NAB 1: The 4k exposition continues…4k Canon DSLR and the C500


I will try and do a few blog posts here at NAB…It’s a few days before we start but we are off!

Another day, another couple of cameras announced…well it seems that way!

Hot on the heels of the very competitively priced Sony FS700, which should go for around £6k plus tax in England, comes the Canon 4K DSLR AKA the  EOS 1D-C and a sneak peak at the C500…

The 4k DSLR has been much rumoured for some time, and the C500…well a lot of people have complained about the C300 being just 1080p. Well the C500 is capable of 4k with an external recorder. Here is the official press release…slightly shortened by me! 🙂

The most important info is at the bottom of my post. Do not miss that. It explains how much we need 4k! 🙂


Newest Addition to the Canon Cinema EOS Product Line Combines the Convenient Form Factor of a Digital SLR Camera with Full HD and 4K Video Recording up to 4096 x 2160-Pixel Resolution

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., April 12, 2012 – Continually advancing the frontiers of digital high-resolution motion-image capture for film, television, and other industries, Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today announced the EOS-1D C digital single-lens reflex (SLR) camera.* Delivering outstanding video performance, the compact, lightweight EOS-1D C provides video recording at 4K (4096 x 2160-pixel) or Full HD (1920 x 1080-pixel) resolution to support high-end motion picture, television production and other advanced imaging applications.

Equipped with an 18.1-megapixel full-frame 24mm x 36mm Canon CMOS sensor, the camera records 8-bit 4:2:2 Motion JPEG 4K video to the camera’s CF memory card at 24 frames-per-second (fps) or Full HD 1920 x 1080 video at selectable frame rates from 24p to 60p, making it possible for next-generation visual expression with even higher image-quality and resolution performance.

“The Canon EOS-1D C digital SLR camera was designed in response to the needs of filmmakers, television producers, and other high-level motion-imaging professionals,” stated Yuichi Ishizuka, executive vice president and general manager, Imaging Technologies & Communications Group, Canon U.S.A. “Not only does it combine 4K and Full HD video capture with a convenient design, its use of dual CF cards also offers an efficient workflow compatible with today’s post-production requirements.”

Creative Control
The Canon EOS-1D C digital SLR camera incorporates Canon Log Gamma to enable the recording of high-quality video with rich gradation expression, making possible the type of impressive image quality required in motion pictures by maximizing both highlight and shadow detail retention while also providing a high level of color-grading freedom. The EOS-1D C’s full-frame 24 x 36mm 18.1-megapixel Canon CMOS sensor makes possible a wide range of creative imaging expression, such as image-blur effects. Additional features include an expanded sensitivity range of up to ISO 25600 for exceptional motion-imaging results with reduced noise even in low-light settings. The camera’s ability to record 8-bit 4:2:2 4K and 8-bit 4:2:0 Full HD video to CF cards eliminates the need for an external recorder and enables workflows with increased mobility. If desired, however, captured video (excluding 4K video) can be output from the camera’s HDMI terminal to an external recorder using an uncompressed YCbCr 8-bit 4:2:2 signal.

4K video is captured by an approximately APS-H-sized portion of the full image sensor, while Full HD video can be captured in the user’s choice of two different imaging formats:

The standard Full HD setting captures the full 36mm width of the CMOS sensor to achieve the largest possible angle of view for any compatible lens.

An optional Super 35 crop setting enables cinematographers to match the industry-standard imaging format and angle of view achieved by traditional motion picture cameras. This enables video footage from the EOS-1D C camera to more closely match the look of footage from other cameras in multi-camera shooting environments.

Other useful video-related features on the EOS-1D C DSLR include a built-in headphone jack for real-time audio monitoring, and the ability to view the camera’s LCD even when the HDMI port is connected to an external monitor. The EOS-1D C camera uses the same LP-E4N battery pack as the EOS-1D X, and it can also be powered by an optional AC Adapter Kit.

The EOS-1D C camera ships with Canon software applications including EOS Utility, which enables various camera settings to be adjusted from a PC, and Picture Style Editor. These two personal computer applications enable users to view the camera’s live output on an external monitor1 and adjust the image in real-time to maximize shooting and post-production efficiencies. The software also ensures no loss of quality for 4K/Motion JPEG and full HD/60p video displayed on the external monitor, and it enables video shot with Canon Log Gamma to be output on the monitor with video gamma applied.

