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Canon showcases latest video technologies at NAB 2013

Canon showcases latest video technologies at NAB 2013

April 2013

Canon showcased its very latest video and filmmaking technologies at the NAB 2013 show – held at the Las Vegas Convention Centre, Nevada, USA, from 8-11 April 2013 – including the recently announced XA25 and XA20 HD camcorders and the first ever public showing of a planned 35mm EF Cinema prime lens.

These new products featured alongside an impressive line-up of Cinema EOS cameras, the full EF Cinema lens range, Canon broadcast lenses, HD digital camcorders and EF lenses at the NAB 2013 event, which attracted over 90,000 visitors.

The Canon XA25 and XA20 camcorders were unveiled in the week prior to the NAB show and are the newest camcorders in Canon’s professional HD Video line-up. Both of these models are portable, lightweight and capable of producing high quality images in the hands of operators who wish to shoot with an all-in-one hand-held model.

Each of the camcorders features a 20x zoom lens with a wide field-of-view equivalent to 26.8mm in full-frame photography terms. A newly developed CMOS sensor, with excellent low light sensitivity and dynamic range has been used in combination with a new image processor, the DIGIC DV 4.

Speaking about the XA25, Peter Yabsley, Professional Products Marketing Team Leader, Canon Europe, told CPN: “The concept is a very, very compact, lightweight, portable camera but with a completely new specification – it’s a really powerful imaging tool. Almost everything in this camera is new.”

The XA25 camcorder is a powerful imaging tool that offers pro-spec HD Video in an incredibly compact body.

The recording system is capable of recording AVCHD or MP4 codecs. The MP4 mode, available on both models, is capable of recording a high bitrate of 35mbps while the AVCHD codec can record at up to 28mbps. This is significantly better than most AVCHD camcorders on the market, which record at 24mbps.

The camcorders feature two SD card slots and are able to record to two cards at the same time – therefore providing two master copies simultaneously. Different formats can be recorded on the separate cards, for example AVCHD on one card and MP4 on the other; or a full resolution HD copy and low-res proxy on the separate cards. When using the same recording format it is also possible for continuous relay recording across the cards for longer durations.

Both cameras feature an OLED touchscreen, a first for Canon as previous cameras have used LCD technology for on-board screens. The electronic viewfinder has also been significantly improved over previous models and a new optical and electronic on-board stabilisation system with three separate modes of operation is included. Being professional models both camcorders feature twin XLRs jacks with phantom power for external microphones.

The only difference between the two camcorders is the inclusion of an HD-SDI output on the XA25. This enables the camera to be integrated into broadcast and high-end infrastructures. Peter Yabsley explained: “The inclusion of the SDI on the XA25 was very much in response to questions we got from the broadcast industry. There are a lot more applications these days for small cameras and a lot of the [external 4:2:2] recorders are becoming more portable and more affordable, so it just gives more options for ways to use this kind of camera.”

Other features include built-in WiFi facilitating remote control of the camcorders; FTP file transfer and transfer of files to IOS devices. For situations where time is critical low bit-rate files can also be transferred over WiFi. These cameras are clearly aimed at video journalists, producers who also shoot, wedding and event videographers and anyone who needs a high quality small camcorder.

EF Cinema lens range set to expand

Also on show, in addition to the range of Cinema EOS cameras – the EOS C500, EOS C300, EOS C100 and the EOS-1D C DSLR – was the full range of EF Cinema lenses.

The existing range of EF Cinema lenses is made up of five cine prime lenses, two compact zoom lenses (available in both EF and PL mount) and two top end zooms which are also available in EF or PL lens mount versions. These are lenses of the highest quality – suitable for 4K imaging and beyond.

New to the EF Cinema lens line-up at NAB was a development sample of a 35mm cine prime lens, which will become available later in 2013. This will bring the EF Cinema EOS lens system to a total of six prime lenses, which covers the essential range required by most cinematographers.

Canon Europe’s Peter Yabsley commented: “These lenses are really high quality – all of them are good for at least 4K or beyond in the case of the zooms. At NAB 2013 we’ve made a technical announcement of a new 35mm cine prime lens that we will introduce into the line-up later this year.”

The Canon EF Cinema lens range is set to expand with a new 35mm EF Cinema prime lens that was shown at NAB 2013 and is scheduled for launch later in 2013.

Each of the Cinema EOS lenses has been engineered to the highest standards, featuring the same diameter on each lens, which makes adding accessories easy and simple. All of the Cinema EOS lenses feature manual iris with focusing ring, which has a large turn distance to enable smooth and accurate changes in focus. This is critical to ensure accurate focusing in situations with extremely shallow depth-of-field.

The Cinema EOS prime lenses each feature an 11-blade iris, which produces a beautiful bokeh effect. These are lenses designed to the highest quality, specifically engineered for video and cinema use, rather than being designed as photographic lenses.

Creative possibilities

As well as showing the full Canon line-up of professional video and cinema cameras a range of HD, 2K and 4K content and movies produced by users of Canon cameras was shown in the Canon Theatre and screens around the Canon stand. Following their debut at NAB 2012 the 2013 NAB event also saw another showing of Canon’s prototype 4K reference displays.

Other creative possibilities were featured at NAB, particularly with the large sensor cameras. One particular demonstration featured two Canon EOS C500 cameras, each equipped with EF Cinema lenses, showing large sensor cameras being used in a traditional studio set-up. Each of these cameras were shown with motorised zoom lenses with focus controls. Another part of this demo showed a live 4K signal taken from each of the EOS C500 cameras, which was then fed via fibre optic to a box on the other side of the stand. A live debayer of the image was then fed into a system known as The Dreamcatcher by Evertz.

This setup demonstrated how large sensor 4K cameras can be used in a broadcast environment today for HD applications. By utilising the extra resolution of 4K imaging, a downscaled HD image was created with far more detail than could be produced otherwise.

Highest levels of quality

NAB 2013 saw Canon demonstrating more products and creative tools than have ever been on show before: from the Cinema EOS series of cameras and lenses and the full range of digital video cameras. It is clear that Canon has solutions for producers of all levels and all types of production. Whether you shoot video, cinema, or a combination of both, Canon provides cameras and lenses capable of achieving the highest levels of quality in the competitive world of production and high-end acquisition.