5 Reasons the Canon C700 Will be on the Map for Professionals
Canon just revealed details on a new top-of-the-line model for its Cinema EOS line. The modular Canon EOS C700 will be available in three models. The EF and PL mount versions will support up to 4.5k and 15 stops of dynamic range while the EOS C700 GS PL version will record up to 4k with 14 stops of dynamic range and, most importantly, global shutter. Depending on the model, the EOS C700 will set you back between $28k-$30k and is expected to go on sale in December 2016 (January 2016 for the C700 GS PL). Here's what's putting it on the map for video professionals.
1. This is One Hell of a Production Camera
The C700 certainly looks like a workhorse. Numerous threaded holes at the top, a magnesium body, and an adjustable two-part shoulder mount leaves little to be desired from an on-set standpoint. Moreover, a removable touchscreen remote control, removable RAW module (up to 120fps 4k raw recording), and separately sold OLED viewfinder (EVF-V70) add to the camera's flexibility for different kinds of shooting. It's easy to imagine the C700 being very effective on everything from broadcast to feature productions.
2. Real Competition for the F55
The specs, price, and even look of the C700 place it in direct competition with the Sony F55. While the F55 has global shutter throughout and more 4k and high frame rate options, it's hard to quantify the value of the gorgeous images Canon's cinema line is capable of (notwithstanding its own global shutter option). While we don't have a lot of sample video to look at yet, the first images out of Canon's introductory video are certainly stunning.
3. That Dynamic Range, Though...
15 stops of dynamic range on a camera like this is truly impressive, and bests the F55 at least on paper. Even trading one F-stop for global shutter keeps it above its direct competition. The latitude is important here because, when paired with Canon Log 2 and Canon's newer Log 3, it should allow the image to function beautifully in post.
4. This is a Very Traditional Camera
The real question we have to ask ourselves with every new camera uncertainty is, what does Philip Bloom think? In his recent blog post about the CS7, Bloom showed some mixed feelings on the camera.
"I have a deep love for Canon Cameras (in fact I have just picked up the 1DX MKII to replace my 1DC) I love the image and I really love the people who work for them. It is good to see them bring out a proper flagship camera to challenge the others but I just can’t get excited over this and I REALLY want to."
For Philip Bloom, the C700 is a safe camera that will almost certainly offer a gorgeous image, but the lack of truly innovative features puts its price and timing into question. Charles Haine, writing for No Film School, expressed delight at the camera's physical design and technical capabilities, but wondered if the C700 has a place among its competition.
"If asked to name 50 movies shot on the Alexa or the Epic, I bet most of us could do so without thinking. The aforementioned have a big presence and history in that space, and Sony has a history in high-end broadcast, which is the other potential market. For better or for worse, those are markets that change slowly and stay loyal to 'what works'; Canon is going to have a hard time moving in."
These are very solid critiques, and these concerns might not bode well for the future of Canon's new flagship camera, but I'd like to offer an alternative take. The C700 is a rental camera, it's too expensive to be anything else. This makes its relative price to its direct competition less substantial than more prosumer models. At this price range, what matters is quality and workability. The C700 looks and works a lot like its competition, so Canon is relying solely on what it already does best; produce great images. If the C700 produces images worthy of the Canon name, this will be a hard camera to pass up.
5. The Sensor Can be Switched Out
On the PL model, the sensor can be swapped out by Canon to replace the standard CMOS sensor for a global shutter option. If the censor can be swapped out, though, does that mean that we could see future censor upgrades to the C700? Obviously, there is no confirmation of this, so we have to take this concept with a grain of salt, but the C700 does seem to be aiming itself as a competitor with not only the F55, but the Red Epic as well. Right now, the camera seems to fall just short of providing direct competition with RED, but a significant sensor upgrade down the line could be just the thing that takes the C700 to the next level and beyond.
Canon's C700 specs might not be blowing anyone's mind right now, but they don't necessarily have to be. Canon has laid the framework for a strong, customizable, flagship camera that can remain relevant for a very long time. We'll see what happens when it arrives in December.