New Canon 18-80mm Compact Servo Lens and ME200S-SH Multi-Purpose Camera

Just announced are Canon’s new 18-80mm T4.4 EF Compact Servo lens and ME200S-SH Multi-Purpose camera.

Weighing in at only 2.65 lbs the 18-80mm was designed for video and is as versatile as it is compact and lightweight. It was developed with full external servo control to control zoom, focus, and iris/aperture and there is also a new optional ZSG-C10 grip to help support different shooting styles. Other features include high level 4K performance, a no step iris mechanism, accessory support, and is parfocal. There is also additional support for use with Canon Cinema EOS cameras. It supports dual pixel autofocus and the dual pixel focus guide, image stabilization, and EF communication functions. This compact servo lens will be priced at $5225.

Canon Compact 18-80mm

The other announcement Canon made is for the release of their new multi-purpose camera. Built in the same vein as Canon’s 4,000,000 ISO ME20, the ME200 can be configured to tackle just about any pro video scenario such as cinema, television, surveillance, and documentary work. It weighs 2.2 lbs and has dimensions of 4”x4.6”x4.4” (LHW) which allows for numerous builds and use with various camera systems.

– Features include
Canon Super 35mm CMOS Sensor
Dual Pixel Auto Focus
12 Stops of Dynamic Range
1080p/720p Video to 60fps
3G/HD-SDI and HDMI Terminals
Locking EF Mount
One Shot Auto Focus
Built-in Motorized ND Filters
Motorized IR Cut Filter for Infrared
Push Auto Iris
Compatible w/ Select EF-mount Lenses
Auto Exposure
RS-422 Remote Control Terminal

The ME200 will be priced at $4999.00

Canon ME200

All About the Sony XDCA-FS7 Expansion Module

The Sony XDCA-FS7 is perhaps one of the most intriguing parts of the new FS7 camera. By building certain key features into an optional expansion dock Sony is able to offer the FS7 camera body at a lower price with out cannibalizing their other cameras. The FS7 camera sells for $7,999, the expansion module sells for $1,999. Together this puts the camera system at about $10,000, in between the $6000 FS700 and the $16,500 F5.

But what does the XDCA-FS7 module do? And, most importantly, do you need to buy one? The module is wonderfully designed fitting seamless onto the back of the camera, only adding a couple of inches and about a pound to the overall size of the camera. It attaches the the camera via a custom multi-pin connector that transfers all data and power. It is not some ungainly “rig” that needs another 4 pounds of rods and rails to hold it together.

The module enables several key features. It upgrades the cameras battery system from the BP-U series batteries to V-Lock brick batteries. This will allow you to use full size batteries capable of delivering true all-day runtimes. It also ads 4-pin DC power input and 4-pin Hirose power output for expanding the power options of the FS7 even further.

Probably the biggest feature that will draw most people to the XDCA-FS7 is the enabling of 12-bit RAW output of the camera. With out the module the camera can output uncompressed video via SDI but the module allows for 4K RAW to be output at 12-bit sampling up to 60fps. It also allows for 2K 12-bit output up to 240fps. When combined with the Odyssey 7Q recorder/monitor this becomes a very powerful acquisition tool. The FS700 can natively output 12-bit RAW to external recorders, the F5 can natively output 16-bit RAW to be recorded. By making the RAW output an optional module for the FS7 it allows people who won’t use it to skip it and save some money at the same time.

The XDCA-FS7 also contains a codec board for Apple ProRes 1080p encoding. By attaching the module to the back of the camera the camera now has the ability to record ProRes in-camera, natively, to the same XQD cards that you would normally record XAVC to. It’s very similar to what Sony has done with the F5 & F55, selling optional ProRes boards that, when installed, provide fully native ProRes recording in-camera.

Finally, the XDCA-FS7 provides studio-style connectivity for multi-camera live switching productions. This includes Gen-lock, Reference, & Timecode in and output. This completes the true “broadcast” feature set of the camera, putting it on par with larger, more expensive broadcast camera connectivity.

