New Canon Camera Has An ISO Of Over 4 Million!
Capturing moments of our lives has always been an important element of human culture. Before modern technologies existed, people told stories, then later learned to write those stories down. When cameras were invented, people suddenly had the opportunity to take snapshots of their life, whether spontaneous or artistic, that they could later admire. Nowadays, our phones enable us to easily combine still photos with video, yet there has always been one constraint to sharing and capturing that only storytelling isn’t affected by: the time on day, i.e., how much light there is at the time of day. Photos can have perfect composition but be ruined by bad lighting. On the other hand, lighting can be artistically manipulated to create different effects that can actually enhance the look (e.g., with filters or digital adjustments).
In photography, there is a technical measure of how much light you are letting into your camera aperture. Or in other words, the amount of sensitivity to bright or dim light the camera is set to when taking a picture. This measure is called the ISO, pronounced “i-sow”, and it is something that even film for early cameras had the ability to adjust. You could buy ISO 100 film for sunny photos, ISO 200 films for cloudy photos, and ISO 400 film for indoor shots. The higher the ISO, the more sensitive the camera is to lower brightness light. The same rules apply to video. Although older cameras only went up to an ISO of 400, nowadays more expensive cameras go into the thousands. Just recently, Canon released a camera that has the potential to rock the photography/videography world; not for it’s quality of photos and videos, although that is excellent too, but for it’s ISO, able to be set all the way to 4 million.
The video below is about the CMOS sensor, which has been upgraded slightly over the past two years, but you can still see the incredible video quality.
You may be wondering what that even means. If an ISO of 400 is good for taking photos inside, and ISOs into the thousands are good for even darker lighting, what does and ISO of 4 million, that’s 10,000 times more sensitive that what’s needed for inside lighting, does? Well, it turns out that setting your camera to an ISO of 4 million allows you to literally shoot in the dark, effectively giving your camera night vision. Not infrared night vision where the picture looks like a color inverted iPhone, but real night vision, meaning you can film during the night and the video or image will look exactly the same as if you were shooting the day.
This technology was invented by Canon back in 2013 with their CMOS sensor, which just got integrated into Canon’s new camera, the Canon ME20F-SH. The camera is essentially just a cube with a lens, being surprisingly small, only around 4 inches across. It weighs two pounds, which is fairly heavy for a camera, but still allows the device to be used in a wide variety of situations and doesn’t inhibit its portability. Even though bringing the ISO up on regular cameras makes the video quality worse, the ME20F-SH still shoots at HD quality, allowing serious film-makers to use this camera for professional films.
Specs aside, this camera opens up a whole new world of possibilities for film-makers. From cave explorers to experimental directors, this camera can be used for an incredible variety of ways simply for that fact that it can see in the dark. Now, the camera isn’t for amateur photographers or directors who simply want to get a clear night sky shot, as after all, the expected price of the camera is $30,000. But, for people who do have the ideas and also have the money, this camera may totally change the way they film. For the first time in the history of capture-based art and storytelling, light isn’t an obstacle.