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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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The Sony FX9 is HERE + We’re EXCITED!

UPDATE: The Sony PXW-FX9 is now available to Rent! This blog post was written before its arrival, but we’re no less excited! Please, read on to learn why and reach out to Rentals to book by email or phone (800-rule-com).

Today, I wanna talk about the newly announced Sony FX9, a camera I couldn’t be more excited for… But before I do that, we need to talk about some history.

The Year: 2014. Latvia has just adopted the Euro, Birdman and Whiplash have made Jazz drumming the official soundtrack of the year, and Dr. Dre became a billionaire after selling some headphones to Apple.

It was a time of transition in our industry, and Sony decided to make a big move in the cinema camera market. At this point, Sony’s lineup was based mostly around the F55 and F5, twin cameras that spanned the $15-25K market. We tend to see large manufacturers borrowing technology from their higher-end cameras and spinning it off into lower tier models, and in 2014 Sony swung for the fences. They borrowed the sensor from their popular F5 cinema camera, stuck it in a cheaper, shoulder-friendly model — and released the PXW-FS7.

People. Freaked. Out. 

The FS7 went head-on against Canon’s massively popular C300, and the mid-tier cinema market changed. The FS7 was popular for a host of reasons, but the one that stuck out most and really set it apart was the form factor. Sony decided that, sometimes, it’s nice to put a camera on your shoulder. Borrowing designs from Super-16 Aatons, not to mention a carbon copy of their hand grip, the FS7 was unlike any other camera – because it looked most like a camera. The best part was the price point – coming in around $8K, compared to Canon’s C300 that sold closer to $15K.

The FS7 was updated a few years later with the FS7 II. The model was exactly the same, specs-wise, but had the addition of the FS5’s Variable ND filter system. Sony also created a new locking E-Mount to deal with the hefty lenses shooters were pairing with the camera. The mirrorless, small flange distance E mount lent itself well to adapting — and the smart cropping modes for the 4K sensor meant that you could use pretty much any lens you could get your hands on. 

The FS7 was, at the time, a powerhouse of specs. Full DCI 4K up to 60fps, HD up to 180fps – a RAW back for 12bit RAW up to 240fps at HD. The camera was scalable, somewhat modular, and fit on pretty much anyone’s shoulder out of the box – no need for third party shoulder pads and accessories. 

The interesting piece of this story is that even in today’s camera landscape, the FS7 II is still an extremely capable camera at its price point. It’s still more powerful than the C300II, having no issues with crop and high frame rates, and is in line with great color options in Slog3. So, what could they improve on? 

That brings us to today, the Fall of 2019 — 5 years since the FS7’s release. The industry has been waiting patiently for a true update to the FS7, and an FS7 III had been rumored for years. In September, Sony announced the PXW-FX9 – something much more than a small update to the line, and, in fact, a whole new model with something very different to bring to the table, all while keeping what worked with the FS7 in mind. 

Just as the original FS7 borrowed some DNA from it’s older brothers, the FX9 is no different. Sony’s new flagship VENICE camera has made some serious waves in the industry, offering not only an amazing full frame 6K image — but a new color science that has DP’s second guessing their ARRI and RED cameras. This is a huge step for Sony. As a colorist, I hear the “it’s an ok camera but it has that Sony video look” quite a bit — a claim I find entirely foolish. The offering of a true wide gamut and log gamma mean that the camera looks however you want it to — and if it looks too “video-y,” then you’re doing it wrong. That point aside, the VENICE is beautiful. The new color, paired with the full-frame look, is something to behold.

And that’s where the FX9 comes from, borrowing the new color science and sporting a brand new 6K imager. Now, that doesn’t mean it can record full 6K like it’s older sibling (currently), but what it does mean is that it creates a wonderfully deep image from the 6K to 4K debayer. If you know anything about sensors, you know that you don’t necessarily want to shoot the native resolution of a CMOS sensor – ideally you want a larger resolution to debayer a better image from. This is how the original C300 made its HD image look so nice, even though it had a 4K sensor. The C300II uses a similar 4K sensor to shoot 4K, and it really doesn’t shine as brightly as it should for that reason.

The FX9 has an entirely new body, and while it’s price point is somewhat higher than the original FS7 – I think the extra costs have been put in the right places. It’s more rugged, built tougher, and looks amazing. Using the same media as the FS7, XQD (now called CFexpress and being widely adopted by plenty of other manufacturers) means one doesn’t have to worry about corrupt cards and all the problems that come with CFast2.0 — a media format I’d describe as straight garbage.

The FX9 still has the option for an external RAW back, just like the original XDCA unit, but this time it’s pushing out 16Bit RAW. 

Preorders are available now, with it due to ship in December 2019. We’re pretty confident that this camera is going to be THE camera for mid-tier cinema uses. Commercial, doc, streaming, even TV – all in that glorious full frame field of view. Look for an update once ours arrive!

-Alex Enman, Engineer

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Spots Available! Hands-on Internship for Spring Semester

CALLING ALL STUDENTS! Join Rule Boston Camera for our Spring Semester Internship starting in January and ending in April for 2 days a week of high-level training and hands-on access to the latest film and video equipment and technology.  You’ll learn the basics from our team in the Quality Control Department with exposure to the in’s and out’s of Rentals and Engineering along with demos of the latest and most popular gear from our tech team.

P

Interested? Send resumes to Dylan Law at law@rule.com. This is an unpaid internship.

Click here to see our Interns in action.

