Canon Cinema EOS prototype

More on the new Canon EOS C300 plus planet5D interview on the Cinema EOS DSLR!

by planetMitch11 Comments

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!

Canon Cinema EOS prototype

Canon Cinema EOS prototype (tho clearly a 1d body)

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.

Erik Allin


Event Reaction

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:

Canon EOS 5D Mark II next to Canon EOS C300

Canon EOS 5D Mark II next to Canon EOS C300

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!

Letus sample Canon EOS C300 platform

Letus sample Canon EOS C300 platform

Summary

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)

Comments

  1. Clayton

    “Those who are disappointed likely had their sights set too high”

    I don’t think it would be setting one’s sites too high to assume a $20,000 camera would have 1080p/60.

  2. KahL

    I have to agree. This case isn’t at all in regards to an audience setting their sights too high. It’s a case of overcharging for under-featured tools.

    Canon’s only inclusion of a major advancement within this camera is the sensor thus far. Everything else (other than the body) are taken from last-gen hardware parts.

    It’s overpriced for what it is. At least for the market that got them to Hollywood in the first place: DSLR filmmakers.

  3. Peter

    It’s a pretty image, and there are a lot of benefits that many are overlooking. HOWEVER what you cant overlook is the stupidity of thinking 720p is an acceptable acquisition resolution in this day and age – ESPECIALLY if your making a feature film. Also the fact that Canon’s own lenses work BETTER with the COMPETING scarlet camera…you have to ask yourself if the ‘size of Canon’ as a company is in fact working against them. I’m not saying the C300 is a camel…but it aint no stallion either ;-)

  4. Steve M.

    Basically, the Scarlet was taken off the market as a direct result of the 5DMarkII. Canon changed the entire video production profession, from a camera standpoint, with that launch. The C300, I don’t know what to make of that, other than, in my opinion, that was a piece of equipment heavily swayed by some heavy hitters. I’m curious if you have all had a look at the four short projects, on Canon’s website, for this debut, and what you thought of the image overall.

  5. Gary

    I wasn’t impressed by any of the shorts, not even Vince’s. Vince had the best one by far…the other were unimpressive IMO. Didn’t remind me of film at all. Everything was sharp yes…thats because traditional video camera ( Canon’s specialty) make sharp picture. Most people turn down the sharpness on DSLR to avoid that fact.

    With the Canon, you are paying $20k for a sensor…the parts and technology are exactly the same as their current prosumer camcorder line which is priced around $800.

    Overall the image quality and sensor itself isn’t enough to justify the price. Its not better or worst than the Sony F3… But Sony was smart enough to make a baby F3 and release the Fs100 which is for the lower end market.

    I think Canon put themselves in a very tight spot because if all they are selling is a sensor, then I think the people who are waiting for a trickle down might be out of luck. The hardware is cheap and available already, so its not like an EPIC vs. Scarlet which is like having an F3 vs FS100. So all Canon is banking on is the sensor, so scaling it down wouldn’t help them much either because it would kill the C300, it would be no point in buying it if the sensor technology was used in a 5D mark III, everyone would get that.

    1. KahL

      I have to say that while I agree with the camera’s price being somewhat bloated, I don’t agree about film’s sharpness being softer than video necessarily.

      I’ve seen film scanned in at 4k and to a lesser extent, the high bitrate levels of 1080p on a daily basis. It all depends on the glass as well as the film stock to a lesser degree. In comparison, the Canon cameras are MUCH softer than film. Even more so that you would have to add sharpening just to match up with certain stocks. It’s not as cut and dry simple as that.

  6. Joel Mielle

    As far as I can see, picture qualitywise, you’re paying 90% more for a camera that gives you barely 10% more compared to the 5D. The C300 is about two years too late, a great wedding camera, but far from good enough for cinema no matter what they try and promote. Sure it looks easier to use and if you’re into special events or even low budget TVCs then I would go for it. If you’re into cinematic films, then I’m afraid there’s no contest with the RED scarlet. And that’s coming from a Canon boy! Yes Canon, you have disappointed me, not so much with your camera but with your ridiculous price. Two or three years ago, yes fantastic, today, way overpriced. $10 to $12K is more reasonable and I, and many more of my industry colleagues would have purchased one.

  7. Ronen

    It is simple ….vote “cannot afford C300” and don’t buy it as it goes down in price…Canon Will get the message!

  8. Joel Mielle

    I could never fork out $20k or even $16K for a C300 when Canon is bringing out a DSLR with the same sensor as the 300C that will output to 4K. Probably priced like a 1D, or under $10K in any case. Rumors have it, it will be in 11 months. It’s already superseded.

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