We've relaunched as a full community! Get the scoop:

April 12, 2012

The Canon C300 (DeVito) Gets a Genetically Superior Twin, the 4K C500 (Schwarzenegger)

A $15,000 DSLR? Now we've seen it all. No, wait -- we haven't seen it all, as Canon is just getting started with their Cinema EOS line. And they're also just getting started with 4K acquisition: their latest addition is to be the Canon C500 (pictured), which is essentially a 4K version of the C300.

No word yet on pricing, but given the C300 is $20k, rumors of a $30k price tag make sense (which would probably work out to be $25k street, in the U.S. at least). However, what's more important than the price tag are the features and image quality, since at this price point we're talking about renting rather than buying for most people. Also, given how fast the camcorder market is changing, it makes even more sense to rent these days -- I bought a RED SCARLET and have only used it myself to shoot a test short, and now new cameras are coming out already. ((Buying a camera is not just about using it yourself, however -- you can also rent it out to others, which I've done, and the RED SCARLET, Sony F3/F5, and Canon C300/C500 are all significant investments that can and should make a return -- either from your own use or renting to others. More on this later.))

Canon also announced two new cinema zoom lenses, a 15.5-47mm T/2.8 and a 30-105mm T/2.8, both of which will probably cost about as much as the C300. Again: rental items for most of us.

Okay, so onto the Canon C500 itself:

As you can see it's the same form factor as the C300, which is to say it's a very compact camera with a removable monitor and built-in viewfinder around the back. It even uses the same 8.3-megapixel Super35 sensor as the C300. The big news with the C500 is it is the camera most of us thought the C300 would be -- it has "uncrippled" outputs, as it can output the 4K, 10-bit raw sensor data over SDI. The 4K images can be recorded from 1 to 60 frames per second, and it can simultaneously record 50 Mbps proxy files to a CF card. There are some limitations -- you can get 12-bit RGB 4:4:4 only with 2K output, but if you switch that 2K to 10-bit 4:2:2 you can get up to 120 FPS slow-motion. It also has two monitor outputs (for on-board and on-set monitoring).

More to come about this camera at NAB... full press release below.

Oh, and if you think my Twins reference is a bit dated... get ready for a sequel, apparently titled Triplets. If the C300 is Danny DeVito and the C500 is the Schwartzenformergoverner, I guess that makes Eddie Murphy the EOS-1D C? I know better than to read into that one. But will the C500, as played by Schwarzenegger, terminate the RED SCARLET? Now I'm just getting my movies mixed up. So many cameras, so little time.

Thoughts on this one?

[via Engadget]

C500 Press Release

CANON ANNOUNCES DEVELOPMENT OF 4K DIGITAL CINEMA CAMERAS

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.

Your Comment

88 Comments

it seems that the the c500 is what the c300 should have been from the beginning but for the double price...

April 12, 2012

0
Reply
Giora

In Canon's defense - 4k (and 5k like red) is VERY intensive and nothing to sneeze at. But are film makers asking for 4k when we don't even have decent 12bit 2k yet?

The Alexa looks AWESOME on the big screen (Hugo, in Time, Anonymous) - we still don't have something similar with its dynamic range and color - and the Alexa is 2.5 years old.

Cheers!

April 12, 2012

0
Reply
Jordan Carr

Same question i have been asking myself....iv been waiting for these cameras to give us affordable 2k raw... and now they jumped to 4K

April 12, 2012

-1
Reply
Vulcan

I actually think the 3k for $3k scarlet RED were working on is partly to blame there in that it probably prevented anyone else developing.a budget replacement for S16mm / 2 perf techniscope. This is the camera I'd own as opposed to hiring.

In defense of RED though... they aren't profiteering through product differentation and planned obselence. If Canon junked the other C series models and ramped up production on this one... the costs per unit would plummet and almost everyone could gain access to a capable cine camera. I'm not personally interested in who makes the tools so long as they're up to the job and affordable.

April 12, 2012

0
Reply
nobody

Actually, we do have something similar in DR and color to the Alexa. It's called the Sony F3.

April 12, 2012

0
Reply

wtf.. new cameras everyday, its a war this thing will collapse

April 12, 2012

0
Reply
Galadi

The C300 is really impressive-- really gorgeous 1080 visuals, great workflow, Canon mount-- in fact the only things wrong with it on paper are: HD resolution, 50 mBps codec (which looks good but is the bare minimum for any kind of deliverable), lack of frame rates over 60 fps, and that price point.

