Canon Announces Powerful EOS C400 6K Full-Frame Cinema Camera


Today, Canon is announcing the EOS C400, a full-frame cinema camera featuring all of the best features from Canon’s lauded C300 and C500 series, plus an RF mount and a host of high-tech features that should make it one of the best options around for professional video work.

Canon EOS C400
Canon EOS C400

At the core of the EOS C400 is a 6K CMOS sensor that offers more dynamic range that any Cinema EOS full-frame sensor to date. That’s mostly due to the back illumination, which allows the sensor to capture more light and achieve faster readout speeds than traditional front-illuminated CMOS sensors. The powerful new sensor also ushers in a host of quality-of-life improvements: better autofocus, triple base ISO, and a diverse suite of RAW and compressed codecs. Don’t worry, the operator-friendly ergonomics and customizable design of the C300 and C500 are still here, but in a lighter, smaller, and more-powerful package than ever before. The Canon C400 is an exciting step forward for the Cinema EOS line and should prove popular with filmmakers around the world.

Canon has also announced the RF 35mm f/1.4 L VCM Lens and Speedlite EL-10; click here to read more about their latest hybrid lens and photography releases.

A Cornucopia of Recording Formats

The meat and potatoes of cinema cameras will always be the images they capture and the way they package those images. Canon’s popular color science and clean, low-noise video are already well known, but the C400 kicks things up a notch with manifold formats and codecs. Record up to 6K60p in three flavors of Cinema RAW Light—HQ, ST, and LT—all with 12-bit color. Like the C500 Mark II, you can shoot in uncropped full frame or cropped Super35mm and Super16mm formats. The C400 can also capture Cinema RAW Light up to 120p in 4K or 180p in 2K. This will be the most popular format for professional use, offering a ton of latitude for post-production and coloring.

For faster turnaround projects or smaller file sizes, the C400 can record in XF-AVC, XF-HEVC S, and XF-AVC S. XF-AVC creates MP4s in an MXF container with 10-bit 4:2:2 color, while the other two formats create traditional MP4s with even smaller bit rates. No matter which format you choose, the camera will ensure the same file-naming convention and folder structure as materials in other codecs, meaning you can easily write Cinema RAW Light to your primary CFexpress card while recording smaller proxy files onto an SD card for quick post-syncing. These smaller codecs can also achieve 4K 120p and 2K 180p slow motion.

To ensure clean, broadcast-ready 4K video, the C400 oversamples the 6K readout with a Debayer process and creates a 4K image that reportedly features much less moiré than traditional down-sampled images. Other nice capture features include highly customizable interval recording for timelapses, frame recording for stop motion, and an “Auto Clear Scan” flicker detection setting for eliminating banding.

Improved Low Light, Autofocus, and Stabilization

Canon’s cinema cameras have always performed well in low light, but the C400 takes that performance to a whole new level thanks to Canon’s first “Triple Base ISO.” That’s right, when shooting in Log/RAW, the C400 will have base ISOs of 800, 3200, and an astounding 12,800. This should make the C400 a low-light beast, perfect for shooting at night or in situations where it’s not possible to add external light. Those base ISOs drop down with more standard color profiles, but it’s still an amazing feat that will be a huge boon for documentary and run-and-gun productions.

Autofocus gets a tune-up of its own, with new Dual Pixel CMOS AF II that includes advanced people and animal tracking. The active focus area has increased from 80 to 100% of the frame, meaning the C400 should be able to keep your subjects in focus no matter where they wander. The autofocus frame size is highly adjustable, allowing users to pick between small, regular, large vertical, and large horizontal bounding boxes, or by telling the camera to keep the whole frame in mind. For animals, you can pick eyes, faces, or the entire body for more precise results. This new autofocus technology will work in higher frame rates up to 120fps.

Digital Image Stabilization has also received some upgrades, as it can now consider subject movement for additional correction or ignore subject movement and focus on data from the camera’s internal gyroscope to avoid unwanted correction artifacts. This feature, “Motion Vector for Digital IS,” is easily enabled or disabled in the camera settings, alongside other stabilization customization options. Many cinematographers forgo features like autofocus and electronic stabilization, but they’re valuable tools in certain production environments, and help further establish the C400 as a cinema Swiss Army knife.

