Today, Canon announced their new, much-anticipated Cinema EOS C300 video camera. Not long ago, we got a sneak peek; some of its key features are a Super 35mm size sensor, 12-stops of dynamic range, on-board 50 Mbps recording to CF cards and HD-SDI outputs. The camera comes in two versions, one with a Canon EF mount and the other with a PL mount. The sensor is 4K (3840 x 2160) in resolution, with a unique color pattern that produces a very clean 1920×1080 signal. From our brief testing of the camera, we could find no rolling shutter artifacts, moire issues, or other problems found on HDSLR camera sensors. The sensor has a native ISO of 850 and produces a clean signal all the way up to 20,000 ISO, giving amazing low light performance. And in the case that you have too much light, the camera also has built in ND filters.
The body of the camera is something in-between a video camera and an SLR. It is light, compact and designed to be handheld, with a detachable hand grip that can control the camera. The unique design is very easy to hand hold, and I was impressed by how light the cameras was. The camera’s 4″ LCD screen and audio interfaces are also detachable. The LCD screen attachment can be positioned in many different locations and rotated for better viewing. It also features full menu control, audio control and two XLR inputs. The LCD unit connects to the camera with two cables, giving it a lot of placement flexibility. The rear of the camera also has a small LCD panel, which features camera status info such as frame rate, shutter and ISO. Dials on the back of the camera and hand grip can quickly switch through these settings.
The camera has two CF cards slots and records in the same format as the XF305 and 105 cameras. This is a 50 Mbps 422 8-bit MPEG2 compression. Video can be recorded to either card, or both at the same time for redundant recording. Video resolutions and frame rates include 1920×1080 at 23.98p, 29.97p and 59.94i fps. Additionally, a true 24p mode is available for those doing film outputs. In 1280×720 mode, frame rates from 1-60p are also available for slow motion. All of these signals can be sent out over HD-SDI or HDMI, which gives you an uncompressed 8-bit signal. The camera also has genlock, timcode, and LANC connections for multi-cam operation and remote control. A WiFi port is also available, and with an additional accessory you can control the camera with a tablet.
Internally, the camera has a host of impressive functions including full painting controls for scene files. Many different gamma modes are available including one that matches Canon’s HDSLR cameras, as well as a Canon Log mode for the most dynamic range (learn more about Canon Log here). Setting can be saved to an SD card, and moved between cameras. A waveform and vector scope are also built in for adjusting exposure and color.
Canon also has announced several new lenses that are geared for cinema use. These lenses have the same wide aperture as found in Canon’s L series still lenses, and will also come in their EF lens mount. They feature the smooth gearing that cinematographer demand for pulling focus and iris. Here are the three lenses announced, note the low T stop:
- Canon Prime Lens 24mm T1.5
- Canon Prime Lens 50mm T1.3
- Canon Prime Lens 85mm T1.3
Canon’s zoom lenses announced at NAB will also be made available in EF mount. The zooms go from 14.5-60mm T2.6 and 30-300mm T2.95-T3.7 and should be available in the first quarter of next year.
The C300 is the first camera in Canon’s new Cinema EOS line, and I am excited to see what follows. The C300 EF and PL should be available in January with a list price around $20,000. More details will be posted on this blog in the future, and also check out Canon’s new Cinema EOS site.