Canon’s Remarkable 250-Megapixel APS-H Size CMOS Sensor Proves Excess Is Best

After developing a 120-megapixel CMOS sensor five years ago, Canon is just now getting around to commercializing it in a forthcoming digital SLR (pricing and availability still unknown). Wondering where Canon goes from there? Wonder no more, as Canon announced this week that it's developed a 250-megapixel CMOS sensor.

That works out to a resolution of 19,580 x 12,600, if you can wrap your head around that. When installed in a prototype camera, the newly developed sensor was able to snap photos of the side of an airplane flying at a distance of 18 kilometers (around 11.18 miles) away, with the lettering on the plane distinguishable in the shots.

Canon 250MP CMOS Sensor

It can also shoot video. The resulting resolution of videos recorded with the 250MP sensor is about 125 times greater than that of Full HD 1080p (1,920 x 1,080) and approximately 30 times more than 4K (3,840 x 2,160). Imagine the GPU horsepower that would be needed to watch videos recorded with Canon's new sensor!

Increasing pixel count isn't without technical challenges. Higher pixel counts result in increased signal volume, which in turn can cause signal delays and small discrepancies in timing. Despite this, Canon says its new sensor achieves an ultra-high signal readout speed of 1.25 billion pixels per second by way of advancements in circuit miniaturization and enhanced signal-processing technology.

Don't expect to see the 250MP CMOS sensor in consumer grade cameras. Canon is taking aim at the industrial market and sees the technology coming in handy for specialized surveillance and crime prevention applications.