Interview: Laurence (Larry) Thorpe
Dpreview was at the Hollywood launch of the new Canon EOS C300, the first in Canon's new 'C' system interchangeable lens video cameras. During a packed evening we made some time to sit down with Larry Thorpe - Senior Director, Professional Engineering and Solutions, Imaging Technologies and Communications Group, Canon USA, Inc. and asked him about the new camera, and what it means for videographers.
Larry - one of the key points that came out of the presentation we've just seen was that the birth of the C300 followed the release and subsequent success of the 5D Mark II. Is that correct?
Yes. Well, let's say it was stimulated and put into high gear [by the success of the 5DII]. There had been discussions for some years that with our advancing technologies on all fronts, - sensors, optics, etc., that the time was coming when we should move into motion imaging in a more serious manner. The reaction to the 5D Mark II astonished us, and we had filmmakers all over us. There was a plea - 'if you've done this, can't you possibly make a full motion imaging camera with everything that we need, and none of the limitations of the 5DII?' And that triggered a very speedy program - less than two years - to develop this camera.
We developed a new sensor specifically for motion imaging. That was already cooking, but we lifted the digital processor and the codec from our little camcorder, the XF305 [...] and that's why [the C300] has MPEG recording, 50 megabit, etc., and why we were able to bring the camera to fruition relatively quickly.
So what is Canon trying to do with the C-system?
Oh we're very definitely trying - going - to enter the motion picture industry with a very sharp focus on movie making, on television production, on commercial production, and after that documentary, independent, corporate... government, military... anyone that wants motion imaging with a single sensor, large format, and all that comes with that in terms of the shallow depth of field, etc. There are a lot of people in many segments of the market today who shoot on film for those very reasons and we're offering a digital alternative.
At $20,000 the C300 isn't hugely expensive for what it is....
No, it's not actually. If you look at the hierarchy of the single-sensor cameras that are out there today, [the C300] is in the bottom tier in terms of pricing, but we said originally we weren't going to make a [potentially much more expensive] 4K camera as our first step - we want to step into [...] HD first. HD is used for moviemaking, and it is also used for television production and commercial production worldwide. So [the decision not to make a costly 4K model] was made to let us get a fast start, worldwide, on the back of a thriving movement in HD, and what we said to ourselves was 'let's make a very very good HD camera, at a reasonable price'.
A lot of our readers are 5D Mark II users, and despite its origins as a camera born out of the 5D's success, the C300 is clearly a very different product...
It is a very different product, yes. The 5D Mark II is a hybrid - it is first and foremost a DSLR, and then we added video capability at minimal cost initially with people like Associated Press and Reuters in mind. Then the film people said 'can't you put 24p in there?' and we ultimately did, and then it started to be used as a B-camera in some movies, in certain scenes where they wanted that extreme depth of field, and so on, but the C300 [...] was developed to be a bone fide motion imaging camera for making movies and television, and commercials and whatever else people want to do.
But you can take still photographs with the C300?
You can, but only in HD - 1920 x 1080 pixels. So it won't be as good as a still that you'd get from the 5D Mark II, obviously. But it's a decent picture and you can record stills to SDHC cards, which slot in the side of the camera. You've got CompactFlash for motion imaging but you can record stills to SDHC.
Who do you think will buy the EOS C300?
Well as you saw today (Canon's launch event featured a talk by Martin Scorsese and brief question and answer sessions with several filmmakers, including Vincent Laforet, who we interviewed at PPE) we invited everybody from the Hollywood motion picture industry and television, and we've had people from CBS television, ABC, etc., they were all there tonight and our message to them is that we're making this camera for their consideration. It will be interesting to see who comes and knocks on our door. We think we're going to get wide attention, because it's a lot of camera for the price, and [...] what we bring to the table in terms of lenses is just colossal.
Frankly I think that the genius was to make two versions - an EF version and a PL, and recognize that we have a gigantic constituency of EF users worldwide [...] so they can play with their existing lenses, and then that other gigantic worldwide constituency of PL mounts uses. There's a huge inventory of those lenses out there that people own, and are held by rental agencies - people can just buy the C300 and use their favorite lenses on it. So we're really addressing two big constituencies.
Will there be a price difference between the PL and EF mount versions of the C300?
There could be, but at the moment it seems probably not. At the moment we're still working out the details. The list price is around $20,000 but it be another month or so [before details are finalized].
You mentioned earlier that the sensor in the C300 is totally new...
Totally new, yes. And I think it will cause quite a stir. The way this sensor works, we avoid the need to 'de-Bayer' the sensor output in camera, completely. We get extremely clean RGB output because we just read [the channels] out - we don't do any averaging between them at all. (The sensor in the C300 has 8.2 million effective pixels but a maximum output resolution of 2MP. The red and blue channels contain 2MP of data, and the green contains 4MP. The final RGB output is derived without the need for debayering algorithms.) We're able to dive in there and get all the red pixels and read them out, and then separately we're reading out the blues and separately the greens.
And at what speed is the data read out?
74.25 MHz, at either 30 frames per second or 60 fields per second.
Are you seeing any demand for 60p video recording?
Yes - 60p is of high interest. Filmmakers like to go to the high frame rates so that they can do slow motion and the higher you go the slower you can play back at 24p. Our sensor delivers 60p, but the processor and the codec that we have [in the C300] can only do 30p so we're limited right now. Down the road... if we elect to develop new processors and codecs we can use this same sensor at 60p.
