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- 250fps: 1824×1026 (Quality), 1676×566 (Time)
- 500fps: 1676×566 (Quality), 1136×384 (Time)
- 1000fps: 1136×384 (Quality), 800×270 (Time)
SIGMA was determined to create a zoom lens that offers the same brightness and resolution as a fixed focal length lens: in other words, the highest level of optical performance. The result of this challenge was the SIGMA 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM | Art, the world’s first zoom to offer a fast F1.8 aperture value throughout the zoom range. Building on this concept, SIGMA has developed the new SIGMA 24-35mm F2 DG HSM | Art for 35mm full frame sensor. It allows photographers to carry one lens to do the work of three fixed focal length lenses, a 24mm, 28mm and 35mm — with F2 brightness and top optical performance. One package delivers flexible functionality and high convenience. In particular, at the 24mm and 35mm focal lengths, this lens offers the performance that is equivalent to that of two prime lenses in the Art line. Instead of changing one high-performance fixed focal length lens for another, simply zoom. This is a new zoom lens for 35mm full frame sensor SLRs that offers the quality of a fixed focal length lens at various angles of view.
1. The world’s first large-aperture full-frame zoom lens offering a wide open aperture of F2 throughout the zoom range
A large-diameter zoom lens covering the full frame image sensor. Optical performance equivalent to a fixed focal length lens throughout the entire zoom range. These are the concepts the SIGMA 24-35mm F2 DG HSM embodies. It covers three of the most commonly used prime lenses, 24mm, 28mm and 35mm all in one lens. In order to achieve an attractive bokeh effect at wide aperture, we have developed the world's first zoom lens for the 35mm full frame sensor with an F2 aperture value throughout the zoom range*.
* Among interchangeable lenses for 35mm full frame image sensors (June, 2015).
2. Outstanding optical performance of the fixed focal length lenses in SIGMA’s Art line
The SIGMA 24-35mm F2 DG HSM builds on the concept of the SIGMA 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM | Art, the world’s first zoom lens to offer F1.8 brightness throughout the zoom range. Thanks to the outstanding optical performance, the lens provides the quality of high performance fixed focal length lenses in the Art line.
3. Covering the range of three fixed focal length wide-angle lenses
Delivering excellent functionality and convenience, one lens offers the equivalent quality of three high-performance fixed focal length lenses at F2 brightness: 24mm, 28mm and 35mm. With a minimum focusing distance of 28cm and a maximum magnification ratio of 1:4.4, this lens is suitable for close-up shooting, portraits with an attractive bokeh and deep-focus landscape photography. Photographers have access to the angle of view equivalent to that of three wide-angle lenses without having to switch them. While achieving the desired background effect can be difficult with a conventional wide-angle lens, the large diameter of this lens allows photographers to open the aperture wide and use the shallow focus to achieve stunning results.
4. Incorporating SIGMA’s latest technologies
To realize a large-diameter zoom lens for full frame cameras with F2 brightness, SIGMA designed each and every part with uncompromising care and quality. The lens incorporates large-diameter aspherical lens elements, which require advanced technologies to manufacture, one FLD (“F” Low Dispersion)* glass and seven SLD (Special Low Dispersion) glass elements, of which two are aspherical lenses. The advanced optics and optimized lens power distribution minimize spherical aberration, axial chromatic aberration and field curvature, resulting in outstanding optical performance. Even at widest aperture, this lens delivers breathtaking image quality.
* FLD glass is the highest level low dispersion glass available with extremely high light transmission.
This optical glass has a performance equal to fluorite glass which has a low refractive index and low dispersion compared to current optical glass. It also benefits from high anomalous dispersion. These characteristics give excellent correction for residual chromatic aberration (secondary spectrum) which cannot be corrected by ordinary optical glass and ensures high definition and high contrast images.
5. Convenient handling
The inner focusing system eliminates front lens rotation, enhancing the lens' stability and allowing use of Circular Polarizing filters. This specification is particularly convenient for shooting video.
Minimum focusing distance of 28cm
With a minimum focusing distance of 28cm and a maximum magnification ratio of 1:4.4, this lens is excellent for close-up photography.
Designed to minimize flare and ghosting
From an early stage in the lens design process, flare and ghosting have been measured to establish an optical design resistant to strong incident light sources such as backlighting. The Super Multi-Layer Coating reduces flare and ghosting and provides sharp and high contrast images even in backlit conditions. The included lens hood can be attached to block out extraneous light, which can have a negative effect on rendering performance.
