Canon’s ME200S-SH cube camera: a C100 MkII in your pocket

The cube seems to be the most popular form factor for newly announced cameras, with offerings from Sony and Blackmagic, not forgetting of course the Alexa Mini and Canon’s own low-light specialist the ME20F-SH.

The ME200S-SH offers similar specs to the C100 MkII in a ME20-style cube form, aimed at gimbal or drone users who want a smaller, more lightweight camera. Indeed, the ME200S-SH is more like mounting a sensor rather than a full camera as Canon have stripped almost everything out of it in order to save size and weight. There’s no display and not even an option to record internally, instead the camera offers HDMI and SDI outputs to mount external recorders or EVFs.

Mounting points, lots of I/O options... but no internal recording
Mounting points, lots of I/O options… but no internal recording and HD-only output. Is it 2016?

An Atomos Ninja Star or a Video Devices Pix-E5 would make a good pairing with the Canon Cube – and as the output is HD only perhaps a more budget-friendly solution like Blackmagic’s Video Assist might even fit the bill for recording duties.

The camera itself offers Canon’s Dual Pixel AF and a locking EF mount as seen on the C500 and the ME20F-SH. We’re big fans of this variant of the EF mount at Newsshooter, partly because it deals much better with torque when working with remote follow focus units on a gimbal or drone.

The locking EF mount is a welcome addition, especially if you're planning on mounting the camera on a car or drone.
The locking EF mount is a welcome addition, especially if you’re planning on mounting the camera on a car or drone. You’ll need an external power source though, as there’s no room for a battery inside.

There are also in-built ND filters and the SDI-out connectors are a significant upgrade from the C100 Mk II. It’s maybe a little surprising to see an HD-only camera being released in 2016 but it looks like it has been envisaged as a compact B-cam companion to its bigger Cinema EOS siblings. And there are many many productions out there still finishing in HD.

At an expected £4,369.99 (including VAT) the ME200S-SH is rather cheaper than an Alexa Mini but on paper at least loses out on specs to Sony’s recently announced (and un-priced) UMC-S3C. The proof of the pudding though is in the, er, footage? And this could certainly be a solid production tool, especially if you’re trying to match other Canon cameras – we’ll be taking a look at Canon’s latest cube at NAB next week to see how it measures up.

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