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Canon Cinema Cameras Will Get 80,000 ISO Capability in New Firmware Update

Canon C500 - Angle ViewNow they go way past 11. Canon is not only matching the Sony 64,000 ISO upgrade to the FS700, they are surpassing it. In a brand new firmware upgrade the company is working on for the C100, C300, and C500, they’ve managed to increase the top ISO from 20,000 another two stops to 80,000 ISO. How clean that will be is another question, but there must be some processing under the hood to get it looking even remotely usable at such crazy-high ISOs. That’s not all they’re doing, so read on for some of the other upgrades.

[Update]: Canon has removed the download link for the C300 firmware because of an issue with color balance:

We have suspended download services for Firmware Version that was posted Tuesday November 12, 2013 at 8PM EST, because it has been determined that discrepancies in color balance can occur with footage captured by the EOS C300 and EOS C300PL running Firmware Version 

We are currently preparing new firmware with a fix for this issue and will release it as soon as it is available.

We are very sorry for the inconvenience, but we ask for your patience during this time.

We are preparing new firmware with a fix for this issue. If you have updated your EOS C300 or EOS C300PL firmware to version, please contact the Canon Customer Support Center. Contact information is provided below. The Canon Customer Support Center will provide you with further details and will 
restore the camera’s firmware version to for any EOS C300 or EOS C300PL camera running firmware version

Thanks to News Shooter for the tip, here are some of the changes courtesy of Canon Europe:

  • ISO with C100/C300/C500 will now be adjustable in one or 1/3 stop increments from 320 ISO to 80,000 ISO
  • C500 will get new DCI-P3+ and Cinema Gamut options, and BT.709, Wide DR, or DCI-P3 LUT can be output from the MON.1/2 terminals. It will also be possible to output a 2K signal from MON 2 with support for ACESProxy10 gamma and the ACES color space
  • New 4096 x 1080 cropped RAW mode for the C500 with frame rates above 60 (this is in addition to the half vertical res 4K2K mode)
  • C300 getting the C100′s Wide DR mode, and full autofocus support for the 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens

The C500 is also getting a new fan setting option (apparently this was also made available as an additional upgrade in firmware released earlier in 2013):

To counter heat generated when filming for long periods of time, especially in 4K or 2K, the EOS C500 has an effective fan-based cooling system. To reduce the possibility of intrusive fan noise during shoots, the Automatic cooling mode has been updated so that the system will stop running during recording. It will automatically start to regulate the camera temperature whenever recording stops, providing more sustained, continuous cooling to reduce the chance of fan activation during a take. Automatic activation during recording may still occur if required to prevent a camera dangerously over-heating (*1).

More on features all of the cameras will get:

Canon will also improve the operability of the EOS C500, EOS C300 and EOS C100 in a variety of ways. For example, the Magnify function, designed to aid manual focussing, will be enhanced to enable magnified viewing of 25 different segments of the image in view, rather than just the centre portion. A new option will allow users to lock all camera functions, including the REC button, when the Power switch is in LOCK mode, and it will be possible to assign either ISO or IRIS control to the main body and hand grip control dials on the EOS C500 and EOS C300.

These are some serious upgrades for the Canon Cinema series cameras, and it also probably means that Canon is going to stick with these cameras for a bit longer. The C500 is still the flagship and remains the most flexible, but there are some other obvious changes like one to the Magnify setting that will make users of any C-series camera very happy. Since these cameras have seen a ton of usage in documentary and reality TV, having the option for 80,000 ISO is going to come in handy for tight situations where you’re operating practically in the dark, or with slower zooms mounted on the camera.

It looks like Canon is aiming to release the firmware to all of the cameras sometime later in 2013 (and will probably be free, but they haven’t said anything on that yet). The 1D C is also getting a minor update, which you can read about over on the Canon site.

What do you guys think about the upgrades?

Link: New feature upgrades coming for Cinema EOS cameras — Canon Europe

[via News Shooter]


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  • 80,000 ISO? Nice! BUT 1280×720 60P please on the C100. C’mon Canon. If you cant pull off the 1080 60P, at least the 720 60P would be enough

  • Dear People from canon,
    If you should read this, please implement this tiny little thing I need so urgently into the next firmware.
    I need a display mode for the LCD screen, that allows me to only see the red recording dot while recording.
    And all the rest of the information is not on the screen.
    That must be something quite easy to program.
    Thanks in advance,
    Matthias Wittkuhn

    P. s. if, by chance, any other reader knows how to address canon with this matter directly, I would be thankful to know how.

