Major 4K Launch from Canon Delivers C300 Mark II, New XC10 Video Cameras

April 8, 2015

By Greg Scoblete

Canon took a big step into the 4K video market today, releasing two new video cameras with 4K capabilities. The introductions target two ends of the video market. For cinematographers, the company updated its C300 camera with a Mark II edition that delivers 15 stops of dynamic range, while courting a wider audience with a hybrid still/video camera in the XC10

C300 Mark II

The C300 Mark II boasts a new 8.85-megapixel, Super 35mm-sized CMOS image sensor with a wider pixel pitch than its predecessor for improved low light sensitivity. According to Canon, the new sensor boasts 15-stops of dynamic range, is capable of recording video at up to ISO 102,400 and has twice the readout speed of the original to help decrease rolling shutter distortion. 

It can record a 10-bit, 422 4K video file internally to CFast cards thanks to a new, high-efficiency compression codec developed by Canon and based off of the H.264 standard dubbed XF-AVC. An uncompressed RAW signal can be output simultaneously to external recorders via the Mark II’s 3G-SDI ports. In addition to XF-AVC, there’s a new log gamma tone curve (Canon Log Gamma 2) for more latitude in post-process color grading. To record the full 15 stops of dynamic range, you’ll need to be recording in the new Log Gamma 2. 

Files are wrapped in the MXF container for compatibility with non-linear editing systems.

You’ll enjoy a range of video recording options, including cinema 4K (4096×2160), 4K UltraHD (3840×2160) as well as 2K (2048×1080) and 1920×1080. 

Dual DIGIC 5V processors help deliver bit rates as high as 410Mbps, 4K frame rates up to 30 frames per second as well as 2K/full HD frame rates as high as 120 fps. All resolutions are capable of recording a 10-bit, 422 file but those recording in full HD or 2K will also have the option to record a 12-bit, 444 file as well.

Revamped Autofocus

Canon has also improved the Dual Pixel CMOS AF system originally launched in the 70D and later incorporated into the Cinema series, including the C100 Mark II. The new system offers an expanded autofocusing area that now covers 80 percent of the total image area (both horizontally and vertically). Face detection AF is also now available when using Canon’s EF lenses. The speed, tracking sensitivity, size and location of the focusing area are also now user adjustable. 

New Design Features

The C300 Mark II now incorporates an on-board mic for recording reference audio. It features a pair of CFast slots for internal recording plus an SD card slot to capture 8-bit, 420 full HD proxy footage. 

The camera offers a removable hand grip and the low angle camera handle extension has been modified with more attachment points for adding accessories. 

Additional features of the C300 Mark II include:

* an electronically-controlled glass ND filter capable of reducing light by up to 10 stops in expansion mode

* compatibility with RC-V100 remote and an optional Wi-Fi controller

* support for 4-channel audio recording at 16 and 24 bits and 48kHz

The C300 will be sold in EF and PL mounts but won’t ship until September. It will carry a $20,000 suggested retail price and is available for pre-order now

The XC10

While the C300 Mark II steps into a well-defined market, Canon’s new XC10 appeals to a potentially more diverse crowd. When previewing the camera, Canon said it was geared toward everyone from an advanced amateur looking to step into 4K video, to drone operators needing a light weight, high quality camera to send aloft, to serious filmmakers in search of a compact camera solution.

The XC10 Digital Camcorder strikes a boxy figure, measuring in at 4.9 x 4 x 4.8 inches and weighing in at 2.3 pounds with battery and memory cards loaded. It uses a 1-inch, 12-megapixel CMOS sensor with 12 stops of dynamic range to record 4K at 3840×2160. 4K footage (8-bit, 422) can be saved internally to CFast memory cards with a maximum bit rate of 305Mbps at 30 fps. Using the HDMI 1.4 port you can output a Canon Log file with 12 stops of dynamic range to an external recorder. 

You can also record 1920×1080 video internally to an SD card at a max bitrate of 50Mbps when shooting at 59.94 fps. 

The native ISO range for the XC10 is 160-20,000.

There’s a built-in 10X zoom lens with a 35mm equivalent focal length of 27.3-273mm for video and 24.1-241mm for stills. The maximum aperture is f/2.8 when shooting wide and stops down to f/5.6 at full telephoto. There’s a dedicated focus ring for manual operation as well as continuous AF with face detection when you want the camera to do the work. There’s also a three-step ND filter built into the camera for operating in bright daylight.

You’ll enjoy a five-axis image stabilization when shooting at 1920×1080. It’s powered by a DIGIC DV5 processor and has built-in Wi-Fi for previewing video/stills as well as remote control from mobile devices. 

On the audio front, you’ll find a dedicated mic and headphone jack. There’s a 3-inch, vari-angle touch screen display for framing your shots but Canon will also sell a Direct Viewfinder accessory that clips over the display for eye-level shooting. The hand grip will also rotate to accommodate shooting at a range of angles.

The XC10 will be capable of recording in two new, Canon-developed codecs. In 4K, the camera can record in the XF-AVC Intra format while in full HD it will use the new XF-AVC Long GOP.

The camera also supports recording in Wide DR, EOS Standard and Canon Log Gamma codecs.

Owners of the 5D Mark II and III won’t have to worry about new batteries as the XC10 uses the same LPE-6 series batteries as the company’s DSLRs. 

The XC10 isn’t solely devoted to video. It can snap 12-megapixel stills at up to 3.8 fps.

The XC10 will ship in June for $2,499 and will bundle a 64GB CFast 2.0 card and card reader in the box. It is available for pre-order now


What good is recording all that 4K content without something to view it on? Joining the two new cameras is a 4K reference monitor. The 10-bit DP-V2410 features a resolution of 4096×2160 and supports the DCI-P3 cinema standard in addition to other broadcast industry specs. It features a 2000:1 contrast ratio with automatic color and brightness correction. 

The V2410 can display native 4K RAW footage direct from camera with 3G/HD-SDI and HDMI interfaces. It will ship in November for $18,000.