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Canon launches MS-500, the world’s first¹ ultra-high-sensitivity camera equipped with SPAD sensor used for colour video filming

8th August 2023

This camera supports advanced surveillance through clear video capture

MS-500 with approx. 3.2 megapixels  1” SPAD sensor

Sydney, AUSTRALIA – 8 August 2023: Canon Australia today announces MS-500, the world’s first ultra-high-sensitivity interchangeable-lens camera (ILC) equipped with a 1.0 inch Single Photon Avalanche Diode (SPAD) sensor featuring a pixel count of 3.2 megapixels2.

In areas that need critical infrastructure protection or with extremely high security levels, such as seaports, public infrastructure facilities and national borders, high-precision monitoring systems are required to accurately capture objects day and night.

SPAD sensors employ a technology known as "photon counting", in which light particles (photons) that enter each individual pixel are counted. When even a single photon enters a pixel, it is instantly amplified approximately 1 million times and as an output for an electrical signal. Every single one of these photons can be digitally counted, thus making possible zero-noise during signal readout. As a result of SPAD sensor technology, the MS-500 camera will be able to operate in night-time environments without ambient starlight3 and is capable of accurately detecting subjects and capturing colour images with a minimum subject illumination of 0.001 lux4.

The MS-500 camera employs the bayonet lens mount5 (based on BTA S-1005B standards) which is widely used in the broadcast lens industry. When paired with Canon’s extensive range of broadcast lenses6 designed for super-telephoto image capture, the MS-500 is capable of accurately capturing subjects in extreme low-light environments, even from great distances. For example, the camera may be used for night-time monitoring of seaports thanks to its ability to spot vessels that are up to several kilometers away.

Ultra-telephoto capabilities of Canon broadcast lenses allow viewing of distant objects, Lens used: CJ45ex13.6B IASE-V H
Ultra-telephoto capabilities of Canon broadcast lenses allow viewing of distant objects
(left image’s red circle) Lens used: CJ45ex13.6B IASE-V H

In night monitoring and long-range surveillance, the effect of noise and atmospheric shaking, particularly in dark environments, may cause problems within the clarity of the video. To capture sharp, highly visible image with suppressed noise, ME-500 features "CrispImg2" custom picture function with optimally preset sharpness, gamma curve and noise reduction settings. The camera is also equipped with several compensation functions to adjust the image depending on the scene and to raise visibility of the subject. The Haze Compensation function aims to reduce the effects of haze and mist, correcting video contrast automatically to show the subjects more clearly, and the Smart Shade Control7 helps to brightly correct dark areas for better visibility or adjusts exposure in backlit scenes to reduce blown highlights.

By strengthening the ultra-high-sensitivity camera line-up, which also includes the ME20, Canon helps to meet a variety of imaging needs in the advanced surveillance market.

The MS-500 will be available in Australia from September 2023. For sales enquiries, please contact Canon via Enquiry form.

1 Among cameras used for colour video shooting. Based on Canon research as of July 31, 2023.

2 Total pixel count on the SPAD sensor is 3.2 million pixels. Approx. 2.1 million effective pixels.

3 Ambient starlight is equivalent to approximately 0.02 lux. A night-time environment with no ambient starlight is equivalent to approximately 0.007 lux.

4 Minimum subject illumination 0.001 lux requires the following conditions: Colour (night mode), no light accumulation, f/1.4 equivalent, shutter speed 1/30 second, 50IRE, maximum gain.

5 Mount is supplied with the Canon MS-500.

6 Broadcast lenses sold separately to the Canon MS-500.

7 “Smart Shade Control” and “Haze Compensation” cannot be used together.

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