Canon is developing two digital cinematography cameras as 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, 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.
The 4K imaging format is emerging as the new standard for advanced effects and post production in Hollywood, and it is particularly important for big-budget motion pictures that include scenes compositing live-action cinematography with high-resolution CG 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 1fps to 60fps. The cameras employ a 12-bit RGB 4:4:4 signal format during 2K output, which can be selected to operate from 1fps to 60fps as well. If switched to a 10-bit YCrCb 4:2:2 mode, the camera can operate up to 120fps.
The Cinema EOS C500 simultaneously records in-camera a 50Mb/s HD proxy video to a CF card that is immediately available to support offline editing. Equipped with a newly developed Super 35mm-equivalent approximately 8.85-megapixel CMOS sensor, the cameras will be compatible with Canon's wide range of interchangeable EF Cinema and PL-mount lenses and EF lenses for Canon SLR cameras. Highly mobile and compact for filmmaking versatility, the Cinema EOS C500/C500 PL digital cinematography cameras — like Canon's Cinema EOS C300/C300 PL cinematography cameras — provide all of the same ergonomic features, except for the rotating hand grip.
Further details regarding the Cinema EOS C500/C500 PL digital cinematography cameras — including specifications and pricing — have yet to be decided. Plans call for these new products to be launched later this year. In addition to targeting a swift launch of these cameras, Canon will continue to enhance other components of its Cinema EOS System product lineup, which is designed to contribute to the continued advancement of tools for visual expression and the development of cinematic culture.
Canon will display a prototype of the Cinema EOS C500/C500 PL digital cinematography camera at the 2012 NAB Show in booth C4325 at the Las Vegas Convention Center from April 16 to 19.