Canon 4 Million ISO Full-Frame Video



Canon’s current catchphrase is “See Impossible.” Here’s a camera that could be called “C-Impossible” — a companion to the C300/100/500 for low-light, no-light, and night cinematography.

It’s officially named ME20F-SH, which hints at the camera’s roots in surveillance and night vision. It was revealed discreetly in a blacked-out whisper room at ISC Security & Safety Expo right after NAB– showing in full color what the human eye couldn’t see. No more grainy green night vision. The images from this camera are amazing.

The camera aims at fulfilling Canon Managing Director Mr. Maeda’s vision of filming a black crow on a moonless night.

Canon’s C-Impossible Camera shoots Full HD 1080p video with 3G HD-SDI and HDMI connectors for external recording.  It has a full frame 20×36 mm CMOS sensor with 2.26 million pixels. Each pixel is 19 microns. (Current Cine cameras have pixels ranging from 3 to 8 microns. Nikon D810 =4. 88 μm, Sony a7S=8.4 μm, and Canon EOS-1D X=6.94 μm.)

With low light sensitivity of .0005 lux (at maximum 75 db gain) that’s equivalent to 4 million ISO. There are two internal, motorized ND filters, and you can use the camera for standard daylight shooting at 800 ISO.

The mount is a ruggedized Canon EF mount with mechanical PL-style lock similar to the one on the C500.



Opportunities abound. Imagine EXT. CAR CHASE – NIGHT on the unlit roads around Moab, Utah. Your prop department will probably want to spray the car headlights with Streaks ‘n Tips or wire an in-line dimmer to keep them from being too bright.

Underwater cinematography will reveal new images in deeper, darker depths.

Weighing only 2.4 lb and the size of a RED or Alexa Mini, imagine aerial drone night footage.

Canon tests show starfields, night-time landscapes, and scary dark deserted cityscapes almost as bright as day.

Wildlife Producers and Cinematographers are undoubtedly besieging and beseeching Canon to get their paws on the first cameras.

Cost is estimated at $30,000 and delivery expected by end of this year.

Canon’s Press Release online.




Product name

FDTimes Nickname

ME20F-SH Multi-purpose Camera


Image sensor 35mm full-frame CMOS sensor,

effective pixel count: approx. 2.26 million pixels

Minimum subject illumination Less than 0.0005 lux (at maximum 75 dB gain setting, equivalent to an ISO sensitivity of over 4 million)
Pixel Pitch 19 Microns
Lens mount Canon EF mount (Cinema Lock type)
Optical filters ND filter with two density levels (motorized manual / auto)

IR cut filter (motorized manual)

Frame rates 59.94P / 59.94i / 50.00P / 50.00i / 29.97P / 25.00P / 23.98P
Gamma Canon Log, Wide DR, etc.
Video output terminals 3G / HD-SDI BNC jack (output only)

Terminal count: 2

1080P / 1080i / 720P

HDMI HDMI connector (output only)
Genlock terminal BNC jack (input only)
Remote terminal φ2.5mm stereo mini-mini-jack (Canon-proprietary protocol)

Round 8-pin jack (for RS-422, Canon-proprietary protocol)

Microphone terminal φ3.5mm stereo mini-jack
Autofocus One-shot AF
Auto-exposure Combined interlocking (iris / gain / ND / shutter)
White balance AWB, color-temperature setting (setting range: 2000 to 15000 degrees Kelvin), natural light, light bulb, Setting A, Setting B
Digital teleconverter 2x, 4x
Power input 4-pin XLR DC11-17V

Terminal block 2-pin jack DC11-17V

Operating temperature 32 degrees F (0 degrees C) to 104 degrees F (40 degrees C)
Body dimensions Approx. 4 inches (102mm) (w) x 4.5 inches (116mm) (h) x 4.4 inches (113mm) (d) (excluding protrusions)
Weight Approx. 2.4 lb (1.1 kg) (body only)


Leave a Comment

2 Responses:

  1. Danys BRUYERE says:

    Too bad it is not sharp enough for widescreen applications… Should have been 1M ISO at 4K rather than 4M ISO at 2K…
    The stills are very noisy. Have you seen the videos?
    Is this useable or a ++ security camera?

  2. Jeff Kreines says:

    Global or rolling shutter?

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