The Canon EOS C700 has just been announced, a new flagship camera model for their Cinema line that will likely replace the C500, which dropped in price by $3000 earlier today. With the C700, Canon has moved on to a different form factor for the first time in quite a while. The Canon EOS C700 is reminiscent of competitor cameras such as the Panasonic Varicam, Arri Amira or the Sony F55/F5, and its features and pricing clearly target it at the higher end of filmmaking. Like with the C300 Mark II, Canon claims 15 stops of usable dynamic range in the standard rolling-shutter CMOS version of the C700. There is a Global Shutter version of the C700 available, which comes at a loss of 1 stop of dynamic range, for a total at a claimed 14 stops of usable DR. Like with their C300 and C500 line, there will be separate EF and PL versions of the camera. The Canon EOS C700 camera offers internal 4K recording to CFast 2.0 cards at up to 59.94p in XF-AVC (10-bit 4K, which we already know from the C300 Mark II) and also in ProRes (even in 4K 10-bit 422HQ, or 2K in ProRes 4444 at 12 bit). Sampling from a 4.5K sensor and using the optional, specifically-developed Codex CDX-36150 recorder for which there is no pricing or availability yet, the Canon EOS C700 provides 120fps 4K RAW recording, which is probably its most mind-blowing feature. 4.5K RAW recording at up to 100fps is said to be coming at a later point via a Firmware upgrade. When it comes to higher internal frame rates, the Canon EOS C700 can record the following: 4K internally to the CFast 2.0 cards at up to 60fps in XF-AVC format. Apple 4K ProRes up to 30fps. Up to 180 fps using the 10-bit 4:2:2 combined with the 2K centre crop. Ability to record a 4:2:0 proxy onto an SD card in XF-AVC in 2K in 1080p, which is very useful for rushes Other highlights of this new camera: Dual Pixel CMOS AF (with compatible EF lenses), which is quite brilliant and easily the most innovative feature in Canon cameras these days, as seen already in many other cameras from Canon lately (5D Mark IV, C300 Mark II, 1DX Mark II …) Dual Pixel Focus Guide (for manual focus confirmation). Canon Log 2 and Canon Log 3 including all the color science that sets Canon cameras still apart from Sony and others for many users B4 Lens Support (for traditional 2/3″ ENG lenses). Built-in ND Filters. Anamorphic De-Squeeze (when outputting to EVF or monitor outputs, the image is stretched to 2.39:1 after de-squeezing. The magnification factor can be set to OFF/2x/1.33x to match the anamorphic optics in use). Detachable remote panel, a’ la Panasonic Varicam (it mirrors the camera controls, so an assistant can adjust settings easily). 12V and 24V power outputs that enable users to power all kinds of professional accessories through the camera High resolution EVF with proprietary Canon connection like on the C300 mkII. Optional servo control grip for most lens functions, allowing ENG-like functionality. What’s in the box Optional accessories: 1080p viewfinder EVF-V70, a new dedicated viewfinder clearly priced as high as other high-end viewfinders from Arri and Sony, and like them only works with the dedicated cameras (C700 and C300 Mark II) Baseplate with Sony VCT Quick Release and what seem to be 15mm rods Control grip is now optional too, looks similar to other control grips on large Canon ENG lenses and makes it an ENG-style camera B4 Mount optical adapter to use 2/3 inch broadcast lenses on the camera Above, footage by Canon marketing Japan. It is yet to be seen how this new line of camera and accessories will be received by rental houses and high end professional users, but for now, one thing is sure: Canon just made a clear declaration of wanting to be a part of a handful of camera manufacturers who are aiming to the top.Read more
The Panasonic VariCam 35 was introduced last year and marked Panasonic’s entry into the cinema camera market. We had a chance to test the VariCam 35 during a live production. In this review, I will share my thoughts on working with the camera and look at the technical performance of Panasonic’s flagship cinema tool. Photos by our friend Tony Gigov The VariCam LT was introduced two months ago. It is a smaller, lighter camera for single operator use that has the same sensor as the VariCam 35. Just like those produced by other manufacturers, it seems as though the VariCam 35 sensor is here to stay. Let’s take a look. Panasonic VariCam 35 Review As with any new camera, when the Panasonic VariCam 35 arrived at our office, we wanted to test it during a real production. There’s no better method for evaluating a camera’s performance. Fortunately, I was able to with the young musician iNana and