Canon's 250-megapixel sensor can read the side of a plane 18km away

A camera using the CMOS sensor could shoot video at 125 times the resolution of Full HD.

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Image: Canon

And you thought 12 megapixels on a camera was pretty good? Canon has developed a 250-megapixel sensor that could fit inside a DSLR.

The APS-H-size (29.2 x 20.2 mm) CMOS sensor incorporates approximately 250 million pixels (19,580 x 12,600) - the largest number of pixels crammed into a CMOS sensor smaller than a 35mm full-frame sensor, according to Canon.

The sensor is able to capture images so detailed that it would allow you to see the lettering on the side of an airplane flying 18km from the camera, Canon said.

With such sensors, increases in pixel counts result in a larger signal volume, which can cause problems such as signal delays and slight discrepancies in timing. But Canon said its CMOS sensor manages a signal readout speed of 1.25 billion pixels per second. This means it can capture "ultra-high-pixel-count" video at a speed of five frames per second.

A camera outfitted with the sensor can shoot video at around 125 times the resolution of full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) video and about 30 times that of 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) video.

It's a good example of the state of the art, but don't expect to see this sensor appearing in your DSLR (or your smartphone) anytime soon: Canon said the sensor could be used in specialized surveillance and crime prevention tools or ultra-high-resolution measuring instruments and other industrial equipment.

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