Camera maker Canon recently announced what is by far the largest CMOS image sensor ever made, measuring 202mm x 205mm (8 inches x 8.1 inches). To put that in perspective, that's about 40 times the size (by sensor area) of Canon's next-largest CMOS sensor, the 35mm-sized (36mm x 24mm) sensor in the top-line Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III and EOS 5D Mark II digital SLRs.
The giant new sensor is also extremely sensitive and capable of extremely fast read-outs, which in turn allows it to shoot video images at high frame rates in very low light. Canon claims the ability to shoot video at 60 frames per second at light levels of 0.3 lux, which means it could easily shoot very good quality, extremely high resolution video in very low light.
Astronomers will likely be among the first to use them as sensors for sky surveys where the requirement is for a sensor that can cover a relatively large area of sky while still maintaining high resolution. Aerial mapping, forest and geological surveys, sky surveillance, ground-based satellite tracking, and other such very specialized uses will likely be where these sensors are used.
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Image sensor announcement from Canon