Shooting Video in Extremely Low Light with 4.56 Million ISO

Canon released an incredible low-light video camera that managed to fly completely under the radar – the ME20F-SH Multi-Purpose Camera. That name and a somewhat surprising Full HD resolution in today’s world partially explain why it was a small release.

The ME20F-SH is a unique box camera with a focus on low-light imaging. Insane low-light imaging. It can actually hit a top sensitivity of ISO 4,560,000. That’s over 4 million. Want to see it in action? Filmmaker Dan Mace went hands-on with the ME20F-SH and you should check out the types of shots he captured.

To put things in perspective, the ME20F-SH costs around $20,000 for the body. It is a specialist camera. The core is the full-frame 2.2MP sensor that is extraordinarily optimized for low-light imaging. It has some weird quirks, like how you can only record via an external recorder. Controls are also limited on the body itself. Though it does have a standard EF mount.

Taking the camera out on a shoot you can see that in absolutely zero light you might not get an actually usable image. With just a flashlight from the beach illuminating the surf, they were able to capture images where you can clearly make out details and color. For shoots with an absolute minimum of light it makes things possible.

Image Credit: Canon

The next test is to capture starry skies in real-time. At night, just facing up towards the sky they actually captured a real image of the stars. It looks like a blast to use and reminds me a bit of when the original a7S was released. This takes that up a notch.

Footage isn’t absolutely perfect and obviously this still isn’t a camera for most productions. It is designed for scientific work or even highly specialized documentaries. It means there are now moments where you just couldn’t do anything are now actually able to be captured.

What would you shoot if you had some time to spend with this camera?

[source: Dan Mace]

Order Links:

  • Canon ME20F-SH Multi-Purpose Camera (B&H)

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