The C500 seems to have addressed all of these things-- 2K or 4K resolution gives us room in post to reframe, 10bit 4:4:4 out would be pristine, and fps up to 120 at 4:2:2-- except that price point.

Still, it looks very much like "the"-- or at least "one of the top"-- ultimate independent film acquisition tool(s). If it's anything like C300, its quality will or exceed the F3 with S-Log, and will rival the Big Boys (Alexa, Epic, maybe even F65). This is really the camera I was waiting for. Ideally the price point should be about 20K, and I know it'll be way more than that for a while, but other than that... I'm not sure what else any indie filmmaker could ask for.

April 12, 2012

0
Reply

But remember that this C500 isn't even out or PROTOTYPE phase yet. Canon are trying to milk the $16,000 C300 for the rest of 2012.

We WILL NOT see the C500 before 2013. Even the 1DC won't come out till October (at the earliest).

That being said, if it is around $20k - it will be awesome no doubt. But Canon's recent history of poor Cameras (MK3) and failure to deliver (where is 1DX?) isn't inspiring confidence in film makers. Not to beat a dead horse but NOBODY rents the C300 where I live (LA) - for the same rates you can get an Sony F3 and or Red Scarlet. And if few people even rent the C300, fewer still are buying it. Hence the reason there is no price for the C500 yet.

$10 says Panasonic will have something special at NAB, and Red is close to a Dragon release as well.

April 12, 2012

0
Reply
Jordan Carr

More announcements, or actual cameras that are in production? As much as I covet the idea of 4k raw, my current work doesn't require it, nor do I expect it to for the next year or two. By then, Canon will be on the road to 32-bit floating point color space at 16k spatial resolution - and GoPro will sell 4k cameras for $400...

April 12, 2012

0
Reply

Jordan, I'm just curious as to where you gather the adjective "poor" from in regards to the MKIII. Yes it is soft in video mode due to a low pass filter, but I don't see the world bulking at it in anger.

April 13, 2012

0
Reply

I also don't see how it is much of an improvement over a model they released 4 YEARS ago. And yet costs $1000 more.

April 13, 2012

0
Reply
swested

If it can't out resolve a $700 GH2, and still has 8 bit color, jello (not reduced) and costs $3500 - what more needs to be said? I rented a MK3 it apart from moire it is nothing more than a $3500 FF 720p DSLR. Very lame.

April 13, 2012

0
Reply
Jordan Carr

Canon cheated people big time. If people knew the c500 was coming on Nov 3rd, no one would have bought a c300, no one.

So "the world was not ready for 4k" canon says on Nov 3rd 2011 , but it is April 12 less than 6 months later!!!!

April 12, 2012

0
Reply
Ryan

wow - forgot about that.

Good point.

April 12, 2012

0
Reply
Jordan Carr

I disagree. Unless you shoot features/commercials that rely heavily on VFX work, you don't need 4k or raw. Wants versus needs, that's the thing here...

April 12, 2012

0
Reply

I agree - how about a DSLR that shoots 1080p with HDMI or SDI output in the same price range as the D800 and MkIII? What happened to that simple request Canon? Avatar was 1080 - biggest movie of all-time. And how big is the market for $15,000 DSLR let alone a $30,000 c500?

If you're shooting 4k don't you want RAW, proven high-end workflow? Isn't there already a 4k camera that shoots RAW without a 3rd party recorder already on the market and tested in dozens of films and TV shows?

April 12, 2012

0
Reply
Lance Bachelder

i understand you logic about 4k but not about RAW, having a larger color gamut than rec 709 and metadata manipulation is a benefit regardless.

April 12, 2012

0
Reply
Ryan

I'm not saying that working with raw provides a ton of more possibilities - whenever I shoot stills, I shoot raw. Always. Thankfully, Adobe allows for editing of this software (BTW why haven't you guys covered the release of CS6 yet here at NoFilmSchool?), but a timelapse is only a small segment in most of my productions.

Shooting raw requires you to invest in much larger disk arrays, and much like the new cameras Moore's law seems to have gone akward over the last 6 months. Most HDDs are still 80% more expensive than they were a year ago.

April 12, 2012

0
Reply

The inflated price of storage is mostly due to the floods in Thailand... but when talking 4k / raw you really need to be comparing it with the costs of shooting on celluloid.

