Canon develops a camera that can see in the dark

100% human

Imagine being able to see in pitch black. No light at all, absolute darkness, and yet there’s still a picture. It might seem inconceivable, but Canon appears to have something that can do the job.

Unveiled this week, Canon has a rather expensive but very specialised device developed specifically to see into the darkest of dark spaces, with a small box of a video camera that can capture what no one else can.

While cameras commonly toss out sensitivity ratings of ISO 25600 ranging all the way up to ISO102500, the latter of which can do some pretty cool things in low light, Canon’s ME20F-SH sports an insane ISO rating of over 4,000,000 — yes, that’s four million, you read the commas properly — capturing Full HD video of some of the darkest environments you’ll think you’re closing your eyes in.


Helping make this happen is a high grade 2.26 megapixel sensor with some larger-than-normal pixel sizes.


This works in conjunction with some Canon proprietary technology to let in all that light and let the camera interpret it, which could be useful long term for documentaries at night, as well as astronomy.


The camera is highly specialised and is expected to cost anywhere between $30,000 and $45,000 locally if it’s even released, so it’s not the sort of technology a regular consumer can expect to buy.


That said, it does support Canon’s EF lenses, just like those found on Canon DSLRs, so if you did have that sort of cash and need for a box like this, you’ll at least know what sort of lenses are required.

We’re told that Canon anticipates a release of December for the ME20F-SH, but while that’s good to know for those who need it, we’re more interested to see how Canon will trickle this technology down to its consumer, enthusiast, and professional line of cameras in other sectors, because this is the sort of research that has the chance to be ground breaking, not just for film-makers, but for everyone else, too.