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C500 MK II Cinema Camera – Leading the Full-Frame Charge!

It’s here! The new Canon C500 MK II, the long anticipated sequel to the C500 and (current) successor to the ever popular C300 MK II. This time, it’s Full Frame! Canon fans have been waiting a long time for this update to the Cine series, so how does it stack up?

Right off the bat, the C500 II is leading the charge into the Full-Frame Cinema Camera landscape. This camera offers Full-Frame 5.9K RAW recording internally to the new CF Express media. Additionally, it will record 4K S35 RAW, alongside 4K S35 and 4K Full Frame XF-AVC. Did I mention it shoots 4K? It shoots a lot of 4K. 

For high-speed and XF-AVC modes, there is a crop employed, depending on your settings. Below, I’ve outlined the main differences, crop-wise, between RAW and XF-AVC formats. My findings have it at about a 10% crop between modes. 

Color-wise, the C500 II brings the same tried-and-true Canon color science, with options for Canon LOG2 and LOG3, as well as the same methods for adjusting between color profiles and matrices. I’m still partial to “Production Camera.” The color is very Canon-like, with dependable skin tones and great highlight retention. Canon’s biggest advantage was always its built-in color science and this is no different. 

For high-speed options, you’ve got 60fps at 5.9K RAW and 4K formats — and up to 120fps for the 2K cropped modes — similar to the C300 II. Canon cameras have traditionally struggled with high-speed options, and it would have been nice to see some better, non-cropped options in the C500 II, but it’s also no huge shock that there aren’t any.

The new camera also includes a few new expansion units — the most useful of which adds an additional 2 XLR ports, V-mount power options, and lens control. It builds out nicely, and it doesn’t add too much bulk to the body — but it adds the increased real estate to throw it on a shoulder more comfortably — aided by the counter weight of a larger battery. Large batteries may be the way to go with this one, as the camera sure does use a lot of power. Nothing unexpected, though, as we’re seeing all the new full-frame cameras slurp down batteries without a care in the world. Price of admission, it would seem.

The new LCD screen and menu layout are a welcome change from the C300 II, and it feels right at home with C200 users. A single cable connects the screen to the front of the camera, ditching the audio bundled to LCD that has been an issue with the previous cameras. Overall, the build quality is rugged, and if past cinema cameras are any indication, people will be putting that to the test. 

For outputs, we’ve got a 4K HDMI, a Monitor SDI out, and a 12G 4K SDI out, in addition to the video terminal for the LCD/EVF. One small issue is that when recording in 4K formats, the SDI out is stuck to outputting 4K. Most wireless transmitters and on-board monitors don’t accept a 12G 4K image, limiting users to using the Monitor Out for on-camera routing. Not a huge issue, but not having the ability to spit out a clean and overlay/LUT signal at the same time to two places will get on the nerves of the DIT. I expect this will be addressed in a future firmware update. 

Using the camera is easy, as one would expect from Canon. While the menu system is a lot longer than with previous Canon cameras, it’s still as easy as ever to find what you’re looking for. 

Overall, we expect this camera will meet the needs of the full-frame minded shooter, with plenty of S35 modes as well. While the XF-AVC looks great, it’s the Canon Raw that really sings. And while it’s compressed, it’s still a pretty hefty workflow at around 32 minutes per 512GB card. It’s helpful that this camera can occupy both higher budget shoots with RAW workflows, and more traditional C300 II style shooting with XF-AVC — looking great in either scenario.  Reach out to Rentals by email or phone at 800-rule-com (800-785-3266) to take it for a spin. Canon’s Ryan Snyder and Paul Hawxhurst will be here on March 18th from 10am-12n for a hands-on overview. Click here to RSVP. It’s FREE!

-Alex Enman, Engineer

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Go Full-Frame in February with 25% Off

Feel the love in February! Get 25% Off Our Full-Frame Digital Cinema Cameras + Lenses all-month-long!

