September 8, 2015

Canon is Developing an 8K Cinema Camera & 120 Megapixel DSLR

Canon Cinema EOS System 8K Camera HERO
Just as we mention an 8K Canon cinema camera or a 120 megapixel DSLR, the company has gone ahead and announced they've got both in development.

In addition, they've announced that they are working on an 8K reference display — because it's helpful to have an 8K monitor if you want to look at 8K footage. I heard rumors about this 8K sensor some time ago, and at this point it's almost a foregone conclusion that they were going to push ahead and develop a camera with this kind of technology, just as Sony likely has their own native 8K camera right around the corner, something that can shoot and capture 8K straight in the camera (something the F65 cannot do).

Though Canon has taken hits lately with some product announcements that seem like they're behind the curve, they've taken the last few days and weeks to show that they have plenty of tricks up their sleeve, and that they are putting lots of resources into sensor and camera development. First it was their ME20F-SH full-frame camera that can basically see in the dark, and then it was yesterday's 250 Megapixel sensor.

Canon 8K Camera

Canon Cinema EOS 8K Camera 2

Here's more on the 8K camera from their announcement, which may continue with a similar form factor as their current cinema cameras (courtesy of Canon Watch and Canon — emphasis mine):

Through the further enhancement of the Cinema EOS System 8K camera and professional-use 8K reference display under development, Canon aims to contribute to smooth production workflows, facilitating not only the input and output of 8K video content, but also such processes as 8K to 4K down-conversion and 4K cropping.

The Cinema EOS System 8K camera being developed will be equipped with a Canon Super 35 mm-equivalent CMOS sensor that makes possible high-resolution 8,192 x 4,320 pixel (approximately 35.39 million effective pixels) imaging performance even at a frame rate of 60 frames per second with 13 stops of dynamic range and a richly expressive wide color gamut. Additionally, featuring a body size that realizes outstanding mobility and a design that delivers high levels of operability, along with an EF mount that offers compatibility with Canon’s extensive interchangeable EF lens lineup, the camera will support diverse shooting styles and means of visual expression.

The lens on the camera above was actually a prototype 8K lens they showed off a little less than a year ago in Japan. Here's a video of that courtesy of News Shooter and Matt Allard:

This lens is also just a prototype like the cameras you're seeing above, but there is no question Canon will continue pushing the boundaries of what their lenses can resolve — from 4K to 8K and beyond. With the DSLR they are working on below, you're going to need some incredibly sharp lenses stopped down to get the most out of them. It's even possible Canon may develop a whole new line just as Zeiss has for higher resolutions.

Canon 120 Megapixel DSLR

Canon 120-megapixel SLR camera

Regarding the 120 Megapixel DSLR, which is likely using technology first announced back in 2010:

Featuring a resolution of approximately 120 effective megapixels, the SLR camera now being developed will incorporate a Canon-developed high-pixel-density CMOS sensor within the current EOS-series platform, which will realize compatibility with the Company’s diverse interchangeable EF lens lineup. The high-resolution images that the camera will be capable of producing will recreate the three-dimensional texture, feel and presence of subjects, making them appear as if they are really before one’s eyes. The camera will facilitate a level of resolution that is more than sufficient for enlarged poster-sized printout while also enabling images to be cropped and trimmed without sacrificing image resolution and clarity.

Canon 8K Reference Display

Canon 8K Reference Dispplay

More on the display:

Incorporating Canon image-processing technology, the ultra-high-resolution 8K reference display currently under development will achieve high brightness, high contrast (high dynamic range) and a wide color gamut. Additionally, with a pixel density exceeding 300 pixels per inch, a level approaching the limit of human visibility, the display will make possible ultra-realistic imaging that enables the reproduction of subtle changes in light that were previously not possible. Furthermore, when used in combination with the Cinema EOS System 8K camera, the display will be capable of conveying truly impressive levels of visual expression.

They haven't said when we can expect any of these products, but I would guess we are probably only a year or two out from seeing these cameras and monitors in person — though they may just be prototypes first. It's anyone's guess how soon they will actually release these models, but I would expect to hear something near NAB in 2016 or 2017. 

The biggest thing about an 8K camera as I've said before is that it gives you a more detailed 4K image, due to the way single sensor cameras only have 1 color per pixel, and therefore have to interpolate information to get a full-color image. This is one of the reasons Sony has oversampled significantly with their highest-end cinema cameras. The Sony F35 had a 5K sensor for a final 1080p output, and their F65 has a non-standard 8K x 2K sensor for a final 4K output — though it's now possible to get interpolated images with higher resolution from the RAW files. Either way, more resolution won't necessarily just be about projecting that resolution, but about scaling down or cropping for 4K projection and TVs.      

