CANON EOS C70 CINEMA CAMERA
This is huge! And although we still haven't been able to get our hands around it, there's tons of information out there for us to take an approach to it. Cinema is quite different from photography in many ways, and video-dedicated cameras and optics are perhaps the most notorious ones. When we think about it, they both are completely distinct mediums that rely on cameras, making it confusing for some photographers to understand what true cinema cameras are all about, and vice-versa.
Without further-ado, let's take a broad and general look at Canon's latest cinema camera, the EOS C70.
In a Nutshell
Canon states that this cinema camera has been developed after the idea of combining the two state of the art line-ups, the Cinema EOS and EOS R series. Hence the overall agreement that this camera is a professional cinema set-up mounted inside a mirrorless camera body. The brand new EOS C70 offers both exceptional image quality and professional video features. All inside a compact and mobile form factor, perfect for documentary, news gathering, and corporate videos; as well as cinema and commercial purposes of course.
Also, this is the very first Cinema EOS camera with a built-in RF-lens mount, the same which was previously a feature that was only available in the EOS R series, hence the close relationship with it being similar to a mirrorless camera. Basically, it looks like the biggest DSLR ever, with a mirrorless nature; if that makes any kind of sense. The RF-mount offers users access to Canon's superb line of RF-lenses. And that is a good thing because not only it allows a broader access to lenses, but they are famous for being quick, reliable and high image quality providers. So, the EOS C70 is also the first Cinema EOS device with an RF mount that allows us using Canon's line of fast, reliable RF lenses with advanced coatings and image stabilization.
Also, it comes with a full 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10-stop internal ND filter system in the relatively small flange depth of the RF-mount. Same which works via a motorized wheel tucked into flange. The EOS C70 is also equipped with a Super 35mm Dual Gain Output (DGO*) Sensor, capable of over 16 stops of dynamic range. The DIGIC DV7 Image Processor expands functionality and flexibility by enabling features such as 4K 120p High Frame Rate recording and Dual Pixel Autofocus.
* The DGO Sensor is a newly developed imaging system that generates high dynamic range and maintains low noise levels by reading out each photodiode with two different gains. It combines the two with a saturation prioritizing gain for bright areas, and a lower noise prioritizing gain for darker areas.
In conclusion, this camera fits perfectly as a backup camera for any current Canon C300 Mark III user; or as a sweet upgrade for those still relying on the C100 and even C200 users. Also, it is a splendid alternative for those current EOS R shooters who are taking video more and more seriously.
Build, Ergonomics & Handling
Built from scratch, the EOS C70 features a compact and lightweight design with intuitive and smart ergonomics. Aspects which combined with a grip are so comfortable, allow the camera to be shot handheld with no problem at all. This is the smallest Cinema EOS camera body ever to be made, and comes with two top shoe mounts with a detachable handle and microphone holder. Oh, and that grip comes with a tripod thread built into it for positioning the camera vertical when capturing images for digital signage or mobile device use, delivering an easier viewing.
The uni-body design delivers a robust yet compact form factor that makes shooting with it less stressful than its biggest brother, the Canon EOS C300 Mark III Cinema camera, but there are very few performance factors that make the C70 different from the C300 Mark III. The compact EOS C70 features a lightweight design with a built-in ergonomic grip. This smallest of the EOS bodies has two top shoe mounts and comes with a detachable handle and a mic holder.
Overall dimensions are 160 x 130 x 116 mm (6.3 x 5.1 x 4.6"), and weighs 1.17 kg (2.58 lb), which are very compact and light when compared to regular cinema cameras currently available right now.
With dual card slots, the Canon EOS C70 can simultaneously record different formats for smoother and more agile workflow, including 4K/HD and XF-AVC/MP4. It can also capture still photos when in standby in select video modes, and even audio can be recorded separately for a much sophisticated post-processing and editing control.
With its groundbreaking DIGIC DV7 imaging processor and chip design, this camera is capable of recording video frame rates up to 120 fps in 4K and up to 180 fps in the 2K crop mode. Dual Pixel autofocus is also supported by it; even at high frame rates, enabling it to keep everything in focus, even when mounted on a drone or attached to a gimbal. Just don't use clingy ones, because it is a bit heavier than regular cameras mounted on these.
Also important regarding workflow, it supports higher-compression Long GOP for longer recording times at rates up to 4K60p. And the internal Long GOP compression is capable of detecting the slightest differences between frames by referring to preceding and subsequent frames. And a built-in look file option allows us to import .cube-type 3D LUTs, improving flexibilities in any decent and even professional workflow.
Pushing the limits, the image sensor built in the new Canon EOS C70 Cinema Camera has a dynamic range of 16 stops of light, making it a truly powerful visual device right now. It comes with an innovative system called DGO that combines two separate gain readings for each photodiode on the sensor. In simple English, it emphasizes saturation in heavily bright areas of the frame and lowers noise in the darker zones. Meaning that the spirit behind a well balanced exposure is no longer the extremely contrasted HDR but this one.
