Closer Look at the Canon EOS C70

Despite all of the whispers from the rumor mill, the Canon C70 took a lot of us by surprise. Not only did the release this peculiar little camera come hot on the heals of the R5 and incorporate the same amazing sensor that is the main selling point of the C300 III, it also just looks kinda goofy.

When I first saw pictures of the C70, I actually had to glance over at my calendar to make sure it wasn’t April Fools Day. And even though it seems like Canon’s first RF mount cinema camera offers up a fantastic mixture of features, I’m still tilting my head when I’m looking at it.

Maybe with a little help from Carl at ProAV TV, I can get past my predispositions and come to find that looks aren’t everything when you’re searching for the camera that is ‘the one’ for you.

Body & Design

Though the design of this camera is frankly just ugly, the concept is based around the aesthetics of using the camera and not the way that it looks.  In use, the buttons, knobs, switches, and fold out touch screen are all in the right place for handheld solo shooting, and run and gun filmmaking.

Everything you need is laid out for easy access, and you can see just by looking at it that it will be fantastic and fun to use.

With 12 assignable buttons placed in various points around the camera, you can really customize this body for exactly how you like to work. And for quick access, the audio controls are just behind the flip-out screen – this is my favorite part of the layout.

The big, beefy handgrip feels good and sturdy in the hand. Although, I would have liked to see an adjustable grip with a rosette like the C200.

Being able to rotate and reposition the grip adds a level of ergonomics that really grows on you, and the lack thereof might make this camera a little harder to balance for handheld shooting.

Touch Controls

Canon didn’t stop with just customizable buttons, the touch screen interface has been redesigned as well. Touch screen controls have been a stable for Canon cameras over the last several years, and I believe them to be some of the best available.

Adding to the functionality of their touch screen, Canon has incorporate a quick settings menu that is similar to the one found in the EOS-M system. It features easy access to everyday controls at the tap of a corner.

From the bottom left corner, you have access to all of your exposure controls. In the bottom right, you can quickly activate all of your assist functions. And in the top left corner, a quick touch gets you instant access to codecs and frame rates.

This appears to be the best implementation of touch screen controls on a cinema camera yet.

Vertical Mounting

The inclusion of a 1/4” 20 mounting point on the grip side of the camera just behind the hand strap allows this camera to be mounted vertically for filming social media post.

Not having to purchase additional equipment to mount the camera on its side definitely makes the nauseating horrors or shooting vertical video slightly less vomit inducing.

Audio

All of the audio inputs are located on the camera body itself with no need for additional external breakout boxes for capturing high-quality direct to camera sound. It features 2 Mini-XLR ports, which are capable of delivering +48v phantom power to a microphone, and a 1/8” audio input jack for standard on-camera mics, like the Rode VideoMic. 

Lens Mount

The Canon C70 is Canon’s first camera to offer an native RF lens mount.  The lens mount isn’t user interchangeable but the RF mount is easily adaptable to EF and PL, like on the Red Komodo.  Canon already offer several RF to EF mount adapters that maintain the electronic contacts and allow your favorite lenses to work natively.

Better still, you won’t require NDs for this nifty little cinema camera because it already has them built-in to the body!

RF-EF Focal Reducer

Canon has designed a special RF-EF .71x Focal Reducer for the C70 which is similar to the Metabones SpeedBoosters we all know and love.

This will provide you with a reduced crop-factor that is close to full frame, while still maintaining electrical contacts. It even screws in securely to the camera body with the 4 mounting points around the lens.

The Sensor

Canon has placed the exact same Super35 sensor into the C70 as we’ve previously seen in the C300 III.  This sensor incorporates their new DGO technology, which unlike Dual Native sensors from other cameras, uses different sets of amplifiers to process the highs and lows of the image to produce the utmost dynamic range and clarity.

The camera maxes out at a 4K resolution but can record in 120fps in 4K, and 180fps in 2K. Additionally, the camera provides audio as a separate file while recording in high frame rates.

There is no IBIS technology like we see in the Canon EOS R5 but the C70 does have digital image stabilization, which does a fantastic job for quick stationary shots.

Recording Formats

There is no raw in this camera, and if the ability to shoot raw internally or externally is important to you, you should stop reading right now.

This camera can only record in:

  • 4K All-I up to 30P
  • 4K Long GOP up to 60p 
  • S&F (Long GOP) up to 120fps in 4k
  • HEVC 10 BIt 4:2:0 or 10 Bit 4:2:2

The lack of raw is a dealbreaker for me, unfortunately. My first raw camera was the Canon C200 and even though this new C70 camera checks a lot of boxes I don’t believe it would work for my purposes given the codec limitation.  Cinema Raw Light was a massive win for Canon, and they should have included it here.

Recording Media

2x SD card slots are nicely tucked away on the front of the handgrip, and in a neat twist Canon allows you to record whatever format you want to each, simultaneously. You can use one for 4K while saving 2K proxies to the other, use one to record a backup, or simply use them for relay recording.

Wrapping It Up

This camera can largely be seen as a replacement for the much loved C100 Mark II, and is a near-perfect upgrade for anyone who has incorporated the C100 into their business. Despite its weird shape, it will surely produce some fantastic images and be a workhorse for shooters on the go.

[source: ProAV TV]

B&H Order Link:

Canon EOS C70 Cinema Camera (RF Lens Mount)

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