While Canon spells out that this new sensor is for low light capable video, there are a couple of indicators that we are going to shortly - probably within the next 2 years - see a huge leap forward in low level noise in low light on a DSLR camera. Now before all of the Nikonians start freaking out and vowing to jump ship, with an announcement this early, Nikon and and all of the rest have the opportunity to start trying to usurp as much of this technology as they can.
Here's how it works:
Light is gathered by pixels lined up on on the sensor. The larger the pixel, the more light that can be gathered. So why not just make sensors featuring larger pixels? Because then we would be back to sensors that were 8 to 12 megapixels. The photographic community would pitch little hissy fits like three year olds that had their cookies stolen. Secondly, the larger you make the sensor, the more noise that is generated. That would make all the wedding photographers cry like three year olds... Well you get the picture.
Canon developed an additional piece of technology that effectively lowers that noise at very significant levels.
So, while they label this as awesome video technology for low light video cameras, you can bet we are going to see that noise reduction technology flow down hill to the DSLR line up. Especially when you learn that the prototype sensor is in 35mm format... If that wasn't a shot across the bow of their competitors, I don't know what is.
Below is a video showing you just how amazing this is. The first part contains some star shooting, and if you are in to that sort of thing, it will mean something. But when all of you wedding shooters get about 55 seconds in, prepare to have your socks knocked off.