made this music video with her. This music video had a limited budget. I had a single day of daylight to create the video, with two improvisational dancers. Along with my camera assistant, Michi Mrkvicka, I lit the whole video with a single 1000W tungsten light as a kicker. I also used an ALZO LED softlight and some minus fill for a few of the beauty shots. The dual base ISO has been one of the unique features of the VariCam 35 which Panasonic’s marketing team have given priority to. It allows you to shoot clean video at ISO 800 and ISO 5000. For this shoot, I opted for ISO 800. I found it gave me the best overall performance. We have also shot a video with ISO 5000 which will be used in our review of the new VariCam LT, scheduled for publication next week. For this shoot, I tried the Schneider Cine PL lenses as well as the Zeiss Cp2 50mm Macro. We also had the Camdolly System with us (an affordable and mobile dolly with tracks). Handling The Panasonic VariCam 35 consists of two separate parts: a recording unit and a sensor unit. This allows you to break down the size of the camera if needed, but usually, you’d go with the complete package. Immediately, I noticed that the camera is in the same weight class of the Arri ALEXA. At 6.5kg, the camera wasn’t ideal, since we had a crew of 2. The camera is certainly geared towards larger productions, with at least one or two dedicated camera assistants. The Sachtler Cine tripod I was using was too small, but it did get us through the day eventually. That said, the VariCam 35 is well-made. It is robust and has excellent ergonomics. It quickly becomes apparent that Panasonic has been absent in this game for too long because they do know how to make a camera! Its menu is straight-forward and its controls are ideally situated for a single operator. The side menu for assistants works well, too. Despite a slight lack of clarity around the edges, the viewfinder is really impressive—and the mount is well made too. Camera assistant Michi Mrkvicka intrigued by the great EVF | Photos by Tony Gigov While the intuitive Alexa-style menu is good, there is a quite frustrating aspect involved in the handling of the camera that I must mention. The boot-up time of the Panasonic VariCam 35 is about 40 seconds. This wouldn’t be a big problem if you only needed to boot once, but every change of frame rates, resolution or codec requires up to 2 restarts. That can be quite problematic, especially given that the camera cannot restart on its own. It needs your assistance with the on/off switch. Battery life was good. We had no problem getting through the day with a few V-mounts and the fan noise wasn’t a problem. Well, it was a music video, but I’d say the fan is discreet and shouldn’t be a problem at all. Working with the Footage Unfortunately, the Panasonic VariCam 35 maxes out at 120fps in 2K. For my shoot, I needed a stronger slow motion capability. To achieve this, I used the Sony FS700 with an Odyssey 7Q+ as a b-camera for the slow motion shots. Matching the two cameras wasn’t hard, especially as the Panasonic VariCam 35 produces very nice images, but also because Vlog and Slog 2 don’t seem to be very far apart. I noticed a difference and that also gave me a good perspective of the performance of the VariCam. The Sony FS700 gave me a much softer image and I also felt that the dynamic range was more limited. The noise was also much more apparent, meaning I had to process it in DaVinci Resolve. It’s nice to see the step up in quality, but the VariCam 35 costs a lot more. I still like the performance of the FS700, as it produces nice slow motion RAW images that I could fit into this video. To really match the quality of the VariCam 35 I would have needed the VariCam LT though, as it is capable of shooting at 240fps, like the FS700. Because my lighting options were limited, I did a lot with the footage of the VariCam 35 for this video. I pushed it and changed the colors quite a bit to get the high key pastel look I was going for. I felt the VariCam 35 had excellent color accuracy. The image was very crisp and clean in 4K. There was a little more noise in the shadowed areas than I had hoped for and I also found some strange color artifacts in high contrast areas. All in all, the image seems quite comparable to that of the Canon C300 mark II in terms of dynamic range, low light performance, and noise. But I must say, I felt it didn’t reach the performance and organic feel of the Arri Alexa. While the VariCam image is very neutral, it’s not as filmic and seems more in-line with offerings from Canon and Sony. Like with other 4K footage in Adobe Premiere, on my 8-core Mac Pro it was almost impossible