PARIS: CANON HAS PARADED its advanced imaging technology concepts for the future, including a 120MP camera, an ultra-telephoto lens for night photography and 8K cameras.
The technologies were demonstrated in Europe for the first time at Canon's quinquennial Expo event in Paris on Tuesday as a chance for the firm to offer a glimpse of the latest research projects in development at the imaging firm's headquarters in Tokyo.
One of our favourite technologies on display was a 120MP camera prototype, the EOS 120M Camera System. We got to see it in action and were able to study the detail of the super high-res photograph on a computer screen. The camera was set up to point down towards a still life, as seen in the pictures above and below.
We were told that the average file size of the image is about 250MB, over 10 times that of an average smartphone, for example. We were able to zoom right into the photograph, which comprised many of the small random objects, such as a tiny book with delicately drawn images and text, and see the detail up close. You could even discern particles of dust that had fallen on of the objects.
Canon also unveiled a 250MP CMOS sensor, the world's highest pixel count for its size, but it wasn't being demoed at the event. However, Canon claimed that the new sensor is capable of capturing lettering on the side of an aircraft 18km away, far beyond what the human eye can see. This is something we imagine will be commonplace in cameras in the future.
Another cool innovation on display was a network camera with a new ultra-telephoto lens that achieves eight times the brightness of conventional lenses, making night filming possible for the first time without the need for infrared lighting. Thanks to an exceptionally high ISO level and a lens with a focal length of more than 600mm, the high-sensitivity network camera is equipped with a fast high-magnification lens capable of long-range colour image capture even at night, making it possible to view subjects that the naked eye would have trouble seeing.
This works via a combination of the large-aperture lens with a high-sensitivity sensor and high-performance image processor which means that the colour recognition of a subject's face can be processed at a distance of 100m in dark environments with just 0.08 lux of illumination, roughly equivalent to moonlight.
We tested this in a dark room at the conference with the camera set up on a tripod pointing towards a mock-up of a small town, and were able to see it in great detail through the lens finder, as though it was being shot in daylight even when the room appeared to be completely blacked out.
Canon has plans to commercialise it in 2016, and said that, in addition to the monitoring of natural disasters involving rivers or bays, for example, the ultra-telephoto lens will be well suited for applications such as urban surveillance from the rooftops of buildings and identifying vehicle licence plates not only during the day but when night surveillance is required.
Canon also previewed its latest range of ultra-high definition imaging technologies at Expo 2015, including 8K cameras, displays and projector demonstrations, and we have to say we were pretty blown away by it.
The ultra-high definition tech made up quite a hefty part of the conference. We saw a variety of innovations in state-of-the-art imaging, including an 8K screening comprising a variety of high-adrenaline scenes filmed with 8K cameras, including train and rollercoaster POVs. We were in awe at the sheer detail captured in these images.
A concept called Intelligent Imaging for Life was also showed off, a tech Canon has created to allow people to share and print photos from an interactive table in the living room, so a family can find photos and share memories as easily as placing an object on the table.
These future imaging concept demonstrations weren't showcasing what Canon is planning to build into its consumer or professional cameras anytime soon, but it was the firm's chance to tell audiences what is possible, what it thinks will be the next big thing and how cool it is.
But as well as being a chance to show off what the firm's been cooking up in the labs in Tokyo for the past five years, Canon also used the event as a platform to announce that it is joining several technology companies in attempting to take on the Internet of Things through what the firm calls "the imaging of things".
Speaking in a keynote, Canon CEO Fujio Mitarai talked up the firm's global vision for the future as the IoT becomes more pervasive, revealing plans to overhaul Canon's business structure to build a network of smaller companies and thus create an "ecosystem of innovation". µ
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