    • Matthias are you talking about some of the C-serie cameras? It’ seems very strange that you cannot see anything else except the red dot… are you tried to enter the lcd menu? or maybe there’s some “screen info” button to press

      If you’re talking about the Dsrl there’s the magic lantern hack for lot of canon dsrl (I think the 650D isn’t hacked yet) that transform your photocamera into a videocamera.

      • I think he wants a mode where he can have it like that, not meaning that his camera has a problem that makes him see only the red dot

      • Hi,
        I own a c300. I need a mode for the LCD. Red dot only.

        • “Custom display” in the menu can turnoff anything that’s on screen.

          • I want this too Wittkuhn ! Good ask.

            It’s the easiest mistake to make to shoot a sequence and then discover that you weren’t in fact recording. A simple red “record” dot on the LCD even when all the other data has been switched off with the “disp” button would be fab, particularly when handheld with eyes concentrating on the LCD. None of the LEDs are visible when shooting handheld without straining and upsetting the shot.

            Listen up Canon (please)

        • Genius. Every day I’m in need of this.

    • Dear Mattias,
      Please read your manual.
      Thank you,

      • Mike yearling on 09.5.13 @ 10:26PM

        Dear mattias,

        You’re absolutely right. It’s a problem. There’s no red light only mode and its a dumb mistake of ours.



        • Hello Everybody,
          first of all I would like to thank all of you who tried to help me by giving serious answers. Secondly, I´m very happy, that Canon is obviously following this forum, so I know that I also adress the right people. And the thrird thing is, that I find it quite annoying that some people are arrogantly bullshitting others for asking questions, no matter how stupid they might be. A forum is something where poeple help each other… Well, and now back to the topic and the facts.
          I´m aware of the fact, that I can switch off and on the information I want to have or not. But I need some of the information as well. What I need is this. By pressing the “Display” button once I change from having all information on screen to red dot only. By pressing it again I change to nothing on screen. (as it is right now) And by pressing it the third time, I change back to having all the information back on screen.
          Well, other brands like Sony have it like that. And That´s very useful.
          And please Canon and all other users, that are willing to help, If it should be my mistake, and if I just Don´t understand the manual that I read, please tell me how to achieve that. And if that is not possible with the current firmware, I would be happy to have it implemented.
          Thanks in Advance,

      • LOL… worth the price of admission!

  • Firmware upgrades, yeah.

  • The 80,000 ISO would be very good. There are certain scenes I am shooting at 400mm f2.8 at ISO 20,000 and still the light is too low. So in my review of the C300, ( ) I had mentioned that I would love to have two more stops. However, I had never imagined Canon will really give us two more stops ie. max ISO 80,000. I am really excited, even pushing back my project by a couple of months to take benefit of this.

    We live in interesting times. Sony is moving ahead and launching 4K cameras. Canon is supporting the existing C300/C500/C100 cameras and this high ISO makes it a very different beast than the other cameras in the market. So if you need high ISO, now there is only one company in the market. That is a very good strategy in the part of Canon.

    • Hélio Ribeiro on 09.5.13 @ 8:41AM

      With the new firmware update the FS700 has a base ISO of 2000 and can be pushed to 64000, this is only 1/3 of a stop from C300/C500/C100 cameras…plus, you have slowmotion, 4k and raw…. all for the price of a c300..

  • updates will probably come end of April, 2014 — another lame effort to freeze out orders on Sony’s new camera.

    • Updates for C300 and C100 will be in Nov 2013. For C500 it is December 2013.

      Updates for XF305 and XF 300 will be in Q1 of 2014 (GPS support and Digital teleconverter).

  • Martim Ferreira on 09.5.13 @ 7:55AM

    Can someone please explain why would anyone use a 80.000 ISO? Cause, I’m thinking that if you don’t have fast lenses or extra lighting equipment, the image is just going to be grainy as hell! I don’t get it…

    • I am shooting wildlife documentaries and even ISO 20,000 is not enough to shoot in the night. In certain situations, I am able to use a torch light or a spot light and am able to shoot. In some places, it is simply not possible. The following preview will give you some idea:

      Canon has clearly mentioned in their press release that it is for documentaries. However, it is upto you to push the camera in low light street scenes and one can put it to creative uses as well.

  • if magic lantern played with the c100 or the 1dx for kicks hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  • The C100/C300 have no problems in the ISO-department. These cameras are already so sensitive to light, that I have to protect the highlights in my images from blowing out, rather than not having enough light. And if you must shoot in the dark, get night vision goggles.

