensor will be added to photography-bound cameras.

Canon 120MP sensor details
The number of pixels found in Canon’s ultra-high-resolution 120MP sensor is said to match the number of photoreceptor cells in the human eye.

Canon’s 120MP sensor is smaller than full frame, but bigger than APS-C sensors

The Canon 120-megapixel CMOS sensor measures 29.2 x 20.2mm, which is smaller than a full frame sensor, but bigger than APS-C and APS-H sensors. A full frame sensor measures about 36 x 24mm, while an APS-C sensor measures about 23.6 x 15.6mm. Canon’s own APS-H is sized at 27.9 x 18.6mm.

This sensor’s effective pixel count stands at 13280 x 9184 pixels, while the 5DS and 5DS R have a pixel count of 8688 x 5792 pixels.

This sensor is said to have a rather small pixel pitch of about 2.2 microns. Pixel pitch refers to the distance between a pixel’s center and the center of the pixel next to it. To put things into perspective, a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor has a pixel pitch of about 3.9 microns, while a 24-megapixel full frame sensor has a pixel pitch of approximately 6 microns.

During the event, it has been confirmed that the Canon 120-megapixel CMOS sensor is in prototype phase for now, so it may take a while before it finds its way to the market.

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Canon 120-megapixel CMOS sensor unveiled at CP+ 2015