Canon has announced a new entry-level HD large-sensor camera to compliment its existing C300 and the upcoming 4k-capable C500. The C100 records AVCHD at about half the data rate of the C300, but will cost about half the price….
The EOS C100 should be available in November, with a list price of $7,999, and is aimed at budget filmmaking. However, it still has the acclaimed C300 sensor and can output uncompressed 4:2:2 video to an external recorder.
Internally, it records 1920x1080 HD 24Mbps, 4:2:0 AVCHD video to dual SD cards, for up to 12 hours recording on two 64GB cards. Higher quality formats require an external recorder, such as the Atomos Ninja 2, via the uncompressed HDMI port. There is no HD-SDI connection, but the HDMI is lockable.
As it doesn’t have the C300’s Compact Flash 50Mbps recording, the C100 shrinks to about 85% of the size, and weighs 1020g (410g less than the C300).
It has push auto iris and one-shot auto focus – or full manual focus and exposure control, but it is being touted as being optimised for use by a single operator, although these auto functions are not available if shooting with Canon’s cinema lenses.
It also has a rotatable 3.5-inch LCD control panel, plus a high-resolution electronic viewfinder. There are also built-in ND filters (2, 4 and 6 stops), which gives it a key advantage over Sony’s rival FS100 and all DSLRs.
For audio, it has dual XLR inputs (on the detachable handle), recording linear PCM two-channel audio or Dolby digital two-channel audio.
It promises reduced rolling shutter artefacts in interlaced mode, enhanced gamma modes, cinematic depth of field (from the Super35mm/APS-C sized sensor), and “excellent low-light performance”, with dynamic range of a consistent 12 stops through the ISO range.
The sensor captures 8.4 megapixels, with individual Red, Green, and Blue channels for each full HD 1920x1080 frame, and provides an ISO range of from 320 to 20,000 for work in low light with “minimal picture noise”. It also uses Canon’s DIGIC DV III image processor for better colour rendition.
There are multiple recording modes, resolutions, and frame rates (60i, 50i, PF30, 25p, PF24 and 24p), plus enhanced gamma modes (including Wide Dynamic Range Gamma and Canon Log Gamma) for a peak dynamic range of 800% and wide exposure latitude for creative post-production image processing, colour correction, and contrast manipulation (although AVCHD with its 4:2:0 colour space loses some of that).
The C100 has a similar modular design to the C300. Users can fit a removable side-mounted rotating grip with start/stop button and miniature "joystick" menu control provides almost SLR-like operation, while the detachable top-mounted handle includes dual XLR connectors, built-in stereo microphone, a bracket for an external microphone, audio-input level adjustments, and a tally light.
It can record to both SD cards simultaneously or relay-record from one card to the other, but also outputs uncompressed 4:2:2 HD via HDMI, including superimposed time code and 2:3 pull-down marker information. Additional outputs include a USB connector and stereo headphone jack.
The C100 can be fitted with EF-mount lenses (of which Canon makes more than 70 zoom and prime lenses in its EF, EF-S and EF Cinema lens line ups).
There are now seven EF Cinema lens models, which are more suited to video use than stills lenses: the compact, lightweight CN-E15.5-47mm T2.8 L wide-angle zoom and the CN-E30-105mm T2.8 L telephoto cinema zoom (available in EF and PL versions – with a list price of $24,500); the CN-E14.5-60mm T2.6 L wide-angle zoom and CN-E30-300mm T2.95-3.7 L telephoto zoom (also EF and PL); plus the CN-E24mm T1.5 L, CN-E50mm T1.3 L, and CN-E85mm T1.3 L prime lenses. Two new cinema primes, the 14mm T3.1 and 135mm T2.2, have also been announced for release in the Spring.
By David Fox