March 28, 2018

Canon Unveils First Full Frame Entry: The C700 FF Cinema Camera

Canon keeps up with full frame trend offering new C700 FF cinema camera for filmmakers.

Advancements in digital cinema technology are moving fast, and you don't have to be an insider to see the writing on the wall. While the last five years or so have been exciting, it has been somewhat predictable—which isn't a bad thing.

Yes, full frame is where things are headed, more mirrorless options will be in our future, as well as wider color gamuts, larger bit depths, HDR, AV1, higher storage capacities, companies offering end-to-end workflow solutions, and yes, even 16K. The one thing we won't be seeing is a uniform lens mount. 

Canon C700 FF
Canon C700 FF with new CN-E 20mm T1.5

Canon is stepping into the full frame arena with the cleverly named C700 FF cinema camera and we were invited to an early preview in Burbank, CA. Alex Sax, Pro Market Specialist, said this is "Canon's first crack at the higher end A camera market." Before you get overly excited, the C700 FF is essentially Canon's version of a full frame sensor inside the body of a C700.

It's something Canon tipped its hat to in 2016, and Jon Fauer at FDT wrote about as well. Similar to what RED and now ARRI and Zaxcom have been doing in the professional sound world, Canon built the C700 body so that it can be updated without needing to change the body. If you already own a C700, there will be a fee-based upgrade program. 

You're getting 5952 x 3140px, or 5.9K photosites that create a 17:9 aspect ratio. 

Sensor

Canon developed a CMOS image sensor with an active area of 38.1x20.1mm covering a 43.1mm image circle. You're getting 5952 x 3140px, or 5.9K photosites that create a 17:9 aspect ratio. Besides the full-size readout Super 35mm, Super 16mm and anamorphic is supported. If you don't have full frame lenses, you can use Super 35mm lenses for 4K DCI/4K UHD content and Super 16mm lenses for 2K/HD via lens adapter. Like the C700, it uses three DIGIC DV 5 processors for its imagine engine. 

Recording

Can you record 5.9K RAW, XF-AVC or Apple ProRes internally? No. You will need to use the "optional" external Codex CDX-36150 recorder if you want to capture 5.9K RAW or ProRes. External 5.9K RAW recording is limited to 60 fps. 4K RAW up to 72 fps (in 24p mode) and 4K ProRes up to 60 fps. 

However, while internal recording is limited to 4K DCI, 4K UHD, 2K or HD in XF-AVC or Apple ProRes, the sensor uses the full 5.9K bayer pattern and downsamples it to 4K to produce a sharper, more robust image. CFast cards record the action and 2K/HD proxy data including metadata can be recorded to SD cards. You get frame rates of up to 168 fps in 2K/HD ProRes mode recording internally or externally. 

There is a video signal being sent through its 3G-SDI output. We are waiting on those exact specs e.g. 5.9K, 4K, frame rates, etc, and will update accordingly. Currently, no third-party recorders (Atomos, Video Devices, Convergent Design) are supporting it, and so we are stuck with Codex. 

Update: The 3G-SDI output does not support 5.9K RAW or ProRes. You can only send 4K RAW up to 59.94fps. No ProRes. RAW footage can be de-bayered with Canon HDR displays, but no third-party recorders support the RAW capabilities. 

Compression formats

RAW

  • 5952 x 3140
  • 5952 x 2532
  • 4096 x 2160 (cropped)
  • 2048 x 1080 (cropped)

Bitrate
12 or 10 bit

XF-AVC

  • 4096x2160 YCC422 10 bit/3840x2160 YCC422 10 bit
  • 2048x1080 YCC422 10 bit/1920x1080 YCC422 10 bit
  • 2048x1080 RGB444 12 bit/1920x1080 RGB444 12 bit
  • 2048x1080 RGB444 10 bit/1920x1080 RGB444 10 bit

Bit Rate
810/440/410/310/225/210/170/160/90 Mbps Intra-frame 50 Mbps Long GOP

ProRes

  • 4096x2160 YCC422 10 bit/3840x2160 YCC422 10 bit
  • 2048x1080 YCC422 10 bit/1920x1080 YCC422 10 bit
  • 2048x1080 RGB444 12 bit/1920x1080 RGB444 12 bit

