More Clever Patents from Canon: A New Type of Sensor?
Canon, which has recently been on something of a patenting spree with creative new camera technologies, seems to have developed a new kind of sensor.
The iconic brand’s new sensor design is designed to use unique tricks for increasing dynamic range. This new type of CMOS sensor can deliver a dynamic range of up to 148 dB for use in video and photo recordings. To give a comparison, by this measurement, even the range of human vision is only 110 dB.
Canon claims this amount to be the broadest in the surveillance camera market. The sensor’s “Exposure by Area” function is interesting too though.
According to Canon’s documentation, the new sensor type has a stacked design that includes a CPU layer and a pixel layer.
These along with the “Exposure by Area” function of the sensor let it capture multiple different exposures simultaneously across a field of view by dividing it into 736 different segments, or zones.
Each of these zones works with its own particular photographic criteria individually to contribute to an image. The sensor then fuses all of the zones together for a nearly instant high dynamic range.
As Canon itself explains, “This prevents the occurrence of motion artifacts and makes possible facial recognition with greater accuracy even when scanning moving subjects. What’s more, image synthesizing is not required, thereby reducing the amount of data to be processed and enabling high-speed image capture at speeds of approximately 60 frames-per-second (fps) and a high pixel count of approximately 12.6 million pixels.”
In conventional camera sensors, users often need to bracket exposure times for the sake of high dynamic range, but this can introduce object motion blur. In the newly patented sensor by Canon, this doesn’t happen because the sensor can create a high dynamic range at once across several sensor sections.
The end results of this design are supposedly superior photo quality, better speed and sharper image quality for moving objects.
Canon is apparently developing its new sensor for surveillance cameras but we wouldn’t be surprised to see a finished version appear in consumer market models from the brand.
It’s easy to think of several ways in which photographers could love something like this if it were applied to a consumer or pro photographer camera with a larger sensor area. For night photography and landscape shooting, it could be an ideal technology.
Further details are pretty scarce for the moment, but we’ll report on anything else that emerges about this from Canon.
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