NAB is all about the best of the best in camera technology, and Canon kicked off this year's show with a bang. The company crowded a theater with industry professionals, press, and just lovers of cinema, and showed off its new EOS C500 and EOS-1D C, the 4K cameras the company launched this week.
The cameras themselves aren't huge departures from cameras we've seen before. The 1D C looks a lot like the 1D X, but rather than a still camera that shoots great video, this is most assuredly a video-first camera. It shoots 4K video at 24 frames per second, and can output uncompressed 1080p footage as well. It's a very light and mobile camera, at least considering its competition, and the sample we saw — a short called "The Ticket" that was shot using the camera — looked fantastic. We did notice a bit of softness on the slow-motion, overcranked scenes in the video, but we're seriously nitpicking. Canon boasts of the camera's high dynamic range, incredible ISO sensitivity, and extreme detail; all of those things come through in the footage. It will start at about $12,000 when it's available later this year.
The C500 is a more traditional cinema camera, a modular beast that will cost upward of $30,000 when it's available later this year. It shoots 4K RAW footage in two different formats — already a big upgrade over the C300 — and once again, looks fantastic; it was used for a short called "Man and Beast," and the dynamic range, sharpness, and detail were remarkable on the huge screen. Most of its imaging tech and hardware are borrowed from the C300, with the exception of a new housing for the ports needed to output the uncompressed 4K and 2K footage.
The C500 occupies the "Very High End" portion of Canon's cinema camera lineup, while the 1D C falls a bit lower on the list. But Canon's not married to its own thoughts: reps said they "never could have guessed" how the 5D Mark II would be used so heavily in the video world, and said they're waiting to see how the new cameras are implemented as well.
Jordan Oplinger contributed to this report.