All-in-One Package

The C400 uses a CFexpress Type B slot for RAW recording and features an SD card slot for simultaneous or standalone XF files—just make sure your SD cards are UHS-II V90. The 3.5” touchscreen LCD monitor can swivel a full 360 degrees from multiple contact points, so it can be easily adjusted for handheld, shoulder mount, or tripod setups. The monitor’s user interface is specifically designed for touch control, and has a new custom UI for vertical shooting. Expect the same versatile accessory mounting points all around the body, another popular feature brought over from past models.

Ports include two Mini-XLRs, an SDI out, an HDMI out, Timecode, a Genlock/Sync/Return terminal, a lens power terminal, and a DC IN 12V terminal. Dedicated audio level dials remain, as do ND Filter buttons. Built-in NDs go from 1-6 stops in Normal Mode and up to 10 stops in Extension Mode. Multi-function shoes ensure seamless compatibility with the Canon DM-E1D stereo mic and the Tascam CA-XLR-2D-C adapter. That Tascam extension unit gives users two additional full-sized XLR inputs fed directly into the camera. Some of the biggest advantages of the C300 and C500 have always been their hard-button layouts, which are easy to learn and utilize without having to pull your eyes away from the monitor. That continues here with an impressive 18 assignable buttons.

Out of the box, the camera includes the 3.5” monitor, top handle, a redesigned side handle grip, a power adapter, a new BP-A60N battery, and a battery charger. The BP-A60N and its smaller BP-A30N cousin provide more output than traditional Canon BP-A batteries. You can still use your old BP-As, but they won’t power the lens terminal or the multi-function shoe. The C400 works with Canon’s existing line of EF to RF adapters, as well as the 1.4x and 2x RF extenders. A new Canon PL to RF mount adapter is set to drop alongside the C400 so you can easily utilize PL-mount cine glass.

Cutting Edge Connectivity

Canon packed top-of-class Wi-Fi and Ethernet into the C400 to assist in steady, reliable IP streaming over SRT protocols. Canon’s proprietary XC Protocol also works with the C400 over Wi-Fi or Ethernet. That means you can control your camera with Canon’s RC-IP1000 or RC-IP100 controllers, the Multi-Camera Control app, the Remote Camera Controller app, or the Browser Remote app.

Key features for event shooting include tally lamps on the front and back of the body, a dedicated tally input, and a return input for viewing a return image during production. As expected, the C400 is fully compatible with Canon’s Virtual Production System. That means real-time metadata output with select lenses, as well as continuous correction data when paired with compatible Canon zooms.

Canon software and plug-ins can seamlessly composite CG environments with the camera’s output, integrating the C400 into virtual production environments that use Unreal Engine. The final piece of the tech puzzle is full EOS VR system compatibility. When paired with the Canon RF 5.2mm f/2.8 L Dual Fisheye lens, the C400 can record a complete VR image, no stitching or syncing in post required.

All That and a New Lens

Launching alongside the C400 is an updated version of Canon’s Cine-Servo 17-120mm T2.95-3.9 lens, available in RF mount for the first time. This lens features a new e-Xs V servo drive unit for faster focus and iris speeds and supports Focus Breathing Compensation. It also has a USB-C port to export and import lens setting data from a USB memory as well as to record and save maintenance history. The lens should be a popular choice for high-end studio environments, capturing metadata for virtual production, and offering real time distortion correction. It’s also available in ARRI PL mount with Cooke/i and ZEISS eXtended Data support.

A New Era for Cinema EOS

Featuring the best elements of previous models, as well as surprising advancements like a 12,800 base ISO, the C400 proves Canon’s continued commitment to the Cinema EOS line. Pair it with the 24-105 f/2.8 for a run-and-gun doc, throw on the new CineServo 17-120mm for high-end event work, or use it with the CN-R Prime to shoot your next scripted film.

For more information about the new Canon EOS C400, including additional features, specs, and highlights, be sure to check out their detailed product page. Or drop us a line below, and we’ll do our best to answer all your comments and questions.