Canon unveils two digital cine cameras

Definitely out of our league, but newsworthy nonetheless, are two digital cinematography cameras Canon has under development, due to be available this year.

The two cameras are part of its new Cinema EOS System of professional cinematography products.

Designated as the Cinema EOS C500 for use with EF-mount lenses, and the Cinema EOS C500 PL for use with PL-mount lenses, the cameras will be capable of originating 4K (4096 x 2160-pixel) resolution digital motion imagery with uncompressed RAW output for external recording.

The cameras are being created in response to growing expectations for higher levels of imaging performance in premium Hollywood films and other production markets requiring the utmost in picture quality, Canon explains.

With the unveiling of the Cinema EOS System last November, notes Ian Macfarlane, senior VP, Canon Canada, the company marked its “full-fledged entry into the motion-picture production market.

To further serve the needs of Hollywood’s premier filmmakers, Canon is developing the Cinema EOS C500 and Cinema EOS C500 PL digital cinematography cameras, which deliver the added benefit of full 4K motion-image capture to the Cinema EOS System.”

The 4K imaging format is emerging as the new standard for advanced effects and post-production in Hollywood. It is particularly important for big-budget motion pictures which include scenes compositing live-action cinematography with high-resolution computer-generated imagery.

The Cinema EOS C500/C500 PL digital cinematography cameras will not only support 4K-resolution video but also outputs this as a 10-bit uncompressed RAW data stream with no de-Bayering.

The cameras offer the additional versatility of being able to output quad full-HD (3840 x 2160), 2K (2048 x 1080), full HD (1920 x 1080), and other imaging options. All of these digital image source formats fully conform to established SMPTE production standards.

All 4K formats can be selected to operate from one to 60 frames per second (fps).

The cameras employ a 12-bit RGB 4:4:4 signal format during 2K output, which can be selected to operate from one to 60 fps as well. If switched to a 10-bit YCrCb 4:2:2 mode, the camera can operate up to 120 fps.

The Cinema EOS C500 simultaneously records in-camera a 50 Mbps HD proxy video to a CF card that is immediately available to support offline editing.

Equipped with a newly developed Super 35 mm-equivalent, approximately 8.85-megapixel, CMOS sensor, the cameras will be compatible with Canon’s interchangeable EF Cinema and PL-mount lenses and EF lenses for Canon SLR cameras.

Further details regarding the Cinema EOS C500/C500 PL digital cinematography cameras – including final specs – have yet to be decided.

Canon says the Cinema EOS C500/C500 PL digital cinematography cameras are scheduled to be available within 2012 with an expected suggested list price of somewhere around US$30,000.

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