Canon announced the EOS C300 Digital Cinema Camera for high-resolution motion picture production. The interchangeable-lens camera combines exceptional imaging performance with outstanding mobility and expandability to meet the demanding production needs of today’s motion picture industry. The camera, which features a newly developed Super 35 mm-equivalent approximately 8.29-megapixel CMOS sensor, will be available in two models: the EOS C300 Digital Cinema Camera, equipped with an EF lens mount for compatibility with Canon’s current diverse lineup of interchangeable EF lenses for EOS single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras 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.
The introduction of the EOS C300/C300 PL coincides with the launch of the Cinema EOS System, marking Canon’s full-fledged entry into the digital high-resolution production industry. The new professional digital cinematography system spans the lens, digital cinema camera and digital SLR camera product categories.
Equipped with an EF lens mount, the EOS C300 is supported by an all-star cast of high-performance EF lenses, not only the wide array of interchangeable EF lenses for EOS SLR cameras that have earned the trust and respect of photographers around the world, but also the EF cinema lenses in the newly announced Cinema EOS System. When outfitted with a Canon EF lens, the C300’s peripheral illumination correction automatically corrects for vignetting in accordance with 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 Canon EOS C300/C300 PL’s newly developed Super 35 mm-equivalent CMOS sensor incorporates approximately 8.29 million effective pixels and has a pixel size that is larger than that for conventional professional camcorders, 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. Additionally, the powerful combination of the sensor with Canon’s high-performance DIGIC DV III image processor facilitates high-precision gamma processing and smooth gradation expression.
In addition to MPEG-2 Full HD (MPEG2 422@HL compliant) compression, the EOS C300/C300 PL employs 4:2:2 color sampling for high-resolution performance that minimizes the appearance of “jaggies” at chroma edges. Additionally, with a maximum recording rate of 50 Mbps, the camera supports the recording of high-quality video.
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. Recording to versatile, readily available CF cards, the EOS C300/C300 PL realizes high cost-performance and, equipped with two CF card slots, makes possible the simultaneous recording of video data to two CF cards.
With a compact body design measuring 5.2 (w) x 7.0 (h) x 6.7 (d) inches, the Canon EOS C300/C300 PL delivers exceptional maneuverability, enabling shooting from vantage points all but inaccessible to large cinema cameras, such as close to the ground for high-impact low-angle shots, and alongside walls. In accordance with on-location shooting needs, the camera can be outfitted with a handle, grip, thumb rest and monitor unit, and offers an array of industry-standard terminals, including HD/SD-SDI video output for the external recording of high-quality video content. When using a WFT-E6B wireless file transmitter for EOS digital SLR cameras (sold separately), the EOS C300/C300 PL can be controlled remotely by means of such common devices as smartphones or tablet PCs.
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 unit also achieves seamless integration with third-party editing systems and provides added peace of mind through its dust-proof, drip-proof construction and built-in cooling system.
The new camera allows users to adjust image quality to match that of professional camcorders and EOS-series digital SLR cameras, and offers Canon Log Gamma, enabling flat image quality with subdued contrast and sharpness for maximum freedom in post-production editing and processing. In addition to frame rates of 59.41i, 50.00i, 29.97P, 25.00P and 23.98P, the EOS C300/C300 PL features a 24.00p mode, matching the 24 frame-per-second frame rate of film cameras for high compatibility with common film-production workflows.
Other features include fast-motion shooting, achieved by capturing fewer frames per second to create action up to 60x normal speed, and slow-motion down to 1/2.5x made possible by capturing more frames per second. Frame rates between 1 and 60 frames per second (fps) can be adjusted in increments of 1 fps. Additionally, a selection of Custom Pictures lets users freely adjust image quality for greater control over how content looks.
Pricing and availability
- The Canon EOS C300 (EF mount) digital cinema camera → $20,000 (late January 2012)
- The Canon EOS C300 PL (PL mount) digital cinema camera → $20,000 (late March 2012)