to edit the VariCam 35 material. I felt the codec was even more intense on the machine than other H.264 based codecs. Eventually I had to re-encode to ProRes in order to edit properly. In the Lab I also looked at the Panasonic VariCam 35 in our test lab. The usable dynamic range came in at roughly the same place as the Canon C300 mark II and Sony FS7, at between 12-13 stops. See how it tested here. Looking at the charts, I must say the VariCam 35 sensor performs very similar to the C300 mark II. Also, regarding lowlight, the native ISO 5000 of the Panasonic VariCam 35 looks much alike—and gives us a similar brightness—as the Canon C300 mark II at ISO 3200. The two sensors don’t seem to be far apart. With both cameras, I observed a lot of noise in the shadowed areas, meaning a limited dynamic range. However, overall picture quality and color accuracy is excellent on both cameras at 4K resolution. Rolling shutter is there, but performance is okay, again similar to the C300 mark II and FS7. Image Quality Compared: Canon C300 mark II vs. Panasonic VariCam 35 (100% crop) Speaking of resolution there was one problem with the VariCam 35. On hard and contrasted edges, I could see color artifacts, colored pixels that appear randomly. It looks like a derivate of aliasing which becomes most apparent on star charts like the one on the left. Conclusion Every camera has its flaws. The color artifacts mentioned earlier and the noise in the shadowed areas seem to be the downside to the high resolution, color depth, and color accuracy the VaricCam 35 offers. But just like the Sony a6300 that has some minor aliasing problems, when you watch the 4K footage in motion, you should rarely see this problem. In conclusion, I really liked working with the Panasonic VariCam 35. Especially the nice 4K image and color accuracy was enjoyable. On the downside, the weight was a problem for this small scale production. The VariCam 35 offers a lot of unique features like proxy recording and in-camera color correction that help in workflows on bigger productions. It is clearly tailored at those and brings a good sensor to the field. Is it challenging the Arri ALEXA? Some DP’s do pick the VariCam 35 over the ALEXA for its clean ISO 5000 and high resolution. While the ergonomics of this camera are certainly something to consider, personally I still think the performance and organic image of the Arri ALEXA are unique in this market and no manufacturer seems to be able to compete, but Arri yet has to develop a 4K sensor for the mass market. For now, the Panasonic VariCam 35 is certainly a valid option depending on your production needs. I hope you found our Panasonic VariCam 35 Review helpful. If you have any questions or thoughts, let us know in the comments. If you enjoyed the video, please give the musician iNana a shout at www.inana.at. You can download this song from her new EP for free. To buy the Panasonic Varicam 35 we recommend you get it at CVP Find current prices on their website. Thanks to David Knapp at AV Pro for helping with the camera. Thanks to the whole team for making this production possible: Starring Elina Lautamäki & Hussam N. Alsawah iNANA Photos by our friend Tony Gigov Assistant Camera Michael Mrkvicka Makeup Doris Konta Special Thanks to Meshit (Lena Krampf & Ida Steixner), Kunsthalle Berndorf BERNDORF AG (Rainer Koller, Andrea Gruber), Iva Zabkar, Carles Muñoz CamareroRead more
Shooting RAW on the Canon 5D mark III DSLR is still very popular. You get stunning 14-bit moving images for a fraction of the price of a “real” RAW camera and the advantages of a full-frame sensor that is good in lowlight. But like many other shooters I learned that it’s not always a good idea to use the 5D mark III RAW for a project. Here I’d like to share some points to consider. I recently wrote an article outlining the latest development on the Magic Lantern RAW hack for the 5D mark III: Shooting RAW on a Canon 5D mark III in 2014 – What you have to know In this article I mentioned that using the 5D mark III as a RAW camera is not suitable for productions with bigger budgets as the workflow will slow you down and it is not laid out for professional production. I’d like to elaborate on that. Certainly there are many great features Magic Lantern RAW provides aside from RAW itself like it improves the overall usability of the camera, runs independently on an SD card, gives you more camera information (eg.: battery status), zebras, peaking, etc. If you’re interested to shoot RAW on a Canon 5D mark III then we have a step-by-step guide for that: LINK Above the text here’s a little advert I recently shot on the Canon 5D mark III with its RAW