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Cinema EOS

Canon EOS C500 & C500 PL: superior 4K imaging quality for major productions

Canon EOS C500 & C500 PL: superior 4K imaging quality for major productions

The Canon EOS C500 and C500 PL interchangeable-lens models are the high-end 4K/2K Digital Cinema Cameras in Canon’s Cinema EOS System for professional filmmakers and cinematographers.

The groundbreaking C500 and C500 PL Digital Cine Cameras fuse Canon’s very latest 4K/2K video technologies with its long established lens heritage and the creativity of the EOS System. With both EF mount (C500) and PL mount (C500 PL) interchangeable lens compatibility, the superior image quality of the C500 and C500 PL cameras gives filmmakers the power to tell every story.

Who are they for?

The EOS C500 and C500 PL Digital Cinema Cameras set a new quality benchmark in a highly versatile system that will appeal to highly demanding professional filmmakers – from major motion picture directors to documentary makers, television channels to commercial makers, and more.

Sophisticated Canon 4K/2K camera technologies, plus an MPEG-2 MXF 4:2:2 codec, deliver the superior quality imaging performance that’s required by filmmakers, broadcasters and post-production houses, whilst multi-camera connectivity provides straightforward integration into studio environments.

The C500 and C500 PL cameras offer an outstanding combination of exceptional imaging performance, compatibility with Canon’s Cinema Lens series (in both EF and PL mounts) that delivers 4K optical performance, compact form factor, and extensive customisation options.

Key features*

  • 8.85 Megapixel Super 35mm Canon CMOS sensor optimised for superior quality 4K-resolution imaging.
  • Compatibility with Canon’s wide range of EF lenses (C500).
  • New Cinema Lock EF lens mount for easier lens change-over. Compatible with existing EF lenses.
  • Industry-standard PL lens compatibility (C500 PL).
  • Three built-in ND filters.
  • Compact, modular design.
  • ‘Cinema RAW’ 4K RAW/HRAW recording modes, recorded to external device.
  • 2K RGB 4:4:4 12-bit and 10-bit, YCC 4:2:2 10-bit modes, recorded to external device.
  • Broadcast-ready 50Mbps MPEG-2 MXF recording to two CF cards.
  • High-sensitivity, low noise performance at up to ISO 80,000.
  • Extensive image customisation including built-in Canon Log Gamma.
  • Robust, splash-resistant body with magnesium alloy components.
  • Seamless workflow integration.

* Cinema EOS Support: Firmware upgrades may be required to enable all camera features. Visit the Canon Support website to check that you have the latest firmware and get access to online technical support resources and troubleshooting. Drivers, software and user manuals are also available to download.

Super 35mm format CMOS sensor

The C500 and C500 PL feature a large 8.85 Megapixel (effective) Super 35mm format CMOS sensor for video capture that provides four-channel RGB processing for RAW footage.

The sensor has a pixel size larger than that for conventional professional camcorders enabling greater light-gathering capabilities for superb high-resolution images with enhanced sensitivity, minimal moiré and jaggies, low noise, reduced shutter artefacts, along with typical large sensor benefits such as beautifully shallow depth-of-field.

Multiple recording formats: 4K, 2K and MXF 4:2:2

The C500 and C500 PL cameras offer a wide selection of recording options with both 4K RAW and 2K RGB 4:4:4 or YCC 4:2:2 recording to external, third party recorders for superior imaging performance. 4K can be recorded as 4K DCI for cinema and QFHD for broadcast.

The cameras also offer the ability to record broadcast-ready MPEG-2 MXF files at 50Mbps (4:2:2) to two CF memory cards with relay and simultaneous recording options available. In the MXF priority mode pre-recording, relay recording, double slot recording and slow and fast motion can be performed. In the 4K/2K recording modes pre-recording cannot be performed.

The ability to record simultaneously to an external device in 4K or 2K and to CF cards allows for the creation of broadcast specified HD footage and proxy files for use in post-production at the same time.

Depending on the 4K or 2K recording format used slow and fast motion is available in either 1fps or every two frames steps for creative flexibility. For recording to CF cards in the MXF mode the frame rates for the C500, as with the C300, are 1-30fps or 1-25fps at the 1920x1080 resolution and 1-60fps or 1-50fps at the 1280x720 resolution.

