Has Canon developed a new 21mp sensor for the Canon EOS R system? [CR1]

David - Sydney

CR Pro
Dec 7, 2014
As a photographer and not a tech guy, I couldn't agree more. Considering that I could take my 6 MP pics taken with my original digital rebel, and crop them to about 2/3rds size, and make an 8 x 10 print that is tack sharp, I do laugh at the notion that the majority of camera owners would need even 20 MP. What it shows more than anything is how gullible consumers are.
Not sure if all consumers are gullible really but when looking at a spec sheet it is a clear item of distinction that they somewhat understand compared to other items eg ISO. Those aren't the customers for 1D/R5 series cameras but could be an issue for cameras like the R6.
There are definitely use cases for higher MP stills even if they aren't what your workflow needs. Yes, there is less need for prints compared to online resolution. Yes, you can take a shot with lower res that provides a great/sharp 8x10 print. Yes, we had no choice in the past about number of mp so made the most of what we had at the time.

The ability to crop heavily is very useful in situations where you cannot avoid getting closer or having an appropriate lens (can't afford it, didn't have it with you, can't change it to the better lens, etc) eg for birding or where I am shooting underwater with a 16-35mm lens and find something small to shoot but certainly doesn't fill the frame and clearly can't change to my 100mm macro setup :)

8k video is clearly not for everyone but offers a lot of post-production options that aren't available in any other format. Getting 33mp jpeg stills at 30fps is something that wasn't possible before. The res of 4k frame grabs probably wouldn't be as useful.

If you had a choice of 20mp or 45mp when printing large then you would clearly prefer the latter if possible

Mr Majestyk

Feb 20, 2016
Oh this will definitely be the new R1 sensor, fits' in perfectly with them being locked in that 20MP range for their sports camera.


Eos R, M6II
Sep 17, 2018


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I'm New Here
Aug 29, 2014
This would be a perfect sensor for an R1 top-of-the-line sports camera. 21MP is very close to the same resolution as 1DX II and 1DX III, not to mention D5 and D6. And a global shutter would be ideal for fast action. Could be virtually silent shooting too. 120 fps is insane, way more than necessary... But what the heck, as long as someone else does the editing! 20 stops of DR? What's the best out there now? 15 stops? Summer Olympics would be good time to roll out a camera like this. It would be a game changer!
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Jun 29, 2016
21MP global sensor, that is going to be eye-sore! No more blurring of motion, reduce dramatically the shaking effect on the image, IS/IBIS will be (without any features) much better. The only fallback I see with it, is.. my bank account...
Feb 15, 2020
This definitely sounds fake. A global shutter negatively impacts dynamic range, so it's not really possible to have 20 stops of dynamic range and global shutter at the same time. Unless the global shutter can be deactivated?
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from EOS 1N to R
Dec 9, 2018
for video maybe.. but doesn't makes sense for stills.

Why would the type of shutter have anything to do with DR Isn't that defined by the sensor design?

This was covered in the last two years as a patent discussed on this very forum.

Basically, every pixel on the sensor gets an electric charge when hit with a photon. These electrons are then stored in a capacitor. To read the image off the sensor, you read the resulting charge in the capacitors.

The Canon sensor described in the patent has TWO capacitors per pixel, and can globally switch between charge being built up in capacitor A or capacitor B.

Just to keep the example simple let's say the sensor natively has 10 stops sensitivity and that is exactly a 1000:1 difference in brightness.

Trick 1: 20 stops exposure latitude. While exposing, have the charge accumulate in bucket A 999 nanoseconds, then in bucket B 1 nanosecond. That adds up to 1 microsecond. Keep alternating the exposure between the two for the length of the exposure. Bucket B ends up being 10 stops under-exposed relative to Bucket A. Then, combine the two images as you would a two-exposure HDR shot. You now have a daylight interior shot where the outside view is also properly exposed. Or a nighttime interior shot where we can read the manufacturer's name on the lightbulbs, etc.

Trick 2: Electronic ND up to 10 stops. Same as trick 1 but ignore Bucket A. Just use Bucket B as your final image. It can be accumulating electrons in as little as 1/1000 of the total time the exposure is happening. A 10-second exposure in broad daylight at f/16 is actually building up charge in Bucket B for 1/100s, so it's an ISO 100 shot by the sunny 16 rule even though it's 10 seconds long.

