Canon Europe is developing a 250-million-pixel imaging sensor designed to be capable of distinguishing the lettering on the side of a plane around 11 miles (18km) away.

A camera prototype equipped with the newly developed CMOS sensor (shown with EF 35mm f/1.4 USM lens)

Canon trumpets the APS-H-size sensor as having the world’s largest number of pixels for a CMOS sensor smaller than 35mm full-frame.

It hopes the technology can be used in surveillance cameras and other industrial equipment.

In a statement, Canon said: ‘With CMOS sensors, increases in pixel counts result in increased signal volume, which can cause such problems as signal delays and slight discrepancies in timing.

‘The new Canon-developed CMOS sensor, however, despite its exceptionally high pixel count, achieves an ultra-high signal readout speed of 1.25 billion pixels per second, made possible through such advancements as circuit miniaturisation and enhanced signal-processing technology.

‘Accordingly, the sensor enables the capture of ultra-high-pixel-count video at a speed of five frames per second.’

Canon claims the sensor combines high sensitivity with low noise.

It added: ‘The exceptionally high definition made possible by the sensor lets users crop and magnify video images without sacrificing image resolution and clarity.’

CMOS Sensor.web

The Canon-developed [approximately] 250-megapixel CMOS sensor