    Therefore, please Canon, give us 1080p 50/60fps on the C100/C300.

    If a much cheaper Sony Nexus can do that, why can’t a $5 or $10k+ camera?

    • As Sabyasachi points out above, there are plenty of people for whom 80,000 iso will be useful for.
      As to the overcrank, its a heat + data rate issue as you probably know. Note that its the C500, a camera with a large (annoying) fan, that is their only decent ‘slowmo’ cam in this range.
      There are many cameras that will overcrank, usually at much lower resolutions (i.e lower data rates) or that record to different media. As the 1000s of ML RAW users will attest, getting slowmo to record at even 720p at high bitrates puts severe strain on any current CF card.
      Finally, Canon are well aware that they cede this feature area to Sony – a large number of C300 owners also have an FS700 in their kit for just this reason. But the C300 (and its codec-sharing camcorder cousins) dominate this part of the TV market, so you’d have to say it was the right call.
      Will you ever get 1080 slowmo in the C100/300? My bet is no. Perhaps when you have 2000x CF cards, maybe. :-)

      • Even if Canon would lower the bit-rate for 1080p 50/60fps on the C300 to half (25MBps), thus by-passing the heat generation issue, I would still be a happy camper (although MPEG-2 is less efficient than the codec on the C100).

        I don’t want to fiddle with possible-point-of-failure third-party lens mounts and/or carry extra sets of lenses for just the FS-700. It’s 2013 and Canon should have found a way to implement this. No excuse.

        I don’t think I’ll ever really use the 80k ISO, but the ability to magnify focus on a designated area is much appreciated.

        • As for possible points of failure, Sony seems to trust Metabones enough to throw in their adapters when you buy an FS700. Mine sits permanently on the front of the camera and feels like a native lens mount. Really not fiddly at all.

        • DocShooter on 09.6.13 @ 3:32AM

          Most broadcasters do not accept 25mbps, thus il live with 50. If you don’t care about bit rate go with a different cheaper system.

    • Sony nexus? Never heard of it… You mean NEX series.

    • Probably they can’t do it cause the hardware doesn’t allow it… i’m quite sure they would otherwise implement it now because that thing on its own makes their Cxxx range outdated.. well it was outdated pretty much when it came out. You probably need to wait for MK2 or maybe Canon would do paid hardware upgrade now that even Sony has taken that road.

  • Me thinks they either have to significantly lower their prices across the board – so far, they have done so marginally – or come up with a line of higher res (2.5K-4K) cameras and camcorders to remain competitive in the upcoming 4K universe. 1D C appears to have an odd set of features and codecs while C500 is priced similarly to F5. Hypothetically, nothing is stopping Canon from matching yesterday’s Sony camcorders feature for feature, dollar for dollar. But, if they won’t, then Panasonic, JVC and Samsung will.

    • I am not seeing either of these brands taking serious steps in the S35mm market…

      • IMO, sensors (at least, until the organics are introduced) are taking the second/third place to the computational power of the embedded microprocessors and the parallel programming that these GPU’s can handle. The software angle is why this current Canon firmware upgrade was possible. The GPU is why yesterday Sony camcorders were.

  • Disappointing…

    Why is it so hard for Canon to add the toggle stick controls to the C100′s main body? They have a whole block of open buttons for custom button functions and all they have do is add left, right, up, down, and select to the available custom function options.

    Not doing that makes the c100 borderline useless without its handgrip in RnG situations with varied available light.

    • Michael Hendzel on 09.5.13 @ 8:11PM

      Actually….. this was burred in the press release
      “Canon EOS C100 Camera Firmware Update
      Menu Navigation now possible through buttons on camera body – Previously menu navigation on the EOS C100 camera was only possible through the removable joystick – when the joystick was detached, menu navigation ceased. Allowing users to easily navigate menu options, even with the removable joystick grip detached, buttons on the rear of the camera body will be able to navigate menu options with this new firmware. The buttons on the rear of the camera under the built-in monitor can be assigned as follows: 1) Set, 2) Up, 3) Left, 4) Down, 5) Right.”

  • GO past 11 LOL! That was awesome.

  • This is horrible. I don’t know what this is but is not an upgrade. Their cameras could jump to 80K ISO since the beginning. An upgrade would be 80K Iso after months of realizing the camera, not years. I’m really glad to see higher iso, but what about all that functions they aren’t letting us know about?

