Canon just announced the EOS-1D C DSLR, which shares most of the specifications of its flagship cousin the EOS-1D X, except for an enhancement to capture 4K (4096 x 2160-pixel) video. The 1D C is Canon’s first DSLR to offer onboard 4K capture to CF cards, in a typically sturdy, compact package. Worthy of note surrounding the 4K hysterics of the 1D C is it’s price – the enhanced video capability reportedly adds roughly $8,500 to the $6,799 MSRP of the 1D X, coming in somewhere around $15K.
The 18.1 megapixel, full-frame 24mm x 36mm CMOS sensor of the 1D C captures 8-bit 4:2:2 4K as Motion JPEG, only in 24p – and 8-bit 4:2:0 Full HD (1920 x 1080-pixel) video is captured as H.264 – and offers more options regarding frame rates, up to 60p. Canon states that the EOS-1D C displays exceptional low-light performance, achieving 25,600 ISO in video mode.
The 1D C sports the familiar form-factor of Canon’s classic 5D series, and, not forgetting, it shoots 18-megapixel (5184 x 3456) still pictures too. Essentially, the 1D C is a top-of-the-line still camera that shoots 4K video, for $15,000, sans any lenses. Also, not being a standard camcorder, there are no XLR inputs (though there is a headphone jack for monitoring), neutral density filters, SDI, etc.
Canon’s main pitch appears to be touting the 1D C’s compactness, which should be noted – with the addition of many of Canon’s EF lenses, the rig is petite, as compared to say, a Red One. Without required any sort of external recorder, the 1D C can definitely be dropped into environments that other 4K cameras can’t, making it a relevant addition to certain types of productions. According to Yuichi Ishizuka, executive vice president and general manager, Imaging Technologies & Communications Group, Canon U.S.A., “The Canon EOS-1D C digital SLR camera was designed in response to the needs of filmmakers, television producers, and other high-level motion-imaging professionals. Not only does it combine 4K and Full HD video capture with a convenient design, its use of dual CF cards also offers an efficient workflow compatible with today’s post-production requirements.”
One comment that stood out in Canon’s specs – If desired, however, captured video (excluding 4K video) can be output from the camera’s HDMI terminal to an external recorder using an uncompressed YCbCr 8-bit 4:2:2 signal. It would appear that 4K footage can only be captured to internal CF cards for the time being.
In the end, who really needs a 4K ready camera right now? And, with Sony just announcing the FS700, its 4K-ready (assuming Sony delivers on the firmware update) camcorder, for about $10K, a $15K DSLR seems like it will fall into a very niche market.