With a full-frame 2.2 megapixel sensor sporting 16 micron pixels and taking Canon EF lenses, it is a very specialized tool. While spooks and sensitive sites will surely love this new camera, capturing images and video in nearly complete darkness is now feasible. The sensor used in the ME20F-SH was announced back in 2013.
The camera requires external recording and is a small box not suitable for general field use. Might the sensor find its way into the ideal format: a mirrorless camera or DSLR? Perhaps not, but that would surely extend the digital shooting envelope in an intriguing way.
CANON’S FIRST ULTRA-HIGH-SENSITIVITY MULTI-PURPOSE CAMERA FEATURES ISO EQUIVALENT OF OVER 4,000,000
MELVILLE N.Y., July 30, 2015 — Canon U.S.A. Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today has introduced the Company’s first multi-purpose camera, the new ME20F-SH, which delivers exceptionally high sensitivity to capture Full HD video with a minimum subject illumination of less than 0.0005 lux1 (at maximum 75 dB gain setting, equivalent to an ISO sensitivity of over 4,000,000).
Nighttime surveillance and security, cinematic production, reality television, and nature/wildlife documentaries are just some of the ME20F-SH’s many possible usage applications. With the ability to capture color video in extreme low-light conditions and its simplistic and versatile design, the ME-20F-SH Multi-purpose Camera can be easily incorporated into existing infrastructures and systems to provide high-quality video capture even where subjects might not be seen with the naked eye.
Canon’s new multi-purpose camera employs an enhanced version of the 35mm full-frame CMOS sensor for Full HD video use that was originally developed by the Company in 20132. Its compact, modular body design allows easy custom configurations for diverse usage scenarios. While capturing video in extreme low-light conditions often requires the use of infrared illumination (a technique that only yields video in black and white), the ME20F-SH camera achieves impressive high-sensitivity performance enabling the capture of color Full HD video with reduced noise in low-light conditions without the need for infrared illumination.
Ultra-High-Sensitivity CMOS Sensor Enables Color Video Capture in Extreme Low-Light Conditions
The ME20F-SH camera’s CMOS sensor has pixels measuring 19 μm square3, which is more than 5.5 times the surface area of the pixels on the CMOS sensor featured in select top-of-the-line interchangeable lens cameras4. Furthermore, the sensor’s pixels and readout circuitry make use of Canon proprietary technologies to achieve both reduced noise and exceptionally high sensitivity on subjects with a minimum illumination of less than 0.0005 lux.
This multi-purpose camera allows users to discern subjects under even some of the dimmest lighting conditions, such as environments lit by artificial illumination or under a moonless night sky. Furthermore, similar to Canon’s Cinema EOS System of professional digital cinematography cameras, the ME20F-SH camera includes Canon Log and Wide DR, which make possible a wide dynamic range, delivering high-image-quality video results across a range of illumination environments, from low to brightly lit conditions.
Canon’s Diverse Interchangeable EF Lens Lineup Enables Wide Range of Imaging Possibilities
The new ME20F-SH employs the same EF mount (Cinema Lock type) as Canon’s SLR cameras and Cinema EOS System-series of professional digital cameras, allowing users to make use of the Company’s extensive lineup of interchangeable EF lenses5. By letting users select the ideal lens based on their shooting or application requirements, taking into consideration such factors as angle of view and level of brightness, this multi-purpose camera facilitates a wide spectrum of imaging possibilities.
Supports various standard video-recording interfaces
Employing output-only 3G/HD-SDI and HDMI terminals, Canon’s ME20F-SH camera enables users working on location to output video via a single cable to a variety of peripheral equipment, including external recorders and monitors. Equipped with a φ2.5mm stereo mini-jack and a round 8-pin jack for RS-422, the multipurpose camera is capable of connecting with Canon’s RC-V100 Remote Controller (released in June 2014; sold separately) 6.
By allowing users to operate the camera or change settings from a remote location, the camera facilitates video capture from inaccessible locations as well as fixed-point surveillance. Furthermore, a φ3.5mm stereo mini-jack allows the camera to connect with an external microphone, enabling users working on location to output audio and video signals to connected peripheral equipment.
The Canon ME20F-SH is expected to be available in December 2015 at a suggested retail price of $30,000.
1 Compliant with the specification method for CCTV devices (TTR-4602B) issued by the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA). Theoretical value based on the following shooting conditions: color, no light accumulation, f/1.2, 30P, 50 IRE
2 For more information, please refer to the press release announced on March 4, 2013, available on the Canon Global website: https://www.canon.com/news/2013/mar04e.html
3 1 μm (micrometer) equals one millionth of a meter
4 19 μm pixel pitch (361 μm2 surface area) compared to 4.88 μm (23.81 μm2) of Nikon D810, 8.4 μm (70.56 μm2) of Sony Alpha ILCE-A7S, and 6.94 μm (48.16 μm2) of Canon EOS-1D X
5 Details regarding supported EF-series interchangeable lenses are scheduled to be made available in mid-December 2015
6 The RC-V100 requires a firmware update when using the round 8-pin jack for RS-422. Details regarding the firmware are scheduled to be made available in mid-December 2015