Canon EOS C70 Announced – Bridging Cinema and Mirrorless Lines

September 24th, 2020 Jump to Comment Section 51

Canon has just announced the launch of its first RF mount cinema camera: the Canon EOS C70. This lightweight and compact camera feature a Super35 sensor with Dual Gain Output capabilities. The EOS C70 can shoot at up to 4K at 120 frames per second in 4:2:2 10-bit directly onto SD cards. Johnnie my colleague took the opportunity to talk to Aron Randhawa from Canon Europe in order to explore a bit more what this camera really brings to the table. Let’s take a closer look at it!

The new Canon EOS C70 is the first Canon cinema camera with a built-in RF Mount (more on that later). Similar to the recent EOS C300 Mark III (you can watch our review here), the EOS C70 features a Super35 sensor with Dual Gain Output (DGO) capabilities. This DGO technology combines two amplifications of a moving image into one and allows you to shoot at high-ISO with reduced noise.

However, its a brand new sensor and not the same sensor as the C300 Mark III. The sensor is the same as the one found inside the Canon C300 MarK III and according to Canon, the EOS C70 is capable of recording up to 16 stops of dynamic range. The dynamic range results in our Lab Test with the EOS C300 Mark III were excellent, and we’ll make sure to run our lab test once the camera get its final firmware.

A suitable sensor is nothing without a great image processor behind it. Canon didn’t take any shortcuts, and the Canon EOS C70 features a powerful DIGIC DV 7 processor. This image processor is the same as the one you can find in the EOS C300 Mark III /C500 Mark II. The least we can say is that this sensor/processor combo unlocks a ton of recording modes

Rear loook
Canon EOS C70 – Image credit: Canon

Recording Modes

The Canon EOS C70 is capable of recording in either XF-AVC (H.264) or MP4 internally. Unfortunately, you can’t record in any flavor of Canon Cinema RAW/Cinema RAW Light internally. At the moment, there’s little information about external recording capabilities, although a clean signal can be outputted via the large HDMI connector found in the camera

The Canon EOS C70 can record internally in DCI 4K/4K UHD at up to 60p in XF-AVC H.264 Long GOP 4:2:2-10bit at a bitrate of 260Mbps (DCI 4K), and up to 410 Mbps in 4K/DCI in up to 30p. If you choose to use the MP4 H.265 Long GOP codec, you can shoot in DCI 4K/4K UHD at up to 60p in 4:2:2 10- bit with a 225Mbps bitrate.

For slow-motion lovers, in XF-AVC HFR H.264 Long GOP/MP4 HFR H2.265 Long GOP, you can even go at up to 120 frames per second in 4:2:2 10-bit. In this slow-motion recording mode, you’ll still get access to Dual Pixel CMOS AF and audio recording.

Finally, if you drop your resolution to 2K/1080P, you can even crank up your framerates to 180fps, still in 4:2:2 10-bit with audio recording, but of course with some image crop.

Two SD cards sloots
Canon EOS C70 Dual SD Cards Slots. Image credit: CineD

The Dual SD card slots support high-speed UHS-II V90 cards. The EOS C70 offers you simultaneous recording options configurations such as double slot, relay, and simultaneous recording.

Also, for the first time on a Canon Cinema Camera, you can now simultaneously record different formats, resolutions, and bit depths on each media card slot!

Autofocus and ND Filters

The Canon EOS C70 comes with Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology. The Dual Gain Output and Dual Pixel CMOS AF system work together to achieve precise and reliable autofocus capabilities.

At the back of the EOS C70, there’s a 3.5 Inch flip-out touchscreen display (more on that later), and the Dual Pixel CMOS AF covers approximately 80% of the display’s horizontal/vertical range.

The Canon EOS C70 is the first Canon Cinema Camera that features EOS iTR – Intelligent Tracking and Recognition – AF X technology. This AF technology was first introduced with the EOS R5 and includes a special head/face detection algorithm that recognizes your subject’s head even if the person turns to the side/back.

Tracking AF is also available on the EOS C70, which allows you to stay focused on a subject that you can select via the touch screen or joystick.

It looks like the Canon EOS C70 autofocus capabilities will probably be rock solid, as Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology is currently one of the best in the industry and continually improving.

Stabilization

Like the Canon EOS C500 Mark II, the Canon EOS C70’s sensor isn’t mechanically stabilized (no IBIS). However, it features 5-axis Electronic Image Stabilization that works with every Canon IS lens. For best possible results, you’ll have to use Canon RF lenses as you’ll be unlocking “Combination IS.” The lens and camera body will communicate image stabilization information between each other and coordinate their stabilization results. Of course, as always with Electronic Image Stabilization, there will be a slight image crop.

Vs Canon 1D C
Canon EOS C70 at the front, and 1D C at the back. Image credit: CineD

Ergonomics

As I already mentioned, the Canon EOS C70 is a lightweight and compact camera. It is smaller and less deep than a Canon EOS-1DX Mark III/C200. In terms of size, the EOS C70 is 6.3in/160mm large, 5.1in/130.2mm high, and 4.6in/115.9mm deep.

As you can see, the camera doesn’t have a built-in EVF, but there is a flip-out touchscreen display. You can use the touchscreen to adjust your AF points, but also to start/stop recording, access the menu, change your recording settings, and so on, thanks to a new user interface. This new user interface looks straightforward and easy to use, perfect for single shooters.

There are 13 buttons all around the camera that allows you to get direct access to the most frequently used functions. If you’re not familiar with Canon Cinema Cameras, most of these buttons are user-customizable.

