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EOS C400: Versatile Video Production, Redefined

2024-06-21
13
30.28 k

Announced on 6 June 2024, the EOS C400 is Canon’s first advanced full-frame Cinema EOS camera equipped with the RF mount, and it also features a host of other “firsts”, including the unique triple base ISO and a brand-new 6K full-frame back-illuminated stacked CMOS sensor. With its host of powerful features packed within a compact, highly riggable “box-type” form factor, it will reliably give life to your creative vision regardless of whether you are producing a film, shooting a live broadcast, or creating a virtual production.

In this article:

1. Key camera features

Newly developed full-frame 6K BSI CMOS sensor

Enhanced light sensitivity, stunning low light performance

The EOS C400 is Canon’s first Cinema EOS system camera to feature a new, in-house developed full-frame back side-illuminated (BSI) stacked sensor.

The sensor has a physical size of 38.4 x 20.2mm, with 19 effective megapixels.  Unlike traditional image sensors, its circuitry is “stacked” below the sensor plane, maximising light capture efficiency by enabling a larger light-gathering area on each pixel. It also improves the sensor readout speed so image data is sent more swiftly to the powerful DIGIC DV7 image processing engine.

These have far-reaching consequences on:

- Low light performance
- Dynamic range
- Rolling shutter
- Autofocus (AF) performance


Low light performance
As less amplification of light signals is required in situations with low ambient light, there is less noise in high ISO footage, increasing the camera’s usability across different sets and settings.

Dynamic range
When shooting in Canon Log 2 at base ISO 800, the EOS C400 achieves up to 16 stops’ dynamic range, preserving more detail in shadow areas.

Rolling shutter
The faster sensor readout reduces rolling shutter, allowing for smoother out-of-camera footage of fast-moving subjects and panning sequences.

Autofocus (AF) performance
The sensor-based Dual Pixel CMOS AF II technology thrives on light information from the photodiodes on the image sensor pixels. With the new BSI stacked sensor, reliable, ultra-responsive subject detection and focusing is available over 100% of the image area.

 

Triple base ISO

The EOS C400 is the first-ever cinema camera to feature triple base ISO—another game-changing feature in an industry where dual-base ISO is the premium camera norm.

The base ISO settings are:
- ISO 800, 3200, and 12800 (Canon Log 2/ Log 3/ RAW)
- ISO 400, 1600, and 6400 (Canon 709/ BT.709/ Wide DR/ PQ/ HLG)

A “base ISO” is the lowest possible ISO setting where the camera does not need to amplify light signals to capture data from it. At this setting, the camera achieves its best signal-noise ratio (least image noise) and dynamic range.

With three base ISO settings, EOS C400 users can choose the setting that best fits the ambient lighting situation. Enjoy beautiful, faithful colours and tones and clean footage regardless of whether you are shooting bright outdoor scenes, dimly lit interiors, or at night.

The EOS C400’s three base ISO settings include an ISO 12800 high-base setting (in Log/RAW modes), ensuring stunning image quality and detail even when recording action using higher frame rates in low lighting.

 

6K RAW of creative possibilities

The EOS C400 can capture 6K RAW video (6000 x 3164 pixels) up to 60P, unlocking more post-production possibilities. By changing the sensor mode, it’s also possible to record 4K RAW up to 120P, and 2K RAW up to 180P. Filmmakers, editors, and colourists will have more freedom to shape the footage to satisfaction in post-production without sacrificing image quality.

RAW files are recorded internally to the camera’s CFexpress Type B card slot in the efficient 12-bit Cinema RAW Light format, which achieves smaller file sizes about a third to a fifth of a standard Cinema RAW file. You can choose from three recording options (Light, Standard, and High Quality) depending on your file size and workflow requirements.

Proxy files, and XF-AVC (.mxf), XF-HEVC S (.mp4), or XF-AVC S (.mp4) format files can be simultaneously recorded to the SD card slot.


Spectacular oversampled 4K video

For projects requiring smaller file sizes or more streamlined workflows, the EOS C400’s 6K readout can be used to create high-definition oversampled 10-bit 4:2:2 4K files, so you can get crisp 4K DCI or UHD videos straight out of the camera.

* When using XF-AVC, XF-HEVC S, XF-AVC S recording, full-frame sensor mode, and frame rate of 60P/50P or lower.

Know this: Consistent data and file structures across recording formats

The EOS C400 can record files in four different codecs:
- Cinema RAW Light (.crm)
- XF-AVC (.mxf)
- XF-HEVC S (H.265/ HEVC; .mp4)
- XF-AVC S (H.264/ AVC; .mp4)

XF-HEVC S and XF-AVC S are improved codecs that record in lower bitrates to achieve smaller file sizes. They use the .mp4 file container format.

All 4 different file formats have the same metadata, file name, and folder structure for easier file management. The date and time of shooting as well as the reel number can also be displayed in the file name, improving workflow especially for multi-camera shoots.

 

Dual Pixel CMOS AF II with EOS iTR AF X


Improved autofocus reliability through deep learning-based subject detection

Besides the AF performance boost from the new BSI stacked sensor, the EOS C400 is the first Cinema EOS system camera to be armed with Canon’s next-generation, Dual Pixel CMOS AF II (DPAF II) technology. It’s your capable focusing assistant for when you don’t have a focus puller.

