12 years ago, Canon more or less accidentally started a people’s cinema revolution with the release of its 5D MkII DSLR. A cutting-edge full-frame stills camera of its day, the 5D2 also shipped with the ability to film 1080p HD video at cinema-friendly frame rates. This, combined with Canon’s excellent selection of lenses, meant people with a bit of patience and know-how could create stunning quality video with sexy full-frame depth of field for prices that made things accessible for the first time.
After that, the company dropped the ball so comprehensively that it’s hard to express just how badly it neglected the market it had just created. Stills cameras were stills cameras, Canon decided, with video capabilities made a distant second priority. Video cameras were video cameras, and a successful pro-grade Cinema EOS range was built for professional film and TV producers. But these were well out of reach of bewildered 5D lovers who were forced to sit on their large collections of Canon glass and watch Sony and Panasonic take the ball and run with it into the mirrorless age.
Well, with the new specs released today on the upcoming EOS R5, it seems Canon is finally ready to take a leadership position in mirrorless video, getting back to the pointy end of things with some truly juicy capabilities that might just bring a few young filmmakers back into the fold.
For starters, Canon has leapfrogged the pack by introducing 8K RAW video capture, using the full sensor, at up to 29.97 fps. That means each frame is a 33.2-megapixel RAW image measuring somewhere around 7680 x 4320 pixels, and you can crop down to 25 percent of the frame and still deliver a 4K image.
Then there’s 10-bit color; you can record 8K in Log or HDR 4:2:2 up to 29.97 fps. Or you can drop down to 4K and get 10-bit color at a whopping 120 frames per second, making this a monster slow motion machine.
The image processing power of this machine is next-level, and it extends to autofocus. You get fast dual-pixel autofocus in every video mode, every resolution, every frame rate. We’ll be fascinated to see how well that works. There will be multiple AF modes, including animal AF capable of recognizing cats, dogs and birds.
Great things will be made with this camera, including – just possibly – a new reputation for Canon.
The R5 gets Canon’s first 5-axis in-body image stabilization (IBIS) system as well, meaning you can finally get dual in-body and in-lens stabilization to match what companies like Panasonic have been giving filmmakers for years now. A very handy addition. It’ll still be a solid stills shooter as well, with a 12 fps mechanical shutter and a 20 fps electronic shutter.
And finally, it gets dual card slots, although oddly Canon has chosen to make one a CFExpress and one an SD UHS-II slot, so dual-card workflows will be a bit weird.
Full details are yet to drop on this monster machine, including probably the most important of all – the price – but it’s refreshing to see a behemoth like Canon finally waking up and building an axe we can get excited about again, with a spec sheet that will actually make Sony and Panasonic have to catch up for once. Like the S1H, this is a prosumer machine with the chops to mix it in a professional production environment. Great things will be made with this camera, including – just possibly – a new reputation for Canon.
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