A recent Canon ad campaign used the slogan “See impossible.”
It seems like their latest camera allows us to do just that — the ME20F-SH, a full-frame digital camera, boasts a staggering 4 million maximum ISO.
For the uninitiated: ISO is the level of sensitivity of your camera to available light. The lower the ISO value, the less sensitive to light. Conversely, a higher ISO value increases the sensitivity of your camera’s sensor in the darkness.
By comparison, the iPhone 6, which handles low light medium-well for a smartphone, has a maximum ISO of 1,600.
Canon took this camera’s sensor for a test spin back in 2013, and the results were jaw-dropping:
Film & Digital Times has a few more demo shots, but make sure to check these videos for an example of where low-light photography is headed. The camera used in both video clips is a Sony A7S, which has a max ISO value of 409,600 — the reigning champion until this new Canon starts shipping.
From the press release:
The ME20F-SH is ideal for use within specialist applications such as TV productions of nighttime wildlife, deep sea/cave exploration, astronomy and surveillance. The ability to install the camera in a semi-permanent location, with remote control operability also means that for documentary and natural history filmmakers, long term projects and events can be captured with minimum staffing.
The super-minimal, boxy design means it’ll be easier to get previously impossible shots in previously impossible places. Drones can zoom overhead in utter darkness. Underwater photography will dive to deeper places. No-light footage from nature documentaries won’t have the same noisiness.
Imagine filming a car chase scene in the desert at midnight with no extra lights — even the headlights would be far too bright.
The cost is considerable — estimated at $30,000 — and delivery is expected by the end of this year.