April 12, 2012

0
Reply
nobody

The fact that the c300 had a 4k sensor was the tip off to me that they were doing the same lame bs car manufactures have done forever. They release the new beetle or new mini...but not an "S" model, and no turbo...so then they have something to announce next years or next car show.

I understand many brands do this, but it doesn't exactly make you appreciate them.

April 13, 2012

0
Reply
Daniel Mimura

Canon has RED in their sights.

April 12, 2012

0
Reply
moebius22

so does RED

April 12, 2012

0
Reply
Ryan

I agree, it's Red that is hunting here. Canon, Sony, etc are just trying to catch up in the 4k world. Well done Red. I'm tired of the former industry leaders (Sony, Canon, JVC, Panasonic) doling out old technology at inflated prices.

Got to love Jim Jannard at Red, even if he is outspoken and emotional. Red isn't perfect, but I like their passion. Jim posted this a few days ago (but it was removed 24 hours later, probably because it was considered too controversial):
--------------------------------------------
Why the other guys suck.

So Canon releases the C300 in November. 1080P and an RGB codec. Really? $16K (or $20K depending on where and when you bought one).

Then Canon releases the 1Dx (1080P and 18MP stills). This obsoletes the C300. Now they will obsolete both the C300 and 1Dx in one fell swoop... just months later. They are ready to announce a 4K motion DSLR that obsoletes all of the above. Only problem is that it won't shoot motion RAW. Which means that you will have to buy their next camera... after you have bought one of the others... or more. Let's add up the cost. And the next one won't have frame rates... but maybe the one after will?

Sony sold some of you on the F3 (1080P) camera. But they knew they were going to obsolete those before you ever bought one. The NEX 4K will be announced. But it doesn't shoot RAW. That will be sometime after you buy one of the previous. For less. And then you'll need to buy a special recorder. For more.

My problem is that these companies string you along. They give you part of what you want. Just enough. Then sell you the next one... almost there. Then the next one. By the time you are done you could have bought a real camera.

I was personally plagued with this scenario for years. It is the reason I decided to start RED. I couldn't take it. The seduction turned to frustration. But it seems like these companies can't help themselves... they continue to do it. At your expense.

Just venting...

Jim Jannard
-----------------------------------------

April 12, 2012

0
Reply
Vanlazarus

facepalm

April 12, 2012

0
Reply
moebius22

I know Red takes a lot of grief for delays, but they are still ahead of the others when it comes to 4k cameras. When will you be getting your 1D-C or C500? Late 2012 or 2013.

April 12, 2012

0
Reply
Vanlazarus

Is he talking about his own company?First you buy the camera then you wait for all the parts that are on backorder. When you have all the parts for your camera they announce a new module and an upgrade. If he cant see the irony then......

April 12, 2012

0
Reply
Pinto

Well that's probably why the thread was deleted. RED clearly don't have the manufacturing capacity of Sony or Canon and their Scarlet is going to need an upgrade to stay ahead of the game. At least they plan to offer a hardware upgrade for the Scarlet... what are C300 buyers supposed to do?

You can knock the guy all you like, makes himself an easy target when he shoots from the hip like that. Ultimately (because I think he's genuinely trying to deliver the best camera he can to as many people as possible), I can forgive him rants like that moreso than Canon trying to pass off an XF300, sans optics with a single chip sensor and 8bit s-log as a $15,000 cine cam. Facepalm indeed eh guys?

For the record, since I sure as hell am not a RED fanboy - if Canons C500 came in around $10k I'd be considering it.

April 12, 2012

0
Reply
nobody

Most of the Red components are out of backorder. And when will you be picking up your 1D-C or C500?

April 12, 2012

0
Reply
Vanlazarus

Consider the size of RED compared to Canon, Nikon, Sony, you have to cut them some slack on the backorder shit, which they are mostly out of. They provide jobs here in the states, I think their gear is about 95% manufactures in the states. That is respectable, and although there might be upgrade paths( the fact that your paying for an upgrade and not a new camera is itself unprecedented) doesn't mean you can't shoot feature film quality stuff with the scarlet, epic, or redone (MX or not) today. All three are in stock. When will these cameras be available again?

April 13, 2012

0
Reply
carlos

I was going to post this in a separate post... Jim has the habit of venting and then deleting. Always interesting, for better or worse...

April 12, 2012

0
Reply
avatar
Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

any news on the digital bolex? they seem to have it right

April 13, 2012

0
Reply
Rob

Makes his company much more personable than the huge corporations of Canon and Sony. Is Canon's president/CEO even aware what kind of cameras his company is producing?

