Canon makes a 250-megapixel image sensor

The megapixel wars broke out on a new front today as Japanese camera giant Canon announced a head-spinning new sensor. The roughly 250-megapixel (19,580 x 12,600) APS-H CMOS sensor sets a world record for resolution in its size, according to a Canon release, and is said to be able to distinguish lettering on the side of an airplane from 18 km away. APS-H is a sensor size bigger than APS-C but smaller than full-frame, and is primarily used on Canon’s legacy EOS-1D line of DSLRs.

The sensor has a fast signal readout speed of 1.25 billion pixels a second, and Canon says it has good noise performance despite the pixel count. Beside photos, the sensor can be used to capture incredibly high-resolution video  — about 30 times sharper than 4K — at five frames per second. Canon says the technology could be used in “specialized surveillance and crime prevention tools, ultra-high-resolution measuring instruments and other industrial equipment, and the field of visual expression.”

canon 250 megapixel

Don’t expect this to land in your next DSLR or five, then. But the announcement is a sign that sensor technology will continue to improve; Canon announced a 120-megapixel APS-H sensor back in 2010, when this year’s 50-megapixel EOS 5DS would have been unthinkable.

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