The EOS C70 is also the first Canon Cinema Camera that features a built-in, non-removable handgrip. As a C200 shooter, I have to admit that mounting the handle every time is annoying, and I like that new multi-functional integrated grip. This design change makes the EOS C70 looks more like a DSLR/Mirrorless camera with impressive filmmaking capabilities.

Back to the handgrip itself, it now features a front dial, rear dial, a select dial plus set button, and a new eight-direction joystick (previous joysticks only had four directions). All the controls are at your fingertips. It is nice to adjust/have access to all your essential parameters once you develop muscle memory without even looking at the buttons. I found that it tremendously improves my working speed in fast-shooting environments as a one-man-band filmmaker.

moounting pooints
Canon EOS C70 side mounting point. Image credit: Canon

Mounting Points

To mount the Canon EOS C70, there are one 1/4″-20 & one 3/8″-16 mounting points at the bottom. There is one cold-shoe mount at the top of the camera. You can use it to attach accessories or the included handle with a mic holder.
Finally, there is one 1/4″-20 point on the left side of the camera to mount it on vertical mode. It is quite unusual, but with the growth of vertical content for social media, it can be useful. Please note that you can turn the UI display on the built-in screen inside the menu for more convenience.

camera  connectivity
Canon EOS C70 Dual mini XLR and Time Code connectors. Image credit: Canon

Inputs / Outputs

Most of the Canon EOS C70 input/output ports are on the left side, while the SD card slots are on the right side, and a TimeCode in/out terminal is placed in the lower front of the body. In terms of connectivity, you’ll find:

  • Two three-pin mini XLR input ports with 48V phantom power. Audio control dials are behind the flip-out touchscreen display.
  • One 3.5mm mini-jack input.
  • One 3.5mm headphone jack.
  • A USB Type-C connector to connect an optional wired/wireless Ethernet/WiFi adapter.
  • A remote terminal.
  • An HDMI (Type-A) port
  • In front of the camera, there are also two built-in stereo mics for scratch audio.
  • As you can tell, there’s no SDI output port, which is one of the significant omissions for a professional cinema camera. But, there’s a timecode port in front of the camera.

ND Filters, Cooling, Power

The Canon EOS C70 does have built-in 2/4/6/8/10-stops ND filters. If you need even more filtration, you can use the Drop-In Filter Mount Adapter EF-EOS R with Variable ND.

One of the numerous debates around the recent EOS R5 was overheating issues in a couple of video recording modes. The EOS C70 shouldn’t suffer from any overheating issues thanks to an independent ventilation system. There are one air intake on the right side of the camera and two air outlets on the body’s side and bottom.

The EOS C70 is not water sealed, but the air intake/outlet are protected from dust/water with special ducts.

Finally, the EOS C70 uses Canon BP-A30/A60 batteries, the same as those for the C200/C300 Mark III/C500 Mark II. There’s a DC input port if you want to run the camera from main power.

Canon EOS C70
Canon EOS C70 together with Canon RF 24-70mm lens. Image credit: CineD

RF Mount

The Canon RF lens mount was first introduced with the Canon EOS R mirrorless camera in October 2018. Also, the latest Canon EOS R5 and Canon EOS R6 do come with an RF Mount.

A couple of high-quality native Canon RF lenses are already available on the market like the RF 70- 200 F/2.8L IS USM, the RF 85mm F/1.2L USM DS, the RF 24-70mm F/2.8, and so on. However, these lenses do come at a high price.

But, thanks to a short flange distance of only 20mm, this Canon RF Mount is very versatile and allows you to mount Canon EF lenses you might already have easily. A couple of adapters are already available from Canon:

  • The “basic” Mount Adapter EF-EOS R
  • A more advanced version Control Ring Mount Adapter EF-EOS R,
  • The Drop-In Filter Mount Adapter EF-EOS R. This adapter allows you to slot-in variable ND filters, Circular Polarizer Filter (CPL), or clear filter. Other companies, such as Breakthrough Photography (https://www.cined.com/breakthrough-photography-filters-for- canon-ef-eos-r-adapter-introduced/) are starting to make additional drop-in filters. All these adapters are compatible with the EOS C70 and maintain AF plus Image Stabilization capabilities from your EF lenses.

Focal length extenders for the RF Mount are also available, and the Extenders RF 1.4x/2x are compatible with the Canon EOS C70.

Mount Adapter
Mount Adapter EF-EOS R 0.71x. Image credit: Canon

Mount Adapter EF-EOS R 0.71x

With the launch of the Canon EOS C70, Canon also introduced a new Mount Adapter EF-EOS R 0.71x.

This adapter employs an optical conversion to capture a Full Frame field of view of an EF lens. Also, by using this adapter, you’ll gain an increased light transmission of around 1-stop. In short, you can look at this Mount Adapter EF-EOS R 0.71x as a “Speedbooster-like” adapter.

Canon EOS C70 with Mount Adapter
Mount Adapter EF-EOS R 0.71x. Image credit: Canon

Same as other Canon EF-EOS R adapters, the 0.71x version enables Dual Pixel CMOS AF, optical correction, displays, and records F-stop numbers, focal length, and lens metadata.

The Canon EOS C70 is already at our office. Stay tuned for more…

Price and Availability

The Canon EOS C70 should be available towards the end of the year for around €4500 ($5499). I find the EOS C70 to be an excellent value for money for filmmakers, with an aggressive price-tag close to the EOS R5.

What do you think about the Canon EOS C70? What do you think would be best for your needs, the EOS R5 or EOS C70? What feature is missing for you on the latest Canon Cinema Camera? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!

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