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.

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 Press Release

Canon expands Cinema EOS System with new EOS-1D C digital SLR supporting 4K video capture

London, UK, 12 April, 2012 – Canon today announces the introduction of the new EOS-1D C, a digital single-lens reflex (SLR) camera targeting the motion picture, television and high-resolution production industries. Delivering outstanding video quality, advanced low light performance and film-like dynamic range, the compact and lightweight EOS-1D C supports in-camera 4K (4,096 x 2,160) video recording with 4:2:2 colour sampling, offering greater creative freedom for video professionals.

The first SLR camera of its kind, the EOS-1D C offers a unique and highly portable package optimised for high-quality video recording. Advanced creative flexibility is provided with support for a range of resolutions and variable frame rates. 4K video is recorded using 8-bit Motion JPEG compression at 24p, and Full HD (1920 x 1080) video capture is available at frame rates up to 1080/60p. The camera supports internal recording to CF cards at all resolutions up to and including 4K, offering enhanced mobility. Video can also be output to external recorders1 via an integrated HDMI terminal using an uncompressed YCbCr 4:2:2 signal.

The EOS-1D C also features Canon Log Gamma, which facilitates the capture of high quality video rich in exposure latitude and dynamic range. Ideal for video professionals who want to retain the maximum amount of information without huge file sizes, Canon Log Gamma offers a dynamic range uniquely comparable to film, minimising shadowdetail loss and highlight-detail loss to provide greater grading freedom for colourists in post-production.

"The EOS-1D C is a fantastic addition to the Cinema EOS System," said Kieran Magee, Marketing Director, Professional Imaging, Canon Europe. "Since the introduction of Cinema EOS we've had an excellent response from professionals who are hugely excited by the image quality and creative freedom the system offers. The new EOS-1D C will expand those creative options further – it's a unique camera, supporting 4K video recording in a highly compact body that can be used in a number of different ways. We're very excited to see what the professional community can achieve with it."

Advanced performance meets creative flexibility

Based on the core specifications of the EOS-1D X, the EOS-1D C provides exceptional image quality and versatility, with an 18.1-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor. Optimised for high quality video capture, the sensor provides video professionals with the freedom to adjust image resolution to suit a subject or desired output. During 4K shooting pixels are cropped to an area equivalent to an APS-H sensor, preventing the need to resize or scale the image, ensuring maximum image quality. Additionally, a Super 35mm crop in Full HD recording caters for cinematographers who typically work in the Super 35mm field of view.

The sensor provides high quality performance in all conditions, delivering advanced creative blurring and light capturing abilities when used in combination with Canon's EF Cinema prime lenses. Its size enables professionals to achieve an extremely shallow depth of field with beautiful background blur, and sensitivity up to ISO 25,600 provides excellent quality and reduced noise in low-light situations.

In addition, support for 24, 25, 30, 50 and 60p frame rates in Full HD resolution shooting provides additional flexibility, satisfying the shooting needs of professionals across the industry. Industry-standard timecode and codec support and a choice of compression methods provides compatibility with established workflow processes, facilitating easy editing and grading immediately after shooting.

The EOS-1D C ships with an exclusive software package, including a suite that allows 4K/Motion JPEG and Full HD/60p video shot on the camera to be output on an external monitor2 with no loss of image quality. It also enables video shot with Canon Log Gamma to be output on a monitor with standard video gamma applied.

Additional advanced applications, including Picture Style Editor and EOS Utility, also enable adjustments to various camera settings to be conducted from a PC. Real-time procedures, such as the editing and registration of picture styles or checking results on a monitor, can be conveniently performed on-set using a PC or Mac – allowing users to promptly carry out adjustments, and ensuring efficient shooting and post-production procedures.

EF lenses and EF Cinema Lenses – freedom to explore

As part of the EOS system, the EOS-1D C is compatible with more than 60 EF lenses, all of which offer high resolutions to support 4K image capture. The EF lens series offers exceptional creative freedom, with focal length options ranging from 8mm to 800mm. Over 70 million EF lenses have been manufactured since the EOS system launched in 1987 – a measure of its unparalleled quality and popularity. As part of the Cinema EOS System, Canon has also introduced a range of 4K EF Cinema Lenses, utilising the company's unique optical heritage to produce leading-quality lenses optimised for high-quality video capture.

Canon EOS-1D C – key features:

  • 4k movies
  • 1080p at 50/60fps; Canon Log Gamma
  • Uncompressed HDMI output
  • 18 MP Full Frame CMOS
  • Up to 12fps stills; 14fps mode
  • 61 point AF system
  • ISO range 100-25600
  • Dual DIGIC 5+ processors
  • Clear View II 8.1cm (3.2") LCD
  • EF lens compatible

1 Excluding 4K video
2 Requires the use of a PC equipped with an SDI port

Canon EOS-1D C specifications

Body type
Body typeLarge SLR
Sensor
Max resolution5184 x 3456
Other resolutions4608 x 3072, 3456 x 2304, 2592 x 1728
Image ratio w:h3:2
Effective pixels18 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors19 megapixels
Sensor sizeFull frame (36 x 24 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ProcessorDual Digic 5+
Image
ISO100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800, 25600, 51200 (50, 102400 and 204800 with boost)
White balance presets6
Custom white balanceYes (5)
Image stabilizationNo
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsFine, Normal
Optics & Focus
Autofocus
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Phase Detect
  • Multi-area
  • Selective single-point
  • Tracking
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Face Detection
  • Live View
Digital zoomNo
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points61
Lens mountCanon EF
Focal length multiplier1×
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDFixed
Screen size3.2
Screen dots1,040,000
Touch screenNo
Screen typeClear View II TFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeOptical (pentaprism)
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder magnification0.76×
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/8000 sec
Built-in flashNo
External flashYes (Hot-shoe)
Flash modesE-TTL II Auto Flash, Metered Manual
Continuous drive14 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 10 sec, remote)
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Average
  • Spot
Exposure compensation±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±3 (2, 3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
WB BracketingYes (3 frames in either blue/amber or magenta/green axis)
Videography features
Resolutions4096 x 2160 (24 fps), 1920 x 1080 (60, 50, 30, 25, 24 fps), 1280 x 720 (60, 50 fps), 640 x 480 (60, 50 fps)
FormatMPEG-4, H.264
Videography notesintra or inter frame
MicrophoneMono
SpeakerMono
Storage
Storage typesCompact Flash (Type I or II), UDMA compatible
Storage includedNone
Connectivity
HDMIYes (Mini)
WirelessOptional
Wireless notesLC-5
Remote controlYes (N3 connector)
Physical
Environmentally sealedYes (Water and dust resistant)
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLithium-Ion LP-E4N rechargeable battery & charger
Dimensions158 x 164 x 83 mm (6.22 x 6.46 x 3.27)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingYes (by cable and PC)
GPSOptional
GPS notesGP-E1, GPE2

Additional images