Bit Rate
ProRes4444XQ /ProRes4444/ProRes422HQ /ProRes422

Canon C700 FF

Gamma and Color 

Similar to the C700, this full frame version has 15 stops of dynamic range and a wide color gamut that meets BT.2020 standards. Canon Log 3, Log 2, Log1 and Wide DR are all supported, as well as Cinema Gamut, DCI-P3 and Rec. 709. A nice breakdown of Canon Log curves can be found here

Dual Auto Focus and Mounts

Canon Dual Pixel CMOS AF (DAF) and Dual Pixel Focus Guide technology are both supported. Manual focus, one-shot AF, continuous AF, AF-boosted manual focus, and the popular face detection auto focus are all selectable options. The Focus Guide assists operators with a precision visual indicator in the viewfinder when pulling focus. Also, the HDMI output sends clean signals like peaking to aid the assist. 

The C700 FF is available in EF or PL mounts. Keep in mind, only lenses that support the AF functions can be used in the modes mentioned above. PL supports Cooke's /i metadata. 

Canon C700 FF

HDR

Canon recommends Canon Log2 for HDR as it produces the full 15 stops providing details in both the highlights and shadows. Log3 produces roughly 14 and Log1 13.5. Both offer a wide dynamic range while retaining performance in darker regions. Workflows can be set up using Canon's new 4K UHD displays for on-set review. The displays conform to SMPTE ST 2084 standards. 

Anamorphic

If you're looking to finish in 4K (let's say for a Netflix series), you can do so recording 5.9K external. When the 5.9K image is pulled out, it produces a full 4K DCI image for delivery.

ND Filters

A new ND filter system similar to the ME20 has been incorporated with 5 density settings of 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 stops. 8 and 10 are available when expanded. Filters 2, 6 create stop 8. Filters 4, 6 create stop 10. 

Availability 

The EF and PL mount versions will be available this July for $33,000.00. 

Canon C700 FF

Overall Thoughts

Canon is stepping in the right direction. The cost is traditionally higher for the indie filmmaker, but that's not the market they're after with the C700 FF. They want to attract high-end productions looking for full frame coverage and 4K delivery. This is not to say the indie filmmaker couldn't use it. The sweet spot is going to be internal 4K XF-AVC or ProRes. If that's something that grabs you, it's a camera to consider for your next story. 

Tech Specs: 

  • 5952 x 3140 - 5.9K recording
  • 4K DCI, 4K UHD, 2K, HD 
  • 17:9 aspect ratio
  • RAW/XF-AVC/ProRes
  • Canon Log 3/Canon Log 2/Canon Log/Wide DR
  • ISO 160 – 25600 (100 – 102400 expandable)
  • ND Filter: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 stops
  • Dual AF
  • CFast, SD, Codex 
  • EF or PL Mounts
  • IP Streaming, WiFi

Your Comment

9 Comments

Not sure the term “mirrorless” applies to cinema cameras.

March 28, 2018 at 12:17PM, Edited March 28, 12:18PM

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Alex Fuerst
Director of Photography + Cinematographer
150

Yeah, I noticed that too. Need to change that headline. Although this camera technically lacks the mirror of a reflex design, video recording in DSLR cameras uses live view or live sensor just as mirrorless cameras do. The mirror/reflex is only for the optical viewing during still photo taking. So the term does not apply here unless they are wanting to compare it to reflex systems in film cameras :)

March 28, 2018 at 2:15PM

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Stephen A van Vuuren
Filmmaker
514

+1 Thanks for the comments. Noticed it too – was added during the editing process. Asked them to remove it. Updated.

March 28, 2018 at 4:08PM, Edited March 28, 4:08PM

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$33,000 dollars and you still can't record internal RAW????? Is Canon smoking crack?? So their $7,000 c200 can record RAW but their $33,000 massive camera can't??? How does Canon justify this price? The Sony FS7 Mark II comes in at basically the same but with internal Raw for $20,000 less. Seriously Canon needs to remove their heads from their asses. A Flagship camera should have all the features of all the other cameras. I am done with Canon

March 28, 2018 at 5:58PM, Edited March 28, 6:00PM

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Ted
92

The FS7 II doesn’t record raw internally. Like the FS7, you add the $2,000 adapter, then you can record in raw with an Atomos or Convergent Design monitor/recorder.

