EOS C300 MK II - Sensational new 15 stop 4K cinematic camera from Canon

Written by David Shapton

Canon/RedSharkCanon EOS C300 MK 2

Here it is: the new 4K EOS C300 MK II

Well, we're a bit surprised by this announcement today but there has definitely been a trend for manufacturers to release their landmark new products before the first day of NAB. And that's what's happened with Canon. So, here it is: the EOS C 300 Mark II - a 4K, more rugged version of its somewhat groundbreaking predecessor and - we think this is key - it has much better codecs.

We'll give you some more detail below and then the full press release over the page.

Price and availability

First, price and availability. It's going to cost £11,299 in the UK excluding tax. It will be available in September 2015.  Just in time for a "now shipping" announcement at September's IBC in Amsterdam.

While the headline attribute of the new camera is 4K, pretty much everyone expected that - and it is true 4K, by the way, with 4096 x 2160 and 3840 x2160 supported, perhaps the most significant upgrade is in the codecs.

Canon appears to be introducing their own professional variant of H.264, which they call XF-AVC. Largely analogous, we presume, to Sony's XAVC and Panasonic's AVC Ultra (in the sense that they are capable of higher bitrates and deeper bit depths), this is a necessary addition to the C300 which will dispel any doubts about the camera's suitability for high-end work. The C300 Mk 1 always had a great picture but a limited codec, which would limit its ultimate usability, especially in post production.

New codecs

The new codecs will record 4K 4:2:2 files with ten bit resolution at up to 410 Mbit/s and ten or twelve bit 4:4:4 files in 2K and Full HD. All of these specifications are very usefully higher than the Mk I camera, and the 4:4:4 2K and Full HD levels should be ideal for productions for broadcast that need heavy grading and post production. Raw output is available to record externally.

The new camera doesn't have a global shutter, but Canon has reduced the sensor read-out speed so that it is now twice as fast, effectively halving the effect of Rolling Shutter. They claim it allows for "crisp image capture in a moving environment, making it perfectly suited for capturing action sequences".

The C300 Mk II will, or course, be compatible with 90 current EF and EF cinema lenses, and the codecs, while new, are based around H.264, so they should be either immediately compatible with most NLEs and post production software, or will be within a short time.

Extraordinary dynamic range

Dynamic range is potentially quite extraordinary. Using a brand new log format, Canon Log2, we can apparently expect fifteen stops.

There's also four channels of audio recording at up to 24 bit/48 KHz.

We've been expecting this update, but there are a few surprises. The camera is apparently more rugged, and the new codecs look impressive. We certainly didn't expect such a wide dynamic range.

At this price, if the pictures are anything like as good as we think they will be, this new addition to the Canon cinema camera range should fly off the shelves.

The EOS C300 Mark II – Stunning 4K quality, creativity and versatility

United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, 8 April 2014 – Canon today unveils the EOS C300 Mark II, a new 4K video camera allowing filmmakers and broadcast producers to realise their creative vision in stunning cinematic detail. Building on the unprecedented success of the acclaimed EOS C300, the more rugged EOS C300 Mark II features an advanced imaging engine with dual DIGIC DV5 processors, new professional codecs and outstanding dynamic range, making it the most capable, flexible and accessible Cinema EOS video camera to date.  

Supreme 4K image quality and versatility
With the ability to record 10-bit 4:2:2 files internally at up to 410Mbps in 4K, or 10/12-bit 4:4:4 files in 2K/Full HD, with up to 15 stops of dynamic range, the EOS C300 Mark II provides footage suitable for extensive post-production work, producing crisper images across the full colour spectrum with reduced “colour bleed”. The camera offers professional filmmakers and broadcasters alike the very best image quality, recording 4K in both broadcast (3840 x 2160) and DCI cinematic (4096 x 2160) resolutions.

The EOS C300 Mark II can record high bitrate 4K files internally to dual CFast 2.0™ media, while simultaneously recording 4K RAW files to an external recorder, offering the flexibility and universal appeal for production at the highest quality available today. Additionally, the ability to record 2K/Full HD Proxy files to an internal SD card, at the same time, further streamlines the production workflow process.

The new Canon-designed Super 35mm CMOS sensor and an increased ISO range up to ISO 102,400 deliver exceptional low light performance, allowing operators to capture low-noise footage across a variety of challenging environments without compromising on image quality.
To meet the requirements of a diverse range of shooting applications, the EOS C300 Mark II offers both full manual control, ideal for cinematic environments, as well as automatic modes. These include, enhanced Dual Pixel CMOS AF (now covering approx. 80% of the frame vertically and 80% horizontally), auto white balance and Face Detection AF, all making it easier for independent news gatherers and documentary filmmakers to shoot on the go.  

Instant integration into professional workflows
Canon’s new range of XF-AVC H.264 codecs, designed to be compatible with industry standard Non-Linear Edit systems, makes integrating both 4K and 2K/Full HD footage into workflows effortless, while maintaining the highest image quality. The range features XF-AVC intra for 4K, and XF-AVC Long GOP and Proxy options for 2K/Full HD recording, both of which utilise H.264 codec, offering post production flexibility and ease of use. Filmmakers can select the resolution and codec type that best suits their production, with the EOS C300 Mark II capable of shooting at up to 30P in 4K or up to 120P in 2K/Full HD.

The EOS C300 Mark II offers support for a wide range of colour space options, including BT.2020, the Canon Cinema Gamut and DCI-P3. The camera is also the first Cinema EOS model to feature brand new Canon Log2 technology, which enables the 15-stops of dynamic range, significantly wider than previous Cinema EOS cameras. The camera offers new versatility for sound recording too, supporting 4-channel audio recording in 16 or 24 bit and 48 kHz.

Designed for versatility

The EOS C300 Mark II boasts the iconic Cinema EOS design DNA – a modular body that can be adapted to suit the needs of each shooter and filming situation, through the extensive range of compatible accessories. Internally, the EOS C300 Mark II also includes built-in electronically controlled glass ND (neutral density) filters, which reduces the amount of light reaching the sensor by up to 10 stops in expansion mode. Compatibility with the RC-V100 remote control and optional Wi-Fi control also enables ease of use in a wider range of locations.

The camera’s sensor read-out speed is now twice as fast as the original EOS C300, and further reduces rolling shutter distortion, allowing for crisp image capture in a moving environment, making it perfectly suited for capturing action sequences.
Leveraging Canon’s rich heritage in lens design, the EOS C300 Mark II is compatible with more than 90 current EF and EF Cinema lenses allowing operators to use their existing EF mount lenses. In addition, the EOS C300 Mark II comes equipped with Canon Cine servo zoom lens support, delivering one of the most comprehensive selections of lens possibilities for movie and broadcast production available in the market today.

For further flexibility, shooters can opt to change the lens mount from the default EF Mount, to EF Mount with Cinema Lock, or to the industry standard PL mount, as a service option.
EOS C300 Mark II key benefits:
High bitrate internal 4K recording with external RAW

High dynamic range files, ideal for post production
Seamlessly integrate with professional workflows
Automatic features make independent shooting easy
Shoot with confidence in low light with low noise

Pricing and availability
The EOS C300 MKII will be available from September 2015 with an RSP of £11,299 excluding VAT.

Tags: Production


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