DPAF II operates in tandem with the deep learning-based EOS iTR AF X intelligent subject tracking and recognition system, which adds animal (dogs and cats) detection and human body detection to the camera’s subject detection capabilities. Human body detection ensures that focus stays on a human subject even when their eyes, face, or head are hidden!

2. The RF mount and lens options

The versatile RF mount

Outstanding optical performance, faster response and usability

The RF mount’s large diameter and short back focus distance open up new possibilities for optical design, giving rise to many unique new lenses and re-engineered, improved classics. The mount’s 12-pin interface improves communication between the camera and the lens, paving the way for better lens-camera coordination, lens aberration and distortion correction, and overall user control over the image.

Some native RF lenses that the EOS C400 works with include:

- RF5.2mm f/2.8L Dual Fisheye: Canon’s first VR lens, compatible with selected full-frame cameras
- RF10-20mm f/4L IS USM: The world’s widest ultra-wide-angle zoom lens for full-frame cameras—and also astoundingly light and compact.
- RF24-105mm f/2.8L IS USM Z: Canon’s first true hybrid lens with video-centric features
- RF-mount (CN-R) Cinema EOS prime lenses
- CN7×17 KAS T/R1: The first RF mount CINE-SERVO lens

Also see: 
RF Lenses vs EF Lenses: What's the Difference and How to Decide?

 

One unique lens that the EOS C400 works with is the RF5.2mm f/2.8L Dual Fisheye, which enables a streamlined VR180 production workflow via the EOS VR Utility software or its Adobe Premiere Pro plug-in*.

*Paid subscription required for full functionality


High adaptability: Expanded creative options with PL and EF lenses

The RF mount’s short back focus distance also makes it highly adaptable to other lenses. Available lens adapters (sold separately) include:

- Mount Adapter PL-RF*: For using industry-standard PL mount lenses like Sumire prime lenses. Cooke /i Technology-compatible.
- Mount Adapter EF-EOS R: For leveraging on your existing EF-mount lens assets.

Anamorphic lenses are also supported, with desqueezing applicable to images output to the LCD monitor, or to a monitor via SDI or HDMI.

In other words, the world of lenses is your oyster.

* Scheduled for launch in early September 2024. Not compatible with EOS C70 or EOS R5 C.

3. Size and weight

Compact and lightweight with lots of connectivity

Because of the shorter back focus distance of the RF mount, the EOS C400 is just around 1540g (body only) with dimensions of approximately 142mm x 135mm x 135mm (W x D x H), around 10% smaller and 210g lighter than the EOS C500 Mark II. In a barebones setup, its compact body fits comfortably on a gimbal or even a drone.

At the same time, the camera has a multitude of output and input interfaces, allowing it to be easily rigged for different projects and scales of production. It’s just as comfortable shooting single-operator run-and-gun documentaries as it is on film sets, or hooked up for broadcasts and live productions.

4. Brief walkthrough with images

Brief walkthrough of the EOS C400 interfaces


Front

A dedicated 12-pin LENS terminal on the front of the camera (circled in red) enables direct power delivery to broadcast and CINE-SERVO zoom lenses.

The camera also has the following interfaces that support broadcast/live production setups without an expansion unit.:
- Genlock
- Mini-XLR x 2
- Ethernet


Top

The new multi-function shoe features a next-generation high-speed digital interface that can supply power from the camera to compatible accessories such as an XLR microphone adapter.

Another multi-function shoe on the detachable top handle retains the shoe’s functionality even when the handle is attached.


Left

Audio controls are now on the operator side, unlike the EOS C300 Mark III and C500 Mark II.

The buttons are backlit for easier operation in the dark.


Back

Most of the ports and interfaces are on the camera rear. This includes:
- 12G-SDI
- 3G-SDI
- 2 x mini XLR
- Genlock/Sync/Return
- USB-C power out
- Full-sized HDMI
- Time code

Four mounting holes at the back enable the camera to be used with a V-lock battery.

 

Using either of two new battery packs is necessary to power all features including the multi-function shoe and the LENS terminal:

- Battery Pack BPA30-N
- Battery Pack BPA60-N

The EOS C400 also takes existing Canon BPA batteries with restricted functionality.


Right

An ethernet interface enables easy connectivity for broadcast, live productions, and multi-camera setups.

5. Other notable functions

Other notable functions

Combination IS

When used with a lens with built-in Optical IS, the EOS C400’s digital image stabilisation system (Digital IS) coordinates with the in-lens IS to perform enhanced 5-axis image stabilisation. This is possible because the RF mount enables high-speed communication between the lens and the camera.


Built-in ND filters

The EOS C400 has built-in ND filters (Normal mode: clear, 2,4,6 stops; Extended: 8, 10 stops). ND display units can be set in stops, transmittance, or optical density.


Support for virtual productions

Ready for virtual production out of the box, the EOS C400 can output real-time metadata required for virtual production, courtesy of the RF mount’s high-speed communication capabilities. Plug-ins are available for Unreal Engine and Adobe After Effects.

6. Watch: Shot on the EOS C400 + Behind the scenes

Watch: "Scary Good" Shot with the EOS C400 by Christine Ng, Canon's Explorer of Light


Behind The Scenes of "Scary Good" Shot on EOS C400 with Christine Ng

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