Posted on

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

Posted on

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.

Posted on

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

Posted on

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.

Posted on

Meet the Angenieux Optimo Ultra 12x Multi-Format Monster

As dependable as ever, Angenieux has released another perfect lens. The Optimo Ultra 12x cine zoom is really the next bar to measure other zoom lenses against. This time, they’ve created a multi-format monster that can cover 3 sensor sizes — including the new and exciting Full-Frame format that is on track to be this year’s summer jam.

As the format can change, the zoom range also changes slightly in regards to which lens element you’ve chosen. The options are for standard Super 35, Ultra 35 — a format created for S35+ formats like ARRI Open Gate, Sony Venice 5.7K 16:9, 6K RED Dragon, 8K RED Helium — and Full-Frame/Vista Vision targeted at large format cameras like the ARRI ALEXA LF, RED Monstro, RED 8K Vista Vision, and Sony Venice Full-Frame 6K.

The zoom ranges break down into these groups, and you’ll see that change in speed as well:

  • S35 [31.6mm] 24-290mm T2.8
  • U35 [34.6mm] 26-320mm T3.1
  • FF/VV [46.3mm] 36-435mm T4.2

Tests below are from the Sony Venice at 5.7K 16:9, with the Ultra35 format.

26mm [note the vingette is only visible in the “look around” setting at 16:9, and is not recorded].

 

320mm

This flexibility in format is exactly what rental houses are looking for — a lens that you can depend on, and that can change to fit your format needs from job-to-job. Just let your Rental Agent know which camera you’re using, and we can make sure it matches up.

The build quality is exactly what’s to be expected from the Optimo line-up, which is a visually near-perfect parfocal zoom that is very pretty, very heavy, and very expensive. No, this lens won’t be the everyday shooter’s go-to, but commercial and episodic productions will certainly get use out of this artillery-style zoom. With the 12x range, this isn’t something that’s meant to be taken off the camera that often. It’s your “on sticks, workhorse zoom”, just like the previous 24-290 models.

What excited me most about this lens is the Ultra 35 option. Yes, S35 is the standard, and, yes, Full-Frame sure is the cool, new kid on the block; but so many cameras have odd, non-standard sensor sizes. Having a lens that works well, specifically for Venice 5.7K, RED Helium 8K, and ARRI Open Gate is pretty phenomenal. Of course, designing a lens just for these odd sizes would be insane, which is where the flexibility of the multi-format option saves the day. I don’t know what the future will hold for imager sizes, but I do know that this lens will probably fit them.

More good news: You can take this lens for a spin at a 25% off in June. Just contact Rentals for details.

– Alex Enman, Engineer