Look! Up in the sky! It's letters on a plane read with a 250MP camera

Canon's experimental snapper shoots 19,580 x 12,600, makes text readable at 18km range

Canon's 250 megapixel CMOS sensor

Canon says it's developed a 250-megapixel CMOS sensor that shoots at 19,580 x 12,600 pixels and captures so much information it “was able to capture images enabling the distinguishing of lettering on the side of an airplane flying at a distance of approximately 18 km from the shooting location.”

That trick was pulled off by using “a combination of optical and digital zooming while distinguishing of image content was realized through the magnification of an approximately 1/40,000th-sized area of the captured image.” Even so, it's an impressive feat, if only for plane-spotters.

Just don't shoot video with the sensor unless you can put up with the mere five frames per second Canon's achieved to date. When it did so, the firm says it achieved “approximately 30 times that of 4K video.”

The sensor's destined for use in industrial equipment long before it reaches a camera Reg readers will be able to take home and play with. Canon thinks likely applications include “specialized surveillance and crime prevention tools” and “ultra-high-resolution measuring instruments”, plus “the field of visual expression.” The latter suggests all sorts of artsy applications. Readers of The Reg's mobile site or apps can see the sensor here. ®

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