January 2, 2015

The Canon C500 Just Got Its 3rd Price Drop: An Updated Version Must Be Coming, Right?

C500 Update
Last New Year's day, Canon drastically reduced the price of their C500 cinema camera, leading many to believe that a major overhaul was imminent. Although that upgrade didn't come, Canon has dropped the price once again (alongside a nice firmware update), so we're going to do some more speculating!

First and foremost, the Canon C500, which was knocked down to a street price of $17,000 with last year's price cuts, is now $1,000 cheaper at resellers like B&H. Although it's not a tremendous price cut by any stretch of the imagination, the $16,000 price point is sure to make the C500 even more competitive with the Sony F5, which at this point is the only other cinema camera with 4K RAW recording in that $15,000 - 20,000 price bracket. But what does this mean for the future of the C500 as we know it today?

Canon C500

If there's anything that may provide a glimpse at what's in store for the Canon C500, it's likely the way the company has handled the upgrade of the C100. The fact that Canon opted to release a C100 Mark II, which turned out to be a fairly significant upgrade due to a few key usability and hardware upgrades like a much better EVF for critical focus and a tiltable LCD screen, leads me to believe that they're quite happy with their hierarchical pricing structure with the C100/C300/C500, and that they're going to keep it in place for years to come while releasing appropriate hardware updates to each of these cameras in the form of paid Mark II and Mark III upgrades.

Based on all of that, it seems safe to assume that Canon will not be rolling out an exciting new high-end cinema camera (a C700, maybe?) at any point in the near future, but instead will release a C500 Mark II with improved usability hardware and perhaps a boost in what the camera is capable of recording internally. 

Canon also released a fairly significant firmware update for the C500 today, which contains a few nice new features (listed below):

Shooting Enhancements

  • Canon Proprietary Cinema Gamut
  • Support for DCI-P3+ Color Gamut (Cinema RAW Development)
  • ISO up to 80,000
  • 4096x1080 RAW Resolution
  • Cooling Fan Control
    Canon C500

On-Set Support

  • ACESproxy Output from Monitor Terminal
  • Canon Log LUT Available over HD-SDI Monitor Port
  • Ability to Shift the Magnification Location in the Viewfinder
  • Ability to Assign ISO and Iris Operation to the Control Dial
  • Record Button Lock
  • Multi-person Login for the Canon Wi-Fi® Remote Application
  • Support for New Remote Controller (Scheduled to be available June 2014)

Cinema & EF Lens Support

  • Peripheral Lens Correction Available on Select Cinema & EF Lenses

Perhaps the biggest feature in this update is Canon's new proprietary cinema color gamut, which should make the C500 an even more versatile camera in terms of accurately capturing the nuances of color. The new gamut is described thusly on Canon's firmware update page, where you can learn more about all of the new features.

The widest color space currently available for the EOS C500 camera, Cinema Gamut covers the majority of the eye's visible color spectrum, providing a far more accurate portrayal of a captured scene, with an enhanced look that offers increased realism and image detail. Thanks to theEOS C500's ability to more accurately capture variations within highly saturated color than previously available in Canon cinema models, Cinema Gamut offers a range of unique creative options to DPs and videographers that want to bring nuances of color to movie audiences.

What do you guys think Canon's future plans are for the C500? If they release a Mark II version, what upgrades would you like to see implemented?     

Your Comment

18 Comments

I am still good with using my 5DM3 with ML. I have never had a client tell me they need 4k. Until I start getting requests for for higher end quality or resolution I will stick what what makes me $. As always, its not about what is the biggest and best, its about what YOU need for what YOU do.

January 2, 2015 at 3:55PM

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Walter Wallace
Spokesperson/Entrepreneur
1128

4K isn't just about delivering a higher resolution end result to the client; it also allows for much greater flexibility in the editing room for delivering 1080p finals.

Shoot everything a little wider, now you can:
Punch in during post to hide jump cuts
Stabilize footage more

Other perks:
Get better results with chroma keying
Clean up noise more aggressively
Downscale to 1080p, and still have a sharper image than shooting at 1080p natively gives you.

January 2, 2015 at 4:07PM

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kyleclements
Artist / Photographer / Scenic
965

That's why I'm ONLY looking at 4k as we prep for our first feature. I have some pretty graphic compositions in mind and as a vfx/post guy, that wiggle room is crucial because you can only prep so much.

I thought this before I read even David Fincher prefers shooting wide to have better control of composition so yea, it's not about more pixels for everyone when it comes to 4k/.

January 8, 2015 at 4:49PM

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Remy Sanchez
VFX Producer/Artist/Writer/Director
176

"...which at this point is the only other cinema camera with 4K RAW recording in that $15,000 - 20,000 price bracket."
--> Well other than the C300 and F5, what about Kinefinity's KineMini 4k? It's also capable of shooting 4K...

January 2, 2015 at 4:26PM

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Vince Cheong
Student
74

Also...

Sony FS700, FS7 (with 7Q), and RED Scarlet.

January 2, 2015 at 9:22PM

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Luke Neumann
Cinematographer/Composer/Editor
2824

I think I'd hold to invest in any camera until NAB. I would bet Canon is going to upgrade its whole lineup in the Cinema EOS realm. They'd be pretty foolish not to include internal 4k recording and internal slow mo up to 120fps. April will be very interesting but I would like to say, wouldn't it be a nice surprise if in April if a new camera is announced by any manufacturer they say "shipping tomorrow?" Just a thought

January 2, 2015 at 7:16PM

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Canon will Kill both the C300 & 500 for the C400 4K camera priced at $10K ready to shoot, add a couple batteries and media. This is inventory clearance start. That would put them in the running against FS7 / Scarlet / F5…. and maybe they do a higher end camera, perhaps C500 MkII that adds higher frame rates or even 5K, some extra connectors that goes more up against the F55. The higher end camera has 14bit RAW while the lower has 12bit, or something along those lines. Either way I think they know they need to deliver some better / cheaper if they are going to stay relevant.

