Canon goes to the movies

Canon has moved full-force into the motion picture production industry with the launch of the Cinema EOS System. The new professional digital cinematography system includes cameras and lenses.

While this product is definitely not aimed at the photographer, the design and technology are intriguing.

The all-new, interchangeable-lens digital cinema camera features a newly developed Super 35 mm-equivalent (approximately 8.29-megapixel) CMOS sensor. There will be two models: the EOS C300 Digital Cinema Camera, equipped with an EF lens mount for compatibility with Canon’s current lineup of interchangeable EF lenses for EOS SLRs and new EF Cinema Lens lineup; and the EOS C300 PL Digital Cinema Camera, with a PL lens mount for use with industry-standard PL lenses.

When outfitted with a Canon EF lens, the C300’s peripheral illumination correction automatically corrects for vignetting based on each lens’s optical characteristics, and enables iris control from the camera. Canon EF lenses also enable the recording of such metadata as the name of the lens used, aperture setting and shutter speed.

The new sensor has a pixel size that is larger than that for conventional professional camcorders, says the company, enabling greater light-gathering capabilities for enhanced sensitivity and reduced noise. The sensor reads Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) video signals for each of the three RGB primary colors, decreasing the incidence of moiré while realizing high resolution with 1,000 horizontal TV lines.

Supported by a heightened signal read-out speed, the CMOS sensor reduces rolling shutter skews, a phenomenon prevalent with CMOS sensors in which fast-moving subjects may appear diagonally distorted.

As well, the combo of sensor and DIGIC DV III image processor is said to facilitate high-precision gamma processing and smooth gradation expression.

In addition to MPEG-2 Full HD compression, the camera uses 4:2:2 color sampling for high-resolution performance to minimize the appearance of “jaggies” at chroma edges.

Maximum recording rate is 50 Mbps.

The camera’s video and audio recording file format adopts the industry-standard MXF (Material eXchange Format), an open source file format ideally suited for non-linear editing systems.

The camera records to CF cards and has two CF card slots, making possible the simultaneous recording of video data to two cards.

Tricked out

The camera is equipped with four start/stop buttons positioned at various locations to satisfy any preferred camera-holding style, and can be outfitted with a variety of third-party accessories, including matte boxes, follow focuses and external video and audio recorders.

The camera is dust-proof, drip-proof construction and has a built-in cooling system.

Canon also has introduced seven new 4K EF Cinema Lenses – four zoom lenses and three single-focal-length models.

The EF mount camera is scheduled to be available in late January for an estimated list price of $20,000, with the PL mount version scheduled for March.

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