Widespread lens compatibility

The creative possibilities of the EOS C500 and C500 PL Digital Cinema Cameras are greatly enhanced by their compatibility to Canon’s wide range of EF mount lenses (C500) and the industry-standard PL mount lenses (C500 PL).

Canon’s extensive EF lens range encompasses over 60 different lenses for a total focal length range that stretches from 8mm up to 800mm to open up an incredibly wide range of shooting possibilities. Filmmakers who are already shooting with industry-standard PL lenses can take advantage of the widespread compatibility of the Cinema EOS System.

The C500 and C500 PL are also compatible with Canon’s 4K EF Cinema Lens range that delivers exceptional 4K (4096x2160 pixels), optical performance and offer compatibility with Super 35mm-equivalent sensors.

The C500 model includes a new EF lens mounting system that, via a mount lever, rotates the lens lock and eliminates the need to rotate lenses to attach them to the C500. This allows for swift, secure and easy attaching and detaching of any of Canon’s extensive range of over 60 EF mount lenses, and is especially useful for easy changing of larger lenses that are mounted on rigs.

Compact, modular, lightweight design

The EOS C500 and C500 PL Digital Cinema Cameras have compact bodies that have a modular design for superb mobility and expandability. A removable handle and multi-angle control panel components ensure maximum manoeuvrability, whilst the robust, splash-resistant body features magnesium alloy components for additional rigidity and toughness.

A 4.0-inch (10.1cm) 1.23 million-dot LCD panel rotates forward and back through 270 degrees with an optimal position for shoulder-mounted shooting. The panel can also be rotated for monitoring from one side of the camera and allows for easy checking of scene composition at low angles. The cameras have a 0.52-inch (1.3cm), 1.55-million dot viewfinder with a 16:9 ratio.

High sensitivity, low noise

The C500 and C500 PL feature high-sensitivity and low noise performance. This cuts back on setup times for shooting, reduces lighting equipment costs, and increases the shooting possibilities in low light conditions.

Canon Log

Extensive image customisation includes built-in Canon Log Gamma, which delivers neutral image quality with wide dynamic range (800%) for maximum freedom in post-production, providing up to 12 stops of latitude. Canon Log is applied to 8-bit footage, 10-bit 4K RAW data, or the 12-bit log gamma setting for 2K RGB.

An advantage of 10/12-bit log gamma settings, in comparison to the 8-bit log gamma setting, is their ability to reproduce detail in dark areas. At the 10-bit/12-bit log gamma setting much more information is recorded for the dark areas so there is less noise and the dark areas can be expressed in greater detail.

Built-in ND filters

A four-layer built-in ND filter system offers three densities – 2-stop, 4-stop and 6-stop – with ND0 being clear. The filters allow for keeping the iris open for shallow depth-of-field and attractive bokeh in images.

Seamless workflow integration

Straightforward workflow integration is key during Digital Cinema production and is catered for thanks to 4K RAW and 2K RGB workflows that are output directly to a wide variety of external recorders. Once captured, post production houses will be able to ingest 4K RAW using their normal procedures. A free software package, available via download, will assist in the processing of 4K footage.

The industry-standard MXF file format within the C500 and C500 PL can record Full HD 4:2:2 files to CF cards and is compatible with most of the major NLE software editing packages.

Peripheral illumination correction

In the C500 a Peripheral illumination correction function automatically compensates the light quantity in the four corners of the screen in accordance with the peripheral light quantity characteristics of a wide range of Canon EF mount lenses.

4K ‘Cinema RAW’

The technology in the EOS C500 and C500 PL cameras extends beyond any previous models in the Cinema EOS System with the addition of 4K/2K output priority modes from two 3G-SDI connectors. 4K ‘Cinema RAW’ output is available at up to 60fps or 120fps in the 4K HRAW mode. Grading with a higher degree of freedom is enabled by 10-bit output.

MPEG-2 4:2:2 codec

In addition to 4K/2K output the C500 and C500 PL also utilise Canon’s MPEG-2 (4:2:2), 50Mbps codec, seen in the C300 and C300 PL models, for internal recording to CF cards in the industry-standard MXF format. This 4:2:2 colour sampling provides twice the vertical colour resolution of 4:2:0 enabling better gradation, finer detail, and smoother diagonals as well as helping to eliminate the threat of jagged edges, fringing and unwanted artefacts during chroma keying.

