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 FFCanon 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. 


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. 


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


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

12 or 10 bit


  • 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


  • 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


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. 


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. 


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