Canon C500

Last updated by Yermy Weiss on May 28

The Canon C500 was Canon's first entry into the 4K arena. Based around the same 4K image sensor and popular body design of the C300 the C500 adds the ability to output uncompressed 10-bit 4K RAW over 3G SDI to an external recorder. The C500 is also compatible with a large number of third party 4K recorders making it one of the most versatile 4K cameras out there.

Design wise the camera is virtually identical to the C300, offering the same modular design with a detachable 4” LCD monitor that hosts two XLR inputs. The C500 is also able to record the same 50 Mb/s 4:2:2 Canon XF codec internally as the C300. The 1080P codec can be used for easy proxy editing or for reviewing footage since it takes up so much less space than 4K.

The C500 has a super 35mm image sensor that is built for video. Compared to stills cameras with similar sized image sensors the lower resolution allows for larger pixels which help the C500 achieve its large dynamic range and excellent high-ISO performance. Speaking of ISO, the C500 is able to record between 320-20,000 ISO. And while 20,000 ISO is far from noiseless, it has dramatically less noise with a much finer grain texture then you will find on any HDSLR camera.

Both EF mount and PL mount versions of the camera are available. The EF mount version allows for a wide array of still and cinema lenses to be used. The super 35mm sensor of the C500 is slightly larger than the 1.6 crop found on Canon APS-C cameras. EF-S lenses will have no trouble mounting to the camera but there is small chance they will vignette very slightly. However, any APS-C lenses that are designed to work with the 1.5 crop found on most APS-C DSLR cameras will have no trouble covering the C500’s image sensor (such as the recently announced Sigma 18-35 f/ 1.8).

4K on the C500

The C500 cannot record 4K internally It instead outputs 4K over single or dual link 3G-SDI to a compatible recorder. The C500 supports both DCi 4096 x 2160 4K and QHD 3840 x 2160.

The C500 takes a slightly different approach to outputting RAW data. While most cameras compress 14 or 16 bit RAW data to fit over the limited bandwidth of 3G-SDI, the C500 instead outputs uncompressed RAW at a lower 10 bit depth. Because of the limitations of 10 bit the C500 applies analogue gain at the sensor level before digitizing the signal. It is one of the only RAW cameras on the market where setting the ISO and white balance is important when shooting. Because the C500's RAW is uncompressed it takes an immense amount of bandwidth despite only being 10 bit. One minute of 24P 4K RAW takes up 16GB of space. One hour of 30P will take up 1.2 TB of data. Fortunately, some external recorders have the ability to debayer the C500's RAW in real time and record it in a high quality 4K, 10 Bit, 4:2:2 codec such as ProRes or DNxHD.  Some recorders let you switch between RAW and 4K ProRes, others can only do one of either.

Features

  • Shoots both DCI 4K and QHD
  • Uncompressed 10 Bit RAW output over 3G SDI
  • Compatible with a large amount of external recorders
  • Available in PL mount or EF mount
  • Built in ND filters
  • Records HD internally for use as proxy files

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