Canon C500 - Angle ViewThe days when Canon made its prized quality lenses separately for either its bizarre HDV psuedo-progressive imaging camcorders (remember those?) or its high-res digital stills cameras are gone -- having bled into the present day. Now, its lenses have a significant stake in the production of 4K digital cinema, and its Cinema CN-E EF-mount line of compact prime lenses will be fully rounded out by a just-announced 35mm prime, due out before the close of the year (that makes six lenses now: 14, 24, 35, 50, 85, 135). Furthering the same professional motion picture mission, Canon has also announced free firmware/software upgrades for automated functions such as Push Autofocus, as well as professional-grade ACES pipeline support for color management. Some updates apply to different cameras than others, so check below for more details.

35mm Compact EOS EF-Mount Cinema Prime


That was a bit mouthful, wasn't it? Here's the mock-up Canon's provided for the upcoming 35mm prime, which fits the following set of specs (we assume it will be a T/1.5, but it doesn't seem to be listed):

In response to strong market demand, Canon is developing a 35 mm single-focal-length EF Cinema Lens. The lens is designed to fulfill contemporary 4K (4,096 x 2,160 pixels) production standards, which offer a level of resolution exceeding four times the resolution of Full HD, and will be compatible with not only industry-standard-size Super 35 mm-equivalent sensors, but also 35 mm full-frame, APS-H-size and APS-C-size sensors. While details regarding specifications and pricing have yet to be determined, Canon aims to release the new lens at the end of 2013.

One-Touch C300 Auto Iris/Autofocus, C500 ACES Color Support, Focus Assist Location Shift

As you might've guessed from the titles, one of the big firmware touchups comes to the C300, which will subsequently support "Push Auto Iris and One-Shot Autofocus," options previously made available to the C100. The C100, C300, and C500 will all get something Canon is self-explanatorily calling "Shifting Display Location during Magnified Focus Assist," a feature I've often thought about having been never had the luxury of using. Another big step up is for Canon’s Cinema RAW Development software:

The new version provides support for the Academy Color Encoding System (ACES) color management standard, as defined by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) and standardized by the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers (SMPTE). Compatibility with ACES helps make efficient workflows possible, enabling color management using a uniform color space – even when handling video captured using multiple cameras with different color characteristics.

AbelCine comments on the update as well, adding: "This means you can export Canon RAW data in ACES OpenEXR format, which makes for more efficient workflows using a uniform color space. It also allows multiple cameras with different color characteristics to be matched more closely." From the sounds of things, those multiple cameras won't yet include the C500's cousins, the C100 and C300 -- since the latter two models don't shoot anything Canon’s Cinema RAW Development software is designed to process. That said, these updates should get Canon C-series shooters that much closer to a totally fluent pro-level workflow -- and add some time-saving tricks as well.

Canon will likely be talking more about these developments at NAB next week.