Hyper Sonic Motor ensures High AF Speed
The HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor) ensures a silent, high-speed AF function. By optimizing the AF algorithm, smoother AF is achieved. Also, this lens offers full-time MF by rotating the focus ring of the lens while auto focusing. Without changing the AF/MF Focus Mode Switch, it allows faster focus adjustment.
* The default setting of Full-time MF function varies for each mount.
The 9 blade-rounded diaphragm creates an attractive blur to the out-of-focus areas of the image.
Brass bayonet mount
This lens incorporates a brass bayonet mount which has both high accuracy and durability. A special treatment to reinforce its strength is applied to the surface giving it greater strength and making it highly resistant to long-term use.
Applicable for the Mount Conversion Service
As an experienced lens manufacturer that has been creating a diverse range of interchangeable lenses, we have started the innovative “Mount Conversion Service”. With this chargeable service, the mount of your current SIGMA lenses can be changed to another mount of your choice. It gives new life to your favorite lenses when you wish to use them on a different camera body.
* This “Mount Conversion Service” is different from a normal repair. In order to apply for the service,
please contact your nearest authorized subsidiary / SIGMA distributor.
Art line delivers high-level artistic expression
SIGMA is organizing all its interchangeable lenses into three product lines; Contemporary, Art, and Sports, where each line has a distinctive concept. Designed with a focus on sophisticated optical performance and abundant expressive power, our Art line delivers high-level artistic expression. With the astonishing rendering performance that meets the highest standard, along with landscapes, portraits, still-lifes, close-ups, and general snaps, they are perfect for the kind of photography that unleashes the inner artist. Ideal for studio photography, they offer just as much expressive scope when capturing architecture and starry skies and many other scenes.
Customization and flexible adjustment for convenience or a specific purpose is possible. SIGMA USB DOCK that is designed exclusively for the new lens line-ups.
With the optional SIGMA USB DOCK, you can update your lens firmware, adjust focus points and customize Full-time MF function settings as well as the timing to operate the Full-time MF function. By attaching this lens to a SIGMA USB DOCK, which is connected to a computer, the dedicated software “SIGMA Optimization Pro” offers various types of customization and adjustment.
New product lines from SGV concepts that are setting new benchmarks for image quality.
With the new product lines, supplied hoods incorporate rubber for the connected part. Lens caps and AF/MF switches are also newly designed in order to improve usability. For the internal parts, various metals and a new material called TSC (Thermally Stable Composite)*, which works well with metal, are located to achieve products with high accuracy. The lens barrel includes the year of release, engraved for users to recognize when the lens was released.
* TSC (Thermally Stable Composite) offers thermal expansion characteristics similar to those of aluminum. Parts made with TSC deform less, making possible lens construction of extremely high precision. As compared to polycarbonate containing 20% glass, a commonly used material, TSC offers approximately 70% higher elasticity. As compared to polycarbonate containing 30% glass, it offers 25% higher elasticity. (Comparison is between SIGMA-produced components.)
Evaluation with SIGMA’s own MTF measuring system “A1”
We used to measure lens performance with an MTF measuring system using conventional sensors. However, we’ve now developed our own proprietary MTF (modulation transfer function) measuring system (A1) using 46-megapixel Foveon direct image sensors. Even previously undetectable high-frequency details are now within the scope of our quality control inspections. All SIGMA 24-35mm F2 DG HSM lenses will all be checked using “A1” before they are shipped.
"Made in Japan"
All SIGMA's manufacturing – right down to molds and parts – with a few exceptions, are carried out under a single integrated production system, entirely in Japan. We are now one of the very few manufacturers whose products are solely "made in Japan". We like to think our products are somehow imbued with the essence of our homeland, blessed as it is with clean air and water, and focused, hard-working people. We pride ourselves on the authentic quality of SIGMA products, born of a marriage between highly attuned expertise and intelligent, advanced technology. Our sophisticated products have satisfied professionals and lovers of photography all over the world, because our manufacturing is based on genuine craftsmanship, underpinned by the passion and pride of our experts.
The last 7 days have just been extraordinary. I’ve witnessed some pre-launch hype and brand battles before but this one really has EVERYONE talking. As of Friday, all I had to go on was what everyone else had – specs (though rarely does that stop everyone suddenly exclaiming which is best!).
