Canon C70 12-bit RAW vs XF-AVC Test

Canon unlocked even more potential of the C70 recently by adding Canon Cinema RAW Light as a recording option. It’s interesting to see how this option transforms the camera and compares to the already good XF-AVC codec shooters have been using.

Is raw actually that much better than a compressed format? Or in this case was adding raw something that was just to make certain users happy since it was coming to other cheaper cameras? If you are curious about how raw might transform your C70 workflow, James Jackson Films does some in-depth comparisons between the two formats.

The first thing you may ask is whether shooting raw will make your computer struggle. In the example here that does not seem to be the case as raw is still providing some smooth playback. So don’t worry too much unless you have an ancient computer.

Moving on, the raw being, well, raw will show some more noise since it is the original straight-off-the-sensor footage. The XF-AVC footage was a tad cleaner due to a slight amount of processing. Raw does bring huge advantages in the ability to have fine control over so many parameters in the raw decode menu.

Image Credit: Canon

An interesting note is that the raw footage appears to be a touch sharper, even with sharpness turned down. Raw might retain a little bit of additional detail within the file. The blacks might even be a little cleaner.

When doing the input transform to Rec.709 there is a difference between raw and XF-AVC. The raw footage shows off its ability to retain a bit more nuance in the color rendering. The raw is showing better color.

Moving to an outdoor test reveals the same type of results. The raw footage is both sharper and has a more full color palette that still feels natural. It does seem like raw is providing worthwhile advantages over the compressed formats. Combine that with it being relatively efficient on your computer and the only real concern should be how much space it’ll take up.

The final test is an underexposure test. Bringing up the shadows in a clip a bit you can see that the raw is holding onto the shadow data way better. The XF-AVC is starting to struggle when the exposure is pushed up. The color is starting to go off and the darkest parts are slightly crushed. The raw is leaps and bounds ahead of XF-AVC.

If you have a C70 go download this firmware update ASAP.

Are you planning on using raw with your C70?

[source: James Jackson Films]

Order Links:

  • Canon EOS C70 Cinema Camera (B&H)

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