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A Shot in the Dark: Canon’s ME20F-SH

December 17, 2015 10:08 am

The highest sensitivity for film used to be ISO 3200, but today’s cameras have been increasing sensitivity to light for decades and continue to find new and innovative ways to utilize available light effectively. Canon has taken a giant leap forward in that pursuit with their Canon ME20F-SH that has a maximum ISO 4,000,000 sensitivity.

4 Million ISO

No, that wasn’t a misprint. The Canon ME20F-SH does have an ISO of 4 million, which means it can see in the dark essentially. Due to its stunning technology, this camera isn’t something you can just pick up at your favorite retailer and comes with a price tag of $30,000. That price is only for the camera with its 2-megapixel Canon full-frame sensor and doesn’t include the cost of a lens.

Extra-large pixels

Although the price tag may deter you from purchasing the ME20F-SH, it does offer a glimpse into what future DSLR cameras will be able to offer regarding technology. The Canon ME20F-SH has two million extra-large pixels on the surface of its full-frame sensor, and that’s far less than most full frame sensors that have 12 million+ pixels. The extra-large pixels of the ME20F-SH improve the light-gathering properties of the sensor surface.

Less image noise

The extra-large pixels of the ME20F-SH can’t produce images with the resolution of a FULL HD TV, but it does produce images with very low digital noise. Anyone who has ever tried to take a picture in extremely low light with a standard DSLR ISO knows just how much noise can exist in such images that undermine their quality and desired subject matter.

Proven abilities

The Canon ME20F-SH was present at the Canon Expo in Paris recently and showed that when zoomed in on a small object, it produced a relatively clear image. The lighting ranged from well-lit to dimly-lit and then full darkness and the image shown on the monitors was that of the small object, visible in real time and not lost in darkness and excessive image noise.

Real-world applications

Even with the image noise on the ME20F-SH, the smallest details have a clarity that makes the camera useful for surveillance applications. Canon doesn’t have any current plans to make the camera available to consumers, but they did express their history of transitioning their professional technology into the consumer world as a way of giving hope for those who are eager to take a shot or two in the dark.

Capturing low-light images in high-quality is no easy task, but once you’re mastered it, it’s time to bring those images to Baboo Digital for professional printing, custom framing and innovative mounting options.