April 13, 2012

0
Reply
Vanlazarus

Canon may have Red in their sights but, their gun doesn't have any bullets in it.

April 12, 2012

0
Reply
dixter

You wanna bet your life on it?

April 13, 2012

0
Reply
Canon

No, but we bet $15,000 on Red.... And so far we're very happy. None of these recent camera announcements from Canon or Sony give us any doubt.

April 13, 2012

0
Reply
Vanlazarus

So, what was the point of the C300 again?

April 12, 2012

0
Reply
Raphael

this made me lol, asked myself the same question...

April 12, 2012

0
Reply

Price and purpose, was the point. Canon's answer to the broadcasting format was the C300... It looks like the C500 is really aimed at film.

April 12, 2012

0
Reply
Sean

Ah I see, could be good for reporting in the field. Anyhow I'm waiting on the Dragon sensor, next generation of Alexa, or a dark horse like Apertus/Kineraw. Fun times for the cinema market :)

April 12, 2012

0
Reply

And considering the new Dslr EOS 1D C can do the same as C300 and more for less, i repeat the question, what was the point of the c300 again?

April 12, 2012

0
Reply
Raphael

Ah! It's an arms race... but for no budget people like me I guess I'll have to make do with my GH2. I held/operated a C300 a few months ago at a DC video expo. It looked and felt excellent. Very nice form factor. But alas, no money means no c300, no c500 :D

April 12, 2012

0
Reply
Mike

I'd say Red has the upper hand again. When it comes to films shot on Red and the current state of the rental market, more productions and professional are pushing RED. Perhaps Canon can capture the broadcast and costumer market. I'd say on head to head tests, on a full HD monitor, not Vimeo, that RED has a filmic l

April 12, 2012

0
Reply
Oden

> costumer market

Awww... let's not get started on the C300 and clown shoes :P

April 12, 2012

0
Reply
nobody

LOL!!

April 12, 2012

-1
Reply
Howie

I'd say Red has the upper hand again. When it comes to films shot on Red and the current state of the rental market, more productions and professional are pushing RED. Perhaps Canon can capture the broadcast and costumer market. I'd say on head to head tests, on a full HD monitor, not Vimeo, that RED the filmic look down, where Canon seems to be sharp on the video look. It's really a question of consumer vs professional grade. Once you've seen the difference in hand and on screen you'll know the difference. Blogs can't teach you that.

Hard to debate Fincher and Jackson. You could, but why?

One note, Alexa is indeed leading on the commercial side. RED on features.

April 12, 2012

0
Reply
Oden

The more and more I think about this the more angry it makes me. Yes there are markets for these cameras, small but an existent markets, but I'm frustrated with the lack of ingenuity, innovation and compliance with customer requests with canon. There is no innovation here, just like the c300, they aren't bringing anything substantially new to market. Red brought 4k, Red brought Raw. Arri brought 14 stops of dynamic range. Arri brought onboard prores recording. Sony brought 8k subsample to true 4k, Sony brought a color gamut bigger than FILM! Sony brought 240 frames under 10k,
What has Canon introduced that is substantial?????!!!! Form factor? 4k 8bit jpeg video, give me a break 4k RAW over 3g hdsdi, fs700 beat you to it at a better price point.
You can't describe their cameras without saying well you don't need 4k, or 8 bit is fine, or no one needs 4:4:4, RAW is overrated, what happened after the 5d that made them give up innovation, the cutting edge?

April 12, 2012

0
Reply
Ryan

SALT IN THE WOUND. REDONE MX's, 4.5K 120fps RAW cameras sell for less than Canon Jpeg 4k cameras. INSANE

April 12, 2012

0
Reply
Ryan

and the Red One came out with 4K in 2007!!!!

April 13, 2012

0
Reply
carlos

I don't even think the 5D was an innovation... I think it was an accident. If they would have known the potential it would have been priced way more than $2500! That's what we're seeing now... they realize they screwed up big time by giving that out for so cheap and are now they're trying to fix it. Problem is now they're going too far other other way in my opinion... $15,000 is the upgrade path from the $2500 mark ii? It's like they put a bunch of prices in a hat and let a monkey draw them out.

April 12, 2012

0
Reply

Making movies is for rich people or Son of Rich... Canon just gave us some hope and made us dream a lit bit with DSLR cameras. Now we are going back to the real world ....hihihihi

April 12, 2012

0
Reply
Zitilizinc

Pages