Canon has announced a new CMOS sensor today that it claims is the world's largest CMOS image sensor. The sensor measures 202 x 205mm and only one of them can be made from a 12-inch (300mm) silicon wafer. The large size of the sensor allows it to gather much more light than competing CMOS sensors.
The new sensor is 40 times larger than the largest commercial CMOS sensor that Canon offers right now. As a result, it can pick up much more light than other sensors currently used in professional level D-SLR cameras. In fact, Canon claims that the new sensor is able to capture images in light one one-hundredth of the amount required by pro level cameras today.
The new sensor is also capable of recording video in very low light conditions thanks to a new circuit design that allows for high-speed readout. The new circuit design allows the sensor to be used to record 60 frames per second video with as little as 0.3 lux of illumination. To put that 0.3-lux number in perspective, that is about half the brightness of a moonlit night. Canon expects the new sensor design to be used to make video of stars and nocturnal animals as well as still images in low light conditions.
Canon also recently unveiled a new 120-megapixel CMOS sensor.