Canon Cinema EOS C300 official: the company's $20K answer to RED video gear

Canon EOS C300

We're live from Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, where Canon's holding its gala event — and the company's just unveiled its first foray into digital cinema: the Cinema EOS C300. The beast is equipped with Canon's DIGIC DV III image processor, a 9.84-megapixel sensor (8.29-megapixel effective) capable of Super 35 format, and your choice of 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 50 and 59.94fps recording at ISOs ranging from 320 all the way up to 20,000. Canon says it captures 1,000 horizontal lines of resolution. It's got two XLR inputs for audio and can shoot 160 minutes of video onto a 64GB CF card running a 50mbps bitrate at 1080p (29.97 with 4:2:2 color sampling. Both PL and EF mount bodies are available, depending on whatever lens system you prefer. The system is full manual focus — not a trace of AF here — and that's just how the pros like it.

Want to see what you're doing? There are a couple options: a 0.52-inch 16:9 electronic viewfinder with 100 percent coverage or a detachable 4-inch display; they're roughly 1.5-megapixel and 1.2-megapixel, respectively. The body clocks in at 3.2 pounds and would fit in a 7-inch cube with room to spare — slightly heavy, yes, but not too bulky, and we're talking about some serious gear. Think it might be your next rig? You'll pay approximately $20,000 in late January for the EF model, and Canon's shooting for a late March launch for PL lens users. That's a body-only price, but a few things come standard: the main grip, a top carrying handle with microphone mount, and that external 4-inch monitor to accompany your built-in EVF.

Video is stored on two CF card slots with output via HD-SDI, and Canon claims it can shoot at a very high ISO with no issue. During the presentation, a short sword-heavy piece, apparently shot at night, seemed to agree; there's definitely noticeable noise in this high-definition footage, but only in the darkest shots is it easily distinguishable from film grain. Earlier, a gangster drama showed off the clarity and depth of field possible in good light -- beautiful footage, to our untrained eye. There's a sci-fi dystopia, Exit, on display, too, laden with CG, but also plenty of human face to face time, showing off both the perfect pores of our future femme fatale and her gritty and at times beautiful surroundings. We've got a few pics of that footage in the gallery below. The last, Mobius, showed off the camera's rugged qualities in capturing desert cinema of a man who witnesses a horrific execution in the middle of nowhere -- dust and rocks and grains of dirt and sand, and a very shiny silver Colt .45 captured beautifully.

Martin Scorsese was also on hand to formally welcome Canon to Hollywood, and he had plenty of praise for the company's new products: "I believe these tools Canon's created give filmmakers a much closer relationship to filming than they've ever had before," he said, capping off a statement about the history of art in cinema.

Canon is showing a bunch of movies here to show off the image quality, and there are plenty of pictures below, but why not visit our hands-on as well!

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