Your Comment

31 Comments

Okay, so they announce a 8K camera, a camera that can see in the dark and a 120MP camera, which is nice and all, but what good is it to those that can't afford 30.000+ $ gear?

To me they are still behind on the curve, but my curve is more in the 4.000$ realm...

September 8, 2015 at 3:09AM

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TK
68

Would you say the same about Arri?

September 8, 2015 at 5:02AM

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We could never speak ill of Arri. /s

September 8, 2015 at 10:02AM

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Canon doesn't compare to Arri for picture quality.

September 8, 2015 at 11:58PM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
481

I agree 100 percent. Canon's current course of focusing on the very top of the market while Nikon continues to improve mid level offerings will result in a number of loyal Canon customers jumping ship. A very poor development and marketing campaign will eventually see the demise of Canon.

December 20, 2015 at 1:33AM

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Peter Davies
Photographer
1

Sweet so it only like 5 years (to never) away if it goes the way of other Canon prototypes.

September 8, 2015 at 3:19AM

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Zachary Will
Cinematographer
367

Great Canon will have it ready to ship by the time ARRI has their 12k and REDtheirs as well. And Sony even though they are pushing their 4K cinealta lineup right now, rest assured that the folks in Japan are working for at least a 8K camera with 14 stops or more of dynamic range.

September 8, 2015 at 4:54AM, Edited September 8, 4:54AM

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Isaac Alonzo
Photographer / Cinematographer
220

By the time Arri has 12K Red will already be at 16K.

September 9, 2015 at 12:00AM, Edited September 9, 12:00AM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
481

I won't even have to frame properly! Punch in's for everyone!

September 9, 2015 at 3:40PM

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wow!

September 8, 2015 at 6:34AM

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Kyle Lamar
Director Producer DP
1092

I do not need 8K, I need more stops of dynamic range. 13 stops this is yesterday...

September 8, 2015 at 8:13AM

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And a less compressed file to put that data in. If you've got 21 stops and your files are still 8 or 10 bit, you're going to see more and more banding. 1 bit per stop is the optimal figure these companies should be going for.

September 8, 2015 at 1:44PM

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Harry Pray IV
Director of Photography/Lighting Technician/Colorist
280

I can't imagine there's a big group of professionals waiting for 8k. There's a BIG need for everything Sony and Arri are doing at the moment, especially in the mid range. At least the news around the recently approved lens patents seem to be promising.

September 8, 2015 at 8:17AM, Edited September 8, 8:17AM

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If 8K will be cheaper I think they will go the 8K route. And edit it in Cinema 4k format. 4K is enough for viewing modern movies I think. I thought Full HD would be the final format I would ever need....but I was wrong, 4K is so much nicer for modern cinema (with lots of details). Never seen 8K screens/ movies but I think that would be overkill. For now.

September 8, 2015 at 6:09PM, Edited September 8, 6:09PM

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Lutte Kikker
Photographer
279

I'm kinda wondering why no one like Arri or Red has developed a Technicolor digital cinema camera. 3 monochromatic, super 35mm sensors behind a prism.

It would be expensive but, that wouldn't be a problem for the big studios, especially as a rental.

And wouldn't that be better than interpolating data from a single chip? Not to mention, placing the sensors at optimal distances to accommodate the 3 different wavelengths of light.

September 8, 2015 at 11:04AM

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Richard Krall
richardkrall.com
693

This is how old-school ENG cameras work, but new sensor tech is making this type of camera obsolete. From a color perspective there is no real advantage going this route, and the camera would be very big and bulky to operate.

September 8, 2015 at 12:23PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
29053

The use of prisms and three sensors becomes optically impractical at such high resolutions. I don't remember exactly why, so I'll leave it to you to look it up if you're interested.

September 10, 2015 at 8:02PM

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David Gurney
DP
1327

Hmmm...I'm sure that Canon has the knowledge and ability to give the world some awesome technology, but the question is will it be for consumers, pro consumers, or professionals? And the main differences between those categories is not just performance based but value. 8K sensor = awesome but at what price? If the price is relatively high then they automatically put themselves up against Arri, Red, and the high end Sony products for comparison. Most companies try to find a niche to fit in but Canon seems to either have a challenging time finding theirs or just don't GAF about it.

September 8, 2015 at 12:00PM, Edited September 8, 12:02PM

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Dantly Wyatt
Musical Comedy & Content Creator.
613

Resolution and dynamic range are good. Bit-depth is better.

