Canon unveils the $33K full frame C700 FF cinema camera and 20mm T1.5 lens


posted Wednesday, March 28, 2018 at 8:00 AM EST


Canon is going after market leaders ARRI and RED with their latest cinema camera, the C700FF. The C700 FF doesn't change much in the C700 system except where it counts: a new, full format sensor. The new CMOS image sensor has a total of 5952 (H) x 3140 (V) photosites with a digital cinema 17:9 aspect ratio. Those who already own the C700 can upgrade their camera to the full frame version by sending it in to Canon Professional Services for a fee (the exact amount was not revealed in Canon's press materials). Available in both EF and PL mounts, the C700 FF is scheduled to be available in July 2018 for an estimated retail price of $33,000.

The newly developed sensor has an active image area of 38.1 x 20.1mm and supports readout at full size, as well as Super 35mm, Super 16mm and anamorphic modes. In addition to full-frame lenses, it can be used with conventional Super 35mm lenses to originate 4K / UHD standardized production formats and Super 16mm lenses (with an adapter) to originate 2K / HD production formats in crop modes. The sensor captures wide tonality exceeding 15 stops of dynamic range and a wide color gamut meeting ITU-R BT.2020 standards. This offers broad latitude when grading, providing potentially outstanding effectiveness in HDR video production.


The C700 FF records 4K or 2K to CFast, while 5.9K 60 fps RAW, 4K RAW up to 72 fps (in 24p mode), 4K ProRes up to 60 fps and 2K ProRes up to 168 fps (in Super 16mm mode) can only be recorded with the Codex CDX-36150 recorder docked to the back of the camera.


Canon has enabled the sensor on the C700 FF to oversample its 4K footage, processing a 5.9K image capture to produce 4K (in either DCI or UHD). If you are familiar with Sony Alpha camera video, this is a similar method. The resulting footage should yield enhanced image sharpness, curtailed moire, and a lowered visibility of noise at the higher ISO settings. This is especially advantageous for on-board anamorphic image capture. Low-rate 2K/HD proxy data including metadata, can be recorded to SD cards, ideal for offline editing. The camera also allows high-frame-rate recording of up to 168fps in 2K crop and relay or simultaneous recording onto both CFast cards. In addition, the C700 FF can shoot at a Full HD high-frame-rate recording at a maximum of 168 fps. Additional formats are planned with future firmware updates.


With regards to higher resolution and higher frame rates, Canon has turned to its partner Codex to provide a fully integrated (no cables) recording and workflow option. The combination of the optional Codex CDX-36150 recorder docked onto the back of the EOS C700 FF enables 5.9K 60 fps RAW recording, 4K RAW up to 72 fps (in 24p mode), 4K ProRes up to 60 fps and 2K ProRes up to 168 fps (in Super 16mm mode).


The C700 FF also supports the latest version (1.0) of the ACESproxy, the ACES (Academy Color Encoding System) color management transmission standard.

The EOS C700 FF provides 15 stops of dynamic range (with Canon Log2 only), and along with Canon’s proprietary Log Gammas (Canon Log3, Canon Log2 and Canon Log) and renowned color science are a nice fit for HDR capture. Canon Log2 is recommended when originating HDR imagery containing both highlight details and deep shadowed details. In comparison with Canon Log, Canon Log3 offers a wider dynamic range while retaining performance in darker regions.

The look of a cinematic production begins with the lens, and the EOS C700 FF offers both PL and EF lens mount options which are interchangeable at a Canon authorized service center. For full frame imaging, the EF lens mount version of the new EOS C700 FF is compatible with Canon’s family of seven Cinema Prime lenses, including the newly announced CN-E20mm T1.5 L F lens, as well as the other over 70 interchangeable EF lenses. The EF mount supports Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology and Dual Pixel Focus Guide. The Focus Guide assists operators with a precision visual indicator in the viewfinder when pulling focus. Alternatively, for certain demanding shooting situations the reliable capabilities of Dual Pixel CMOS AF can be deployed. The EOS C700 FF PL mount version is also compatible with Cooke’s /i metadata communication technology.

The New 20mm T1.5

The latest lens from Canon is the CN-E20mm T1.5 L F lens, a full manual 20mm cinema prime lens for EF mount. The new CN-E20mm T1.5 L F lens can provide 4K resolution from the center of the images to the periphery, providing high image quality for Canon cameras that feature full-frame sensors such as the new EOS C700 FF digital cinema camera. In addition, the 11-blade aperture diaphragm alongside a T number of 1.5 allows the lens to provide beautifully soft bokeh. Like all Canon Cinema Prime lenses, the CN-E20mm T1.5 L F lens offers warm, natural-looking tones, 300 degrees of focus ring rotation, and minimized focus breathing.


The CN-E20mm T1.5 L F lens is scheduled to begin shipping in the fall of 2018, and no pricing has yet been given at the time of announcement.