Canon’s new security-focused ‘SPAD’ camera can record color video in complete darkness

Canon just has revealed the MS-500, an unusual model that is one of the most sensitive non-infrared cameras ever developed. It uses the highest-resolution 1-inch single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) sensor yet (3.2 megapixels) and an interchangeable lens mount that allows clear color shots in light as low as 0.001 lux, according to Canon — less than a clear moonless sky .

The MS-500 uses Canon’s B4 mount, which supports its broadcast zoom lenses, and is priced at over $25,000 for the body alone. It is designed to operate in “areas with extremely high security levels, such as ports, public infrastructure facilities and national borders,” the company said. When married to Canon’s ultra-telephoto broadcast lenses, it can capture “clear color videos of subjects miles away, even at night.” It also uses special image profiles to reduce noise caused by atmospheric disturbances over long distances.

Canon's new 'SPAD' camera can take high-quality color images with almost no light


So why should you care about a $25,000+ security camera? The answer lies in the SPAD sensor, which promises the future of consumer and professional imaging. It uses a technology called photocounting, which tracks particles of light entering a pixel, magnifies them a million times and converts them into a digital signal. Every single photon is counted, eliminating the introduction of any noise—”an important advantage of SPAD sensors,” Canon noted.

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