January 2, 2015 at 7:35PM

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Steve Oakley
DP • Audio Mixer • Colorist • VFX Artist
426

The FS7 and the Scarlet are not in the same product category. The Scarlet is a lower budget film/commercial camera. The FS7 is a workhorse aimed more at owner/operators shooting documentaries/docu-series and corporate videos.

I don't know what Canon's strategy is exactly but right now the C300 is in the latter category, and the C500 more of the former. They can try to split the difference between the two but, if it were up to me, I would think the smarter money would be in creating a true workhorse camera. Ergonomical, utilizing cheap media, ready to go right out of the box, with overcranking features, internal 4K, dual record to proxy files, and a quality codec for broadcast. Their own version of the FS7 with a few more pro features.

Many of the Canon lenses are quite popular with that crowd. Might as well keep it in the Canon ecosystem. I know several shooters planning their kits around an FS7 with Canon glass.

January 2, 2015 at 8:54PM

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Joshua Bowen
Editor
690

Wait, 4096x1080? That's something like 2.66:1 or 3:1? Why would anyone want an aspect ratio that wide?

January 3, 2015 at 2:25AM

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Peter Phillips
Filmmaker
633

As far as I know, it simply stretches the vertical resolution to make it look like 16:9. So it would be half as detailed vertically as it is horizontal in slow motion.

January 3, 2015 at 1:03PM

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Zachary Will
Cinematographer
826

Oh so the vertical is sampled? That would make sense.

January 6, 2015 at 12:43AM

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Peter Phillips
Filmmaker
633

It's 3.8:1

January 3, 2015 at 2:08PM

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Austin Hartt
DP @ Hartt Productions/ Editor @ Film Supply
81

For those sideways anamorphic lenses :)

January 3, 2015 at 5:32PM

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Luke Neumann
Cinematographer/Composer/Editor
2824

Canon has confirmed that there will be a new DSLR camera in 2015 which will have 52mp for still images and I dont think it will be in the 1D range........

This will affect their whole line-up and some peoples feelings will be hurt unless ofcourse Canon will try to force us to buy the C series by gimping the DSLR series.

January 3, 2015 at 10:07AM, Edited January 3, 10:07AM

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Torben Greve
Cinematographer
905

I had a C500 PL for 2 years. Happily and luckaly, I just sold it before the holidays. I have to say it. My experience with the camera was not a love story. First of all, major price drop is not really respectable toward your buyers. I mean just 1 year and my investment drop 1/3! Not so great for resale value. And what about consumer service… Oh yeah. Suck! It took 8 months to get the fan not to shoot during recording. And believe it or not. After 2 years now, you still can't use RecRun when shooting on an exterior recorder. This to me is unforgettable from a major company like Canon. To my opinion, they abandon the C500 a long time ago and this price drop is to sell the remaining stock. I would be highly surprise that they continue with C500 MKII.

I will be honest with you. I feel relieve to move on to another camera. I never in 2 year felt back up by Canon as I believe they don't have the experience in the movie industry to give a proper and serious customer service when needed. I hope for Canon fans that they will change there attitude and listen more. For me it a final divorce. There is a lot of amazing cameras out there. It took this experience to understand that investing in a company like Arri is better for my business even if it cost A LOT more expensive. In the end, to always get what you pay for. 16,999$ should a been the original price of the C500.

January 3, 2015 at 11:14AM

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Alexis Marcoux
Director of photography
307

It wouldn't surprise me if these cameras are severely overpriced from the beginning and even with the price reductions its still OVERPRICED! This to me simply means that their profit margins are EXTREMELY high! Even if they were to make the c300 $5K and the c500 under $10K its still a profit for them. Again, with the c500 you need other recording devices to achieve 2K and 4K (Codex, AJA KiPro Quad, Odyssey 7Q or ATOMOS SHOGUN) forcing you to spend more money. Why didn't they look at two of the leaders (ARRI & RED) and see that they should have a better workflow with being able to internally capture footage and not rely on third party manufacturers to achieve 2K and 4K? Canon should consider their next camera to capture RAW internally and use a SSD drive like RED or Black Magic. In the meantime voice all of your concerns here on this page. https://www.facebook.com/CanonStopTapDancingAndUpdateTheC300

January 3, 2015 at 12:11PM

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To my humble opinion, I think all camera company should look at what Arri is doing with the Amira. This camera is exactly what owner/operator need. Just an amazing camera. I don't think raw is really necessary. Just had 3 gigs in 2 years demanding RAW. 12bit was the main reason why people would ask for raw. Not many camera give 12bit without Raw. ProRes up to XQ will be more than enough for 99% of any gigs anywhere. ProRes 4444/XQ are great codec. With C log, I think it all you need. XQ is 550mb. That is the same mb than raw in an easy codec in post. Can't wait to get mine :-)

January 3, 2015 at 2:58PM

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Alexis Marcoux
Director of photography
307

You know what I want from Canon. A simple video DSLR. Some where maybe $3K, Super35 sensor, DSLR Body. Headphone & mic jack. And 1080 downscaled from a 4K sensor (like the c100 does) in a decent codec.

January 3, 2015 at 1:08PM

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Zachary Will
Cinematographer
826

Why not just buy a C100? Everything you listed is what is in the C100 except the DSLR style body (and arguably the codec, but that can be fixed with an external recorder).

January 3, 2015 at 5:32PM

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Alan Dembek
Camera Assistant
238