This Monday morning, that all changed when I firstly picked up our first 5DS. For us as a hire company, it’s a no brainer to buy them – effectively a higher resolution 5D Mk 3 that will appeal to some if not all Canon customers. I can see many applications for it and regardless of anything else out on the market, it makes perfect sense for Canon to produce it.
I picked it up en route to the Sony launch of the a7R II, RX10 II and RX100 IV cameras at Pinewood. Here was going to be my first chance to get my hands on the a7R II to compare. Whilst it wasn’t a production spec camera (and still on an early firmware) and so I couldn’t really compare like for like, it still gave me an early indication of what we were looking at.
So let’s be clear about one thing here that has really held back the a7R for a lot of DSLR users - that’s AF. Myself and my friends from Zeiss did a quick test of AF with not only a Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8ZA lens that Sony had put on the a7R II but also with Zeiss’ new 1.8/85mm Batis lens. So how good was it? The 55mm was a tiny bit faster than the Batis (but it wasn’t huge). How did that compare to the Canon? Not as fast – the Canon was as lightning fast as you’d expect. BUT (and it’s a big but), for most situations a7R II was fast enough (light-years away from the a7R – think a7II but better), only in low light did the difference become noticeable. The reality is that only a small number of people will be combining this resolution with action (wildlife photographers most likely) and for them, the 5DS is a no brainer. It has the same detailed AF presets as the 5D Mk 3 and for those people, it will be brilliant.
Sony made a big thing about the ability to use the Phase AF sensors when mounting on a Sony EA Alpha adaptor. This obviously lead to me wondering whether this would be the same with a Metabones EF adaptor and EF lens. I did try on the sample I had and it was most definitely quicker than before (no more contrast AF shuffle) but I wouldn’t say it was lightning fast. Now I’ve read reports that people HAVE seen quick AF with one so again perhaps it was firmware differences. Just goes to show you really have to take pre-production cameras with a bit of a pinch of salt. It's also worth noting that rumours have started circulating that Metabones are working on an electronic Nikon F adaptor to take advantage of the autofocus. It seems things could get very interesting!
Speaking of Zeiss, let’s talk about lenses here because with these high resolution cameras, lens quality really comes into the mix. I have to say the Batis lenses are just hugely impressive and are what the E Mount full frame system has been waiting for. I increased my order on the spot! Combined with that new a7R II sensor, the results that we saw on the day were astonishing. It’s still too early to really tell but it reminded me of when we first tried a Sigma Art prime on a D800 and stood back and went ‘Wow’!
One thing we did notice with the Canon was it appeared really soft at 100% with a 24-70mm f/2.8 Mk 2 lens I had brought along. Bit of AF Microadjustment improved things considerably which is interesting. Firstly, it highlights just how sensitive the 5DS is to AF adjustment for each lens and secondly just how much the massive resolution shows any flaw whatsoever!! Interestingly, I’ve rarely had any problems with my a7r and I’ve used plenty of our lenses with 5D Mk 3’s without problem. If you think it was just one lens, then you’re wrong. The 11-24mm worked absolutely fine but I had to adjust the Sigma 50mm Art by a couple of stops to ensure it was sharp.
That 11-24mm is a cracker but it does also show that there is a great variance in quality amongst the L lenses (which we already knew when we did Otus comparisons on the a7R last year) - some may not fare so well.
Decent glass is going to be more important than ever and I hope Canon wisely think about launching some high end primes. Does that mean there’s no point using with cheaper glass? Not at all, I took a non L prime and had a play. Yes, it showed up the lens’ limitations but it did take advantage of the greater resolution (certainly in the middle) so like for like, compared to say a 5D Mk III, once you’d shrunk the image down to a comparable resolution, the result was better. My point is, to really make that sensor shine, it deserves decent glass. Image no question, it’s Otus all the way or Sigma Art if you want AF. Just make sure it’s an EF mounted Otus as I tried one of our Nikon F mount Otus 85mm’s with a Fotodiox adaptor (all I had on the day) and still the focus assist doesn’t work so you’ve got no choice but to use liveview and at 1.4 on an 85mm shooting something at 8ft, that’s bloody hard to do handheld and hit bang on your chosen focal point.
