Canon Has a Mammoth 120MP APS-H Sensor

by James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

1080p is dead. 4K is old school. 8K? So 2017. OK I’m being silly. But Canon has a new 120MP sensor to show what the possibilities are for extremely hi resolution video. And it tops out at 13.2K!

Canon’s new solid-state CMOS sensor takes the technology to new frontiers by delivering 120- megapixel (MP) resolution, the highest currently available for this type and size sensor. This imaging sensor features approximately 6 times the number of pixels as today’s highest end professional camera (EOS 1Dx Mark II) and 2.4 times the resolution of the highest resolution commercially available cameras (EOS 5Ds). By incorporating close to the same number of pixels as receptors in the human eye, it can achieve a resolution similar to what we see. –

Canon has been developing large sensor cameras for years, and the Canon 120MXS camera has a 120 MP APS-H CMOS sensor is the latest. It provides a video resolution of 13280×9184 pixels, which, at 122 million effective pixels, amounts to 60 times that of HD.

In addition, Canon says that the 120MXS CMOS sensor is capable of processing 18 Gigabit of information every second.  Let that sink in for a second. 18Gigs a second. To get an idea how big that is, each frame is 9 MB, which requires a bitrate of 90MB/S to shoulder the load. That’s quite a lot and as such, much of the data has to be compressed so that the image processor doesn’t choke. But there’s no denying how sharp the image resolution is.

Here’s the overall spec sheet:

  • Sensor size: APS-H (29.22mm x 20.20mm)
  • Filter types: 120MXSC: RGB, 120MXSM: Monochrome
  • Number of effective pixels: 13280h x 9184v, approx. 122MP • Pixel size: 2.2μm x 2.2μm
  • Progressive Scan
  • Rolling Shutter
  • 188pin ceramic PGA
  • Sensitivity: 120MXSC (Green): 10,000e/lux/sec; 120MXSM: 20,000e/lux/sec
  • Saturation: 10,000e @ gain0.5x
  • Output Channels: Data 28 lanes, Clock 14 lanes
  • Dark Random Noise: 2.3e rms @ gain x8, Room Temp.
  • Dark Current: 8.1e/sec @ gain x8, 60°C
  • Number of output channels: Data 28 lanes, Clock 14 lanes
  • Main clock frequency: 45MHz (Recommended)
  • Output format: 720Mbps in LVDS output 9.4fps @ 10 bit
  • Built in column amplifier (Pre-amplifier gain mode: x0.5, x1, x2, x4, x8)
  • Serial communication
  • All pixel progressive scan reading function, Region of Interest (ROI) reading function (Vertically)
  • Vertically intermittent reading function (1/1, 1/2, 1/3, 1/5, 1/7, 1/15)
  • Power consumption: 2.5W (under recommended operating conditions)
  • Power supply voltage: 1.7 V, 3.5 V
  • Package size: 55.0mm x 47.8mm x 4.49mm

The sensor’s smaller pixels are designed to cut down on pixel light leak, also known as “crosstalk.” The design has a wire layer incorporated into the sensor structure between each pixel, thereby surrounding it and blocking most of the light leaking from pixel to pixel.

The only downside of this concept video camera is that it can only shoot at 9.4 frames per second, but Canon has provided some test footage to show what 120MXS can do:

The 120MXS is being developed for remote imaging and surveillance applications, so I rather doubt that we’ll be seeing a 13K Cinema EOS “C1300” shooting the Rian Johnon’s Star Wars Trilogy, but this is the kind of thing that Canon should be doing to push the state of the art. It’s interesting too see their innovations wing showing off this stuff, but it’s frustrating that it doesn’t really filter down to the prosumer market faster than we’d like.

And can you imagine how sharp this thing would be if it was full frame? You can read the white paper here.



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Doddlenews is the news division of the Digital Production Buzz, a leading online resource for filmmakers, covering news, reviews and tutorials for the video and film industry, along with movie and TV news, and podcasting.

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