ARRI ALEXA Mini LF $1,600/day less 25%  •  Canon C500 MK II $550/day less 25%    Sony VENICE $1,300/day less 25%    Sony FX9 $425/day less 25%

 

Rehoused Leica R Primes in 19mm24mm28mm35mm, 50mm60mm Macro90mm, 135mm $85/day (each) less 25%

Zeiss Supreme Primes in 21mm, 25mm, 29mm, 35mm, 50mm, 65mm, 85mm, 100mm $200/day (each) less 25% 

Zeiss 28-80mm PL/EF Compact Zoom $350/day less 25% 

Zeiss 70-200 PL/EF Compact Zoom $350/day less 25%

Zeiss Otus Primes in 28mm, 55mm, 85mm $75/day less 25%

Sigma Cine PL/EF Primes in 20mm, 24mm, 35mm, 40mm, 50mm, 85mm, 105mm T1.5 and 14mm, 135mm T2.0 $70-85/day (each) less 25%  

Angenieux Optimo Ultra 12x Zoom Call for Rate less 25%   Angenieux EZ-1 30-90mm / 22-60mm Zoom $250/day less 25% •  Angenieux EZ-2 15-40mm / 45-135mm Zoom $250/day less 25%

Capture full-frame resolution for more detail and exceptional image quality when you rent our full-frame digital cinema cameras and lenses at 25% off! Reach out to Rentals by email or phone at 800-rule-com.

How do the Full-Frame Lenses compare? Click here to watch our lens test, shot with the ARRI ALEXA Mini LF and comparing the Rehoused Leica R, Zeiss Supreme Prime, and Sigma Cine Prime.

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The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K Gets the Job Done

Last weekend I filmed a little passion project. It was a music video, and I was operating as a one-man show. Since I was shooting solo, my goal was to have a camera that was both lightweight and compact without sacrificing quality. The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K was a perfect fit with a 4/3 image sensor that captures 4096 x 2160 DCI 4K. With great Codecs — like ProRes and Blackmagic Raw — I was in for an easy post-production workflow. 

For this shoot, I was operating in a variety of locations, and I knew the camera had to be able to handle each one. The first location was a dark basement and another location was outdoors in daylight. My goal was to make sure I didn’t lose my shadows in the basement or my highlights in the sky while outdoors. With the BMPCC’s 13 stops of dynamic range and its dual ISO, I didn’t have any issues at all.

The 5-inch LCD touch screen that comes with the camera was perfect. I had mounted a SmallHD monitor to the camera, but I caught myself looking more at the camera’s screen than at the external monitor. It was big enough to get that sharp focus, which I really liked.

The one flaw I found with the camera was using it with an LP-E6 Battery. I use these batteries with my Canon DSLR, so I always have a bunch of them lying around. I couldn’t believe how fast I went through them while shooting. I was switching batteries about every half hour or so. Since I was in one location with a charge station it was not a concern for me. If your shoot happens to be less convenient to a power source, then you’ll be glad to know that this camera does come with a DTap Power Cable to draw power off your gold mount and V-mount batteries. Keep in mind that this adds weight to your camera set-up, but it saves you from the hassle of worrying about power.

One last great feature with the BMPCC is that you have some media options for recording. This camera has built-in SD and CFast card slots along with a USB-C port. The USB-C is great because you can record to an SSD through it, and you’ll get almost endless amounts of storage potential. 

Overall, I was glad I brought the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K along. It most definitely got the job done.

– Alex Lopez, QC Technician

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Rent the Sony VENICE Digital Cinema Camera at 25% off in July

Rent the Sony VENICE Digital Cinema Camera at 25% off in July! Each month, we offer a special rental rate on equipment we think you’ll love. This month, we’re offering the Sony VENICE at 25% off the regular rate of $1,300.

The VENICE is equipped with a newly developed, full-frame image sensor, phenomenal color science, and a user-friendly design with clear and simple menu navigation. With the wide latitude and gamut recorded by the VENICE, freedom of expression is significantly expanded in grading and based on established workflow. Click here for product page and rental rate.

Contact RENTALS by email or phone at 800-rule-com for availability, details, and to book.

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Now Taking Orders for the Canon EOS C200 Digital Cinema Camera

Coming Soon to Rentals and Now Taking orders for Sales! The Canon EOS C200 Digital Cinema Camera is the latest “ready-to-go” production camera from Canon that delivers outstanding image quality, performance and versatility, making it ideal for film, documentary and television production, corporate and event photography, and newsgathering.

Features include:

• 8.85 Megapixel Super 35mm 16:9 CMOS sensor that supports 4K (DCI) recording with a maximum resolution of 4096 x 2160 pixels

• Fully compatible with new and existing Canon EF-Mount lenses

• Built-in Viewfinder with LCD Touch Panel, Camera Grip and Handle Unit

• Dual DiG!C DV 6 Image Processors

• Dual Pixel CMOS AF Technology

• Internal 4K RAW Recording with New Cinema RAW Light

• Internal 4K UHD and Full HD Recording in MP4

• Full HD 120P / 100P Slow Motion Recording

• Professional Workflow

• HDR Viewing

• ACES 1.0 Support

• Wide Range of Connectivity Options

Sales is taking orders. Contact sales@rule.com or 800-rule-com for details. We’ll be adding the C200 to our Rental inventory as soon as it’s available. Stay tuned for more details.

