26 Oct 2015

Canon’s 4 million ISO camera drops one third off its original price

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Low light wonder - the now significantly cheaper ME20F-SH Low light wonder - the now significantly cheaper ME20F-SH Canon

For such a speciality camera, it’s fair enough to say that interest around the 4 million ISO Canon ME20F-SH has been fairly phenomenal. Now it’s had an equally spectacular price cut too.

There is still no way that you could call it cheap, but the fact is that when Canon announced the ME20F-SH back in July the price attached to it was $30,000 and it was expected to be available by the end of the year.

Here’s what we said at the time:

“Featuring a newly developed Full Frame 35mm with 2.26 MP CMOS sensor and a DIGIC DV4 processor, Canon reckons its proprietary tech can clean up noise and provide the sensitivity to capture subject illuminated with less than 0.0005 lux. That’s not quite a pure, moonless overcast night sky (that measures as 0.0001 lux) but a normal clear night sky with no moon? Absolutely. Add even a sliver of Earth’s satellite in there and you’re well within the unit’s comfort zone.

Unlike some of the specialist starlight units that have been developed in the past, being a Canon unit it will slot neatly into any existing broadcast ecosystem too, and has exactly the sort of semi-permanent installation and remote-control capabilities that wildlife in particular needs.

It also employs the same EF mount with Cinema Lock as found on the Cinema EOS C500, allowing users to take advantage of the existing line-up of interchangeable lenses.”

Anyway, the ship date hasn’t changed, though it has been confirmed as December this year. What has changed is the price, BHP now taking pre-orders for a mere $19,999.

That is an astonishing price-cut.

We’re not sure quite how Canon has managed to lop an entire $10,000 off the price. It could be that demand has been so much stronger for what it itself thought was going to be a unit with very little mass market appeal that it can make it in greater volume. It could be that the some of the core components have proved to be much cheaper to make as the iterative prototyping process has continued (which has happy trickle down implications for the rest of us when the tech gets repurposed into less specialist models).

Either way, while still expensive, it’s going to be a lot more affordable for everyone including the hire companies, and that should see more units available and being used worldwide as winter progresses.

Canon original stated that “Due to the specialist nature and demand for this product, the ME20F-SH will only be available to selected partners.”

That all seems to have changed. Expect to see a lot more footage like this and more next year as a result.

Andy Stout

Andy has spent over two decades writing about all aspects of the broadcast and film industries for a variety of high-profile industry publications on both sides of the Atlantic. During that time the industry has moved from 4:3 SD to 16:9 SD to HD and now on to 4K HDR. He's getting kind of curious to see where it goes next.

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