Canon recently announced two new camera sensors – the first one is a Super35 4.5K sensor capable of up to 120fps full-sensor readout. The second one is a global shutter 5.7K full-frame sensor with up to 60fps 5.7K 16:9 readout. Both CMOS sensors feature 6.4μm pixels.
There aren’t many companies that produce large camera sensors, but Japanese tech giant Canon is one of them. Recently, Canon introduced two new camera sensors, that promise to bring an interesting new technology to upcoming cameras. Let’s take a quick look at these.
Canon LI7080SA – Super35 4.5K 120fps sensor
The first of the two announced sensors is a Super35-sized sensor named Canon LI7080SA. The resolution is 4536 x 2400 which gives us a 17:9 aspect ratio. The pixel size is 6.4μm. Because Canon did not state otherwise, I suppose this sensor will feature a rolling shutter technology.
Canon claims that the sensor achieves high-quality 4K60fps video recording. The effective pixel readout, however, is available for the full sensor (4536 x 2400) up to 120fps. The sensor comes with a 170-pin ceramic LCC (a leadless chip carrier). It will only come with a standard RGB filter to capture all the colors of the visible spectrum.
Canon LI5030SA – full-frame 5.7K global shutter sensor
The other newly announced sensor is more exciting in my opinion. Named Canon LI5030SA, it is a full-frame CMOS sensor with a resolution of 5688 x 3336 pixels (18.97MP). The aspect ratio is somewhere between 16:9 and 16:10. The pixel size is 6.4μm and Canon claims the sensor will achieve high dynamic range and low noise.
Perhaps the most interesting feature of this sensor is that it is equipped with global shutter technology (exposing all pixels simultaneously). As opposed to a rolling shutter (which exposes the pixels horizontally line-by-line), global shutter sensors do not suffer from the “rolling shutter effect” where vertical lines stop being straight with fast movements.
The effective pixel readout is available for the full resolution (5688 x 3336) in 12-bit up to 57.99 fps. In 5.7K 16:9 mode (5688 x 3240), the readout is available up to 60fps. The sensor comes with a 182-pin ceramic LCC (a leadless chip carrier) to send the data further.
The sensor can be equipped with various filters for different kinds of applications:
- RGB – standard filter to capture visible light in color
- Mono – monochromatic filter that only captures light intensity. This would be well suited for extreme low-light applications.
- RGB-IR (LI5030SAI) – suitable for traffic surveillance cameras and industrial cameras that can simultaneously capture visible light and near-infrared light.
- Naked (LI5030SAN) – no microlens or color filter, suitable for electron microscopes or X-ray detection cameras.
More affordable Canon global shutter cameras coming?
Hopefully, we will see the new sensors in finished products very soon. Especially the full-frame GS sensor – it would be nice to start seeing global shutter sensors in more cameras.
If I am not mistaken, the most affordable “large” global shutter sensor cameras right now are the RED Komodo along with the Z CAM E2-S6G. Both cameras currently sell for $5,995. Another option would be to get a second-hand Sony F55 which starts at around $4,000 on Ebay right now. If you want to know, how a global shutter sensor performs in terms of dynamic range, make sure to check our RED Komodo Lab Test.
I am curious to see whether Canon will manage to offer a more affordable global shutter camera with this new sensor in the near future. Right now, you can only get an older global shutter sensor from Canon installed into the EOS C700 PL mount camera.
Do you prefer global shutter over rolling shutter? Do you use a global shutter camera for your cinematography work? What do you think about the new Canon sensors? Let us know in the comments section underneath the article.