Canon's New Global Shutter Equipped CMOS Sensor Plus More Dynamic Range and Less Distortion

Today Canon has revealed that they developed a new global shutter equipped CMOS sensor. This means moving objects will no longer be distorted as they were on the old rolling shutter style sensors. The new sensor also addresses the dynamic range issue that has affected previous sensors.

If you're unfamiliar with the difference between global and rolling shutter, it's fairly simple. Your camera's sensor is comprised of millions of microdots of sensitive particles that are arranged in rows. For rolling shutter, the rows of pixels are activated sequentially, one after the other in secession, to capture the image. It's lighting fast and with slow moving or static objects, generally there won't be an issue. However, with objects that are moving at a much higher rate of speed, this sequential firing of rows of pixels causes distortion in the final image due to the simple fact that no matter how fast the shutter fires, the object will have moved from the time the sensor was activated to when the last line of pixels captured their data. This causes the rolling shutter problem which affects photos and videos alike.

​A global shutter, however, is the solution to those distortions. The sensor behaves much more closely to that of a strip of film, where the entire sensor is exposed and activated to the image being projected onto its surface. This has been something that many Canon users have been hoping for for years now and I for one am extremely happy to hear that this is now becoming a reality, but not as excited as I am about the second bit of news that Canon dropped on the public today.

​That's right: increased dynamic range. This is something that Canon has been ridiculed for for years, especially after the launch of its 5DS with 50 megapixels of detail, however they failed to address the dynamic range issue. With this new sensor, Canon says that they have restructured the pixel cell in a manner that allows the pixel to have an enlarged full well capacity, or the amount of energy a pixel can store before it becomes fully saturated and bleeds energy into the surrounding pixels. With this change in structure, the new pixels will be able to absorb data more efficiently, more accurately, and very importantly, with less noise.

​The press release also states "Canon will explore various industrial and measurement applications for the newly developed CMOS sensor and consider deploying it in the field of video production for cinema production applications, TV dramas, commercials and more." This is awfully vague, and I certainly hope that their consumer-level cameras will benefit from this new sensor under the "and more" part of that statement.

[via Canon]

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Justin Haugen's picture

I would personally like to shake the hand with the Marketing Director at Canon. This is next level troll status right here lol.

Justin Haugen's picture

5D4 pre-sale purchasers, how do you feel about the timing of this announcement?

Deleted Account's picture

HAHA! That was exactly my thought as well. If the mark IV doesn't incorporate this technology then they just gave everybody a reason to NOT upgrade if they were on the fence about it.

Neu Porabno's picture

This is 99% for the video application so people who pre-ordered 5D mk IV did so because they shoot mostly stills - so no big impact!

Justin Haugen's picture

Improved dynamic range is a big deal in still photos. I waited and waited for the 5D4 announcement and eventually traded my 5D3 for D750's to get that DR performance I was tired of waiting for.

Trevor Gerzen's picture

I can't find anything that says whether it is or isn't in the Mk IV. Am I missing something?

Justin Haugen's picture

I think it's verifiable there is not a CMOS sensor with improved DR and global shutter in the 5D4.

Ryan Pramik's picture

That would be a nice easter egg though for the new 5D owners to be told they were in fact getting this, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Justin Haugen's picture

Absolutely. I'm no longer a Canon user, but I still want to see these features make it into the camera. Need this competition in the marketplace and can't be having an industry leader not able to catch up in a game of specification leap frogging.

Ryan Pramik's picture

Exactly, I'm still holding on to my 5D 2 but I would definitely like to upgrade soon but there's no point upgrading right now to another Canon just to have the same issues so I am hoping that Canon will do something with this in the near future and put it into use in their pro and prosumer bodies.

Charles Salerno's picture
sony made this sensor in 2015!

Justin Berrington's picture

wow that's an annoying ad!

Spy Black's picture

Considering everything but the size is listed, I wouldn't hold my breath on this. It could be a ratty cellphone sensor for all we know.

Alfredo Gonzalez's picture

We waiting canon for the next 5D MK 7 lol

Anthony Cayetano's picture

Nice exciting spiel but at the end of it, I'm still clueless on how it impacts us photographers in the near future... or ANY FUTURE for that matter since the announcement has, oh, I dunno... no Timeline?

Doug Birling's picture

Dpreview already posted a review and the rolling shutter is noticeable, this is either a proof of concept like the 200+mp sensor from a few years ago, or something for the video line. My major complaint is they hamper certain cameras due to the product line.

Eric Knorpp's picture

I guess they are finally going to start buying their sensors from Sony..

Bill Peppas's picture

Numbers people.
"Better DR" says Canon.
Yay, gratz!
Where's the sensor, where are the measurements ?

Does this sensor exist or is it just on paper ?

Daris Fox's picture
Ryan Pramik's picture

As soon as I saw the announcement for the C700 and what they were marketing it with it became pretty obvious.