Canon Develops World's First Ultra-High-Sensitivity Camera

Canon Inc. has announced the development of the MS-500, the world’s first ultra-high-sensitivity interchangeable-lens camera (ILC) equipped with a 1.0 inch Single Photon Avalanche Diode (SPAD) sensor featuring the world’s highest pixel count of 3.2 megapixels. The camera leverages the special characteristics of SPAD sensors to achieve superb low-light performance while also utilizing broadcast lenses that feature high performance at telephoto-range focal lengths.

The MS-500 is expected to be ideal for high-precision monitoring systems used in national borders, seaports, airports, train stations, power plants, and other key infrastructure facilities, in order to quickly identify targets even under adverse conditions including darkness in which human eyes cannot see, and from long distances.

The currently in-development MS-500 is equipped with a 1.0 inch SPAD sensor that reduces noise, thus making possible clear, full-color HD imaging even in extreme low-light environments. When paired with Canon’s extensive range of broadcast lenses, which excel at super-telephoto image capture, the camera is capable of accurately capturing subjects with precision in extreme low-light environments, even from great distances.

Canon’s SPAD sensors employ a technology known as “photon counting,” in which light particles (photons) that enter each individual pixel are counted. Every single one of these photons can be digitally counted, thus making possible zero-noise during signal readout—a key advantage of SPAD sensors. This allows the MS-500 to operate even under nighttime environments with no ambient starlight and to accurately detect subjects with minimal illumination and capture clear color images.

The MS-500 employs the bayonet lens mount (based on BTA S-1005B standards) which is widely used in the broadcast lens industry. This enables the camera to be used with Canon’s extensive range of broadcast lenses which feature superb optical performance. As a result, the camera is able to recognize and capture subjects that are several km away.

Canon plans to commence sales of the MS-500 in 2023. The company has a long history of comprehensive imaging technologies that include optics, sensors, image processing, and image analysis. By leveraging this expertise, Canon is creating products capable of surpassing the limits of the human eye and contributing to the safety and security of society.

The MS-500 will be displayed as a reference exhibit at the Canon booth during the 2023 NAB Show for broadcast and filmmaking equipment, to be held in Las Vegas from Saturday, April 15 to Wednesday, April 19.

The announcement of the MS-500’s development is significant news for the photography and imaging industry. As the world’s first ultra-high-sensitivity interchangeable-lens camera equipped with a 1.0 inch SPAD sensor, the MS-500 is poised to revolutionize low-light photography and high-precision monitoring systems. Its ability to capture clear, full-color HD images in extreme low-light environments, paired with its capacity for accurate telephoto-range focal length capture, make it an exciting new option for professionals in a variety of fields.