Especially when you’re so used to having the use of an EVF where you can use expanded focus (and peaking if you want). I have to say, it’s been a while since I’ve used an SLR. I took the 5DS down to Brighton with me on Tuesday afternoon to see Gordon Laing from Cameralabs. I had orders coming in so I only had that body for a day more. We shot with the 11-24mm mostly (as I knew it was one of Canon’s best L lenses they’ve produced). I also took down an Otus for two reasons. Firstly I wanted to see what we could do with it and secondly I wanted to understand how much of a hassle it was to use with a mirrored camera when shooting with it on an a7r is just second nature.
My answer was pretty quick in coming forward. Gordon find it a nightmare to shoot with and quickly moved back to using the 11-24mm!! Now had we used an EF mount one where the focus assist would have lit up, that would have helped enormously. But it’s all so much hassle when you’re used to EVF’s that just make life so easy! As Gordon said, “it’s a bloody nightmare trying to do this without an EVF!”
What am I trying to get across by saying this? Look, there are those that will stand by optical view finders until the world ends and that’s fine. But use an EVF for long enough in varying scenarios and you soon miss having one. The reality is at this resolution this is absolutely no way whatsoever I can focus manually at f/1.4 through the viewfinder and always expect it to be bang in focus – not at 50MP. So I have to count on AF to pin it. I tried the camera manually using focus assist with the Sigma lens and it’s usually pretty close but again it wasn’t a foregone conclusion that just because the light went on, I was exactly on point. Perhaps I’m just too set in my ways having used the a7 range for too long….
One thing I’m also set in my ways now is having the ability to shoot lower res stills off the camera straight onto my iPad via Wifi. It’s great to be able to share images whilst out and about. I just don’t get why Canon don’t offer this??
So what’s the resolution like on the Canon? Well, look for yourself - it’s pretty damn impressive. Massively better than the a7R II? I doubt you’ll see a huge difference to be honest – it’s too early to say until I can compare two RAW files like for like. Dynamic range is also very good – I’ve read some reports saying that it’s lousy like the 7D Mk II. Must have been using a different camera to me because I thought it pulled up the shadows and pulled down highlights pretty well to be honest. Feel free to judge for yourself.
I’ve been using the Pentax 645Z a lot recently which is just extraordinary when it comes to what that sensor can capture. So to say I was surprised by the 5DS is a good thing. But I know the a7R II will be good because I’ve been getting away with murder on exposures on the a7R for a long time now!!
Let’s quickly talk about noise here. I know when I did comparisons between the a7R and a7s when the latter first came out, that a7R held its own up to 12,800 ISO and it wasn’t until after that that the lower light capabilities outshone the loss of detail in the a7R image that couldn’t be recovered. Yes there was noise on the image but you had so much detail, you could still reduce the noise and produce something acceptable. We’re all assuming the a7R II will improve on this. This wasn’t clear on Monday when I tried a pre-production sample but I must point out that this was not the final product.
The 5DS is no low light king but again, let’s be realistic here. Noise becomes evident at full resolution above about 800 ISO and is quite noticeable above 3200 but as with the a7R above, you can get away masking some of this because you have so much detail, reducing the noise of the image stills gives you something acceptable at lower resolutions. So you CAN shoot at 12,800 ISO but just don’t expect to show it off at full resolution.
The thing is I still haven’t even talked about the fact that the a7R II also can shoot in 4K in Super 35mm with no pixel binning, S-Log2, XAVC-S codec and time coding. Again, I can’t say what it’s truly like but the launch footage looks good. I popped over to James Miller’s yesterday to have a look at the footage coming off the 5DS – results were not that surprising really – similar to a 5D Mk 3 but possibly not as good. Whilst I was there I also grabbed a shot of Buddy below using the Sigma 50mm Art lens on the 5DS.
I digress - have a look at James’ recoloured footage shot with the a7R II below and see what you think.
All I’ve read for the last day has been ‘Canon killer’ this and that. Hmmm… What to say? The 5DS was a logical step for Canon to produce and it’s a very good camera. I’d love them to produce some ‘ultra’ primes to go with the camera that really show what the sensor can do. After the IQ disappointment of the 7D Mk II, I am really pleased to say it’s a good ‘un! I can see a lot of Canon customers being very happy with the camera and wondering what all the fuss is about. I feel a bit sorry for the 5DS as it really is a bloody good camera. I do think some will find the ISO range a bit limiting if they want to use that full resolution but it’s a big sensor so really is that a surprise? You’re also going to need to stock up on decent memory cards as the RAW files are big and don’t forget a battery grip as it’s a bit hungrier on power.