functionality. Planning and pulling off this project as a 2-man crew was fun and also challenging. But I didn’t expect the camera I chose would slow down the production so much. After this project I realised that it could be unwise to choose Magic Lantern RAW for some commercial productions, so I thought I should share the experience since we’ve written a lot about that camera on cinema5D so far. In summary I think out of the 2 weeks I needed to shoot this project I lost about 4 days to the 5D. In other words I think I would have been 4 days faster with an Arri ALEXA for example. In a production environment booking even a small crew for 4 additional days usually costs more than renting a more expensive camera. This is of course a different situation and decision from project to project, so let me just share some of the points to consider. What to consider: The 5D mark III was not designed to be a RAW cinema camera. It is a photo camera and its ergonomics will not always work for you. RAW means a lot of data, means more time and storage needed. And working with image sequences… Accurately checking data can mean downloading and transcoding first, which can be time consuming. On-camera playback is limited. We had a card failure on a Lexar 1000x card. It fried. Exposure displayed is not always right. No timecode. Bugs. Camera freezes. Resets settings… complicated RAW workflow Production notes: Above I mentioned the most important things I ran into during my production and now I’ll go into those in more detail. The idea of this production was to put the bonsai tree into a stylised environment to convey how many factors are necessary for life to work. For that I shot each transition to the next stage as a RAW sequence and merged them in post. RAW gave me the control over colours that I needed which I pushed to the extremes. For example at no point was the tree actually brown as it is shown at the beginning and also it wasn’t as green as it is at the end. The 5D mark III was not designed to be a RAW cinema camera A cinema camera’s ergonomics work great because its designers spent years to perfect it. The Arri products are a symbol for that approach and the 5D mark III is just a photo camera that lacks exactly this aspect. In a demanding shooting environment it can in my experience not hold up to the standards and will slow you down in one or another way that you didn’t expect. Accurately checking data can mean downloading and transcoding first One of the biggest issues for me during this production was to check and evaluate recorded data. I had to check that the transitions were seamless and that everything was 100% there before I went on to build the next stage. Even with the new and updated in-camera playback feature it is not easy to tell how well a shot has turned out. So what has to be done is ejecting the card, getting the footage into the editing machine, transcoding (which can take a while) and only then you’re able to use the data in your editing software. This was a hassle to say the least. And when you have to do it 100 times a day then you see that you lose a lot of time. If checking the data is critical, and the built in preview is not enough, then the 5D mark III RAW will definitely slow you down. There is a new app that allows you to preview RAW files on your computer directly from the card. The app is called MlRAWviewer and we talk about it in the Tips section here. The app might help you preview files more quickly, but it is still very buggy (tried version 1.1.7 and 1.2.2 which still crashed on my machine). For many shoots the limited new playback functionality mentioned here might be sufficient, but if you’ve got a client who wants to see the results it might be difficult to use the 5D mark III RAW. We had a card failure on a Lexar 1000x card. We’re not sure how it happened. The Lexar cards are usually quite ok and eventually Lexar replaced the card within a week. But when a card fries on the mark III then there’s no way to get it back as on other more secure systems. Exposure displayed is not always right. The image displayed on the live-view screen is not correct in terms of exposure. The RAW recorded actually seems darker. No timecode. Developers are working on embedding timecode in the RAW footage, but so far there is no usable method to use it. This can make workflows and syncing sound more difficult. An option is to use the sound that is embedded in the new .MLV format (more on that here). Bugs. Camera freezes. Resets settings… It happened sometimes during the shoot. The camera freezes and the only way to get it to work again is to remove the battery. This happened more often than we wished for and slows