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Canon's low-light video sensor can see in the dead of night

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Canon low-light sensor demo (SCREENCAP)
Canon low-light sensor demo (SCREENCAP)

In March Canon announced a new high-sensitivity CMOS sensor design, and now the company is showing off its capabilities with some remarkable footage of fireflies shot in almost total darkness. The 35mm full-frame sensor captures video at 1920 x 1080 — or Full HD — resolution, and was designed expressly for low-noise performance in challenging conditions. To test it, a camera was equipped with the sensor and used to capture footage of fireflies on Ishigaki Island in Japan.

The footage captures not just the fireflies themselves, but also the details of the surrounding environment as well. It's particularly impressive as Canon says the light level at the time was measured at just 0.01 lux. To give you a point of reference, a night with a full moon would measure around 0.3 lux, while a crescent moon would come in at 0.03 lux. It's a remarkable technological display, and Canon says it plans on utilizing the low-noise sensor in a number of different fields, from medical research to surveillance equipment.