Canon has unveiled its promised 4K capable DSLR, the EOS-1D C, which can capture 4K (4096 x 2160 pixel) video at up to 24p without downscaling, from an APS-H crop of its 18MP full-frame sensor. The camera, which shares the majority of its specifications with the still-awaited EOS 1D X, can also capture 1080p60 or 50p or output it uncompressed over its HDMI connector. Full HD can be captured from a 16:9 crop from the whole sensor, or a smaller, APS-C-like Super 35mm sub-frame that allows the use of Canon’s EF Cinema Zoom lenses. The camera will cost around €10,000 (exact price to be confirmed) and will be available from October.
The company says the camera has been developed in discussions with Hollywood and television broadcasters, to ensure it has the features they need. This includes the ability to capture 4k or 1080p footage in either intraframe (All-I) interframe (IPB) compression Motion JPEGs, and the ability to output a 1080p Y’CbCr 4:2:2 signal over its HDMI port.
While 4K-compatible monitors are just starting to appear and both Adobe Premier CS6 and Final Cut Pro X support 4K editing, Canon says it doesn’t expect 4K to be a practical concern for many individuals in the short term. However, the ability to archive original footage at high resolution, in preparation for the market catching up could be a draw for the cinema and broadcast industry.
The 1D C gains a series of features from the C300 native Full HD camera launched last year. This includes Canon Log Gamma – a very flat, low contrast, high dynamic range response, allowing footage from both cameras to be mixed together and color-graded identically. It can also mirror its HDMI signal – including the option to show a ‘View Assist’ simulation of graded output over HDMI while still capturing log gamma footage.
Unlike the C300, the EOS-1D C does not offer zebra striping or peaking focus aids, which the company sees as being more important in single-person operated documentary settings, rather than the rig-and-crew situations it expects the 1D C to be used in.
How is it different to an EOS-1D X?
In many respects the EOS-1D C is a very close cousin of the 1D X, but Canon insists the circuitry and heat management of the camera has been re-worked to avoid overheating with the immense (and sustained) data rates required for 4K video recording. The 1D C also has headphone socket, and loses the flash sync port.
Canon won’t be pinned down on the precise details of hardware differences but also says the 1D X might be subject to greater import duty into North America and the EU if an aftermarket firmware change would allow the recording of more than 29 minutes, 59 seconds of video, so this isn’t a 1D X with extended video and 4K enabled in firmware.
However, the 1D C can still capture 18MP images at 12fps and its 4Kp24 footage means individual frames can be used at the same 8MP resolution as offered by the EOS-1D Mark II – a photojournalist tool widely used until fairly recently. And, while the portrait-orientation grip may seem redundant for video shooting, it does provide room for a large capacity battery, which is absolutely essential.