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Canon Introduces New Firmware Upgrade for C300 + C300 MKII

Canon has announced a new firmware upgrade at NAB New York that is sure to please C300 shooters.  The main features for the Mark II are enabled audio recording in 2K crop mode and the ability to turn off the internal microphone.  The update brings an expanded Zebra range (5% to 100%) on the Mark II and shutter angle priority (keep your desired shutter angle as you change frame rates) on both the original C300 and the Mark II.

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-11-38-52-am

The other updates coming with the firmware relate to Canon’s Cine Servo Zoom lenses in EF mount.  Auto and push iris are now available for Cine Servo EF 17-120mm and EF 50-1000mm, as well as the new 18-80mm that will be released shortly.  Dual Pixel autofocus will also be supported for the EF 17-120mm and 18-80mm on the Mark II and original cameras with dual pixel capability.  We currently do not carry these lenses (we have the 17-120mm available in PL mount only), but we will have an 18-80mm once it is released later this month.

Check out this video with Canon Technical Advisor, Brent Ramsey, for more information about the upgrade.  We’ll be updating the C300 Mark II EF Mount and PL Mount cameras in our rental inventory when the firmware is released on December 13th. Interested in buying the C300 Mark II? See links below and contact us at sales@rule.com or 800-rule-com.

Canon EOS C300 EF 24-70 Kit

Canon EOS C300 with Dual Pixel CMOS AF Feature Upgrade

Canon EOS C300 MK II 

-Grace Deacon, Engineer, deacon@rule.com

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The Panasonic GH4: An Analysis (Part 1 of 2)

DSLR enthusiasts and 4K adopters alike have all been talking nonstop about the new Panasonic GH4; the tiny camera that can do 4K internally, high speeds up to 96fps, and some very high bit rates. Panasonic has taken the queues from its users who have in the past hacked and modded the GH series cameras to suit their needs. The GH4 does everything they’ve asked for, and Panasonic has come out strong with a very interesting 4K camera – but how does it perform in the real world? Size The GH4 is small. Real small. As you can see in the photo above, even with some rigging it maintains a small profile. Compared to the Canon 5D Mark III at around 2lbs, the GH4 squeaks in at a svelte 1.2lbs. The additional YAGH bottom unit will add a bit of heft to the camera, but at the end of the day it is one of the smaller DSLR’s out there. This can be a good or bad thing, all depending on your situation. For me, the flip out screen and small form factor are fantastic for run and gun situations, specifically in crowded areas or in public. It’s small and lightweight, but packs a punch with its recording quality. The small size will lend itself nicely to stabilizers of all types – including the new Movi M5 (available to buy or rent here at Rule!). Imager and Recording The GH4 is another camera in a long line of Micro Four Thirds (MFT) size sensors. MFT is an interesting sensor size. Compared to the Full Frame Canon DSLRs, the crop factor can be intimidating (2.1x, thereabouts). Those of us familiar with shooting with the Blackmagic Cinema Cameras won’t be too surprised, but it can be a shock to some. When using S35 glass, like our beautiful Zeiss Super Speeds, the crop shrinks down to a manageable 1.4x – making the field of view on a 50mm look more like the field of view of a 70mm. Something shooters of the C100, C300 and other APS-C canon cameras will be very familiar with. Aside from the crop, the image produced by the GH4 is impressive. It’s no low-light monster like the Canon 1DC – I don’t find ISO values higher than 1600 usable without heavy noise reduction and post work, compared to the 10,000 ISO on the 1DC that I’ve filmed with comfortably in the past. I find the standard ISO 800 values to be pleasing, but find that the shadows can still present some blocky looking noise artifacts. This can usually be graded out easily, but it’s important to remember that this isn’t a 1DC, and you’re going to have to take care when shooting dim scenes. The GH4 does not have an official “Log” setting, as the 1DC does – but I find one can get very close when using the Cinelike D profile. I’ve altered my settings slightly to present a slightly more flat and dynamic range friendly profile. By lowering the in camera noise reduction, sharpening, and saturation, I find you can squeeze a bit more information into the recording. I also use the master pedestal setting to raise the blacks up (+15 in camera menu). I find this to be very near to a proper log setting. In DaVinci Resolve, using the Arri Alexa LUTs shows just how close it can be – though you should bump the saturation down a bit more before applying. Below is a very quick test I did here at the Rule office. Shot in very bright mid-day sunlight, I tried to see how well the camera would capture detail and dynamic range. You can see it holds up well. The camera loves daylight, far more than tungsten. Though the 4K is only recorded at a variable bitrate, maxing at 100Mbps, it seems to handle detail and movement well. It is able to capture the bright blue sky, as well as plenty of shadow detail. It’s not RAW, like the Blackmagic counterparts, but you can record around 80 minutes of 4K video on a 64GB card – compared to the Blackmagic Pocket Camera that can give you around 20-30 minutes of Prores, or 15 or so minutes of RAW 1080p. Puts it all into perspective, doesn’t it? Click here for “Panasonic GH4: First Tests” on Vimeo. The GH4 is also capable of outputting a 10bit 4:2:2 signal via HDMI. This disables the internal recording, but allows for very high quality Prores recordings with the Odyssey 7Q. While it can be a bit of a runaround getting from Micro-HDMI to Mini-HDMI, the image quality is striking. The Odyssey 7Q’s monitor is also a miracle when shooting, and a welcomed respite from using the small 3” flip out LCD screen. The added focus peaking, zebra, and histogram functions also make shooting life easier. The GH4 does internally offer peaking, zebra, and histogram – but none perform quite as nicely as that of the 7Q. Stay tuned for a follow up blog post with some more footage and examples, as well as the GH4 Learning Lab I’ll be presenting June 25th here at Rule Boston Camera! Alex Enman, Engineer, enman@rule.com