Trick 3: Global shutter. Just expose in bucket A. When the exposure should finish, switch the charge accumulation to bucket B, and read out A. Throw away B.

Trick 4: One extra stop. Alternate between bucket A and B 50/50 and combine. There will be an extra stop where A or B alone may be blown out (max capacity) but both won't be typically blown out simultaneously.


from EOS 1N to R
Dec 9, 2018
20 stops of DR? What's the best out there now? 15 stops? Summer Olympics would be good time to roll out a camera like this. It would be a game changer!

Basically the camera would be able to take HDR shots as single shots. I'm not sure that's going to be that important to the Olympics. All the extra stops of exposure are at the highlight end. The best I can think of is for instance shooting athletes about to come onto a daylight field, with a lens wide enough to include some sky. With this new sensor (assuming I'm correct that it's the one in the paper this forum shared a year ago) would be exposing for athletes in the entrance tunnel of the stadium, where it's dark, while still keeping the sky also in the photo from blowing out. Or at least, the raw file would have that range. (In order to print you'd have to process like HDR, where some of your options would be just blowing out the sky anyway in post-production.)

In stops, here are the top sensors:

Phase One IQ4 150MP13.11
Phase One IQ3 100MP13.06
Hasselblad H6D-100c12.89
FujiFilm GFX 10012.30
Panasonic Lumix DC-S112.22
Hasselblad H6D-50c12.01
Hasselblad X1D-50c11.98
Panasonic Lumix DC-S1R11.94
Phase One IQ25011.92
FujiFilm GFX 50S11.90
FujiFilm GFX 50R11.86
Canon EOS R511.85
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Mar 6, 2017
for video maybe.. but doesn't makes sense for stills.
I’m a stills only portrait photographer and I’m dying for a global shutter sensor for mixing daytime ambient and flash on location with out the need for ND filters, HSS, or HS. you could get away with very portable small lighting equipment or get maximum power from a 250-500w light. And 20 stops of dynamic range . But I would want FF and 45mp. 30mp minimum.


Jun 29, 2016
21mp is a strange number, because it's too low for stills in 2020 and beyond, but it doesn't match any normal video resolution. Still, if this is true, I assume this is going to be a hybrid camera that is really marketed more for video. An A7S III competitor that can one-up it with stills quality.

Well, action photographers (which this sensor is targeting) and news photographers don't need more than 20MP. They need two thigns, fast capture and the baility to capture as many pictues in one long continous shooting. Most of their work goes to web sights and online news, there is no need for 45MP pictures here even if the computer screen is 8K. The rush to higher MP is based not on the actuall need of the photographer, rather than the will of the company to "be more" than others. for most people, there is no real differnce between 20 to 45MP. They see the picture on teh computer screen or TV, not creatine posters of them to hang over huge signboards.


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EOS 5D Mark IV
CR Pro
Aug 22, 2010
21mp is a strange number, because it's too low for stills in 2020 and beyond, but it doesn't match any normal video resolution.

??? 21MP is still a lot more than many sports photographers actually want. Wifi upload times at venue sports arenas is a big challenge and a lot of those photographers need small and easily managable files with minimal edits to get to press ASAP. In the wedding photography industry, it commonly accepted that more than 12mp is more than adequate. Most albums will have a max double page spread size of A3, or the album becomes too unmanagble. Most canvas purchase are in the A2 / A1 size and again it doesn't need high resolution to fill that frame size. If you are selling matted framed prints, then the print size is even smaller in the frame. Sure there's a strong argument for cropping space. But generally anything over the 20mp is still way more than adequate for the majority of professionals.
Naturally there are those who need (or desire) the biggest sensor resolution that is currently available. But those photographers are not the norm. At some point we are all going to get to the point with sensor resolution where we all say...I think that is now way more than I need and I'm struggling to process that many images at that file size for the same output size that I have before!

Antono Refa

Mar 26, 2014
120fps? How long does it take to fill up a 2TB CFexpress card?

( 2 * 1024 * 1024 ) / ( 120 * 21 ) = ~832 seconds, or nearly 14 minutes, assuming the whole sensor is used and no compression.

Is there a usage scenario for such a long slow motion video?