So the rumours were true, Canon have today launched a new camera, the C200. Obviously, we haven’t got to actually play with one yet, but on paper, the specs look very interesting indeed. We didn’t see this one coming, and apart from the surprise of seeing a Japanese company launching a camera that starts with an even number (is that unlucky?), we were shocked to see internal RAW at an affordable price point. It looks like Canon have finally got something to compete with the FS7… but then there’s an ‘ohhh’ moment too!
First the good news – Canon’s press release says the C200 uses the same 4K S35 sized sensor from the expensive C700, and it records in a new format with a claimed 15 stops of dynamic range. They call this Canon Cinema RAW light, which records at 1Gbps onto the single CFast 2.0 slot. There’s also the wonderful Dual Pixel AF system which now works on the new monitor with a touchscreen. It even looks like you could fit the great viewfinder from the C700 which we were really impressed with when we tested it here: https://youtu.be/3_yyC88D3z8 (although that price will probably make your eyes water). Maybe Canon have also listened to users moaning about ergonomics because the XLR’s have finally moved onto the camera body, which makes the whole things look a lot less clumsy and not so ‘top heavy’.
Although not due until July, there’s already some well known retailers in the UK taking pre-orders for this camera at less than £6,500 +VAT. That’s a surprisingly competitive price for a Canon Cinema EOS and will probably make anyone thinking of a Sony FS7m2 stop and think again.
But there’s a problem… and if you do much work for UK broadcasters it’s a bit of a big problem. While internal 4K RAW loveliness sounds very attractive to cameramen, most broadcast companies still want the best pictures possible at a reasonable and affordable data rate. 4K RAW light, even at 1Gbps would be too much data for most of our broadcast clients… they’ve only just been persuaded to move on from an over compressed 50Mbps news standard! At the moment for the C200, the only alternative to Cinema RAW light, appears to be our old 8bit friend, MP4 4:2:0… and this is just 150Mbps at 4K UHD or 35Mbps shooting HD onto SD cards, (two slots). Unfortunately, this isn’t good enough for a broadcast TV camera. However, there is already talk of a free firmware upgrade in 2018 that will give us the XF-AVC from the C300Mk2, but we’re not sure how much better that will be if it’s still 8bit?
So you get that lovely Canon colour science, internal 4K RAW, ISO up to 102,400 (Canon say it’s usable at 32,000) Dual Pixel AF, Internal ND filters, the same sensor from the C700 and a great price point. Sounds both brilliant and a little disappointing at the same time! Maybe, this is a great ‘B’ camera for the C300Mk2 or even the C700. Maybe, if you need RAW on a gimbal or even a drone.
It’s definitely exciting… but also confusing. Is this an FS7 competitor or just a C100Mk2 upgrade?