Canon announces 4.5 MILLION ISO (!!!) camera with 164fps video

Canon announces 4.5 MILLION ISO (!!!) camera with 164fps video
(Image credit: Canon)

Think your camera has good ISO performance? Well, there's good and there's really good – and Canon has announced two new cameras that definitely fall into the latter category, with astonishing 4.5 million ISO performance.

The Canon ML-100 and Canon ML-105 are a pair of new multipurpose modular cameras, designed for industry use where capturing video in incredibly low light conditions is crucial. 

• Read more: Best Canon cameras

To this end, both cameras can capture color full-color 1080p video with illumination of less than 0.0005 lux (at maximum 75 dB gain setting), which is equivalent to a sensitivity in excess of ISO4,500,000. 

These aren't the kinds of cameras intended for vlogging or videography, though; with their ability to record color low-light images, these machine vision cameras are employed in industrial system design where seeing color images during day and night is paramount.

Both the Canon ML-100 and ML-105 feature next-generation 19um full-frame CMOS sensors. And while not designed for consumer use, you can be sure that all the extensive sensor research – such as the recent Canon 250MP sensor – feeds back into the manufacturer's development of more mainstream bodies. 

Indeed, earlier this year Canon won an Emmy Award for its 4 million ISO camera – another multifunction system, the Canon ME20F-SH – so these advancements in niche industry cameras definitely informs the broader technology that we enjoy in other cameras (maybe one day Canon will give us a camera to rival the Nikon D6, which has a sensitivity of ISO 3.28 million!).

The Canon ML-100 possesses a CoaXpress terminal, delivering 12-bit RAW video at up to 73fps, with 2.74 million pixels of maximum video output and Region of Interest support – which can push the frame-rate to 164fps at 720p. 

The ML-105 camera, meanwhile, has a 3G / HD-SDI terminal for standard video environments. It can output YCC 4:2:2 10-bit output in 1080p resolution at 60fps, powered by Canon's Digic DV4 image processor. 

Both cameras can be obtained with either a Canon EF or M58 mount. The Canon ML-100 with M58 mount will be available at the end of December, while the EF version and both Canon ML-105 options will be available in April 2021. 

Read more: 

What is ISO? Making sense of sensitivity in photography
Nikon D6 review
10 low light portrait tips: Take beautifully neon-lit photographs at night
Low light photography: shoot seasonal portraits and holiday headshots

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.