Canon Cinema EOS 1D C – Vimeo footage and 4K source file direct from card

Please note: the camera is an early prototype in test mode. Don’t draw any final conclusions, this footage is just for curiosity value

Want to see what a 4K DSLR looks like? The wait is over. Here is a very short 4K source file for download (sorry – temporally removed)

The 1D C is essentially the 1D X with 4K video mode. It records in MJPEG format (8bit 4-2-0). A 32GB SD card records up to 8 minutes of footage. The camera has clean HDMI out and timecode. The footage above was shot very flat in Canon Log mode on a prototype model and is ungraded.

The clip on Vimeo is conformed to 1920 x 1080 24p H.264 from the original 4096 x 2048 24p MJPEG.

I’ve had a look at the 4096 x 2048 MOV file in Adobe Premiere Pro at 1:1 (100% view). What do I think of it? Well viewed at 100% it is certainly on the soft side. It does not contain the kind of resolution a standard 1D X still JPEG has but for video it is very good. It is not near what true 4K should look like, but then the only 4K cinema camera on the market than can really be considered ‘true 4K’ is the $70,000 Sony F65 with an oversampling 8K sensor and RGB 4-4-4 colour sampling.

Of course this material from the first 4K DSLR is a massive step up for image quality compared to all previous DSLRs however.

We should also give the 1D C the benefit of the doubt big time here, because the image looks very gradable and cinematic. The soft 4K image could be related to the prototype and the final product could be completely different. But it does seem Canon used quite a strong anti-aliasing filter on the 1D C to prevent as much moire and aliasing as possible.

1:1 crops are below… Remember this is ungraded.

1D C - 4K image quality crop

Now if you download the 1080p Vimeo file, you will see it scales very nicely to beautiful clean and detailed 2K. 4K also gives you the option to crop and re-frame for 1080p projects. Dynamic range seems to utilise far more of what the sensor is capable of. Canon LOG is significantly better than CineStyle.

Now the 1D C is not just about resolution. If the final 1D C image looks like a moving 1D X still, with all the colour rendition, smooth gradation and the nice dynamic range you get from a full frame sensor it will be very nice indeed and maybe even able to surpass the 4K upgraded FS700 for image quality… Maybe.

Price wise I’ve heard lower – $12,000 rather than $15,000 lately but it still makes it very inaccessible for the masses for what is essentially a pro DSLR with no peaking, no 25p, no video camera concessions at all really. The audio, form factor, lack of slow mo and lack of built in ND filter here all make the Sony FS700 a more practical choice. I have a hard time seeing Hollywood, studios and rental houses buying into the concept when they can have a C500 or FS700 for not too much more (relatively speaking). If Canon can see sense and bring the price down closer to the 1D X or do a video optimised 5D Mark III called the 5D C for around $4000 which just shoots true 1080p of course it’d be a much bigger success outside just a niche.

Big thanks to Greyfus for sending me the footage