Canon has unveiled its latest Cinema EOS camera, the C300 Mark III, which is aimed at TV production, especially documentaries, and will be available from June.
It is based on the C500 Mark II, which launched at IBC 2019, and is aimed primarily at the cinema market. The C500 MkII recently started shipping and the two look almost identical.
“We wanted to follow this modular design, with the same button layout, same look and feel. This is really important for people switching between the cameras,” said David Parry, product specialist for photo and video products, Canon UK. “They don’t have to learn a new camera, they can just pick it up and start using it.”
However, “internally they are very different beasts”, he added. The C500 MkII has a 5.9K full-frame sensor, while the C300 MkIII has a new Super-35 4K chip that hasn’t been used on any other camera. It is a dual gain output (DGO) sensor, with 16+ stops of dynamic range, “which is more than any other product we’ve got at the moment”. It also promises to have the lowest noise of any Cinema EOS camera.
As well as HDR, it also offers high-speed 4K DCI or UHD recording (10-bit 4:2:2 XF-AVC or Cinema Raw Light), at up to 120 frames per second, “which is something we’ve been asked for quite a bit recently”, particularly for documentary work, said Parry. The camera can do up to 180fps, but only in HD or 2K using a Super16 crop, and records to dual CFexpress cards and an SD card.
Also useful is its very long recording time – up to 130 minutes on one BP-A60 battery, “which is pretty impressive”, according to Parry. Using less energy not only has benefits for battery life, but also picture quality, he added, as lower power requirements mean the sensors run cooler, generating less noise.
The DGO is available at all ISO settings (the native ISO is 800) and works at up to 60p, but not at higher frame rates. It uses two signal paths, one processing shadow areas and the other for highlights, which are then combined in an HDR image.
The camera will come with an EF mount that is user-interchangeable for PL and EF Cinema Lock mounts. Although the C500 MkII is selling primarily with PL mounts, Parry expects the C300 MkIII will be more popular with EF users.
It takes the same EVF viewfinder module that fits on the C500 and C700, and there are two expansion units: the EU-V2, which has been popular for the C500 because it comes with a V-lock battery mount; and the smaller EU-V1, with just Genlock/Sync Out, RS-422 Remote and Ethernet, which he expects will be more popular for the C300 MkIII, particularly as the internal battery life is so much better.
Canon has also revealed more about its upcoming EOS R5 mirrorless full-frame sensor camera, specifically its video capabilities, delivering 4K and 8K.
It will be able to record 8K Raw at up to 29.97fps, as well as 4:2:2 10-bit H.265, while 4K can go to 120fps internally (to CFexpress and SD cards) at 4:2:2 10-bit H.265 (Canon Log or HDR PQ), while it can also output 4K at up to 60fps via HDMI. It also has Dual Pixel CMOS auto focus at all resolutions and all modes.
The camera has five-axis in-body sensor stabilisation that works with any lens, making it the first Canon camera with this. It can be combined with lens stabilisation for a “really high quality image stabiliser”, said Parry.
The company has also announced firmware updates for its professional display monitors and Cinema EOS System cameras.
The camera firmware update includes support for Canon’s new CN10x25 IAS S lens on its various Cinema EOS cameras, including such functions as dual pixel CMOS AF, chromatic aberration and peripheral illumination correction functions and lens meta data recording. It has also added XF-AVC Long GoP and XF-AVC Proxy recording to the C500 MkII, plus simultaneous HDMI and SDI output for the EOS C200.
Meanwhile, the company’s seven models of professional 4K reference displays have new firmware that improves their 4K/HDR workflow, such as: enhanced brightness and contrast; support for the .cube LUT file format; enhanced co-ordination with Red Digital Cinema cameras; and further enhancement of functions to support editing operations.