Philip Bloom Braves the Weather for His In-Depth Canon 1D C Review, Plus More Sample Footage
The first DSLR that can shoot 4K internally should be cause for celebration, as it’s the first time a camera of this size has been able to reach that standard. The 1D C has received a mixed reaction, however, mostly because of its price, which is quite a bit above anything most people would call “affordable” for a DSLR, but also because of the fact that we have some evidence it’s practically the same camera as the $5,000 cheaper Canon 1D X. Either way, Philip Bloom’s video review has been quite eye-opening, and this camera makes a bit more sense in the market after seeing what it can do. Click through to check out that video as well as some more clips.
Be sure to go to Vimeo and download these to see them in better quality. Philip has also made sample footage available from his site:
Here is James Miller’s sample footage, plus some words about his workflow:
Shot using the Canon 1DC in 4K, Canon Log.
Lenses used. Canon 24-105 IS f/4 & Canon 70-200 IS II f/2.8.
Our workflow was to transcode the rushes into ProRes HQ using MPEG Streamclip, bring them in Adobe Premiere CS6, edit and grade and render out at 1920 x 1080 using scale to keep edges. Wide bars added in Premiere for aesthetics only and ability to reframe at full frame size.
Before you turn off your brain about the exorbitant price for the camera ($12,000), just remember that no camera this size has been able to produce an image like this. That may not mean a lot for many people, but the fact that you can put a camera around your neck that can shoot footage as beautiful as what we’re seeing above is pretty special.
What surprised me was how good the 1080p Super 35 crop mode looked. This is a similar crop to the APS-C cameras, which is around 1.6. If the only mode that looked half-decent was 4K, I would say the usefulness of the camera would be limited thanks to the enormous file sizes — a 128GB card gives you 30 minutes of footage. That’s about twice what you’d get with RED 4K RAW at 7:1/8:1 compression — and that’s for 16-bit RAW files, not heavily compressed Motion JPEG. Compact Flash cards will, of course, be much cheaper, and prices will go down much faster than REDMAGs, so there is cost savings in one part of the equation.
Either way, when you don’t want the huge file sizes, you can very easily shoot 1080p and get similar results. This is what we’ve been waiting for on DSLRs. Granted, the Panasonic GH2/GH3 can produce some nice results, as can the Nikon D800, but those cameras suffer when you’re trying to push them in lower light situations. That’s not the case here, even in the 4K mode. That’s one of the other reasons this camera is special. If you’re shooting something in all 4K and you need a small light-sensitive B-camera (or even A-camera), this guy is a no-brainer as a rental. That’s why the sticker price isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Yes it’s expensive, way more expensive than any other DSLR and probably under-featured given its price compared to the other cameras, but you don’t have to buy every camera out there, and frankly, unless you’ve got a ton of money to throw away or you could really use dual stills/video, you probably won’t be considering buying it anyway.
For what many people do, the C300/C100 will produce equal or better image quality, as will the new Sony F5. These are all better options when you need something that has built-in ND filters and XLR, and will probably make your life easier while shooting. The 1D C is going to suffer from DSLR syndrome when it comes to handling, but most of those problems are fixed by relatively cheap rigs anyway, and if you’re spending $12K, that’s not even a consideration.
Here is some more video, this time from Johnnie Behiri, shot in S35 ALL-I mode:
So what do we have here with this camera that really makes it special? It’s tiny, and shoots cinema-quality 4K and 1080p with a Super 35 crop (a first for DSLRs that don’t have a decent amount of moire/aliasing). It’s the only Canon camera with 50/60p below the C500, and it shoots on readily available and durable CF cards. The camera looks like it can just soak up light, very similar to the 1D X, except the results are much, much sharper. It’s a specialty camera in my mind, not something that will work for all shooting situations, especially since it lacks zebras, audio, and peaking, and the maximum you’re getting internally is 8-bit — though I would say since it’s quiet and the cards are cheaper, it’s going to be more useful in a documentary situation than something like the SCARLET. Let’s not forget another important factor — ease of use. The thing will just work — as long as you’ve got the right CF cards — and it’s going to be as simple to use as any other DSLR.
But…it’s $12,000. That’s probably why most of you won’t (or shouldn’t) buy the camera, and part of that cost is attributable to the fact that it has no record time limit, and thus it is considered a video camera and is subject to heavier EU taxes (which is one of the reasons DSLRs never recorded more than 30 minutes internally). NAB 2014, or a little more than a year from now, will probably see another camera like this. Canon may be slow on lots of specs, but no one else has a 4K DSLR. It’s tough to say how the Super 35 mode compares to other cinema cameras without comparing them, but I would venture to say it’s right up there from the samples I’ve seen. Nothing else quite competes with exactly what this little guy can do, but there are other cameras that have many more functions to make your life easier while shooting, and that’s why I say it’s more of a specialty cam.
One thing is for sure, I want one — but buying this camera doesn’t quite make much sense at the moment when the technology will improve in the rest of the Canon line, and we may get a cheaper version of this camera at some point down the road that does most of what this guy can do (a Cinema EOS Mark III maybe?). This will also probably go for under $10K once it becomes available on the used market, so early adopters will be the ones paying for the R&D. It would have been really interesting if they could have released it for the same price as the 1D X and removed all the photography features, but, alas, it’s $12K, and if you want to buy it, that’s going to be your price.
Be sure to head on over to Philip’s site to download sample footage.
What do you guys think? If you can (or could) afford it, is this something that you could fit into your workflow? Are you surprised by the quality of the Super 35 crop mode?
- Philip Bloom Reviews the Canon 1D X, Big Brother of the Mark III. Is It Worth the Money Just for Video?
- Grab Some 4K Canon 1D C DSLR Sample Footage, and Check Out a Possible FCPX Workflow
- Philip Bloom Reviews the Canon C300 and Releases Short Test