you down. Luckily it usually happened between takes. Unfortunately when the camera had one of these lockups it also reset some settings, including where it saved the files. So then we recorded to the wrong card, the camera froze again, etc. This slowed me down a lot and can be embarassing in front of a client. There are other bugs each new firmware version brings. Others get resolved. Complicated RAW workflow In your considerations about the right camera you shouldn’t forget the complicated RAW workflow required when you use the 5D mark III. I just mention this because some people forget that shooting RAW means a lot more data and work involved. But this is also true for other cameras that shoot in a RAW format. Since the recent updates and new apps to convert RAW files the workflow on the 5D mark III has been made less complicated. You’ll find more details in our 5D mark III RAW guide. Final Thoughts The 5D mark III RAW can certainly be a valid tool to create stunning footage, there’s no question about that. If you’re a single operator shooter and if you have a tight budget, if you do an indie production or just want to create something beautiful with limited possibilities, then the 5D mark III can get you far. But I would not recommend the 5D mark III Magic Lantern RAW hack to professional and commercial productions. If you’re not specifically in need for a very small, full-frame, RAW camera then I’d recommend to choose a different tool. I hope you could benefit from the information in this post. If you have any questions I’ll answer them in the comments.Read more
cinema5D presents the Beauty Filter Test. We have tested 18 different glass filters with 6 different cameras and 2 different lenses to give you a feeling of how glass filters may (or may not) enhance the look of a digital camera nowardays. Among these filters (provided by Tiffen) are some of the most widely used filters by cinematographers around the world.Read more
Ever wondered how the Canon 7D REALLY looks like next to an Arri Alexa or Sony F65? This video brings you the answer. We took these shots from our extensive Beauty Filter Test and placed them side by side so you can get a feeling for how the cameras compare in the studio setup we had. Note that this is not a thorough camera review, but just an opportunity to watch the same high detail, high dynamic range scene on these 6 cameras with the same high quality PL lens and the same lighting, graded professionally to match.Read more
Have you seen PART 1 of Zacuto’s Camera Shootout 2012? If you haven’t go here. If you have, you’re probably eager to find out which camera was which in their scientific and philosophic comparison between the most important up to date small and big digital film cameras. If you’re serious about being a cinematographer you shouldn’t miss this series. It’s free to watch on Zacuto’s page. They just released the second part, continuing an in-depth look at today’s most important tools for cinematography ranging from the Sony F65 down to the iPhone 4S. Just like last year a professional team of cinematographers compared the cameras in a controlled studio environment, later presented the results to filmmakers in the form of a digital cinema projection and eventually made a documentary about the whole thing which gives you a great scope of opinions and thoughts on the matter. This year they added some life to the test by allowing the shooting teams to alter the light setup to perfectly fit each camera’s needs which I think is a very cool approach to show what each camera is really capable of. Because as we know each camera’s strength also depends on what people make out of it. Here’s part 2: LINK Cameras used: Arri Alexa, Canon C300, Canon 7D, Panasonic GH2, Sony F3, Sony F65, iPhone 4S, RED EpicRead more
Zacuto presents its much anticipated Camera Shootout 2012. A both scientific and philosophic comparison between the most important up to date small and big digital film cameras. If you’re serious about being a cinematographer you shouldn’t miss this series. It’s free to watch on Zacuto’s page. Here’s part 1: LINK Excerpt from the site: We’ve got a lot to prove in Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout 2012. Some of it will surprise you, some of it will shock you, and some of it will change the way you work forever. Let’s make this clear: This is not the shootout you’re expecting. Watch last year’s shootout series here. Cameras used: Arri Alexa, Canon C300, Canon 7D, Panasonic GH2, Sony F3, Sony F65, iPhone 4S, RED Epic So what letter was your favorite camera? Have you written down your rankings?Read more
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