CMOS sensors

Canon develops and manufactures its own sensors and has incorporated an 8.85 Megapixel (effective) Super 35mm format CMOS sensor in both the EOS C500 and C500 PL. This sensor has a pixel size that is larger than that for conventional professional camcorders, enabling greater light-gathering capabilities for high sensitivity and low noise.

Supported by a heightened signal read-out speed, the CMOS sensor reduces rolling shutter skews, a phenomenon prevalent with CMOS sensors in which fast-moving subjects may appear diagonally distorted, and minimises the incidence of moiré whilst realising a high resolution of 1,800 horizontal TV lines.

DIGIC DV III processor

The DIGIC DV III processor is the latest iteration in the DIGIC DV family. Greater processing power provides enhanced colour gradation, wide dynamic range and beautiful reproduction of skin tones, in addition to supporting features such as extensive image customisation.

Sensor Super35mm type CMOS
System RGB primary colour filter (Beyer array)
Total pixels per sensor 9.84 megapixels (4206 x 2340)
Effective pixels per sensor 8.85 megapixels (4096 x 2160)
Minimum illumination NTSC Mode 0.3 Lux
[F1.2 lens , 24 dB, 29.97P mode, shutter speed 1/30]
PAL Mode 0.25 Lux
[F1.2 lens, 24 dB, 25.00P mode, shutter speed 1/25]
Sensitivity NTSC: F9
[1920x1080/59.94i , ISO640 (0dB), 2000 Lux, 89.9% reflection]
PAL: F10
[1920x1080/50.00i , ISO640 (0dB) , 2000 Lux, 89.9% reflection]
S/N Ratio NTSC: 54dB (Typical)
[1920x1080/29.97P, Canon Log base sensitivity ISO850 (Dynamic range 800%)]
PAL: 54dB (Typical)
[1920x1080/25.00P, Canon Log base sensitivity ISO850 (Dynamic range 800%)]
Dynamic Range During normal shooting: 300%
With Canon Log gamma: 800%
(ISO 850 or above/gain 2.5 dB or more)
Horizontal Resolution Up to 1000 TV lines or more (1920 x 1080i mode), depends on lens used.
Lens Mount PL mount
Focal length As indicated for Canon Cinema Lenses and other PL mount lenses
Peripheral illumination correction NO
ND filter 3 glass filters in camera body: 2 stops; 4 stops; 6 stops. Operate via body or wireless control.
Focus control Manual via lens
Iris control Manual via lens
Image stabilization system NO
Video storage media 4K/2K: External recording device required
HD: Type 1 Compact Flash memory cards (2 card slots)
Type CF card: UDMA4, 30MB/s or faster (40MB/s or faster for Fast/Slow recording)
Recording time 64GB CF card: Up to 160mins (1080/50i @ 50 Mbps)
Recording file format 4K/2K: Dependent on external recorder
HD: Material eXchange Format (MXF); OP-1a pattern
Recording format 4K:
RAW/HRAW, 10 bit (4096 x 2160/3840 x 2160, Canon Log only)
RGB 12 bit (2048x1080/1920x1080, 4:4:4, Canon Log only)
RGB 10 bit (2048x1080/1920x1080, 4:4:4, Canon Log only)
YCC 10 bit (2048x1080/1920x1080, 4:2:2, Canon Log only)
50Mbps CBR (4:2:2) MPEG-2 422@PHL;
35Mbps VBR (4:2:0) MPEG-2 MP@HL;
25Mbps CBR (4:2:0) MPEG-2 MP@H14
Recording frame rate 4K 2K:
60 Hz (NTSC) mode: 59.94P / 29.97P / 23.98P
50 Hz (PAL) mode: 50.00P / 25.00P
24.00P mode: 24.00P
50Mbps: 1920 x 1080/59.94i, 50i, 29.97p, 25p, 24.00p, 23.98p;
1280 x 720/59.94p, 50p, 29.97p, 25p, 24.00p, 23.98p.
35Mbps: 1920 x 1080/59.94i, 50i, 29.97p, 25p, 23.98p;
1280 x 720/59.94p, 50p, 29.97p, 25p, 23.98p.
25Mbps: 1440 x 1080/59.94i, 50i, 29.97p, 25p, 23.98p.