Back to the debate, I can however also see the other side of things. I’ve read a lot of people thinking that this is the time to switch away from either Canon or Nikon (Canon especially). IF the production cameras can focus quickly with a Metabones adaptor using Canon EF lenses, then one of the biggest photography hurdles has just been leapt over. It might be a bit slower but for many the advantages will outweigh the negatives. We’ll know for sure soon enough!
That Sony are forging ahead at a pace is quite astonishing. If you think it’s limited to just the a7R II, you’re dead wrong. The other two cameras launched on Monday at Pinewood I’ll go over in more detail elsewhere and are just as impressive.
For me personally as an a7R user, I am as happy as anything. I can still use my manual lenses but for the first time I can actually think about bolting an AF lens on when needs be and actually still reap the rewards of that astonishing sensor. And that’s before I even think about the quality of the 4K footage. Happy days! Oh and those Batis lenses! Did I mention them?!
- A new peaking feature has been added to the menu overlays->focus assist->reg peaking.
- Activating red line peaking will no longer make the image lose sharpness.
- Image flip will now stay active after a power cycle.
- Fixed a bug where the image would appear to jump or change positions.
- Fixed a bug where the image’s contrast or brightness appeared to change.
- Changed the FS7 Slog3 to rec709 preset LUT.
- Added compatibility for Nikon D800/D810 cameras.
- Added compatibility for Wooden Camera C-Box Converter.
- Fixed a bug that would not allow a user to create a custom DSLR scaling.
- Decreased the audio meter latency.
It’s been interesting following the reaction to the announcement of Sony’s new a7R II. Everyone on the photo side assumed it would have a 50MP sensor and there has been a wave of disappointment from some, which is frankly bonkers when you look at what it DOES have to offer. The filmmakers have all been waiting for the a7S II to appear, rightly discounting the R range as being ultimate photo machines and not for them. So imagine their surprise when Sony announce 4K internal recording with no pixel binning shooting in Super 35mm mode. Combine that with 5 axis stabilization and improved AF and certainly their ears seem to have pricked up. Of course that leaves the million-dollar question – what will the a7S II offer to trump this all? You could guess at it using perhaps XAVC rather than XAVC-S and perhaps S-Log 3 and better colour space – who knows? I’m sure we’ll find out at some point but let’s look at the a7R II for now.
Now I’ve got to admit – I am a little biased. I’ve used an a7R since launch and I absolutely love it. Yes it has its flaws – AF is useless, it’s unnecessarily noisy, suffers from shutter vibration and the handling could be better BUT the image quality is just stunning. I use manual lenses so have never been bothered about manual focusing but for Sony to really steal sales from SLR users, it’s something they really had to address.
The a7 II showed promise with its improved grip, much faster AF and the 5 axis stabilization – whilst on paper it didn’t sound like a lot, it was a huge leap forward over the a7.
The a7R II looks set to further Sony’s march. So let’s start with the sensor. Gone is the old 36.4MP one to be replaced by a new 42.4MP back-illuminated CMOS sensor. The point about this new one is rather than throw just more pixels at it, Sony have worked hard to ensure it works as efficiently as possible. The gapless on-chip lens design and AR (anti-reflective) coating on the surface of the sensor’s glass seal dramatically improve light collection efficiency, resulting in high sensitivity with low-noise performance and wide dynamic range. This allows the camera to shoot at an impressive ISO range of 100 to 25600 that is expandable to ISO 50 to 102400. I know from my old a7R that you couldn’t push it over 12,800 if you wanted to maintain IQ so it will be interesting to see just how far you can push the new camera.
Due to the new design, data is output from the sensor 3.5 times faster compared to the old model, fed to the BIONZ X processing engine that ensures the highest possible detail and the lowest possible noise. There’s also no optical low pass filter so you’re getting the very best you can from the sensor.
As I mentioned, two things grate with the existing camera when it comes to the shutter – noise and vibration. I’m not sure how much quieter it is in normal mode (but I hope it’s less) but I am delighted to see that Sony have included a Silent Shutter mode. First seen on the a7s, this has become invaluable to wedding photographers now able to shoot at ceremonies without anyone noticing. As for the vibration, the a7R II has a new highly durable reduced-vibration shutter that delivers 50% less vibration from shutter movements compared to its predecessor.