Where do you see the C system in 5 years time?
In five years time the C300 will have brothers and sisters. We'll probably move in a number of directions. We think this is a very very good start but there's no question that 4K is coming, so we have to keep our eye on that. As for a lower cost model [...] that would make a lot of sense in the marketplace. We have a master plan and [the C300] is step one - into HD. We've stepped in, and we're never going to stop. We're in for the long term. Wherever the marketplace dictates that we should go, and wherever our technology allows us to go, we'll be there.
Nov 1, 2014
Oct 29, 2014
Nov 1, 2014
Oct 27, 2014
Instagram is currently testing a major change to the app's profile layout: replacing the 3-photo across grid with a 4-photo grid... and some users are NOT taking the news well.
A report by USSRPhoto is shedding some light on the return of the famed Zenit camera brand. It seems the full-frame mirrorless camera they're working on will be made in part by Leica using components from the Leica SL.
According to a reliable Korean report, Samsung is developing a smartphone sensor that's capable of super slow motion. Translation: Samsung's next batch of Galaxy smartphones may be able to shoot 1,000fps.
This simple photograph of a seahorse and Q-tip has taken the internet by storm. We spoke to photographer Justin Hofman about how it was captured, and what it means to him.
After a massive leak last week, Profoto has officially debuted the Profoto A1: the company's first on-camera flash system that they're calling "the world's smallest studio flash."
"When the first hyperfocal distance charts were designed, someone decided that an acceptably sharp background contained some blur — enough to notice in a medium-sized print [...] After that point, nearly every other hyperfocal chart followed suit."
The Canon EOS Rebel SL2 (also known as the EOS 200D) is the company's impressively compact entry-level DSLR. Packing a 24MP APS-C sensor, DIGIC 7 processor and Dual Pixel AF, it promises a lot of bang for the buck. And while not mind-blowing, it handles most tasks very well.
Correct these four common composition mistakes and your photos will be more balanced, tell a better story, and lead your viewer's eye where you want it to go.
The rugged, compact 360° action camera Kodak unveiled at Photokina in 2016, the Kodak PixPro Orbit 360, is finally available in the United States.
iOS 11 launches tomorrow, and it'll save all of your pictures in a new high efficiency image format called HEIC. Fortunately, there's now a converter that will let you turn those photos back into JPEGs.
Photo protection company ImageRights recently released a new service that lets non-subscribers take advantage of their streamlined copyright registration system that checks for errors and fills out all the required forms for you.
What's the difference between a $200 circular polarizing filter and a $100 circular polarizing filter? Roger Cicala at Lens Rentals put six different filters through a few tests to find out.
A flurry of leaks reveal that GoPro's upcoming Hero6 will shoot 4K at 60fps, 1080p at 240fps, will cost $500, and is scheduled for announcement/release on September 28th.
Before he became the iconic director whose name we've all heard, a teenage Stanley Kubrick struck up a business relationship with New York’s Look magazine. No surprise: he was an incredibly talented photographer.
WD's new G-Technology G-Drive mobile SSD R-Series is a portable solid state option for photographers who want the reliability of an SSD in a rugged water and dust-resistant package.
Fast, stabilized and affordable is an appealing combination when it comes to lenses. With its latest 24-70mm F2.8, Tamron aims to upgrade autofocus speed and stabilization. We've got a full gallery from this updated full-frame zoom.
Photographer Clay Cook tells the story of his most ambitious photographic dream and career goal coming true: photographing A-list actress Jennifer Lawrence.
In an interview with a Chinese website, Nikon Japan's Director of Development dropped a bombshell, saying that a Nikon mirrorless camera "must be full-frame."
Here's a side-by-side spec comparison of two flagship devices with particular attention to the things that really matter – at least to people who prioritize photography features.
A month and a half after revealing the finalists of the 2017 EyeEm Awards, the photo sharing community and licensing marketplace has finally revealed the winners.
Photographer Josselin Cornou tells the breathtaking story behind two beautiful photos captured while snorkeling with humpback whales in Tonga.
The Sony RX10 IV is a fixed lens camera with a 1"-type sensor and 24-600mm equivalent lens that can shoot 4K video or stills at 24 fps, but that's not what we think is interesting about it. The addition of phase detection autofocus is pivotal to all those features.
The announcement date is set! Google will reveal their next generation Pixel phones—their response to Apple's shiny new iPhone X—on October 4th. Let the smartphone camera wars begin.
Sony just debuted three palm-style 4K camcorders that steal a bit of speedy phase detect autofocus technology from the company's RX10 IV. In fact, they kind of improve on it.
Earlier today, NASA's Cassini spacecraft plunged into Saturn's atmosphere, ending a 20 year long mission. Here are 21 of our favorite photographs captured by this incredible machine and its makers.
Fans of film photography should keep an eye out for the widespread theatrical release of Kodachrome, a movie staring Jason Sudeikis about the final days of the iconic film stock.
Photographer Manny Ortiz breaks down the pros and cons of shooting natural light vs off-camera flash, and explains why he chooses to shoot one, the other, or both in any given situation.
A leaked product page and a bunch of leaked photos shows Profoto is preparing to release its first ever speedlight: the Profoto A1 Air TTL
The Yashica camera brand disappeared in 2003, but a new teaser video and website hint at a comeback. Excited?
Western Digital just debuted a new, higher capacity WD Gold internal hard drive. The new drive offers 12TB of storage and class-leading reliability to the tune of a 550TB/year workload rating.