Recording video in the dark often requires a supplementary IR light to be possible, with such small pin-pricks of light as fireflies being invisible in the dark to most camera sensors. Canon has successfully recorded the tiny glowing insects, however, using a full-frame 35mm high-sensitivity CMOS sensor that it had announced back in March of this year.
The work was done in Tokyo, where Canon used its relatively new 35mm full-frame CMOS sensor to record a high-definition video of Yaeyama-hime fireflies in the jungle. The success of the project was two-fold, in one part being possible with the high-sensitivity sensor, but also in part by the use of a new pixel and readout circuity tech that keeps noise levels low, something that is a common problem with recording in the dark.
The camera used to record the video was a prototype with the sensor on board, and the recording was performed on Ishigaki Island, one of Japan’s islands, in the mountains after sunset. Canon says that no artificial lighting of any type was used during the recording, and that the darkness was rated at less than 0.01 lux, a level of darkness that would make it difficult for the human eye to easily discern objects in the environment.
Not surprisingly, Canon says that it aims to use this sensor in crime-prevention and surveillance devices, as well as helping to aid in medical research activities. As for the video of the fireflies, it will be provided to relevant bodies to help aid in research regarding the species. You can check out a video of the recording session by heading over to Canon’s website at the link below.