In almost total darkness, Canon’s New Sensor Captures Full-Color Images

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Photo: Gizmodo – The sensors are expected to go into production next year, and they might transform low-light photography. With a sensor capable of recording full-color photos at “one-tenth the brightness traditional sensors require,” according to Nikkei Asia, Canon is set to revolutionize digital photography next year. Autonomous driving and even security systems might benefit from this.

The art of taking pictures in dim light, even in the depths of night, is not difficult, but it necessitates the use of specialized methods, each of which has certain trade-offs. The simplest option is to use a tripod and a lengthy shutter speed, but this is unsuitable for applications that require to record video or analyze a continuous stream of photos in real time. To capture photographs in low-light conditions, one may increase the sensitivity of a camera’s sensor by increasing the ISO sensitivity. However, this method produces a lot of noise into the final image, making tiny details difficult to see.

Using infrared light instead of light in the visible spectrum is the most prevalent option for low-light photography, which relies on night vision technology. High-contrast images make it simple to distinguish objects and finer details, resulting in clearer images. Aside from the lack of color information, Canon is working on new sensors to address this issue.

Using a Single Photon Avalanche Diode, Canon’s new sensor can record 1-megapixel photos, a capability it enhanced back in 2020. (or SPAD for short). When using traditional sensors, the more light and photons available, the better the photographs will turn out.

Because of the employment of an electronic element that may multiply and create an electrical pulse when only one photon strikes it (the effect multiplies like an avalanche, thus the name), the SPAD sensor is far more sensitive in near absolute darkness than any other sensor on the market.

When it comes to sensor technology, Canon has been using the SPAD approach for decades; its latest breakthrough is that the company has developed a SPAD sensor that boasts 3.2 million pixels, making it the world’s densest and capable of producing high-quality color images even in the dark, according to Nikkei Asia. That’s not all that a SPAD sensor can do. As light travels to, reflects, and returns to the source, it may estimate the object’s distance.

It is possible to use this data to create three-dimensional representations of the environment surrounding a sensor-equipped device. When it comes to the future of autonomous driving and navigation systems, Canon’s new sensor can be utilized for both security and surveillance cameras as well as self-driving cars, according to the company’s website.