$95/day less 25%
$50/day less 25%
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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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.
Making cool shit is fun. And I wish I got to do it more often. So, when my friend and director, Joan Cassin, asked me if I’d be interested in working on a passion project / mini doc, I said, “Hell yes.”
There was no money. Getting it scheduled was hard, but finally the night came — we were going to grab what equipment we could afford, beg, borrow, or steal, and try to make something happen. The plan was to get together with a local chef, Daniel Gursha, who has a passion for cooking locally and seasonally, and make a little film poem.
Our package was in some ways incredibly bare bones but also incredibly fortunate — we had an ALEXA Mini, some Leica R’s, some Quasar battery operated tubes, and few pick ups from Rule — The DMG Lumiere Mini Mix, a Laowa Macro Probe Lens, a Cineo Remote Phosphor LED, and an EasyRig. That’s the fortunate part. The bare bones part was that we had almost no support and only one person, the super helpful Sarah Secunda, to help move stuff around.
First up we wanted to knock the Laowa macro stuff out of the way. The Laowa was a delight to use–although not the easiest in terms of execution. Wide open it’s at a healthy T14, which may not scare some people, but as a proud member of the litemat/titan tube/neg fill for 90% of situations generation, I wasn’t sure exactly how I’d get there. Especially when not in a studio.
A lot of probe lenses will open to a 5.6 or 8, but it’s a little bit of a gotcha. Usually there is a tremendous amount of chromatic aberration and general funk to the lens at the aperture. Not to mention that at these focal distances you just need a lot of depth of field to be able to tell what the hell you’re looking at. By starting with a T14, the Laowa basically says, we need this much light to start to look good. Deal with it.
One other complicating factor was we needed to be overcranked. For me, on a macro photography scale, things just look a little better slowed down. They do this when shooting miniature sets for films. You can barely notice but it helps you parse what you’re seeing more easily and feels like a more natural scale of movement.
I went to 48fps, with a 220 degree shutter–which is kind of my go to set up if we aren’t sure if the footage will be retimed. The 220 degree shutter allows for a more normal motion blur if you retime to 24fps, without making the overcranked stuff look like a blurry mess. The Laowa comes with a ring of LED lights around the lens, but I wouldn’t recommend using it if you can avoid it. The solution to not having enough light was to just rip all the diffusion off and walk lights close to the lens. When you are at deeper stops you can really start painting with lights. At wide open and 1600 iso, the slightest change in light can really mess up your scene, but at T14/16, you can have a light at 100% intensity and next to the subject and really feel it in a different way. It’s fun. If I can, even on fast lenses–say a 2.0 at 800 iso, I’ll often try and keep a .6 in front of the lens just so you can be a little more liberal with how you splash around the photons.
The next hurdle we had to cross was camera movement. We didn’t have a dolly, or slider, or a grip, or anything. Also, it bears mentioning that this was one of the most unfriendly locations for this kind of work. The counters were small and up against the wall. On an impulse I had grabbed my daughters super small pink skateboard and brought it to the shoot. In order to get the lens level with the cutting board we brought over a lower table from the kitchen, put the skateboard on that with a small cutting board on top, and then rested the camera on that. Rickety, but it worked–being overcranked helped us tremendously in smoothing things out.
Here you can see it in execution. Macro close ups are great, but moving ones are bananas.
After we finished up the tabletop portion we switched to getting a little footage of the chef in action. Fire is an element to our story and we needed to capture him grilling some vegetables and meat. We took off the Laowa, put on the Leica R’s, and I strapped into the EasyRig.
For the grilling scene I really wanted to splash color everywhere. I wanted a warm, welcoming light coming from the direction of the house, and also a strange cold color coming from the outside world. We only had one RGB light, the DMG Lumiere, so I set that to the Rosco Jade gel preset, and stuck it way out in the yard, as high on a c-stand as it would go. For the warm welcoming light, I took the Cineo with a chimera on it, and taped full CTO inside the softbox. The Cineo is a great light–it renders tungsten or daylight beautifully, but essentially you are relegated to 3200 or 5600 depending on the panels you have, which these days feels like a real limitation.
This scene was fun to shoot–I wish I had spent a little more time getting some eyelight in there, but I’ll definitely remember next time. I think as an operator or a DP I always have a checklist playing over and over in my head. Just going over framing, exposure, contrast, and colors again and again — and I’m always finding small things to add to the list. This time was a reminder not to forget eyelight. I haven’t used the Rs much but liked them very much–wide open they feel very soft with nice fall off, even at a 2.8. Next time I may try a little deeper stop for more resolving power.
All in all it was a long but really rewarding night. Thanks to Director Joan Cassin for bringing me on to shoot, the invaluable help of Sarah Secunda, the awesome BTS photos of Danny Ebersole, and the delicious food of Chef Daniel Gursha.
– Matthew Dorris, DP, @filouza
With a simple install and immediate results, the new VEGA upgrade is a no-brainer for rental houses and owner-operators alike. Owner-operators, click here to follow Ready Rig’s simple upgrade instructions.
The improved stability and weight control make the upgrade worth every penny. For any gimbal job, add a Ready Rig with VEGA to your order for improved stability and weight control. The VEGA absorbs unwanted motion to capture smooth and fluid shots with the controls at your fingertips. You’ll love the improvements in this motion tool — made by industry professionals for industry professionals!
Take the VEGA for a spin and let me know what you think. To book it, reach out to Rentals by email or call 800-rule-com.
–Dylan Law, QC/Logistics & MoVI Tech
Unique bokeh characteristics, focus breathing, desired flaring, EF or PL mount, fast T-Stop (for anamorphic), standard front diameter (114mm), and affordable cost — these are just some of the features found in the Orion 2x Anamorphic lenses from Atlas Lens Co.
The Orion series (we have both A and B sets) brings anamorphic shooting to the masses! While traditional anamorphic lenses can be out of reach, budget-wise, we’re thrilled to carry the full set that includes the 32mm, 40mm, 50mm, 65mm, 80mm, and 100mm anamorphic prime lenses.
My favorite part of carrying these lenses here in Rentals? I love when customers come into the shop with a smile on their faces because they can now bring the anamorphic look to their clients and their projects.
The size and weight of these lenses make them great for handheld, tripod, dolly, gimbal, and drone workflows. Once you see your first few frames through these anamorphic lenses, you will understand what Atlas Lens Co. has done for the industry.
-Dylan Law, QC/Logistics & MoVI Tech
SHOUT OUT TO ALL OUR AWESOME CUSTOMERS! As a year-end THANK YOU, we’re offering a special 2-week for 2-day rate to our valued customers!
From December 16th to January 3rd, rent anything in Rule Boston Camera’s rental inventory (based on availability), and pay a 2-day rate!
DON’T FORGET TO PLAN AHEAD! Rule Boston Camera will be closed for the holidays on December 25th, 26th, and January 1st.
We are grateful for the opportunity to support your creative process with gear, technical support, and services throughout the year!
Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for an amazing 2020!
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
Powered by the HELIUM 8K S35 sensor, this camera is capable of shooting 8K Full Format at up to 60fp. RENT: $975/day LESS 25%
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Capable of shooting motion and stills in 8K 2.4:1 at up to 75fps, or 8K Full Format at 60fps. RENT: $975 LESS 25%