Ever since I bought my Canon 1DC back in 2013, it's been my go-to camera for anything 4K, 50fps, Gimbal, stock footage, Time Lapse & BTS GV's.
Yes it was expensive (over £10,000 at the time) and yes it had its quirks (splitting files over 4GB, 4K Motion JPEG was a terrible codec to edit), but it is a workhorse and I've easily made my money back through renting it and stock footage sales. It's also indestructible (having dropped it a few times) and has been everywhere with me from South America, across the States, all over Europe and the Middle East, to China and just last month to Kenya. It has never failed me!
So why have am I constantly looking at every new camera that comes out, hoping it could be the one to replace my 1DC for MoVI and Stock Footage work? Simple - I always want to be shooting with the best camera for the job.
Here are the cameras I've considered over the past year or so:
- Canon C100 Mark II - it is lighter than the 1DC, has a sharper image at 50fps, and the continuous AF is a dream for MoVi work. Problem is it doesn't fit the MoVi M5 due to the eyepiece not being detachable and there's no 4K. Also, no stills for my Time Lapse work.
- Sony FS7 - obviously it's too big for the M5, but the 4K and HFR, plus the ability to use it as my general production camera (I currently use a C100 with Atomos recorder) appealed. Problem is I just don't love the ergonomics of it and you still need a rig like this Zacuto Recoil to use it comfortably on your shoulder, adding a couple of grand to the price tag. It's also a Sony and, in my opinion, the image just doesn't compare to Canon. Also, no stills for my Time Lapse work.
- Sony A7sii - I got very excited when this was released. It seemed to meet all my needs for MoVi work, has HFR which I'm using more and more, great in low light, less weight than my 1DC, so would help my back a little on a longs day's MoVi shoot. Problem is the image just doesn't compare to the 1DC, so how could I justify replacing my current camera with one that just doesn't produce as good an image. The A7sii is also well below my 1DC when it comes to stills, and since time lapse is a big part of my work, I decided to move on.
- Canon C300 Mark II - The image is beautiful, and the improved continuous AF would be a dream for MoVi work. It's got HFR in HD and would replace my C100 for interviews, docos etc. However, it's ridiculously overpriced and doesn't fit the M5. Now if it did 4K at 60fps I could be tempted, and just get a MoVi M10, but that's a £20,000 investment. Jog on my son!
If only there was a camera out there that shot HD at 120fps, 4K at 60fps, captured amazing still, was awesome in lowlight, the perfect size to fit my MoVi M5 and had the amazing continuous AF that works so well on gimbals. Enter the Canon 1DX Mark II which was officially announced today. Here are the specs with the most relevant video specs highlighted:
Fastest shooting EOS-1D, capable of up to 14 fps full-resolution RAW or JPEG, and up to 16 fps* in Live View mode with new Dual DIGIC 6+ Image Processors.
Achieves a maximum burst rate of up to 170 RAWs in continuous shooting at up to 16 fps, and 4K movies using CFast™ cards in the new CFast 2.0™ slot.
Experience less noise in higher ISO images via a new 20.2 Megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, with an ISO range of 100–51200; expansion to ISO 409600.
Improved AF performance through 61-point High Density Reticular AF II system with 41 cross-type points, improved center point focusing sensitivity to -3 EV and compatibility down to f/8.
Accurate subject tracking for stills and video with new EOS Intelligent Tracking and Recognition AF with 360,000-pixel metering sensor.
4K video (4096 x 2160) up to 60 fps (59.94), with an 8.8-Megapixel still frame grab in camera. Full 1080p HD capture up to 120 fps for slow motion.
Dual Pixel CMOS AF & Movie Servo AF for high speed, high frame rate and continuous autofocus during video shooting.
View and control high quality stills and videos via the 3.2-inch touch panel LCD with 1.62 million dots.
Increased resolution and fine detail, with lens aberration correction and diffraction correction via new in-camera Digital Lens Optimizer technology.
Built-in GPS provides geotag information including auto time syncing with Universal Time Code via satellites.
The new optional Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E8A is compatible with IEEE 802.11ac/n/a/g/b, supporting both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi® bands.
Durable and rugged magnesium alloy body with dust- and-weather resistance for demanding shooting situations.
Now, it's too early to know if all my wishes have been fulfilled, but reading the specs, it is definitely a camera I am looking forward to testing out. The 4K is Motion JPEG, which is the same as my 1DC, so hopefully the image is as good if not better. I've read that you can record true 4K (4096 x 2160) without any of the previously mentioned file splitting which a bonus. Max ISO in 4K is 12800, while Full HD is up to 25600 that I believe is the same as the 1DC. Unfortunately it appears to still have the same HDMI mini output as the 1DC meaning we probably won't get 4K external recording on things like the Atomos Shogun or Convergent Design Odyssey Q7 (Canon please prove me wrong). The CFast cards for 4K recording is a bit of a pain since I already own a bunch of 1000x CF cards that cost a small fortune, but I get this is probably due to the no split in file recording and 60fps 4K. Another bonus is the bump on megapixels to 20.2 for my time lapse work.
I've read the list price will be $5999 USD, so around £4,000. If it performs anywhere near as well as the spec sheet suggests this will definitely be a camera worth considering for both my Gimbal and time lapse work.