Canon's newly announced C100 Digital Video Camera looks like an interesting, if low-rent version of its C300 Digital Cinema Camera. At half the price -- $7,999 -- the C100 is based around the same Super 35mm sensor as the C300 and C500, an 8.3-megapixel sensor that reads out the color-filter array's pixels in such a way that it outputs a full 1920x1080 frame for each RGB channel without interpolation (here's a PDF with more detail about the sensor).
In addition to the support for Canon's video-specific gamma modes, it's got all the input/output features you'd expect from a camcorder in its class, such as an add-on handle with dual XLR jacks, dual-SD card slots and uncompressed HDMI out.
It's telling that Canon brands the camera as "Digital Video Camera" rather than "Digital Cinema Camera." Aside from the sensor, the same lens mount, and the body design, it seems to have more in common with the company's pro camcorders than the EOS Cinema series indicated by the big red "C" logo emblazoned on it. It uses the same AVCHD codec as the XA series of camcorders, with a relatively disappointing maximum bitrate of 24 megabits per second and 4:2:0 color, presumably 8-bit rather than the 10-bit of the more expensive models.
Canon's targeting traditional video users with the C100: according to the press release, it's going after "low-budget television production and independent moviemaking; museums, galleries, and film schools that utilize Full HD video; and wedding, corporate and event videography." For those shooters, the workaday benefits of the reasonably sized files and workflow-standard codecs will likely outweigh the longing for the better tonal range provided by deeper color subsampling and sharper image from a higher-resolution capture. That said, Sony's rumored full-frame interchangeable-lens camcorder sounds like it's supposed to come in at a lot lower price.
The C100 is slated to ship in November.