FS7 Expansion Module

NAB ’14 Camera Recap: What Did We Really Get

The annual NAB show has come and gone. It was a good year for cameras and it also saw the spreading of some interesting trends:

Dockable Cameras: What’s old is new again. The two piece camera concept, something big up through the late 90’s, is back. We saw two piece, head-dock combo cameras from Blackmagic Design with the URSA and from Panasonic with the new VariCam system. We’ll see if these dock systems catch on with more manufacturers and more models and if these docks actually pay off with the flexibility the makers claim 

High Speed: We’re starting to get to a point where 60p is just expected in a professional camera. But we’re also introducing the concept that to make a “high speed” camera you don’t have to be Phantom creating thousands of frames per second. Most users are very excited about 120 or 240. For a lot of camera makers frame rates in this range are now becoming very tangible specifications. AJA, Panasonic, Sony, and even JVC all showed cameras that could reach the 120 threshold.

ProRes & Other Beefy 10-Bit Codecs: ProRes is starting to become the closest thing the video industry has ever had to a high end “universal standard” codec. Blackmagic, AJA, and even Sony and Panasonic all showed ProRes recording cameras. And we have more options for ProRes external records then ever, thanks to AJA and Atomos. Beyond ProRes the theme was 10-bit. XAVC and AVC-Ultra where shown off on many new models, all recording in 10-bit. In some cases the compression schemes have become so good we can get a 10-bit signal out of a 25mbps package. RAW recording is starting to become more readily available, though i wouldn’t quite call it a “common” feature yet.

Super35mm: Large sensor “cinema” cameras have been the growing trend for the last 3-4 NAB shows. This year the ratio of cameras that specifically use the Super35mm standard compared to smaller sensors was the biggest it’s ever been. Panasonic, AJA, Blackmagic Design, JVC, and Sony all showed new cameras that make use of this format. There were very few cameras shown with smaller traditional broadcast 1/3” or 2/3” sensors.

Shoulder Mount/ Improved Ergonomics: Generally speaking there weren’t too many cameras that required kitting out shown this year. There was a very pleasant uptake in ready to go cameras. The Blackmagic URSA, The AJA CION, the new VariCams, and the new JVC all use shoulder mount designs. Sony’s even gone to the lengths of improving the F5 & F55 shoulder mount. Those cameras are already shoulder-mountable, and always have been. But now they’ve gone totally ENG with a new control layout and new features via a docking sled. JVC even showed an economically designed hand-held camera with a large Super35mm sensor. For some reason that’s a concept that hasn’t really been that prevalent before.

Post by Eric C. Petrie


Panasonic Announced The New VariCam HS

Panasonic has announced the latest in it’s legendary VariCam series, the VariCam HS. What was old is new again as Panasonic brings back the dockable camera solution. The camera is made out of two components; the head, with the lens mount and the sensor, and the back with the dockable recorder. The head features a 2/3” 1080p sensor that is capable of generating 240 frames per second. The camera can record 4:4:4 12-bit AVC-Intra or, in a surprise move, 4:4:4 12-bit Intra-Frame ProRes. Another surprising specification, Panasonic claims that their newly designed 2/3” sensor block is capable of delivering 14 stops of dynamic range. This would make it one of the only small-sensor cameras capable of doing this. Although it’s not that far removed from Blackmagics Super16mm Pocket cam which delivers 13 stops with a single 1” sensor.

Where does this camera fit on the market? With a standard B4 ENG mount you’ll be able to use high quality versatile servo zoom lenses. You’ll still be able to get “cinematic” looking images thanks to the 14 stops of dynamic range. Internal 240 frames per second at 4:2:2, 10-bit, Intra-Frame is very impressive. And 1080p30/24 at 4:4:4 12-bit Intra-Frame is a ton of data to work with. Right now Panasonic has the list price of the camera at $55,000. That puts it (in Panasonic’s eyes) in competition with Alexa and Epic. Thats far beyond the price range of Canon C500 or Sony F55. Is the cinema world of Epic and Alexa ready to embrace this Panasonic camera? I guess we’ll find out this fall. Post by Eric C. Petrie

