As you know, Canon invited me to the announcement of the new Canon EOS C300 video camera (or should we call it a motion picture camera like we used to?). It was quite an amazing day and with Canon inviting us all to dinner (I got to sit with Chuck Westfall and the Engadget crew) after the announcement as well as inviting me to do an interview with one of their Marketing Supervisors Erik Allin, it was impossible to get much news out. And besides, you were being flooded with sites reacting to the news… So I decided to wait a few days for the news to digest and to guage some of the reactions of people who attended as well as others.
I also flew out of LA early the next morning on my way to the Chronos Film Festival – which was another story all by itself (and now I'm at the PubCon convention in Las Vegas).
But we’ll start this summary with the interview with Erik Allin where we discuss the Canon EOS C300 as well as the Cinema EOS DSLR announcement they slipped in without talking about it in the official presentation.
Key takeaway from this: first, there’s going to be a 5D3 (which Chuck confirmed at dinner) and second, there’s going to be a new HDSLR that fits in the Cinema EOS line along with the new Canon EOS C300.
Now THAT is exciting news!
So we did get that shot of the Canon Cinema EOS DSLR but we were also told later that it was a 1D body restyled with the Cinema EOS red logo – it isn't really a working prototype.
The big question of the day was are these cameras as significant as Canon wanted us to think going in? Some will say yes and others will walk away disappointed. Color me impressed. Those who are disappointed likely had their sights set too high or were expecting a replacement to the Canon EOS 5D Mark II that would only cost a few thousand.
Another group that may be disappointed is the group expecting to see 4k or 5k video from Canon. In my conversations with them at the announcement, it is clear that they see the market currently as a 1080 HD market. And when the market shifts to higher resolutions, they’re ready (and we know there will be more cameras in this line). All of the lenses they announced are 4k ready and they clearly have the sensor technology to make a 4k camera, so it is only a matter of time.
Red announced updates to the Scarlet that evening (see nextwavedv and others for more info on that – oh and I was just shown this excellent post by Vincent Laforet on the just announced cameras) and we will have to see if that causes any ripples. Canon however has thrown down a significant gauntlet tho there are still plenty of folks who will decide the specs of the Scarlet are better because it shoots 5k – but we'll have to see how well it works. Canon holds one thing over the other combatants in this field – they are a huge company, they have plenty of cash, and have significant market share. Being huge is also a detriment that Red takes aim for – claiming they can be more nimble and can produce cameras more quickly… However, they also announced the Scarlet something like 2.5 years ago and have yet to sell one (tho they do plan to start shipping in December they say).
In the mean time, Canon has been watching and learning. The early announcement of the Canon EOS-1D X shows Canon is at least willing to show a product a bit early to give camera buyers some time to plan. These new video cameras tho will be out before the 1D x and we are thrilled to see these advancements.
The body shape reminds us of the DSLR and from getting a few minutes to try it, it is comfortable to hold like one. It isn't as small as a DSLR but it is much smaller and lighter than most other video cameras. Here’s a comparison photo I took showing the Canon EOS C300 next to the Canon EOS 5D Mark II:
It was also wonderful to see Canon reaching out to the rig manufacturers before the release so that they’d have rigs ready to go. Redrock Micro was selected as the earliest and they had rigs available for the guys making the sample movies (and the redrock rig appears in all the behind the scenes videos as well). The new Redrock cage is sexy in how it fits around the body instead of being square. I have to compliment Redrock in the sleek design. Letus and Zacuto were also present in the presentation area and had their own cages and rigs ready for the Canon EOS C300. This was a real breakthrough if you ask me to have all this gear ready to go when the Canon EOS C300 ships – much better than having to wait for the manufacturers to prepare something that wouldn’t be avalilable until months later! Now, Canon, please do the same thing with the RAW settings for the new DLSRs! Give folks like Adobe and Apple the RAW specs so we don’t have to wait forever for updates after new DSLRs ship!
The new Canon EOS C300 is quite a leap forward for Canon. Taking direct aim at Hollywood with cameras and by establishing a new Service center to assist filmmakers, Canon is challenging the Panasonic and Sony lines directly. Some were hoping for more, but let's face it, there never will be the perfect camera and they have to leave room to grow in the future and they also have to work with all the different markets. HDSLRs are still going to be needed and we know Canon (and presumably Nikon) will be improving that line as well (see the interview above). But they don't want to cannibalize the video camera market either.
Exciting times are ahead and we’ll be there to help you thru the waters – keep your eyes on planet5D!
Blogger’s Disclaimer: Canon did pay for my trip and the event was truly exciting to attend – they paid for a ton of people to come out for the announcement – it musta cost them a bundle!
(cover photo credit: snap from the interview)