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In the Showroom: The AF100

With the new Panasonic AF100 Camera being shipped, and the new Sony PMW-F3 on its way, lots of questions have arisen, especially by filmmakers who don’t actually know much about lenses.  I know…seriously?  However if you’re like me and want a simple explanation of what goes with what, here it is below.

We’ve recently established a relationship with Birger Engineering, a well-known company right down the road from us in Boston, and, as of February 10, we’ll start carrying their Canon EF to Micro 4/3 Adapter.  Their Birger F-Mount adapter will shortly follow and after that you’ll be seeing adapters for the Sony PMW-F3, which is a native PL-mount, and also the Arri Alexa camera.  Don’t forget we’re having an event this Wednesday, January 19th featuring the Sony PMW-F3, currently, only one of two in the entire country.  If you have questions you’d like to ask Sony directly, this will be the event to come to! So, what next?  Well, please make sure you are stocked on accessories.  We are obviously seeing a delay in the AF100 inventory due to high demand, but note that we now carry stock of SanDisk CF and SDHC Cards, SxS-1 and P2 as well as batteries, chargers, headphones and more.  If there is something you’d like to see more of here, email me at Brooks@Rule.com, and let me know!  I’ll happily add more to the inventory if I’m missing something.  Tune in for more new things to be expecting- the countdown to NAB is on now that the New Year has begun, and it’s never too late to start tracking what you’ll see. Below, we have some pictures of an AF100 we recently set up for a client, including the Zacuto Fast Draw, with an extra Zwivel Arm, 4.5 M-F Threaded Rod, 10” Arm Extensions, 77mm step-down ring, Genus 4×4 Matte Box, Arri M-FF1 Follow Focus, Zacuto Zip Gear with stops, Vibesta 8.3” Magic Arm, Canon 24-70mm L-series lens and a Convergent Design Nanoflash.  Accessories?  In this case, Panasonic VWV-BG6PPK batteries and single slot Panasonic charger, Panasonic 32Gb Gold SDHC Cards, SanDisk 32Gb Extreme CF Cards (Class 10) and a Canon Adapter that will be announced shortly. As we were setting this up: One thing to note: When using a non-Panasonic lens with an adapter, go to Menu>Other Functions> Lens Check and turn it “off.” Otherwise you’ll see black. Michelle Brooks, Inside Sales Rep

(Above) Panasonic AG-AF100 with Arri MFF-1 Follow Focus, Zacuto Fast Draw Kit Canon 24-70mm LF/2.4 Lens and Genus Matte Box (Below) Same set-up with C.D. Nanoflash and Vibesta Magic Arm.