The Canon EOS-1D C digital SLR camera is scheduled to be available within 2012 at a suggested retail price of $15,000.



LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., April 12, 2012 – Canon Inc. is developing two digital cinematography cameras as part of its acclaimed new Cinema EOS System of professional cinematography products. Designated as the Cinema EOS C500* for use with EF-mount lenses, and the Cinema EOS C500 PL* for use with PL-mount lenses, the cameras will be capable of originating 4K (4096 x 2160-pixel) resolution digital motion imagery with uncompressed RAW output for external recording, in response to growing expectations for higher levels of imaging performance in premium Hollywood films and other production markets requiring the utmost in picture quality.

“With the unveiling of our Cinema EOS System last November to great acclaim, Canon marked our full-fledged entry into the motion-picture production market,” stated Yuichi Ishizuka, executive vice president and general manager, Imaging Technologies & Communications Group, Canon U.S.A. “To further serve the needs of Hollywood’s premier filmmakers, Canon is developing the Cinema EOS C500 and Cinema EOS C500 PL digital cinematography cameras, which deliver the added benefit of full 4K motion-image capture to the Cinema EOS System.”

The 4K imaging format is emerging as the new standard for advanced effects and post-production in Hollywood, and it is particularly important for big-budget motion pictures that include scenes compositing live-action cinematography with high-resolution computer-generated imagery. The Cinema EOS C500/C500 PL digital cinematography cameras will not only support 4K-resolution video but also outputs this as a 10-bit uncompressed RAW data stream with no de-Bayering. The cameras offer the additional versatility of being able to output quad full-HD (3840 x 2160), 2K (2048 x 1080), full HD (1920 x 1080), and other imaging options. All of these digital image source formats fully conform to established SMPTE production standards. All 4K formats can be selected to operate from one to 60 frames per second. The cameras employ a 12-bit RGB 4:4:4 signal format during 2K output, which can be selected to operate from one to 60 frames-per-second (fps) as well. If switched to a 10-bit YCrCb 4:2:2 mode, the camera can operate up to 120 fps.

The Cinema EOS C500 simultaneously records in-camera a 50 Mbps HD proxy video to a CF card that is immediately available to support offline editing. Equipped with a newly developed Super 35mm-equivalent approximately 8.85-megapixel CMOS sensor, the cameras will be compatible with Canon’s wide range of interchangeable EF Cinema and PL-mount lenses and EF lenses for Canon SLR cameras. Highly mobile and compact for filmmaking versatility, the Cinema EOS C500/C500 PL digital cinematography cameras – like Canon’s Cinema EOS C300/C300 PL cinematography cameras – provide all of the same ergonomic features, except for the rotating hand grip.

Further details regarding the Cinema EOS C500/C500 PL digital cinematography cameras – including specifications and pricing – have yet to be decided. Plans call for these new products to be launched later this year. In addition to targeting a swift launch of these cameras, Canon will continue to enhance other components of its Cinema EOS System product lineup, which is designed to contribute to the continued advancement of tools for visual expression and the development of cinematic culture.

Canon will display a prototype of the Cinema EOS C500/C500 PL digital cinematography camera at the 2012 NAB Show in booth C4325 at the Las Vegas Convention Center from April 16 to 19.”

So…what do you think? The C500 sounds very interesting. It’s essentially my C300 with a much better output, as it can output 4k raw at up to 60 frames per second to a compatible external recorder. Internally, it looks like it can do up to 60fps in full HD as a “proxy” which I expect will be of similar quality to the C300…just with 1080p instead of 720p at 60fps. Outputting 2K seems to be a 12 bit 444 signal, very nice and if you drop to 10 bit you can output 120fps. From what I can see…and the info is very scarce, that will only be externally for those frame rates.

Both a PL version and EF version will be out. Shame that again there is no single version with a swappable mount like a RED or the F3.

Price…dunno! I am in Vegas now for NAB and I will be going to the launch event on Sunday, so we should know more soon! EDIT: I am hearing between $25k and $30k

The 1DC…a full frame 4k DSLR. Gotta say I am really in two minds about this one. What it has over the C500 is internal 4k record in motion jpeg 8 bit 422 but it seems just at 24p. No word on 25p or anything higher. For higher frame rates, looks like you need to drop to 2k.

Even though it’s full frame it does a windowed super 35mm size for compatibly with cinema lenses that cannot fill a full frame. Actually the 4k video itself is not full frame. It’s APS-H size. About  a 1.3x crop. To get the full frame of the sensor, you need to be in full HD mode.

