DIGITAL CINEMA: What wasn’t said

I’ll admit it, I was super excited over the announcement that Canon was set to release a new camera aimed at the film industry.  The EOS c300 has a great Super 35 image sensor, there is a clean HDMI output, it has a small form factor, and it still records to the Compact Flash card. Likewise, a few hours later when RED announced the Scarlet-X and explained how they were effectively using the Mysterium Chip in a camera that is identical to the RED Epic in every way except for the data rate, I was even more sold.

Except both are out of my price range.  With the EOS c300 coming in with a start price of $20,000, and the RED Scarlet-X at $9,750 ($14,000 for the full package), both cameras are not easily affordable for the indie film maker. Renting is going to be the best bet for low budget filmmakers wanting to get their hands on these cameras, but for those that like to pick up and go at a moments notice, it was the very last camera announcement of the day that got my attention.

While it certainly looks like the RED Scarlet-X is going to be the go to camera for most, it was this press release from Canon that cause some to cheer.

Canon Inc. today announced that the company is developing a new-concept EOS-series digital single-lens reflex (SLR) camera. Incorporating an enhanced version of the video-capture capability offered in the current EOS-series lineup, the new camera will be ideally suited for cinematographic and other digital high-resolution production applications. The model will be equipped with a 35 mm full-frame CMOS sensor and, enabling the recording of 4K video* (at a frame rate of 24P, with Motion-JPEG compression), will make possible the type of exceptional image quality and sublime imaging expression to be expected from the next generation of “EOS Movies.”

The announcement coincides with the launch of the Cinema EOS System, marking Canon’s full-fledged entry into the digital high-resolution production industry. The new professional digital cinematography system spans the lens, digital cinema camera and digital SLR camera product categories.

Further details regarding the new EOS digital SLR camera currently under development, including the product name, specifications and scheduled launch date, have yet to be decided.

What does this mean?  Well, allow to me speculate…

We (meaning many people) have been wanting/asking for a Canon 5D Mark III that addresses many of the MKII failings.  If this new camera (which I’ll call a 5DMKIII for the purposes of this discussion) has a 4K image, a clean HDMI output, and has some of the configuring options the EOS c300 has, then I’ll be more than happy to drop $5,000 on this camera tomorrow.  AND if it supports the EF lens line – something I’ve been stocking up over the years – then this will be a natural progression in the types of productions I am currently working on.

I really hope this new camera is the little sister of the EOS c300, and I hope this announcement wasn’t simply a rushed reaction to the RED Scarlet-X.  No matter what happens, we are all living in interesting times when it comes to capturing high quality images for delivery in theaters, television, or HD web.

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