So let’s move onto the AF. I’ll be the first to admit the a7R is rubbish, especially in lower light. I can focus far quicker manually than with AF. Now we know Sony can produce decent AF – I’ve got a a6000 at home and it’s bloody brilliant – the AF is lightning fast. We all knew it was just a matter of time before they implemented this tech on a full frame sensor. The a7R II has 399 focal-plane phase-detection AF points that work together with 25 contrast AF points to achieve focus response that is apparently 40% fast than the original model. The a7R II utilises an advanced motion-detection algorithm combined with this Fast Hybrid AF system to achieve up to 5fps continuous shooting with AF tracking. Now I can’t help but think Sony’s being a little conservative with this – the proof will be in the pudding when we finally get our hands on one but the real point here is it sounds like the difference between this and an SLR is now pretty small.
Additionally, the focal plane phase-detection AF system on the a7R II works well with Sony A-mount lenses when they are mounted on the camera using an LA-EA3 or LA-EA1 mount adapter. This allows users to enjoy the wide AF coverage of 399 focal plane phase-detection AF points, high-speed response and high tracking performance with a wider range of lenses. This marks the first time that the AF system of a mirrorless camera can achieve high performance with lenses originally designed for DSLRs. So where does this leave us with Metabones and EF lenses? That’s an interesting one as it’s always been an Achilles heel – the AF being lousy using one. But phase detection AF on EF lenses using a Metabones adaptor – imagine that!
I have been using an a7 II for a while now and have to say I’m impressed with the new 5 axis stabilisation system. No question in challenging situations, it helps enormously. It has been fine-tuned to support the a7R II’s high-resolution shooting capacity. Similar to the system launched on the a7 II model, this advanced form of image stabilisation corrects camera shake along five axes during shooting, including angular shake (pitch and yaw) that tends to occur with a telephoto lens, shift shake (X and Y axes) which becomes noticeable as magnification increases, and rotational shake (roll) that often affects video recording. This camera shake compensation system is equivalent to shooting at a shutter speed approximately 4.5 steps faster. Additionally the 5-axis stabilisation works cooperatively with Sony Alpha lenses with optical SteadyShot.
I love having an OLED viewfinder and it’s good to see Sony have improved this with a double-sided aspherical lens that delivers the world’s highest viewfinder magnification of 0.78x for crystal clear image preview and playback across the entire display area. ZEISS®T* Coating is also utilised to reduce unwanted reflections that interfere with the shooting experience.
If you’ve used the a7 II, you’ll know just how much better the new grip and shutter button design is. Sony have also added a mode dial lock and there are now even more customisable buttons (was already pretty good).
Naturally it has Wi-Fi and NFC compatibility. I use this all the time with the a6000 transferring to the iPad with PlayMemories.
So last but certainly not least (for the filmmakers) is the movie shooting. The a7R II can shoot in 4K quality (QFHD 3840x2160) in either Super 35mm crop mode or full-frame mode.
In Super 35mm mode, the camera collects a wealth of information from approximately 1.8x as many pixels as 4K by using full pixel readout without pixel binning and oversamples the information to produce 4K movies with minimal moire. In full-frame mode, the a7R II uses the full width of the 35mm sensor for 4K recording and is as such the world’s first digital camera to offer this in-camera full-frame format 4K recording capacity.
The camera utilises the XAVC S codec during video shooting, which records at a high bit rate of 100 Mbps during 4K recording and 50 Mbps during full HD shooting. Obviously you can connect a Atomos Shogun still to not only gain Pro-Res 4K recording but also now dual recording (internally and externally) at 4K – something the a7s can’t do, even recording internally in HD.
It’s interesting for a high end photo camera to also have features like S-Log2 Gamma and S-Gamut, 120fps high frame rate movie shooting in HD (720p), time code and clean HDMI output.
No wonder the filmmakers are watching with interest. You’ve got to hand it to Sony – they really are pushing the boundaries and I for one can’t wait to get my hands on one to try!
We've already put our order in and will have them available at launch.
It would seem my blog software either doesn’t like me or wishes for me to not post anything about the C300 Mark II as this is my third time of attempting to write this post! What it has done though is given me time to reflect on the camera and its place in the ever-changing market.
As I see it, there are two camps here. Those that think that Canon is resting on its laurels and there are no great surprises here in terms of spec. Indeed, the camera is in an increasingly uncomfortable position when you look at the likes of the Sony FS7 and the new Blackmagic Ursa Mini announced yesterday.
Supporters will however dismiss all that saying that what you need is a dependable reliable workhouse that can deliver every time reliably and the C300 Mark II is precisely that. C300 users will also tell you there's just something about the image that is just lovely.
