by Nic Divischek | 14th September 2015
We talked to Canon about their new 4 Million ISO camera, which goes by the melodious name of ME20F-SH, here at IBC 2015 in Amsterdam. It’s the first time the camera is being shown in real life. It has a very compact cubic form factor, which makes it very versatile for all sorts of applications, and it can be fully controlled remotely. It’s only 1080p with a Full Frame 35mm sensor, but at 19 microns, the pixels are very large, which makes them very light sensitive. The camera can shoot at up to 4,560,000 ISO and is definitely targeted at very specialist applications like nighttime wildlife shooting – which also justifies the price point of roughly $30K. It doesn’t have external recording but outputs via SDI and HDMI, 4:2:2 8-bit. Canon also says that it’s only available for a very select range of customers. It’s an unfair comparison because it’s targeted at a very different audience, but the Sony A7s (and the newly announced A7sII) cameras are about three stops less light sensitive. The footage that popped up on the Canon Japan website from the ME20F-SH shows a range of applications. Unfortunately it’s heavily compressed and therefore there is compression interference, but it still it looks clean until around 50,000 ISO as far as we can tell. However, this camera is something for wildlife filmmakers. From a personal perspective as a wildlife filmmaker, I once filmed Ethiopian hedgehogs in Qatar. Our main focus was to capture the moment the hedgehog gives birth, something that no one has ever been able to do, due to hedgehogs being prone to disturbance and causing infanticide after birth. The project took over 3 months, as we had to build a burrow out of fibre glass, specially designed to fit a camera and placed the burrow underground. We used fibre optical lights that ran into the burrow to light it up enough for the camera to see something. Over 3 months, we increased the light-level from complete darkness to a very little light-level, in order to habituate the hedgehog to its home. If we had the Canon Me20F-SH and its amazing low-light capabilities, we could have cut this time by at least a third if not more, not only saving us the amount of time to monitor the hedgehog’s behaviour, but also cutting production costs significantly.Read more
by Sebastian Wöber | 30th July 2015
Canon just announced a new lowlight camera they have been developing over the past years. The Canon ME20F-SH is a multi-purpose cinema camera that is rated at over 4 million ISO. Back in March of 2013 we reported about Canon’s efforts to develop an ultra lowlight camera sensor that could film virtually without any visible light. Today we see the Canon ME20F-SH as the result of this development. The Canon ME20F-SH is aimed at a number of different markets. While it is clearly capable to work as a cinema camera Canon also describes it as suitable for nighttime surveillance and security, reality television and nature/wildlife documentaries. The development of this unique lowlight camera certainly represents a new frontier in a saturated market of cameras and stands out. Lowlight cinematography is new and intriguing and as Canon’s press release states it makes things visible that might not be seen with the naked eye. In terms of technical specifications the Canon ME20F-SH is also quite unique. It features a resolution of only 1080p due to the required large pixel size on its super35 sensor. It is equipped with a positive-locking EF mount and outputs in Canon Log and Wide DR mode for maximum dynamic range. As can be seen on the press images this lowlight camera is tiny in size. With a width of only 10cm (4 inches) it’s more narrow than the Sony Alpha A7s and twice as heavy at 1kg. The Canon ME20F-SH has no internal recording capabilities and only outputs a signal via the SDI and hdmi outputs on the back. Considering the multi-purpose aspect of the camera this could be regarded as an obvious choice. In return the camera is small and lightweight and offers a lot of flexibility. It’s probably no coincidence that the camera body has a very close resemblance to the new Arri ALEXA Mini and comes at a very similar suggested retail price of $30,000, even though the purpose of the two cameras is quite different in many regards. The Canon ME20F-SH is scheduled to become available in December of 2015. See the original press release HERE. via nofilmschool.comRead more
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