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Canon's new $30,000 video camera can see where you can't

Edgar Alvarez, @abcdedgar
July 30, 2015
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Canon is already competing with the Arri Alexa and Red cameras of the world, but it's about to take this one step further. Meet the ME20F-SH, a high-end video shooter that features a sleek, subtle and somewhat compact design. Most importantly, Canon's new camera can deliver an ISO equivalent of more than 4 million, instantly making it a prime option for people who need to capture footage in super-dark settings -- like a moonless night sky. The company believes its ME20F-SH is also great for production companies making films, reality television and documentaries. However, there are some limitations here. It only does 1080p, for one, which doesn't bode well in terms of being future-proof -- Canon says that had to be done to "achieve the highest possible low-light sensitivity," which would otherwise be reduced if it went with a higher resolution and, consequently, smaller photosites.

Gallery: Canon ME20F-SH press images | 4 Photos

Speaking of which, the ME20F-SH's full-frame 35mm CMOS sensor is what makes it special (and quite expensive). The photosites inside the camera are over five times bigger (19 microns square) than those on some of the best interchangeable lens cameras from Canon and other companies, while a mixture of other proprietary tech is what allows this to capture subjects in even the dimmest lighting conditions. As expected, you'll find support for 3G/HD-SDI and HDMI (output-only), 2.5 and 3.5mm stereo mic jacks, plus an eight-pin RS-422 port -- these will let you pair video- and audio-monitoring accessories to the camera.

Interested? You're going to have to wait until December to buy it, but that should give you enough time to save up for the $30,000 (MSRP) body. Fortunately, the ME20F-SH does have an EF mount and thus won't require all-new lenses to do its magic.

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