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Built-in 4K comes to Canon's Cinema C series

The Cinema EOS C300 Mark II has a more ENG-friendly design than its older sibling and gets out-of-the-box 4K.

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Lori Grunin
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Lori Grunin

Senior Editor / Advice

I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.

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Despite bearing the now-universal second-generation indicator "Mark II", Canon's update to its Cinema EOS C300 looks like a considerable update -- at a considerable uptick in price. The current model is going for about $6,500 for the old EF-mount model (about £7,750 and AU$14,500); the Mark II will cost $20,000 (directly converted, that's £13,500 or AU$26,200) when it ships in September.

One of the notable improvements is that the C300M2 can record DCI or UHD 4K/30p internally to a CFast 2.0 card at 4:2:2 10-bit -- HD up to 4:4:4 12-bit -- as well as uncompressed to an external recorder via 3G-SDI. Like its new, relatively inexpensive sibling, the XC10, it uses Canon's new XF-AVC codec, H.264 in an MXF wrapper.

It incorporates a new 8.9-megapixel Super 35mm Dual Pixel CMOS sensor with a rated 15-stop dynamic range (up from 12) and a broader sensitivity range from ISO 100 through ISO 102,400.

Canon C300 gets the Mark II treatment (pictures)

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A new Canon Log Gamma 2 profile was designed to accommodate the broader range as well as the dual Digic DV 5 chips used to process it. It also has two more stops of neutral-density filtering.

Canon claims the increased processing power will kill rolling-shutter artifacts despite the lack of a global shutter. It also enables dual recording, 4K to one of the two CFast cards (or an external drive) plus an 8-bit HD proxy file to the SD card. Other production-friendly updates include a 24-bit audio scratch track.

Ergonomic upgrades include improved color on the LCD display and a higher pixel density in the viewfinder; a redesigned clamshell unit that allows for interchangeable, field-serviceable cables; and a cleaner viewfinder view without an information overlay. Post-purchase upgrades include the option for a locking EF or PL mount and a redesigned run-and-gun handle option with far more control points.

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