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Meet the Extraordinary Zeiss Otus Lenses

What does the perfect lens look like? Is there even such a thing? We have a lot of philosophical lens conversations here at Rule. We’ve always had an affinity for vintage glass, and all the gritty imperfections that come with them. There are, however, plenty of shooting scenarios where a vintage look isn’t appropriate. Those modern, cutting edge, sharp-as-a-tack shoots. We’ve always had sharp glass, but the Zeiss Otus Primes (avail in 28mm, 55mm, 85mm) are a cut above.

As we work within the film and photography world when it comes to glass, there has always been a clear division between the two. Lenses that were very sharp, but not suited for on set use. Lenses that were geared and friendly for all our film accessories, but weren’t really that crisp — and if they could be both, they were pretty pricey. In this way, the Zeiss Otus series is a bridge between worlds. An expensive stills lens, and an affordable cine lens. Whichever way you decide to group them, the fact of the matter remains – this is extraordinary glass. 

The Zeiss Otus series was designed over a 3-year period, deep in the underground Zeiss bunker — somewhere, I assume, in the Alps. Zeiss made one thing clear upon announcing their new “affordable” lenses — they would not be compromising quality, in any regard. Did you know there are 6 elements in the construction of these lenses that are more valuable than gold? Vibranium unconfirmed. The body is a beautiful machined metal, and the overall feeling one has when shooting with them is a profound sense of modernity. These are the lenses of right now, and they’re great. 

Using these, I’ve found myself saying things like “Wow, the GH5 looks great!” “Wow, this FS7 looks great!” It took a second to realize that this lens is just a very nice addition to any camera. We can get into the weeds all day long about sensors, debayer patterns, relative sharpness, crispening — but at the end of the day, it comes down to the thing you put on the front of the camera. They are, on one hand, larger than every stills lens I’ve ever used or even heard of, which can be a bit of a bummer for compact shooters. They are no bigger than a Canon 24-70, though, and the weight trade-off is certainly warranted. Speed is also a consideration, as our 28mm, 55mm, and 85mm are all f1.4. While some lenses can achieve an f1.2, I find that to be an aperture I seldom use. I’ll trade a stop for the improved performance, no questions asked. 

In addition to freakish clarity, the Otus primes handle chromatic aberration with ease. Edges I found ringed with purple with my Canon L series glass were made pure and clean with the Otus. Even the edges of frame are well-defined and are not only very sharp, but match the sharpness of the entire frame. They are extremely reliable in their projected image, and certainly deliver on the promise Zeiss made — they’re the new standard. 

For me, I’m finding them to perform as a budget-friendly option to the Zeiss Supremes – and that’s an enormous credential to boast. So, if you’re looking for the Lens of The Future (or, perhaps, today), give rentals a call (or click here to email), and come check these things out!

– Alex Enman, Engineer

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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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Gear up at 25% Off RED Digital Cinema Cameras in April

All-month-long, we’re offering a 25% discount on your favorite RED Digital Cinema Camera. Rent the Epic-W Helium, Gemini, or Weapon with RED Media at 25% off through April 30th.

RED Epic-W Helium 8K Digital Cinema Camera 

Powered by the HELIUM 8K S35 sensor, the RED EPIC-W is capable of shooting  8K Full Format at up to 30fps.

RED Gemini 5K Digital Cinema Camera

Featuring a dual sensitivity rating, the Gemini produces a clean high ISO image.

 

RED Weapon 8K S35

Capable of shooting motion and stills in 8K 2.4:1 at up to 75fps, or 8K Full Format at 60fps.

Contact Rentals by email or phone at 617-277-2200 (800-rule-com) to schedule your discounted RED Rental Rate in April!

You can also REGISTER FOR REDucation Boston, a 3-day workshop taught by AbelCine’s Director of Education, Jeff Lee, here at Rule Boston Camera over the weekend of May 3rd-5th. Click here to learn more and register.

 

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EXTENDED! It’s Full-Frame February (through 3/15) with 30% OFF Zeiss Supreme + Sigma Cine Prime Lenses + Zeiss Zooms

EXTENDED + EXPANDED! Due to popular demand, we’re extending Full-Frame February to MARCH 15th with 30% off Zeiss Supreme Primes + Cine Sigma Primes, PLUS we’re adding Zeiss Zooms (28-80mm + 70-200mm) to the discount! All are available at 30% off through March 15th!

The Zeiss Supreme Primes aka “Super Speeds” for the full-frame, digital-cinema age, pack an incredible amount of optical clarity and refined imaging beauty into a lightweight compact lens. With each lens designed to cover a full frame 24x36mm sensor and a 46.3mm image circle, you’ll want to utilize the lenses’ “sweet spot” for astounding images with Super 35mm imagers. Zeiss Supreme Primes are available to rent in 25mm, 29mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm T1.5 Prime with the 100mm Coming Soon! The rate per lens is $200/day LESS 30%!

The Sigma Cine full-frame, high-speed prime lenses are compact + lightweight, delivering crisp, high-resolution images. Each lens in the set is matched, features standard .8 gearing on the focus and iris rings, and all have a common 95mm front diameter. The Sigma Cine Primes are available in 14mm, 20mm, 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, and 135mm ranging from $70-85 each per day LESS 30%! 

The Zeiss 28-80mm T2.9 Compact Zoom Lens is a standard zoom lens, great for motion picture production with full-frame coverage and no focus shift over the zoom range. The cine-style housing features calibrated focus scales and industry standard gearing for focus, iris and zoom. Lens is available in either PL or EF Mount. Rent it for $350/day LESS 30%! 

The Zeiss 70-200mm T2.9 Compact Zoom is versatile and robust, with cine-style housing, full-frame coverage and interachangeable mounts. Lens is available in either PL or EF Mount. Rent it for $350/day LESS 30%!

Contact Rentals by email or phone at 800-rule-com for more details or to schedule your rental. Click here for our flyer, and feel free to share! 
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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.