It seems Canon has made another visit to the Japanese patent office by submitting two new applications that would see a new HDR design for its camera sensors.
Just last week we wrote about Canon's new patent application for a tilting viewfinder, which would introduce a tilting EVF to the best Canon cameras. Canon has now submitted two new patent applications that will see a new configuration of its sensors, improving the dynamic range.
It is not specified which cameras the sensors in question would belong to, as there are several different camera types where improved HDR capabilities would be beneficial. Although, Canon outlines in its patent that the new sensor arrangement would provide 'an expanded dynamic range for use in car cameras, security cameras, etc'. Although these are the outlined areas of use, the technology may one day be implemented by its photography cameras, as is often the case when developing new technology.
The patents have been examined by Canon Rumors, who has provided a more digestible description of the patent's technical contents. The first of the patents (JP 2023-176918) shows the most normal-looking pixel arrangement of the two, with 'each pixel split into areas of high and low sensitivity to increase the sensor's overall dynamic range'. It also shows dual-pixel autofocus (DPAF), and Canon Rumours states "The purpose of this patent application is to provide low-cost manufacturing of HDR imaging sensors with DPAF".
The second patent application (JP 2023-174479) is where the new HDR capabilities would come into play. The patent diagram shows, a modern and distinctive sensor arrangement depicting two elongated subpixels surrounding the main pixel. Canon Rumors states "The interesting part of this patent application is that unlike most HDR sensor applications, which show two different sub-pixel sensitivities, in this case, Canon illustrates all three sub-pixels as having different sensitivities." The improved pixel sensitivity would mean an expanded dynamic range across the pixel.
Canon continues to develop and push the boundaries of sensor development, not just across its photographic lineup, but over other areas where cameras are used. Automotive cameras are an area where, thanks to driverless cars and auto drive modes, a high HDR camera is a necessity. This is similar to sensor development from companies such as Sony and Samsung, where they are used in anything from the best camera phone to the best dashcam.
Who knows, maybe we were on the right track when we asked ' Is Canon going to make a phone?'.
Story credit: Canon Rumors