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Cinema EOS ♦ A Look into Digital Cinematography

The Canon EOS-C300 / C300 PL

First things first: I am not bound in any way to any of the companies mentioned in this article!

Canon announced it's new Cameras for Filmmakers!

A Canon DSLR camera with 4K MJPG Movie function is under development!

From Canon Press Release: Canon has also announced it’s developing a next-generation DSLR camera that’s equipped with a 35mm full-frame CMOS sensor and supports the recording of 4K video* (at a frame rate of 24P, with Motion-JPEG compression) for exceptional image quality that allows the creation of innovative and expressive images. Full details of this camera will be revealed on the CPN website when they become available.

SPECS for the Canon EOS-C300:
  • CMOS Super 35
  • One version with EF-Mount (C300) and one with PL-Mount
  • Resolution: 3840×2160 (Photos)
  • Digic DV III processor
  • Canon Log gamma
  • Custom Presets similar to Canon XF Series
  • Frame Rates: internaly Supports 4K but records in 1080@24p, 1080@25p, 1080@30p, 720@1-60p user selectable
  • Codec & Datarate: Canon XF 50MBit 4:2:2 8-bit internal recording (external 10-bit)
  • Timecode features
  • Recording Media: Dual CF-Slot
  • Built-in motorized ND Filter wheel
  • Pivoting and Detachable LCD Screens and Grips
  • Hot-Shoe mounted, removiable 4" LCD HD-Monitor
  • Connectivity: Dual XLR out, HDMI out, HDSDI out
  • Uncompressed output via HDSDI with 8-bit 4:2:2
  • Image quality comparable to Arri Alexa
  • Price Point: apx €12.000 (C300) available January 2012

Canon also introduced new Prime Lenses: 34mm, 50mm, 85mm
And new Cinema Zoom Lenses: 14.5-60mm, T2.6 & 30-300mm, T2.95-3.7

"13:59" - Short Movie by Mario Feil with DP Nino Leitner and shot in Vienna

The Movie was shot in vienna with a preproduction model of the C300 with mostly natural light from the scenes.
The very lightweight crew did a great job shooting in guerilla-style for two days and pushed the C300 to it's low-light limits.
Read Nino's extensive article!

Watch the Behind the Scenes from Patrick Zadrobilek

Another Behind the Scenes from Peter Hainzl

Vincent Laforet on the new Cameras from Canon & Red

Movie shot with the new Canon EOS-C300 by Vincent Laforet

But RED has shown that they dont need that merchandising like Canon with it's Mega Event.
They also announced their RED Scarlet-X today! Read my article here

my thoughts of recent events ...


Back at in the year 2002 were George Lucas shot "Star Wars Episode Two" on the Sony CineAlta HDW-F900 in High Definition and it was all pioneer work from the technical guys there, even Panavison created their "Primo Lenses" just for the F900 to achieve the best cinema look.
RED started to bring out his RED ONE in 2007. It was starting a wave in Hollywood with new workflows with it's 4K recording resolution and a much lower pricepoint for camera systems.
Then in 2008, Canon brought out the Canon EOS-5D Mark II. A DSLR Stills Camera with video capability. And some people started to use the movie-mode more than the stills mode. A new community was born and Canon did not see it coming that way!


From the Filmmakers point of view the current digital cinema cameras are a real dream in terms of how good the quality is compared to the price. More or less.
It all started with the Canon EOS-5D MKII a few years ago, large sensor, Full HD, lots of lenses.
Even Hollywood jumped on the DSLR waggon - one of the "HOUSE" episodes was filmed completely with a Canon EOS-5D MkII.
A new community emerged around the DSLR Cinema and were realitively happy with DSLRs and then Panasonic brought out the AG-AF100/101 and Sony presented the NEX-FS100. Booth cameras with large Super35 sensors in Full HD and interchangable lenses with a price-point around $6000 - GREAT STUFF!
These camers are not really competitors for the DSLRs but great for low/medium budget cinema with great filmic look and professional handling - unfortunately only with 8-bit movie codecs like the DSLRs.

The Future is Now!

On the other hand RED came out 2011 with it's RED EPIC. Super35 Sensor with 5120 × 2700 and a framerate of 120fps and the REDCODE RAW wavelet codec with a maximum datarate of 336MBit up to 16-bit color depth. Not really cheap with $58.000 for a EPIC-M package but it aint no DSLR!
Other manufacturers also came up with their professional Super 35 digital film cameras: Arri Alexa - HD & 2K Sensor for $50.000, the Sony F3 with HD starting at $14.000
Even the big Hollywood cinema camera company Panavision created it's own Digital Film Camera - the Panavision Genesis - unfortunately the sensor outputs only HD but back in 2004 it was set to compete the Sony F900.
Sony wants to bring out the CineAlta F65 with 4k output for $65.000 in January which later will be capable of outputting even 8k Resolution!
Compared to the previous Sony CineAlta F35 which costs around $300.000 the new F65 is well suited for the today movie market

CANON presents ... and RED too ...

The new cameras Canon & Red has presented today fit perfectly inbetween all these Digital Cinema Cameras.
Does it have some breakthrough features or is it "just" a reliable workhorse from popular companies?
How will Canon position it's new Cinema EOS line? The final price and features will tell.
Red has done everything right with it's Scarlet-X. It's a very strong competitor. They only bad reputation they got is from unreliable hardware and long deliver delays. Let's hope they ironed out that concerns.
We will see when more information pours out of the secret labs at Canon and Red :-) and when they actually sell the cameras.


Canon announced a whole new Cinema EOS line of Optics for the C300 and upcoming cameras. All capable of 4K resolution!
Which also means you can use them on the EF-Mount Red Scarlet too!
Canon already hinted that there will be such a camera with it's introductionof two PL-Mount Canon Cinema Zoom-Lenses in April.

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by Patrick Zadrobilek. November 3rd, 2011
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