Canon ME20F-SH

Canon has announced the new ME20F-SH video camera for extreme low light photography. The main selling point here is the ultra high sensitivity sensor that can shoot with a minimum subject illumination of less than 0.0005 lux at maximum 75 dB gain setting, equivalent to an ISO sensitivity of over 4,000,000. Previously this kind of low light recording would have required an infrared illumination, which can only record in black and white but the ME20F-SH can do full color recording.


Making this possible is a 2.26 megapixel full frame CMOS sensor. While the resolution might seem low, the sensor is as big as on a DSLR, which means the pixel size is 19μm square, which is more than 5.5 times the surface area of EOS-1D X sensor pixel, allowing it to capture way more light.


The ME20F-SH can record videos in 1080p resolution up to 60fps, has Canon Log and Wide DR modes for a flatter profile and wider dynamic range while shooting, EF mount for support for Canon's EF lenses, built-in neutral density and IR filters that can be disabled, 3G/HD-SDI and HDMI outputs to connect to an external monitor or recorders (the camera has no built-in display or memory as is often common for high-end video cameras), Canon's proprietary 2.5mm stereo mini-mini-jack and round 8-pin RS-422 jack for remote terminal, 3.5mm stereo microphone jack, and 4-pin XLR DC11-17V power input. There is also a microSD card slot solely for firmware upgrades.

The Canon ME20F-SH will go on sale in December 2015 for a suggested retail price of $30,000. The camera will be ideal for those recording in extremely low light situations, such as for night time wildlife shooting, or astrophotography, and other scenarios where light would be a luxury.

Product name

ME20F-SH Multi-purpose Camera

Image sensor

35mm full-frame CMOS sensor (single), effective pixel count: approx. 2.26 million pixels

Minimum subject illumination

Less than 0.0005 lux (at maximum 75 dB gain setting, equivalent to an ISO sensitivity of over four million)

Pixel Pitch

19 Microns

Lens mount

Canon EF mount (Cinema Lock type)

Optical filters

ND filter with two density levels (motorized manual / auto) IR cut filter (motorized manual)

Frame rates

59.94P / 59.94i / 50.00P / 50.00i / 29.97P / 25.00P / 23.98P


Canon Log, Wide DR, etc.

Video output terminals


BNC jack (output only) Terminal count: 2 

1080P / 1080i / 720P


HDMI connector (output only)

Genlock terminal

BNC jack (input only)

Remote terminal

φ2.5mm stereo mini-mini-jack (Canon-proprietary protocol)

Round 8-pin jack (for RS-422, Canon-proprietary protocol)

Microphone terminal

φ3.5mm stereo mini-jack


One-shot AF


Combined interlocking (iris / gain / ND / shutter)

White balance

AWB, color-temperature setting (setting range: 2000 to 15000 degrees Kelvin), natural light, light bulb, Setting A, Setting B

Digital teleconverter

2x, 4x

Power input

4-pin XLR DC11-17V

Terminal block 2-pin jack DC11-17V

Operating temperature

32 degrees F (0 degrees C) to 104 degrees F (40 degrees C)

Body dimensions

Approx. 4 inches (102mm) (w) x 4.5 inches (116mm) (h) x 4.4 inches (113mm) (d) (excluding protrusions)


Approx. 2.4 lbs (1.1 kg) (body only)

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