Also, some professional video functions include a BNC time code input/output connector (which makes synchronizing easier in multi-camera productions), unlimited video recording, and built-in dual mini-XLR audio inputs. Some other further features include Dual Pixel CMOS AF auto focus control and up to 4K 120p or Super 16 2K crop 180 fps capture. It also comes with an intuitive 3.5" Direct Touch Control LCD panel, Which speeds any workflow by enabling users to turn functions on and off directly from it, so there is no more need for spending time going into multiple menus through awkward button and wheel combinations. And some nice auto features like auto-ISO and auto-gain, perfect for on the adjustments when dealing with quickly changing light situations.
A Bit on the Output
The camera supports both Canon Log 2 and Canon Log 3 Gamma. In post, it is designed to reproduce the complete tonal range that the CMOS image sensor is capable of giving to us. The Log workflow provides users with higher dynamic range, more highlight and shadow retention, and more flexibility in color grading. Also, Canon Log 2 provides the largest dynamic range and image detail. However, while it provides the most flexibility in post-production and a full dynamic range, it requires more time in post and color correction.
For those looking for most of the benefits of a log workflow, but in an agile and efficient way, Canon Log 3 provides an alternative with only a slightly reduced dynamic range of 14 stops. The camera also features HLG and PQ compliance with ITU-BT.2100 in Custom Picture (CP) presets, allowing us to record smooth HDR footage instantly without any grading or whatsoever. The EOS C70 also supports Long GOP with high compression for longer recording times up to 4K60P. This compression method is capable of detecting differences between frames by referring to preceding and subsequent frames.
Exposure, White Balance & Color
This is the first Cinema EOS camera ever to feature both auto ISO and gain control. It can adjust automatically the sensor's sensitivity by cranking the DGO features to switch gain smoothly, helping us to concentrate on framing without worrying about aperture and other camera settings when moving from the outdoors to more shadowy areas while filming. The native remote terminal allows us to control the camera with Canon's RC-V100, a remote controller that provides full access to all important functions like start & stop, shutter and gain adjustments, zoom, focus, and iris parameters, custom picture values, white balance, black gamma, and much more. Recording gets more and more professional at the much accessible price of $5,499.00.
Wrapping it Up
The unique design of this camera, puts a significant emphasis on operational convenience for end- users. The small form-factor, weighing only 1.7 kg, allows it to be easily used in handheld mode, dramatically enhancing videographers' mobility, delivering a seamless bridge between the EOS and Cinema EOS families for cinematic applications.
Cleverly enough, the EOS C70 comes with a slim (merely 6mm depth), motorized ND filter unit built into the short flange back of the RF mount, providing users with the flexibility to control exposure while keeping the desired depth of field and capturing images that feature the desired level of bokeh. Also important, it has 13 customizable buttons that allow us to select from +80 functions to be assigned based on individual preferences.
Right from the official press release from Canon: "The Canon EOS C70 camera is truly a special tool that will undoubtedly satisfy and delight a variety of users on the search for a high-powered piece of video equipment," said Tatsuro "Tony" Kano, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Canon U.S.A.'s Imaging Technologies & Communications Group. "In today's fast-moving, ever- changing world of filmmaking and content creation, versatility is key, and the EOS C70 will provide a familiar form and feature set to our entire spectrum of imaging customers. We are eager to see how creatives use this tool and the projects that come from it."
It also supports XF-AVC format (in variable bit-rate), both Intra and Long GOP with MXF file format. The first one compresses the data after analyzing each and one of the frames alone, while the latter compresses data at a higher rate, creating an even smaller file size. A secondary choice is Long GOP 10-bit 4:2:2/4:2:0 MP4/HEVC (a next generation HDR video recording compression standard) with an MP4 file format which is a first in the Cinema EOS lineup.
And the camera's independent air intake system is separated from the electrical systems to protect the sensor from water, sand, and dust. And it also features two air outlet vents that allow uninterrupted recording for extended periods of time. But, there's something to take into account here, it produces a 1 db constant stream of noise, which is easy to pin-point when working on post, but is something to remember about this air intake. A bargain price to pay for no overheating issues of course.
A clear sign that Canon expects cinema users to mount the camera in a rig with their preferred monitors is the absence of a built-in electronic viewfinder. Although this might be an issue for some new-coming shooters, but trust us, the 3.5" 2.76M-dot LCD screen is quite sufficient for a tireless video operation. Alongside the camera, Canon also announced their EF-EOS R 0.71x Mount Adapter which allows users to attach any EF-mount lens to the almighty C70 EOS camera. Unlike Canon's existing EF to EOS R adapters, this one is a true optical adapter that works like a speed booster, making it possible to use EF lenses on the smaller Super35 sensor at their intended focal lengths while increasing lens speed by one stop.
For us, this camera is a clear statement that cinema technology is getting more and more accessible; and we are happy to see Canon nailing something good this time. Maybe their path to follow is this; and of course, high quality lenses too.