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NAB: Canon Launches New 4K Cameras

Complete Coverage: NAB 2012

In another sign of the growing importance of 4K imaging, which offers much higher resolutions and picture quality than the current HD standard, Canon announced that it is developing two digital cinematography cameras as part of its new Cinema EOS System of professional cinematography products.

The new cameras are the Cinema EOS C500, which is designed for use with EF-mount lenses, and the Cinema EOS C500 PL, which will use PL-mount lenses. Both are capable of offering 4K (4096 x 2160-pixel) resolution with uncompressed RAW output for external recording.

The cameras follow Canon's push into digital cinematography last fall with the launch of the EOS C300 HD camera. The new 4K cameras are designed to tap into growing interest in higher resolution imaging for film production and it is particularly important for big-budget motion pictures that include scenes compositing live-action cinematography with high-resolution computer-generated imagery.

But in the company is also seeing strong interest among producers of prime-time network series and bigger budget cable fare for HBO and other channels. Many of those shows had traditionally been done on film but in the last five years producers have been moving to digital video. The new 4K cameras from Canon and others would offer a very high quality alternative to film.

The Cinema EOS C500/C500 PL digital cinematography cameras will not only support 4K-resolution video but also outputs images as a 10-bit uncompressed RAW data stream with no de-Bayering. They can also output quad full HD (3840 x 2160), which is the format preferred by TV producers, 2K (2048 x 1080), full HD (1920 x 1080), and other options.

Canon expects to bring the cameras to market later this year. No pricing has been set but it is expected that they will have a suggested list price of approximately $30,000.

Also at the show, Canon continued to expand its line of 4K lenses and announced that it was developing a display monitor with 4K resolution for use in such professional applications as color grading, image quality management in VFX/CG production and checking image quality on location.