Panasonic VaricamHS

Panasonic Brings VariCam 35 to the Party

As part of Panasonic’s dockable VariCam solution they have introduced a second options for camera heads. The VariCam 35 head can be mounted to the same dock recorder as the VariCam HS head. VariCam 35 features a completely newly designed 4K Super35mm sensor and a PL lens mount. The exact details of what it can record internally aren’t quite clear. It appears that it can record 4K at 4:2:2, 10-bit, Intra-Frame in ether AVC-Ultra or ProRes. It also appears it can record 1080p at 4:4:4, 12-bit, Intra-Frame in ether ProRes or AVC-Ultra. It may also be able to record 4K at 4:4:4, 12-bit, Intra-Frame in ether ProRes or AVC-Ultra. Internal 4K recording appears to be capable of at least 60p but possibly can go up to 120p. The camera can also record 4K RAW to an additional optional docking unit. Similarly to the Sony F55 all the internal 4K recording is done using the Panasonic or ProRes codecs but by docking on the additional module you now have 4K RAW. There’s no cabling to attach, no baseplate needed, no rails. The 4K RAW recorder seamlessly docks to the camera body. VariCam 35 will begin shipping before the end of the year. Price on the head and dock recorder together will be around $60,000. No price has been announced on the optional RAW recorder but it will most likely come in over $10,000. That means your total price on a 4K RAW VariCam will be in the neighborhood of $70,000. Post by Eric C. Petrie

VariCam35 w/ RAW recorder

VariCam35 w/ RAW recorder side.jpg


Blackmagic Introduces Their First “Ready to Shoot” Camera, URSA

Over the last couple of years Blackmagic has made their name in the camera world by offering cameras that made amazing looking images but were extremely sparse in features. Some might even say totally lacking in features. On top of very poor user interface design they lacked little things like any way to hold the camera, any way to check focus, any way to power the camera, any way to input pro audio into the camera. They required a kit that could equal or surpass the cost of the camera itself. Blackmagic has decided it’s time to introduce a camera that is more then a metal box with a sensor in it. Behold, URSA.

URSA starts off by taking the 4K global Super35mm sensor and processor out of the Production 4K camera and putting it into a larger housing. Format and image wise URSA can do all of the same things you expect from the Production camera. ProRes and RAW 4K are recorded internally, no outboard recorder necessary. 12-stops of HDR and a global shutter round off the image parameter list. Video is recorded onto CFast cards. Whats new is the housing. URSA is in a more familiar shoulder mount camera body (although it looks like an actual shoulder pad will have to come from 3rd parties). The body has 2 XLR inputs, SDI output, and timecode in and out. It even has a headphone jack. Although it doesn’t ship with a eye level viewfinder it does include 3 separate LCD screens. The primary monitor is a ten inch (yes 10”) flip out LCD screen that is 1080p resolution. On the left side of the camera you’ll find a 5” touch LCD for navigating camera settings. On the right side you’ll find another 5” LCD you’ll find read outs of all your key setting, a histogram, focus assist features, and audio meters.

The body of the camera has integrated handles and standard battery plates for V-mount or Gold Mount (three stud) batteries clip right to the back of the body. The front end features a very unusual design. This camera harkens back to the day of “dockable” camera systems where you had a head and a back recorder end. The “head” of this camera is interchangeable. Currently Blackmagic is offering it in 4 different builds, Super35mm sensor with a PL mount, Super35mm sensor with an EF mount, 2/3” broadcast sensor with a B4 mount, and finally dock recorder only with out head. Buying the dock recorder only gives you an HDMI input on the front end. This means you can mount any camera with a clean HDMI out (Panasonic GH4, Sony A7s) and use the Blackmagic back. The 2/3” B4 will mark one of the first, and certainly one of the most affordable, ENG broadcast style 4K cameras. This would be an amazing tool for sports, events, news, reality TV, and so on.

URSA with the EF mount is selling for $5995, the PL mount is $6495. These builds ship in July…. according to Blackmagic. The B4 and dock recorder only have not been priced out yet, nor is there word on availability. Post by Eric C. Petrie

Blackmagic URSA 4K

Blackmagic Ursa canon

Recording screen