Slow/Fast motion* YES (4K/2K dependent on external recorder)
RAW: 1 to 60 fps
HRAW: 1 to 60 fps , 62 to 120fps (in 2-fps increment)
2K RGB 444: 1 to 60 fps
YCC 422: 1 to 60 fps , 62 to 120fps (in 2-fps increment)
1080p: 1-30fps in 1fps steps
720p: 1-60fps in 1fps steps
(available options may differ according to recording mode selected)
Interval Record YES. 1, 2, 3, 6, 9 or 12 frames, 25 time intervals
(available options may differ according to recording mode selected)
Frame Record YES. 1, 2, 3, 6, 9 or 12 frames
(available options may differ according to recording mode selected)
Pre Record (cache record) YES (3 seconds)
Relay Recording YES (CF) Card
Double Slot (simultaneous) Recording YES
Scan Reverse YES. Vertical, Horizontal, Both
HD->SD conversion NO
Internal Data Transfer MOVIE: Yes (CF card to CF card)
Photo storage media SD/SDHC memory card
Still quality During video recording: 1920 x 1080;
During playback: 1920x1080, 1280 x 720
Size 10.1 cm (4"), 100% view
Dots 1.23 million
Image quality adjustments Brightness, contrast, colour, sharpness, backlight, black white
Adjustable Up/down/left/right according to camera configuration
Waveform Monitor Waveform Monitor and Vectorscope
Focus Assist Peaking; Magnifying; Edge Monitor (using waveform display)
Peaking Peaking 1, Peaking 2 (Colour, Gain, Frequency customisable for each)
Zebra Level 1; Level 2; Both
Output via HD-SDI or HDMI
Markers On/Off (Aspect ratio, Aspect marker, Safety Zone Area, Safety Zone, Grid, Horizontal, Centre)
Size 1.3cm (0.52")
Dots 1.55 million
Image quality adjustments Brightness, contrast, colour, sharpness, backlight, black white
Adjustable Vertical tilt
Correction lens + 2.0 to -5.5 diopters
Audio in XLR inputs with 48V phantom power (x2), 3.5mm microphone input jack
Headphone output 3.5mm stereo jack
Video monitor output YES (BNC, SD output only via Synch terminal)
HDMI YES (Type A, output only)
IEEE 1394 (Firewire) NO
HD/SD-SDI output YES
2x 3G-SDI (BNC, output only, embedded audio and time code),
2x 2K Monitor Output (BNC, output only)
1x HD/SD-SDI (BNC, output only, embedded audio and time code)
Time code YES (BNC, switchable input/output)
Genlock YES (BNC, input only)
Synch YES (BNC, output only, 5 modes: HD Sync, HD-Y, SD blackburst, SD composite, Off)
Component out NO
AV terminal NO
DC input YES
Remote Control Terminal 2.5mm mini jack
Wireless Control Terminal YES (optional accessory required for wireless control)
Colour Bars EBU, SMPTE, ARIB
Tally lamp YES
Accessory shoe YES (cold shoe, 3 locations: top of body, top of handle, front of handle)
Custom key YES (15 assignable buttons; select from 30 functions)
Shooting functions
Exposure metering Manual exposure determined by shutter setting, iris setting, ISO/gain setting and ND filter setting
Exposure compensation NO
Auto Exposure mode NO
Push Auto Iris NO
Exposure Lock NO
Auto Gain Control setting NO
ISO Sensitivity 1-stop display: 320¹, 400, 800, [850]², 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800, 20000
1/3rd stop display: 320, 400, 500, 640, 800, [850]², 1000, 1250, 1600, 2000, 2500, 3200, 4000, 5000, 6400, 8000, 10000, 12800, 16000, 20000¹
Gain setting NORMAL: -6dB, -3dB, 0dB, 3dB, 6dB, 9dB, 12dB, 15dB, 18dB, 21dB, 24dB, 30dB;
FINE: 0 dB to 24 dB (0.5 dB increments).
Control Modes Off; Speed; Angle; Clear Scan (CS); Slow Shutter (SLS)
