With new and significant camera announcements by Canon throughout many of their camera lines, there is one that certainly stands out — it’s the new “flagship”. In case you missed Nino’s announcement post on September 1st, the C700 is the new leading camera in Canon’s cinema line. Read on for my initial impressions of where the camera sits in the crowded cinema field.
There is just something about that otherwise intangible, slightly warmer Canon image that keeps me coming back again and again to their cameras. Like many Cinema5D readers, I fell in love with the Canon 5D Mark II and haven’t looked back since. Until now.
It’s clear that Canon listens to some feedback: the Canon C700 is unbelievable looking on the surface. With its 4.5K Raw sensor, better shoulder ergonomics, modular design, global shutter option, 4K 120fps capability (with an added attachment) and the same sensor as the Canon C300 Mark II, it all seems poised to produce a great image, and yet I find myself underwhelmed.
I’m underwhelmed because this feels like the camera I wanted two years ago. I love the Canon C500. They could have added a 6K sensor, better EVF, and better slow motion options and the camera would fly out the door as a true competitor to RED Cinema.
Today, I am duty bound to compare the Canon C700 spec list with other cameras around its price range such as the Sony F55, Arri Amira and several RED Cinema cameras, not to mention the folks over at Blackmagic Design. The Canon C700 falls behind in categories such as resolution, frame rate options, dynamic range (though only slightly) and usability. Having to add an external module to record anything higher than 4K 60fps is a major pain point. I want everything done internally without adding weight and another device that can break in the field.
The price, currently sitting at $28,000, is for the camera body alone and doesn’t include the OLED monitor, CFast 2.0 media, shoulder mount or the Codex external recording module. It’s expensive. It’s so expensive, in fact, that if you are seriously considering buying this camera you are either a rental house used to making this type of purchase, or you are an operator who already owns a RED, Arri, or Sony F55, and are thinking of switching. I just don’t see the C700 being the camera that convinces cinematographers to switch to Canon, which is a personal disappointment for me because I’ve been raving to skeptics about the C500 for years.
If you review lists of the 2016 Oscar nominated films, you’ll note that the Best Picture nominees field is almost entirely dominated by Arri and RED. Sony is even struggling to make the cut. This tells us that Canon has a long way to go to break in to a very insulated group of filmmakers that stand by Arri.
The Canon C700 doesn’t give filmmakers who require a cinema camera a reason to switch, and that’s a problem. Canon needed to knock this one out of the park and establish itself as the innovator in the higher end cinema camera environment. So much money goes into developing new cameras, and we anticipate the release of those cameras for years, so Canon needs to use the resources at their disposal that matter most: the filmmakers outside of the Canon community. To become a kit staple for the top DPs, you need to find out what they find crucially beneficial in the camera bodies they’re already using, and what luxuries you can innovate to bring them over to your side.
Until I have this camera in my hands and I’m out in the field shooting, I’ll reserve my full judgement. But for now, take advantage of the price drop of the Canon C500 and grab an Odyssey 7Q+ for 4K and you’ll save yourself $20,0000+.
What do you think? Is the Canon C700 going to dominate the next round of films being produced? Or, is this camera too little too late.