It’s actually pretty confusing and complicated  so let me break it down…

4k APS-H 8 bit 4:2:2 24p (500 mbps) Motion Jpeg recording

Full HD 1080p 4:2:0 up to 60p (same a mk3, 50p and 60p 180mbps)

An 8 bit stream in full HD can be recorded via the HDMI, yes crappy HDMI only am afraid. No external 4k output is available. Probably mini HDMI and that is NOT a connection I trust. 

Canon Log like the C300 and C500 is on this camera

It also takes stills!!

With a price tag of around $15k it’s an insanely pricey DSLR. The fact that it can record 4k internally is pretty damn sweet, the FS700 cannot do that, only RED cameras can do that and the forthcoming JVC (but that is via 4 streams and it’s a teeny weeny sensor!) But it’s only 24p and I have yet to see footage. That may change on Sunday. I am hoping we will have a 4k projection! But $15k….that’s a lot of wonga for a camera that has no XLRs, SDI, NDs etc etc…it’s a DSLR that shoots 4k video!

As someone who recently forked out a lot of cash for the C300…how do I feel about the C500? Not sure! If the price is close to the C300 then I will be at Canon HQ with pitchforks…if it’s a lot more, then Canon will have an issue as the Sony FS700 does a very similar job and is a lot less. Build quality (if going via the C300 vs FS100) is nowhere near as good, and internal recording not a patch, but both of these cameras will require an external SDI recorder to get 4k, and if you are getting one of these cameras ONLY for 4k then just from this little information and without me even trying either, on paper, the FS700 looks a better bet. HUGE CAVEAT THOUGH: Until footage is seen this is all speculation. After all the C300 HD is much superior to the FS100 full HD. I initially poo-pood the C300, then I held it and shot with it and fell in love with it from then on. So never trust specs!

BUT with a rumoured price tag of $25-30k, who is the C500 for? Well it really is in the RED Epic territory there and to be honest not a bad place to be. It’s just not a camera for the masses but for feature film production. After all, the C300 was launched on November 3rd in Hollywood as a Cinema camera. For me it never was. I bought it as a broadcast camera. The lack of 10 bit and good slow motion sold it short to compete in the feature film arena. The C500 addresses those issues with a price tag to compete in that arena.

It really does feel like we are very much at the start of the 4k revolution. It’s only going to get better, and it probably is best to wait…with new cameras coming out more frequently than I change my underwear (about once a week!) it’s a difficult thing to know what to buy and to feel secure in your investment. External recorders are great, but there is nothing like a great internal recording. The RED Epic and Scarlet have that. It’s that internal recording of 4k 10 or 12 bit that is going to be key, and whoever comes out with one of those that is not RED will have a serious selling camera on there hands.

Oh did I mention that 99.9% really don’t need 4k? Future proofing? Sure that’s nice but not needed for the vast majority of my work. I still shoot some SD jobs!! 😉 The C300 shoots AMAZING quality full HD and I don’t see me needing much more than that for a couple of years. The FS700 is different. I would not be buying that for the 4k (again unseen) but for the stupidly fast speeds it can shoot at. Please do not get caught up in the misconception that you need 4k. We are only now finally getting good super 35mm sized full HD! 4k is a long way from being supported in production houses, a long way from being in people’s homes as standard. It also is huge workflow. With the 1Dc being around 3.75 gb per minute in 4k mode. That’s a lot of storage and computer power to work with that! Right now, in my opinion it’s far from essential.

Of course next up, whilst the 4k wars start, is the high speed camera wars. Expect A LOT of slow motion footage on Vimeo in the future!  Every video will be most likely be around 93 minutes long and just consist of people falling on their bums, being slapped in the face and having all sorts of liquids spilling out of glass etc! Hooray for democratised super slow motion! 😉

Remember, when commenting don’t get angry. These are just cameras, and Canon has not taken your hopes, dreams and aspiration into a big box and crushed them into powdery oblivion whilst laughing as you cry like a 5 year old! THEY ARE JUST CAMERAS!! I hear the Canon T6i out in 2016 will have 4k as standard 🙂

EDIT: I saw footage tonight from both the 1DC courtesy of Shane Hurlbut and of the C500 courtesy of Jeff Cronoweth tonight in 4k and it looked amazing. The lack of 25p on the 1D-C is still a real shame!