The Canon 120MXS 120MP CMOS Sensor delivers spectacular performance

Canon 120MXS
Canon 120MXS 120MP CMOS Sensor

Back in January, at CES 2018, Canon gave some insights in their R&D labs. Three sensors were presented.

The sensors are a 120 Megapixel CMOS Sensor, a 5 Megapixel Global Shutter CMOS, and a 19μm Full HD CMOS Sensor. If you’re curious to learn more click here.

The Canon 120MXS sensor, with a 120MP resolution shows what Canon is capable of. This kind of sensor can be used for many applications, surveillance, scientific experiments, medical etc. For a mirrorless camera too, I guess. It’s APS-H format.

The 120MXS is an ultra-high resolution CMOS sensor with 13280 x 9184 effective pixels(approx. 60x the resolution of Full HD). It has a size equivalent to APS-H (29.22mm x 20.20mm), and a square pixel arrangement of 2.2µm x 2.2µm with 122 million effective pixels. Ultra-high-resolution is made possible by parallel signal processing, which reads signals at high speed from multiple pixels. All pixel progressive reading of 9.4fps is made possible by 28 digital signal output channels. It is available in RGB or with twice the sensitivity, in monochrome.

The video below gives you a good idea what you can do with this sensor.

Canon researching curved sensors with Dual Pixel AF, patent application suggests

canonAmong the huge amount of patent applications filed by Canon, some show how intensely Canon is researching sensor technology.

Patent application 2018-014657 describes the technology to build a curved image sensor, with Canon’s proprietary Dual Pixel Auto Focus on board.

In an image sensor which has an imaging surface which it is constituted by a plurality of optoelectric transducers arranged by two dimensions, and can be bent [ a photographing optical system and ] to a curve, It has a focus detection area selecting part which chooses a region which performs focus detection in a screen, An imaging device making buckling of an imaging surface of the aforementioned image sensor into different buckling in a time of not being chosen with a time of a focus detection area being chosen.

From the patent literature it seems the described image sensor can automatically change its curvature shape. As Canon News puts it:

The sensor uses a piezoelectric device to drive the shape change of the curved sensor and has strain gauges (219) to measure the amount of curvature applied.  This sensor would automatically change it’s curve shape depending on the characteristics of the lens and also dependant upon the area of focus detection.

More Canon patent applications.

Some Canon patent applications which in our opinion might go into production:

Canon patent for stacked sensor design (AF and image data off the sensor)

canon patentCanon patent application US20170366776 describes several stacked sensor designs.

The patent focuses on separating auto-focus and image data pipelines from the chip on the image sensor. Such a design has several advantages: less bandwidth to transfer data from the sensor, which leads to more speed and reduced power consumption (hence also less heat).

The patent abstract:

An imaging element having a layered structure including a first chip having a pixel portion in which pixels for photoelectrically converting an optical image of an object and generating a pixel signal are arranged two-dimensionally and a second chip in which a drive means of the pixel portion is arranged, and having a first output path to output the pixel signals of at least a first pixel group in the pixel portion and a second output path to output the pixel signals of a second pixel group, comprises the a conversion means for converting the pixel signals of the first and second output paths into digital signals and a control information generation means for generating control information of a photographing operation of the object by using the digital signal converted by the conversion means, wherein at least a part of the conversion means is arranged in the first chip.

Please note that patent applications do not mean a company will implement the described technology any time soon. Indeed, most patents never make it into production. An example of a Canon patent describing a technology that might be featured on a future Canon DSLR can be seen here, another one here.

Another mention of Canon’s 2/3″ global shutter sensor with wide dynamic range

canon rumors

I reported previously about a global shutter sensor Canon is researching and developing. This sensor made it into the news again. Nikkei Technology reports about the Canon 2/3″ sensor with global shutter and wide dynamic range, which was first presented at ISSCC 2017.

From the ISSCC 2017 lecture, Nikkei reports:

The size, pixel count, pixel pitch and power consumption of the sensor are 2/3 inches, 2,592 x 2,054, 3.4μm and 450mW, respectively. In a demonstration after the lecture, the company used the sensor to take a picture of an electric fan whose blades are turning […]

Through […] improvements, Canon doubled the saturated amount of electric charge and widened dynamic range. Specifically, it increased the saturated amount of electric charge from 8,100 electrons with a frame rate of 120fps to 16,200 electrons with a frame rate of 60fps.

The dark temporal noise of the new sensor is 1.8 electronsrms. As a result, its dynamic range is 79dB with a frame rate of 60fps and reaches 111dB when HDR is applied.

Well let’s hope we see such a sensor in a Canon DSLR soon. Besides this utopian wishes, this is another report that shows Canon’s commitment to develop innovative sensor technology.

The slides below are from the ISSCC 2017 presentation.

[via Nikkei Technology]

Sensor cleaning how to guide by Canon

Sensor cleaning

Nice tutorial guide about how to do sensor cleaning by Canon Professional Network, and how to avoid the necessity for sensor cleaning.

Dust is a problem with all digital single-lens reflex cameras. It can enter the camera whenever you change the lens. This dust often finds its way to the glass filter that covers the digital sensor.

The sensor is made up of millions of light-sensitive elements, each around 6 to 8μm square. It does not need a very large piece of dust or dirt to cover one or more of these elements, or pixels. If a pixel is obscured, it does not receive much light and so that portion of the image will record as grey. These grey areas are most noticeable in light-toned areas of the photograph.

Read the guide here

Canon research and develop a 2/3″ sensor with global shutter

canon rumors

Interesting Canon research paper spotted by Image Sensors World. Canon is working on a 2/3″ sensor with a global shutter.

The paper is named

A 1.8e-rms Temporal Noise Over 110dB Dynamic Range 3.4μm Pixel Pitch Global Shutter CMOS Image Sensor with Dual-Gain Amplifiers, SS-ADC and Multiple-Accumulation Shutter, by Masahiro Kobayashi, Yusuke Onuki, Kazunari Kawabata, Hiroshi Sekine,Toshiki Tsuboi, Yasushi Matsuno, Hidekazu Takahashi, Toru Koizumi, Katsuhito Sakurai, Hiroshi Yuzurihara, Shunsuke Inoue, Takeshi Ichikawa at ISSCC 2017 on Feb. 6, 2017.

A more in-depth analysis of the technology discussed in the paper can be read at Harvest Imaging:

[…] the presented sensor has a funnel-shaped light guide structure above the pixels, an optimized light shield to keep the PLS low.  To enhance the dynamic range of the sensor, the columns are provided with a gain stage that automatically choses between a gain of 1x or 4x.  With some clever timing of the transfer of the PPD and with an increased readout speed of the sensor, extra new option can be added, such as wider dynamic range and in-pixel coded exposure.

Below are some slides from the paper presentation.

[via Image Sensors World]