Shutter speed 1/3 to 1/2000 depending on frame rate and Shutter Control Mode
Shutter Angle 11.25º to 360º depending on frame rate
Slow Shutter (SLS) 1/3, 1/4, 1/6, 1/8, 1/12, 1/15, 1/25, 1/30 depending on frame rate
Clear Scan 59.94i/p: 59.94 - 250.27Hz;
50i/p: 50 to 250.78Hz;
29.97p: 29.97 - 250.27Hz;
25p: 25 to 250.78Hz;
23.98/24p: 23.98 - 250.27Hz
Stored Configurations 9, including 2 presets (CINEMA and EOS Std)
Storage Medium SD/SDHC memory card (all customisation data and metadata), up to 20 Custom Pictures per card
Gamma 8 profiles
Canon Log Gamma YES
Master Pedestal -50 to +50
Master Black -50 to +50 for each of R,G,B
Black Gamma Adjustable Level, Range and Point
Low Key Saturation -50 to +50 adjusts colour saturation in low brightness area
Knee Adjusts over exposure characteristic, start, slope, saturation
Sharpness Adjustment for Level, H Detail Freq., Coring, HV Detail Balance, Limit, Select, Knee Aperture and Level dependent sharpness
Noise reduction Off, On (1 to 12)
Skin detail Off, Low, Middle, High / Hue, Chroma, Brightness, Area, Y Level
Selective Noise Reduction Off, Low, Middle, High / Hue, Chroma, Brightness, Area, Y Level
Colour matrix Phase, Gain and RGB adjustment, in tandem with Gamma selection
White balance -50 to +50 white balance offset for R,G,B
Colour correction Area selection / area revision of two areas
Setup level -50 to +50 On/Off
Clip 100% IRE Limits output to 100% after setup adjustment
Auto NO
Preset Daylight (5400K), Tungsten (3200K), Kelvin (2000K-15000K, 100K intervals), Set A, Set B
White Balance Shift YES. -9 to +9 (Daylight and Tungsten only)
Black balance adjustment YES
Countup system Regen, RecRun, FreeRun, External, Hold (Drop frame available for some frame rates)
Start value setting “00:00:00:00”, Set/Reset selectable
Recording 16-bit 2ch (48 kHz) linear PCM
Control Independent limiters and auto/manual settings
Microphone attenuation YES
Microphone level meter YES
Supplied XF Utility and NLE Plug-ins, RAW Development software, Monitor Unit (LCD and XLR), Handle Unit, Tripod base adaptor plate, Shoulder strap, Eyecup, EVF cap, Battery Charger CG-940, Compact power adapter CA-940, Battery pack BP-955.
Optional Batteries BP-955, BP-975, Compact Power Adaptor CA-930 (battery charger only), Tripod Adapter TA-100, Wireless Controller WFT-E6.
Power Consumption 59.94Hz:23.9w (4K) 12.4w MXF priority (24Hz)
50.00Hz 22.9w (4K)
Continuous Recording Time Supplied BP-955: Approx. 90 minutes (max @ 4K 50.00 Hz) Optional BP-975: Approx. 135 minutes (max @ 4K 50.00 Hz)
Dimensions Body 160 x 179 x 177mm (6.3 x 7.0 x 7.0 in)
Approx 185 x 249 x187mm (Body and monitor unit)
Approx 185 x 284 x 301mm (Body, Monitor Unit and Handle)
Detachable handle YES
Weight (camera only) 1930g
Weight (fully equipped) 2995g (grip, monitor unit, handle, BP-955, 2x CF card)
Operating Temperature range -5ºC to +45ºC, 60% relative humidity
ISO Sensitivity ¹ 320 and 20000 are not 1-stop increments but represent highest and lowest supported ISO values
² [850] = Lowest ISO sensitivty achieving 800% dynamic range with Canon Log function.
All specifications are subject to change without notice
* 4K RAW /2K RGB up to 30fps/4K HRAW /2K YCC up to 60fps single 3G-SDI output. Frame rates above this 2X 3G-SDI output.

Technical product specifications are currently unavailable.