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Thursday
Apr072011

Canon - what are they up to?

We are on the verge of NAB and Canon have surprised us by announcing two PL mount cine lenses.

Now the odd thing about that is that Canon don't really have a suitable camera to utilise these lenses.  They could have just wanted to take the opportunity to tap into the market being opened up by the likes of RED, Arri, Sony and Panasonic.  Nothing wrong with that, but it just doesn't feel like Canon's style.

What interests me is the prominence of the word 4K in the press release.  Lenses don't really have a K as such, they are fundamentally analogue devices.  Its phrased in a way that they mean good enough for 4K (4096x2160).  Currently thats a pretty rare beast in digital capture - only RED springs to mind.  Its importance in the film world comes more from being a resolution coming out of high-end film scanners.  Given past technology demonstrations by Canon, could they be looking to enter the arena with a 4K camera?  Are they trying to push the 4K concept in a way which would make it seem the natural successor to 1080p or Full HD as it known (slightly embarrassingly).

Now 4K may be 4 times the resolution of 2K/1080p but its still, at 8MP, a bit pants in the photography world.  To use PL lenses and have a 4K sensor would suggest a dedicated video sensor and a mirrorless design.  Think in terms of a higher resolution F3.  Canon have experimented with form factors too so an EPIC/FS100 shape is a possibility - maybe even a touch of my old friend Thunderbolt.  This is all unashamed speculation on my part but then Canon has given us plenty of time to dream.

So, is it all over for DSLRs?  Have they had the brief time in the 1080p sunshine? I am not so sure.  Say you were designing a new full frame sensor for the 5D MkIII.  More megapixels is probably a given and I have heard lots of numbers bandied about but 28MP often comes up.  Now full frame isnt ideal for cine work unless you are mad for shallow depth of field because cine lenses vignette.  So what if you to ignore the pixels outside a S35 frame and those you don't need for cine aspect ratios.  When you do the math, it turns out thats what's left is 4K.  Now this cropping technology is nothing that new.  A similar approach is already being used in the 600D and Panasonic GH2.  Just saying ...

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Reader Comments (1)

would love it if you are right! an mk3 with 4K clean crop would be amazing....
Hell I will settle for 1920x1080 Clean Image ( no moire/aliasing ) with a clean hdmi 1080p output!

Fingers crossed Canon know what they are doing...!!

April 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSebastian_TR

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