Canon Business General

Canon Shows off 1/1.8-inch Sensor Capturing 1080p Video at 0.08Lux

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Here’s something I missed in the last month that was picked up by PetaPixel.

Canon has announced the launch of a new 1/1.8-inch CMOS sensor called the LI7050. This new sensor is capable of recording video in low light environments down to 0.08lux.

The main application for this image sensor isn’t for the photography or videography industry. The main applications will be network and security cameras, microscopes, wearable security cameras as well as underwater drones.

The new sensor also has an HDR drive function that increases dynamic range by a wide margin. The new sensor is capable of recording between 0.08 lux and 80,000 lux, this eliminates blown-out whites and clipping in blacks.

This sensor won’t be in your next EOS R camera, but it’s still a pretty impressive piece of technology.

This sensor is scheduled to begin shipping at the end of October 2020.

Press Release:

SINGAPORE, 3 August 2020 — Canon announced today the launch in Japan of the LI7050, a new 1/1.8-inch CMOS sensor capable of capturing color images in full-HD even in low-illumination environments as dark as 0.08 lux1.

The recent growth of IoT technologies has in turn generated an increasing demand for network and industrial-use cameras—in particular, cameras capable of image capture in full-HD as well as nighttime color recording. Despite a compact body size of 1/1.8 inches and pixel size of 4.1 µm (micrometers), Canon’s newly developed LI7050 sensor makes possible color video recording in full-HD, even under low-light conditions.

The LI7050, while achieving a compact size, features a pixel architecture that enables high sensitivity, thereby making possible low-noise, full-HD color video recording in low-light environments as dark as 0.08 lux. Conventional nighttime monitoring employs infrared cameras and records video in monochrome. However, network cameras equipped with the LI7050 can capture video at night in such locations as public facilities, roads or transport networks, thereby helping to identify details including the color of vehicles or subjects’ clothing. What’s more, this compact, high-sensitivity sensor can be installed in cameras for such use cases as underwater drones, microscopes and wearable cameras for security personnel.

Canon’s new sensor is also equipped with an HDR drive function that realizes a wide dynamic range of 120 dB. When recording in an environment with illumination levels between, for example, 0.08 lux and 80,000 lux, the sensor’s wide dynamic range enables video capture without blown-out whites and crushed blacks. Thanks to this capability, the sensor enables cameras to record high-quality video, even when positioned at building entrances and other locations where there are significant variations in illumination levels. During normal drive operation, the sensor realizes a noise level of 75 dB and captures video without blown-out whites and crushed blacks in environments with illumination levels between, for example, 0.08 lux and 500 lux.
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​​​​​​​The LI7050 supports the MIPI CSI-2 interface utilized by a wide range of consumer and industrial-use cameras, thereby greatly expanding the number of possible equipment combinations. The sensor also meets a variety of industrial needs through such features as a Region of Interest (ROI) function that enables users to select regions to read from the sensor, reducing the amount of read information and allowing for image capture at an increased framerate, and the ability to configure horizontal and vertical inversion directly from the sensor for easy viewing of footage from cameras installed on ceilings and other inverted positions.
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​​​​​​​Canon has begun sample shipments of the LI7050 from today and is scheduled to officially commence sales in late October 2020.