As we often tell you here at Stuff, it’s silly to conflate the amount of megapixels on a camera’s sensor with its image quality. There are so many factors at play that–– wait, what? Is that a 250MP sensor!??
Yes, if we’re talking about the megapixel wars still being a thing, Canon has decided to unleash the nuclear option. The company has developed a CMOS camera sensor with approximately 250 million pixels - or a resolution of 19,580 x 12,600 to be precise.
Amazingly, it’s all crammed into a device that’s smaller, physically, than the 35mm full-frame sensor of Canon’s 5D Mark III DSLR: 29.2 x 20.2mm. Canon calls this sensor size APS-H.
A prototype camera using the 250MP sensor
So what can this sensor do? Well, it records video at a resolution 125 times higher and full HD and 30 times higher than 4K. And a shot taken of an airplane 18km away with it was sharp enough that you could clearly read the lettering on the plane’s fuselage.
That’s all very impressive, but no doubt you’re wondering what the potential uses for such a sensor might be. Canon itself sees it finding a home in surveillance and crime prevention equipment (Big Brother’s small sensor, anyone?), high resolution measuring instruments and industrial equipment (zzzzz), and “the field of visual expression”, by which we think they mean “art”. In short, don’t expect the APS-H sensor, small as it is, to make an appearance in a consumer camera any time soon.