Canon Produces World's Largest CMOS Sensor

Canon Produces World's Largest CMOS Sensor

Canon announced it produced the world's largest CMOS sensor. At 20 cm square, the new sensor is nearly eight inches on each side, rightly qualifies as large-format, and already helped scientists make an incredible discovery.

According to Canon, with the ability to capture "60 frames per second with only 0.3 lux of illumination (approximately the same level of brightness as that generated by full moon)," the sensor was able to help confirm the existence and frequency of extremely faint meteors that had only theoretically existed until now, as this is the first sensor that has been able to record them. This "technology could lead to an increased understanding of the influence that meteors may have exerted on the development of life on Earth."

The sensor is the largest that can be produced on a standard 12-inch silicon wafer, as it features a massive 11-inch diagonal. It is unclear what the actual resolution of this sensor is, but it is naturally the most sensitive in the world. Of course, it's one thing to put it inside the University of Tokyo's 105 cm Schmidt camera at the Kiso Observatory that led to the faint meteor discovery. But handling this sensor in a camera body big enough to house and manage it would be a whole separate issue — if you could even find a way to do it, that is. But even with all that effort behind you, what would you do with a sensor with a surface area nearing that of an 8 x 10 negative?

Update: This sensor was announced back in 2010, but its applications in astronomy recently led to the discovery about the frequency of meteor activity around Earth.

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Matt Williams's picture

I would love to see a true 6x4.5 or even 6x6 medium format camera from Canon.

Large format like this would be ungainly. Despite having abandoned Canon years ago in favor of Nikon, I do still love their lenses and ergonomics. I'd love to see them start a medium format line.

marcus joyce's picture

It would be great to see old telescopes to be retrofitted with these...

exactly! but what scope has such a huge corrected FoV? Imagine the size of the focuser!

David Pavlich's picture

A sensor this size is well beyond the size that a typical backyard telescope could use. This thing surely works with the big research telescopes.

marcus joyce's picture

My experience is that of lick observatory where the original telescope is not in use because there's no 10*8 inch sensors, now that's going back 6-7 years ago when I was there.

The telescope is not in use because of it. Perhaps something like this would give it a new lease of life to a new generation of astronomers...

The sensor is 8 year old news:

It is also already used on the 105cm Schmidt telescope at the Kiso Observatory,
Institute of Astronomy, University of Tokyo.

cameramanDop Shanghai Hong Kong's picture

Can't wait to see the size of the lenses... ;-)

Adam Ottke with a sensor that size I would take a picture of a kitten, add a retro film filter, some emoji stickers and stick it on instagram for the entire world to love.

I would.... still take mediocre pictures.

Simon Patterson's picture

If I had a camera with that sensor, I'd take selfies of me next to it for Instagram, showing off just how cool I am.

I think the average consumer would faint if they had to pay the price for that sensor. I assume it is blindingly expensive.

Spy Black's picture

So, is this something that Canon wants to make available to people, or is this another one of those pet projects like the 120 meg sensor that went nowhere? Because if it's going to be as useless as the the 120 sensor, other than Canon fanboys, who cares? At least Sony makes sensors that you and I can actually put to use.

Aaron Bratkovics's picture

Well it's already helped scientists and Canon makes plenty of sensors that are put to use lol.

Maybe I am missing something, but this sensor is bigger (9x11 inches). I THINK its a CMOS sensor, but not sure.

Adam Ottke's picture

I know about these, too...and I think I did read that it's CMOS. And it is bigger...which makes me now wonder again about Canon's claims. So you're right... I'm looking into this ;-)

It was news about development. In 2018 they had 1st customer :)

Sergio Tello's picture

Price? both arms, legs and probably an eye.

Guess they aren't researching articles before posting them!