Regardless, this camera is a complete mess, IMO. The 50 to 100 people that bought the first C700 are either going to be angry, or happy, given what this new sensor can (and can’t) do.

What does “full frame” mean to y’all at NoFilmSchol? Because, to many of us, it means 35mm (135) at a 3:2 aspect ratio— which gives you the ability to shoot “full frame” with anamorphic lenses, etc. The Sony Venice, at roughly the same price, makes this school bus of a camera look like a bit dumb. I’m sure Canon has a target market in mind with this product (that’s what Canon is good at— designing by committee) but I can’t picture this fitting in anywhere with its proprietary everything, and no (or little) 3rd party support. I’m not the biggest RED fanboy, in fact I wouldn’t shoot with RED given the option, but RED does raw well, it has loads of support for raw, and it comes in at about the same price. If Canon can’t even beat out RED at pricing, I don’t know what kind of value they’re adding.

How is this relevant news for your NoFilmSchool audience? If you gained some focus and expertise in the audience you claim to serve, you wouldn’t have to throw everything at the wall and hope it sticks...

March 28, 2018 at 7:49PM

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"What does “full frame” mean to y’all at NoFilmSchol?"
I can only speak of my own opinion, and to me, it's 36 x 24mm.

"How is this relevant news for your NoFilmSchool audience?"
It's news about equipment in the filmmaking industry. From what I understand, NoFilmSchool covers the filmmaking industry. If it was a "Fashion Faceoff" article about "Who wore it best?" I'd probably question its relevance.

If you have topics, ideas, suggestions you'd like to see covered so you can learn to be a better filmmaker, please let me know.

Hope that helps.

March 28, 2018 at 9:18PM

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#1: You can record raw onboard with the Codex c700 recorder module. It's an integrated system and you can choose whether or not to use it. The internal CFast interface isn't fast enough to record usable framerates on a sensor this size at 5.9k resolution. It's just math. Having a removable option saves productions money because they only have to pay for features they need.

#2: No. This camera is their high end cinema division camera. It has to compete with offerings from Arri and RED and Panasonic and the behavior and form factor those professionals expect from it.

#3. Yes. The c200 has a smaller sensor and is aimed more at the prosumer market where Canon is a very strong player. Comparing the c700FF to a c200 is pretty amusing honestly.

#4: The price is very affordable compared to its peer cameras. The Alexa SXT package starts at $70,000 and has a 3.2k sensor. And guess what? You have to use Codex recorders there too. They just integrated recording into the media bay. The RED Dragon starts at $50,000. Canon's problem is that they're just getting into making high end (market) cameras so there's a disconnect between what you expect and what you're going to get. Canon is probably losing money selling this camera at 30k. How many do you think they're going to sell? How much engineering went into making it? Etc. This is not going to be a $10k camera anytime soon.

#4: Flagship cameras should most definitely NOT have all the features of other cameras. They should be very good at what they're designed for and who is going to buy them. High end films, where Canon wants to make headway for prestige and development purposes, are going to use the Codex recorder. The cost isn't a big factor. Documentaries and on the go type productions are going to record to CFast internally. They're going for 2 markets here with a solution for each.

The more features you try to cram into any given camera, the more it weighs and the more power it uses. Pros do not want unnecessary weight and power draw. The c700 handles really nicely compared to a Varicam 35 or something (which still needs an external RAW recorder) because it doesn't try to do everything in one package.

March 30, 2018 at 12:32PM

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Let's hope that 4K will became the bottom standard workflow at least for features, resulting in 4K DCP being the norm, rather than exception :)

March 29, 2018 at 5:15AM

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Non vuole mai che qualcuno ci faccia del male e ci insegna a comportarci bene con gli altri. Festa Della Mamma Frasi Per prestare attenzione e ringraziare le mamme, il 13 maggio è stato dichiarato festa della mamma da celebrare ogni anno. Nessuno paga un solo ruolo nella nostra vita di madre. Inoltre ci prendiamo sempre cura di nostra madre per tutta la vita.

March 30, 2018 at 2:47PM, Edited March 30, 2:47PM

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Javier
154