Canon Just Unleashed an ISO 4,000,000 Camera


Whoa. Canon dropped a bombshell this morning by announcing the new Canon ME20F-SH, a multi-purpose camera that has a maximum ISO of over 4,000,000. That’s right: this camera can basically see in the dark.

Canon says the sensor in the camera allows it to shoot Full HD video while subjects are illuminated with less than 0.0005 lux. To put that in perspective, full moon on a clear night is about 0.27 to 1.0 lux, and 0.0001 lux is a moonless, overcast night. The camera can capture high-quality images of things the human eye cannot see.



Canon says the ME20F-SH can be used for cinematic production, reality TV, nature/wildlife documentaries, and security/surveillance. The 35mm full-frame CMOS sensor in the camera was actually first announced back in 2013, and the low-light capabilities wowed the photography world at the time.

The sensor and prototype camera that was announced in 2013.
Still frames showing what the 2013 version of the sensor could capture in near-darkness.

Here’s a short video showing what the CMOS sensor was able to capture back in 2013 (the sensor in this new camera is an “enhanced” version of what was demonstrated two years ago):

The secret to the ME20F-SH’s night vision is the size of the pixels on the sensor: they’re more than 5.5 times larger than the pixels found in top-of-the-line interchangeable lens cameras.

Canon’s entire collection of EF lenses are compatible with the ME20F-SH, and the camera also has 3G/HD-SDI and HDMI terminals for output.



Now the bad news: this kind of camera does not come cheap. When the Canon ME20F-SH starts shipping in December 2015, it’ll cost a whopping $30,000, so you’ll need to have some pretty deep pockets if you’d like to try your hand at shooting at ISO 4,000,000.