  • Fantastic news from canon. We have done a feature recently with C500 and really love the footage. We shot total 40 hours of raw footage in various light condition. We tried up to 15000 iso in and realized very fine grain. This is the only camera in the country fighting with sony, arri and red and let me tell you guys. The directors are falling in love with this beast.
    Director, planning
    Intercut cine solution.
    Dhaka, Bangladesh

    • This is an interesting point. We’re sort of looking at this from the US perspective but, outside of a few 4K nations, other variables are more important. And folks in those nations buy the electronic gear too.

  • Cut the price of the C300 in half, and give the damn thing 10-bit. Not this 80,000ISO gimmick.

  • Honestly, I can’t believe anyone’s complaining about anything here at all. The C100 was already an absolutely amazing camera for the money. Now Canon’s offering owners four times the ISO performance. And adding some extra functionality, like menu navigation without the joystick. All of it for free.

    Perspective people…

    • Funny… pretty much everything I’ve heard about the C100 (and C300, for that matter) is that, for what you get, it should be half the price.

  • Jens Jonsson on 09.6.13 @ 4:16AM


  • It’s interesting how this industry runs on ebbs and flows, and if a release is timed just right, it can take a stranglehold of the industry for quite a few years. Sony Z1 – EX1 owned reality TV and documentary fields for years until recently. RED and Arri had/have a stronghold on the feature and high-end production world. Now the Canon C300 has taken up the mantle of camera of choice for mid range productions from reality TV to documentary to TV drama, and despite Sony releasing cameras that fall in comparable price points with significantly higher specs, Canon looks to be holding them at bay because they got in on the peak of the last wave, and they’re riding it all the way to shore. Not that I have a horse in this race, though, because all the cameras being released lately are ridiculously good compared to available technology 10 years ago, it’s just a good time to work in TV/film.

  • Frank Redward on 09.6.13 @ 2:33PM

    Canon, thanks you for the 80,000 ISO upgrade to come, as a news shooter this will very handy indeed, shooting ridiculously low light crime/crash scenes at night and with long lenses.

    But please Canon can you please reply to this question, is there a timetable or plans to introduce on my C100 60/50P to 1920 x 1080 and 1280 x 720?

    Also could you please add 1440 x 1080 at at least 60i/50i, (60/50P would be brilliant) this would be very handy for broadcast, using and DMI to SDI adapter for live crosses and feeds to a link truck and live link.

    And upgrading the AVCHD codec to 28mps with 60/50p at full HD would be great, after all, Sony & Panasonic and even Canon now have this upgraded codec on their sub $1000 cameras, The C100 is pitched as a professional broadcast camera with limited distribution, please can you see the problem here?

    These features would go a long way to making the C100/300 (C300 for 60/50P) more of what Canon promote the camera to be.

    Thanks for listening, love the camera.

  • The ability to see the waveform/vectorscope inside the viewfinder and not just on the LCD would be great.

  • All I want is 1080p 60 and 120fps!

  • I might be able to give up hope of 120fps but 60fps at 1080 please!one or two more punch ins in the magnify. Waveform in the EVF. Waveform plus audio on the screen. And even like the FS700 I will send it in to have an upgrade to allow 10bit HDSDI out. Please please please

  • Sorry that’s my wish list for the c300

  • I do like the manner in which you have framed this issue plus it does present me a lot of fodder for consideration. Nonetheless, from just what I have seen, I just hope when the opinions pile on that individuals stay on point and not get started upon a soap box involving some other news of the day. Anyway, thank you for this exceptional point and though I do not agree with the idea in totality, I regard your viewpoint.

  • Please guyz, help me. I have update my canon c100 firmware. everything is in order. I have the new function of peripheral lens correction and continuous auto focus with 18 – 135mm stm lens. but I can’t get my ISO up to 80000 only up to 20000. and can’t also not shift my magnification. am I doing something wrong or what? Remember the updates to new firmware was successful.

    • the new firmware being discussed in this article has not been released yet. it may be this month or later.

  • FYI: Canon has suspended DL of this firmware and issues a recall due to the color balance skewing slightly toward red. This affects c300 only, supposedly.

  • I read that this firmware upgrade will cost about $500 per camera

  • hi all – quick question – i have the upgraded firmware but my canon C100 will not push the ISO past 80,000. Still only goes to 20,000 not sure what’s up. Shouldn’t matter what lens I’m using correct? Any help is appreciated.

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