Despite widespread adoption, Canon’s approach to video hasn’t been the all out onslaught many of us have hoped for. Particularly when you consider how DSLR’s have taken on increasingly powerful video capabilities, spawning a passionate base of amateur and pro film makers dedicated to pushing the limits of what their trusty Canon gear can do. So, while the goliath has hedged, ambitious companies like RED have captured the mindshare of Hollywood big guns. That’s about to change.
The newly unveiled EOS C300 Digital Cinema Camera ($20,000) is Canon’s cinematic bomb. The gamechanging camera aims to swing the professional film making spotlight back in their direction with a host of incredible capabilities. Let’s get geeky — the camera’s heart, a DIGIC DV III image processor paired with a 9.84 MP Super 35mm CMOS sensor can deliver up to 4k resolution when decked out with any of the new top-line companion 14.5-60mm or 30-300mm EF zoom lenses (these things are the business). There’s also plenty of shooting versatility thanks to a schmoragasboard of available capture speeds including 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 50 and 59.94fps at ISO levels from 320 to a retina-defying 20,000. Dual CF slots are capable of logging 160 minutes of 1080p at 50Mbps bitrate with 4:2:2 color sampling, per 65GB card. Future auteur’s then have several options for reviewing their masterpiece, including a half inch electronic viewfinder that offers 100% coverage, or a detachable 4-inch display. In a nod to its professional intent, auto focus is nowhere to be found, but both EF or pro-grade PL mounts are available. Yes, it’s a bit different than RED’s flexible adapter approach, but consider it a bigger door to step into.
In case your trigger happy finger is feeling especially frisky, the EOS C300’s $20 grand entry price means you’ll need to reach especially deep come January when it’s released. But if you’re like us, and sitting on top of a heap of Canon glass, then you’ve already started saving.
More photos and some test footage by Vincent Laforet after the break.