Canon to roll out 11 million pixel digital still camera

Canon Inc. will commercialize an 11 million pixel SLR (single lens reflex) digital still camera for high-end users in November, the company announced Tuesday.

The EOS-1Ds uses a new CMOS image sensor Canon developed, the company said in a statement. CMOS sensors consume one-eighth the power consumed by CCD (charge-coupled device) sensors with a comparable number of pixels, he said. CCDs are another type of sensor commonly used for digital still cameras.

Until now, CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) image sensors, the part of a digital camera that records photons of light and changes those into electric signals, had a maximum size of 6.3 million pixels.

Canon was able to increase the CMOS sensor size by 2.5 to 3 times and make it the same size as a 35-millimeter roll film frame using a technology that enables it to accurately etch circuitry on a sensor in three steps. Sensor size had been limited to smaller than the frame size of 35-millimeter roll film because the entire circuitry had to be etched at once, a Canon spokesman said.

The size difference creates apparent changes in focal length when putting a lens for a roll film camera on a digital still camera, the Canon spokesman said. This especially hinders professional photographers, he said.

"For example, when a 50 millimeter lens is put on a conventional SLR digital still camera, it becomes the equivalent of about a 60 something millimeter lens. Although it is not a big difference for low-end users, for professional photographers, image angle differences are fatal," he said.

Canon also added a second channel to read data from the sensor, so although it has 1.8 times more pixels as existing sensors, it can still capture three frames per second, just like an existing digital still camera such as Canon's D-60, the spokesman said.

CMOS sensors consume one-eighth the power consumed by CCD (charge-coupled device) sensors with a comparable number of pixels, he said. CCDs are another type of sensor commonly used for digital still cameras.

The EOS-1Ds, targeted at professional studio photographers, is expected to be in stores towards the end of November for about ¥950,000 (US$7,663) in Japan, Europe and the North America. The product is to be unveiled at the Fotokina 2002 photography show in Cologne, Germany, Sept. 25 to 30.

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