Canon continues to tease its 8K Cinema EOS camera. This has to be the longest camera tease in camera history. Variations of an 8K Cinema EOS camera have been shown over the last 5 years, and it will be interesting to see if anything is officially announced in 2021.
Above you can see our first look at the original prototype that was shown at a Canon Expo in Paris in 2015.
The original version of the camera required the use of four external recorders to be able to record 8K RAW. This was a cumbersome solution, to say the least. Well, it looks like not much has changed.
The 8K Cinema EOS Camera is based on the body of the C300 Mark II. It features a Canon EF mount and an 8K (8192 x 4320) S35 sized sensor.
As far as we are aware, the camera will be able to record 8K at up to 60fps internally in some sort of compressed format. If you want to record 8K RAW that needs to be done using a conversion box, which according to the video, sends a signal out to four external recorders. To my knowledge, the 8K conversion box Debayers the RAW signal from the camera. I am not sure what is being recorded on the Convergent Design Odyssey 7Q+ monitor/recorders. Is it uncompressed RAW or some type of compressed RAW? The Odyssey 7Q+ is capable of recording uncompressed and compressed RAW formats. It is a little puzzling as to why Canon hasn’t come up with their own RAW recorder. However, there is no recorder that I know of that can record 8K externally as only 12G-SDI currently exists. Hence the current need for four separate recorders.
The 8K conversion box also acts as a fiber camera adapter that allows the camera to be used in multi-cam live environments. With fiber optic cabling you could also remote control the camera. Connectivity functions also include dual-channel stereo intercom, SDI video outs, automatic video-format switching, timecode input/output, genlock input, tally, and a V-mount battery plate.
Realistically it is hard to imagine anyone buying a camera solution that requires four external recorders and an interface box to record 8K RAW. I still very much believe that what is being shown is still a development product and any actual 8K Cinema EOS camera that comes to market would look different from what we are currently seeing.
Canon’s latest release video doesn’t really shed any more light on specifications, features, or where any potential 8K Cinema EOS camera would fit in the lineup. It is more to promote 8K content that is being shown here in Japan.
I have reached out to the DOP who was featured in the video presentation to try and find out some more details about the camera. I will update the article once I get some answers.
UPDATE: I spoke to the DOP of the project, and although he wasn’t able to tell me much, he did say that the camera they were using was not capable of recording 8K internally. They were recording uncompressed RAW on the Odyssey 7Q+ devices. The 8K conversion box was a custom version that was made specifically for the shoot and therefore they couldn’t tell me any more about its capabilities.