Canon's flagship cinema camera is full-frame, and expandable with optional extension modules.
Ahead of IBC 2019, Canon has officially announced the long-awaited second-generation C500 Mark II cinema camera. At its heart is the same full-frame image sensor as that of the larger C700 only a lot lighter, weighing in at just 3.8 lbs. So, that will make it just a tad longer and wider than the C200. But it will also have optional extension modules to add even more performance, especially with live streaming to the internet. Is this the next great all-purpose cinema cam?
“The EOS C500 Mark II encompasses the latest Canon technologies and, when teamed with the recently announced Sumire Prime Cinema Lenses and DP-V3120 4K Reference Display, forms an incredible input-to-output solution.” - Kazuto Ogawa, President and COO, Canon U.S.A., Inc
Capable of over 15 stops of dynamic range and data rates approaching 810MB/ps, the new C500 Mark II makes for a kind of all-around cinema camera for not only documentarians but also for even higher-end YouTubers. This is thanks to the modular design that will take extension modules to expand its capabilities. But before we get to that, let's look at the basic specs:
- 4K and 2K 4:2:2 10-bit XF-AVC recording and 5.9k oversampling for 4K
- 2 CFexpress media card slots
- Compatibility with EF and PL lenses as well as anamorphic and spherical lenses
- Dual Pixel CMOS AF with the ability for Touch and Face detection AF
- First Canon cinema camera with 5-axis electronic image stabilization, which can be utilized even without the use of lens with IS functionally
- Support for Canon Log 2 and 3 Gamma
- 4 channel recording that supports 4 XLR inputs with the use of the EU-V2 expansion unit
- User LUT allowing users to upload and apply custom LUTs
The full-frame 5.9K DIGIC DV7 image sensor is designed to provide full 4K performance by oversampling the image at 5.9K in high dynamic range. The camera will use Canon Cinema RAW Light, first introduced for the C200, to cut data size to about 1/5 a RAW image file size without suffering image degradation during color grading. It provides up to 15 stops of dynamic range and can shoot at 60p, 120p at 2K.
The C500 Mark II is capable of shooting in the following data rates:
- RAW 5.9: 2.1GBps 4K 1GBps. 2K 250 MBps
- XFAVC - 4K/UHD 810MBps at 60fps
- 410 MBps 30 fps and below.
- 2K 60fps and above 310MBps
- 160MBps 30fps and below.
Proxies can be recorded to SD, but only for RAW image data. And relay and dual recording are also supported.
The C500 Mark II will have a hybrid five-axis on-sensor image stabilization, two of which are controlled by your IS grade lens, and three controlled by the sensor itself. Working in concert, these two IS schemes will promise a more stable image. And if your lens isn't IS capable, like some of those old school anamorphic lenses from the 70s, shooters can have the sensor adjusted to stabilize all five axes.
And for the first time in Canon cinema history, users will now be able to change their own lens mounts, from EF to PL, and even to an EF Cinema Locking Mount, without having to take the camera to an authorized service center to do it. This will save a ton of time while out in the field, giving shooters the ability to move between lens mounts to suit their creative vision. The mounting swap takes removal of just four simple screws and all mounting kits come with shims to adjust as needed.
The camera's new modular design also provides for building a custom rig to the shooter's preference, with over 13 different accessories, as well as three new camera modules to add performance. Accessories that can be added include a 4.3" LCD monitor, the GR-V1 grip, and the SU-15 shoulder support. As for expansion units, Canon has built out a gen-lock EU-V1 unit which also offers sync out, remote control via RS422 connectors, and a high-speed ethernet connection for IP streaming. The EU-V2 provides for use of a V-mount battery, as well as two XLR audio ports and a 24 v DC out. The final expansion unit will give users an OLED EVF V70 viewfinder with 1.77 million dots. Very similar to the module used in the C200 Mark II.
The C500 Mark II will be available this December for an MSRP of $15,999. But you can preorder it now. The extension modules will list as follows: EU1 streaming module with gen-lock support $600, EU2 with VMount 24v power output $1600, and the optional OLED Viewfinder for $700.
Does this mean the C300 Mark II is on the way out? Nobody knows, but it definitely shows where Canon is going with a new generation of cinema imaging.