Is the NEW Canon C700 cinema camera worth $30k? My First Impressions.

November 16, 2016
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Guys, I'm not that cool. I don't get invited to a ton of exclusive events. But when I do, I make videos about it.

Just the other week, I was honored to be invited to an exclusive event for Canon's launch of their new cinema camera the Canon C700. Hosted at the prestigious ASC Clubhouse, I was a nerd among bigger nerds. "High dynamic range, 4.5K CMOS, Global Shutter, ProRes 4444 at 12 bit were just some of the words echoing throughout the creaky walls of the Clubhouse in Hollywood.

Me sporting a C700 prototype.

It was an exciting night for Canon, who has up til now, had a strong hold on the indie/mid-level market with their workhorses, the Canon C300 and C100 (MKI and II respectively.)

Now, they're taking aim at the higher-end market with ARRI and RED in their crosshairs. But at roughly $30K (depending on which version of the C700 you want), is the Canon C700 really worth it?

Well, lucky for you I break down my 5 favorite features of the new Canon C700 in my video. Here they are!

 

1. CODEX RECORDER

That's right, this camera now offers the ability to record RAW in 4K to an external recorder. This means you can adjust a number of settings to your image AFTER your shoot is in the can. As digital cinematography moves more and more into the DI, this only makes sense for Canon if they want to compete with ARRI and RED.

Canon's Codex Recorder will be an additional cost that is YTBD.

I saw evidence of what this codex can offer when they premiered their test commercial, The Calling. Lensed by Oscar-winner, Russell Carpenter (Titanic) and directed by Canon Explorer Of Light Tyler Stableford, they explained how they trusted their waveform and knew they were capturing all the information needed to adjust in the DI. 

Tyler and Russell discuss their process.
 

2. CONTROL PANEL

This was cool because now Canon is offering controls of the camera on the "dummy side" which is typically where 1st AC's work from. No AC's are not dummies, in fact they are usually the smartest people on set (in my opinion). But the dummy side is the non-operator side of the camera. And much like any other professional camera, this again puts Canon up there with the big dogs.

The Canon OU-700 Remote Operation Unit.

3. GLOBAL SHUTTER

This is my favorite feature. Hands down. Even though this is an OPTIONAL addition to the C700 at an added cost, Canon is offering a Super 35mm 4K sensor with a global shutter. That means no more rolling shutter and flash bands. See the images below to fully understand what I mean. But bottom line, what this means is that every line of resolution is being recorded simultaneously per frame. Much like its analog predecessor called celluloid film, this sensor will now capture each frame in one instance.

A breakdown between rolling shutter and global shutter.
Rolling shutter issues when dealing with fast motion.

4. ANAMORPHIC SETTING

Me in a anamorphic aspect ratio. I promise I'm not rolling my eyes.

Who doesn't love anamorphic lenses nowadays. They're all the rage and everyone is trying to get their hands on vintage anamorphic glass to spice up their projects. We have a ton for rent on ShareGrid. So Canon is now offering a setting that allows you to shoot with anamorphic glass to capture that true cinematic-look.

5. PRORES

Finally, Canon is allowing internal ProRes recording up to 4K at 30fps. Many love having a ProRes option for post-reasons but further, now you can record internally to ProRes as a offline proxy while capturing everything RAW on your Codex Recorder...pretty damn cool.

HONORABLE MENTION: SMART EVF

I had to include this because for every doc shooter or handheld operator, this is essential. Now you can control most of your settings with the buttons and controls on your EVF. Much like the ARRI Amira and Alexa Mini, this steps up Canon's game yet again.

Canon C700 Smart EVF

CONCLUSION

It's hard to say what will come of the C700. I've been a big fan of Canon and their image technology since the first generation C300 hit the market. So I'm happy to see that they're trying to compete with the bigger players in the game. My only question is, are they a few years too late? Only time will tell where the C700 falls into the spectrum. Regardless, I'm happy they're trying. The more gear and brands that flood the market, the more competition and choices we have as filmmakers/consumers. Let's see what happens...

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Brent Barbano

I have been a freelance Cinematographer in Los Angeles for over 8 years. Hailing for Syracuse, NY, I also studied at Syracuse University’s film program. I am a proud member of IATSE Local 600 International Cinematographers Guild.

I co-founded ShareGrid in 2013 and I happily contribute my findings, ideas and news on ShareGrid with all of you.

Creative Director and Co-Founder of ShareGrid

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