So let’s go over the headline features –
- 8.85MP Super 35mm Canon CMOS sensor.
- Shoot 4K at up to 410Mbps/10-bit with the Canon XF-AVC H.264 codec for easy 4K integration into existing workflows.
- 15 stops of dynamic range with Canon Log2.
- Simultaneously record 4K to dual internal CFast 2.0™ cards*, 2K/FHD proxy files to SD card and output 4K RAW to external devices.
- Concentrate on the action with improvements in Dual Pixel CMOS AF, Face Detection AF and Auto White Balance.
- High-sensitivity, low-noise images up to ISO 102,400.
- Sensor readout speed is improved, producing even lower rolling shutter distortion.
- Support for BT.2020, Canon Cinema Gamut and DCI-P3 colour space
- 4 channel 16/24-bit audio.
- Huge range of compatible lenses, servo zoom support and service changeable PL mount option
So nothing revolutionary but Canon have made some significant improvements over and above the 4K headline. There's a new sensor and Dual Digic DV5 processor running things which means 4K capture internally in 4:2:2. The sensor is now read in significantly less time which should reduce effects of rolling shutter.
Canon have built their own new codec called XF-AVC and as you can see from the specs above, at 30fps in 4K it's recording at 410Mbps! To cope with the high bitrate, the camera now uses CFast 2.0 card. It's worth noting that a proxy file can also be recorded at the same time (in 2K/HD 4:2:0) to an SDXC card. You can also export 4K 4:4:4 to an external recorder like the Atomos Shogun.
One thing people were crying out for was faster frame rates and it's a shame to see that high speed recording is only up to 120fps (in NTSC mode) and only in HD/2K. So far most of C300 users I've spoken to already have an a7s which shoots at same rate (albeit onto a full frame sensor and not a cropped mode 35mm) so there is a bit of disappointment there.
With the EOS C300 Mark II, Canon have introduced Canon Log 2 which is effectively a flatter version of Canon Log and they claim it now gives the camera a dynamic range of 15 stops. For those that want something easier to grade, Canon have also included the WideDR mode as found on the recent C100 Mk II.
Low light performance was pretty good on the Mk I but Canon claim to have improved this on the Mk II with the ISO range starting at 100 all the way up to 102,400. Nature ISO when using Canon Log 2 is 800.
Dual Pixel CMOS AF makes an appearance as standard and is said to have been improved, covering 80% of the sensor area. Face detection is now available and the AF is customisable in not only tracking but also speed.
Audio wise, there is now 4 channel recording so you can record on both the minijack AND the XLRs at the same time.
Looking at the body, there have been a few improvements. The top handle has been redesigned with a new mounting and is said to much more sturdy. One thing that hugely annoyed me as a rental house were the leads of the Mk I - I am hugely delighted to see that these are now detatchable at both ends - hallelujah!! The EVF is now an OLED EVF with far greater resolution and contrast. That's great news as being able to use the camera without the rest of the rig stripped down is one of the camera's biggest assets.
It will be time to invest in new batteries as the old ones are not carried over - expect our cameras to be supplied with the optional 6200mAh BP-A60's.
We have customers that swear by the C300's and I expect they'll swear by the C300 Mk II. The reality is that the price difference when renting is never quite as great as the purchase price difference - truth is whilst the C300 Mk II costs twice as much as an FS7, it won't cost twice as much to hire (more is the shame for us!), so we know they'll go out the door.
For owner/operators I suspect that decision is less clear cut. Will they just keep using their Mk I until they are forced into 4K production and will they then go for the C300 Mk II - difficult to tell.
We HAVE put in our order and are expecting them around September time!
Built-in stereo microphone, 3.5mm stereo mini jack external microphone
3.5mm Stereo mini jack
Video monitor output
Yes. Output only
HDMI Video Output (Recording Mode)
Colour Bars (HD output only)
HDMI Video Output (Playback Mode)
Yes mini-B, Hi-speed, Output only
Yes, via HDMI
That's not all - those looking for a real bargain and willing to take a chance might like the next option. As of 2pm on Tuesday 31st March, any equipment still in stock can be booked to be dispatched on Wednesday 1st April for a SINGLE DAY'S HIRE CHARGE - THAT'S 4 DAYS FOR THE PRICE OF 1!!
Normal courier, insurance and minimum hire charges, equipment deposits and delivery conditions apply. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.
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