This reminds me of the DSLR resolution arms race except Canon is now obsessed with high ISO and resolution at the the expense of the color depth. Arri has it right. 14 bit images are far more important than resolution or sensitivity.

September 8, 2015 at 1:41PM, Edited September 8, 1:41PM

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Harry Pray IV
Director of Photography/Lighting Technician/Colorist
280

Except that ArriRAW is 12 bit

September 8, 2015 at 2:08PM

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Rodrigo Prata
Director of Photography
146

Who is Canon targeting with this camera? 8k is a lot of data for TV production. I don't hear many Hollywood cinematographers wanting more resolution and less latitude. Perhaps Imax could use it as a b-cam.

September 8, 2015 at 2:56PM, Edited September 8, 2:56PM

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d shay
424

Maybe they need a really, really expensive camera in their line to fool us into thinking the C300 MkII is a bargain at 16 grand?

September 8, 2015 at 3:38PM

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Lance Bachelder
Writer/Director/Editor
326

Smart thinking :P Seriously, Canon makes good stuff, but they became as arrogant as possible the last years. Once they had their succes with the 5DMKII they thought money would keep pooring in automatically. Yes, I am a Canon photographer myself but I am originally a Nikon photographer (F4S, F90X, D100 and so on). The only reason I stayed with Canon was the 1080p film modus on DSLR's back in the days. Now I really think about my future investments when it comes to Canon...they are just TOO expensive for the little man. Come on Canon.....you can do better, make that 5D Mark IV with internal 4K for 2000-2500 euro's (since you can buy a GH4 with MFT for 1300,00 euro's you can have that + 1k euro's for the full frame sensor, but that's about it). Even Sony is cheaper (although not perfect).

September 8, 2015 at 6:03PM

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Lutte Kikker
Photographer
279

You are hired

September 8, 2015 at 10:23PM

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Edgar More
All
656

L-O-L!!!

September 9, 2015 at 12:04AM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
481

F 8K! I want 4:4:4, 18 bit, 35 stops, at 720p!! CAUSE 720p IS ALL WE'LL EVER NEED!! EVER!!!!

.

Of course that is sarcasm.

September 9, 2015 at 12:02AM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
481

4k is at the limit of human perception on average sized cinema screens. Even then, the difference from 2k will only be seen in the front rows. 8k provides no visual benefit over 4k, but quadruples data and lowers dynamic range(1/4 sized photosites compared to 4k).
Take a look at this article where Franz Krauz talks about the limitations of current projection, 4k ..etc http://www.newsshooter.com/2015/08/14/arri-managing-director-franz-kraus...

September 9, 2015 at 8:36AM

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d shay
424

I don't believe those 'limit of human perception' limits. :-)

Just 2 years ago, sooooooo many commenters insisted the human eye can't really perceive any difference beyond 720p.

September 9, 2015 at 6:40PM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
481

dpi is not the best way to measure visual acuity. A person with 20/20 vision can discriminate 30 line pairs per degree. A Tv taking up 20 degrees of your view, would have a maximum percieved resolution(for a 20/20 subject) of 30x2x20=1200 pixels. To get the full benefit of 4k, your screen has to take up 68.3 degrees of your view(68.3X30X2=4096 pixels). It is 136.5 degrees for an 8k screen, which is greater than your entire perceptual field(approx 120 degrees, most of which is peripheral vision).

September 9, 2015 at 11:32PM, Edited September 9, 11:34PM

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d shay
424

Whether It's true or not companies have to innovate or dissipate.

September 9, 2015 at 10:02PM

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Vince Bowman
Indie Producer, Website Managing Director
22

It's pretty much guaranteed that Canon will record this "8K" into a shitty, interframe-compressed codec at a paltry bitrate after decimating the color.

Because that's what they always do.

September 10, 2015 at 8:04PM, Edited September 10, 8:04PM

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David Gurney
DP
1327

Canon should really focus on improving their sensors and affordability instead of bigger resolutions.
They are far behind at the point dynamic range, just look at the recent DSLR which are still 3 stops behind on the new sony mirrorless.

Just look at Arri Alexa. THE go-to camera for professional productions. But still isn't able to shoot 4k just yet.
RED does the same as Canon, only focus on resolution. News flash; it's useless.
Maybe 5% of the people have a monitor or TV that can support 4k at the moment. Also youtube is fake with it's 4k as it is so compressed you can hardly tell the difference between 4k en 1080p.
And if 4k is useless, than what does that make 8k?

October 24, 2015 at 1:27PM

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I dread to think what the cost is.

February 16, 2016 at 7:18AM

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Phil
photographer
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