Canon has released the ME20F-SH, an industrial, full HD interchangeable lens camera which will bear a hefty price tag of $30,000.
The camera could very well be worth its price to certain professionals though, as the ME20F-SH is capable of capturing video in extremely low light situations.
The camera can capture video even with lower than 0.0005 lux levels of illumination, translating to an ISO sensitivity of over 4,000,000. For comparison, the latest DSLR models are not even able to reach ISO sensitivity levels of 100,000.
The ME20F-SH is a production camera that has been designed for uses such as surveillance and security during the night. In fact, the camera does not resemble any of Canon's previously released equipment, as its cube shape makes it resemble a security camera more than anything else. The ME20F-SH does not even feature an LCD screen, and uses CMOS sensors as opposed to the CCD sensors usually found in security cameras.
However, the ME20F-SH could also have applications in film production, when footage is required to be shot in situations that have extremely low light such as wildlife and nature videos and reality TV. Current night-vision videos taken for these situations give a green tint on the video, or make the video black and white. The ME20F-SH will be able to take these shots in full color, which will open up numerous possibilities for cinematic recordings.
The 35mm full-frame CMOS sensor that the ME20F-SH uses for recording full HD video was originally developed by Canon back in 2013. At 2.26MP, the camera is not optimized for taking still pictures, as it was designed to only take videos at Full HD 1080, up to 60p.
Each pixel of the videos that the ME20F-SH takes measures 19 microns, which is bigger by 7.5 times compared to the pixels found when using the EOS 1Dx DSLR of Canon. Pixel noise is a challenging limitation for high-sensitivity material such as the low-light videos to be taken by the camera, but Canon said that it is using proprietary technologies within the ME20F-SH's sensor and readout circuitry to reduce noise. While the noise will not be completely absent, it will be at a controlled level.
The front of the camera has an EF mount with a cinema lock, with the mount itself rotating to lock in lens for easier swapping of lenses. The ME20F-SH also has the Wide DR and Canon Log features used for film production, and the camera comes with 3G/HD-SDI and HDMI ports.
The camera will be released to the market by December.