This is the last article in a series of articles about 4K camera systems in which I’ve tried to analyze how and whether we can justify the use of 4K for ‘small-town’ production work.
The other articles are:
- Where Cameras stand in Dynamic Range vs Film
- What is 4K Television?
- The Battle for Cheap 4K: A Red Scarlet vs Canon C300 vs 1DC vs Sony F5 Price Comparison
- The Battle for 4K RAW : A Red Epic vs Canon C500 vs Sony F55 Price Comparison
- The Battle for Run and Gun 4K: JVC HMQ10 vs Canon 1DC
- Canon 1DC vs Canon 1DX
The Canon 1DC has to win one more fight: against the ‘4K-ready’ Sony FS700.
First of all, I want to dispel a crappy myth. Take a look at these images of four cameras as viewed from the front. Which ones are the most intimidating?
It’s what a person facing the camera would see. Here are the sizes of four cameras:
- Canon 1DC (158 x 164 x 83 mm)
- Sony FS700 (126.5 x 101.5 x 193.5 mm)
- Canon 7D (148 x 111 x 74 mm)
- Arri Alexa (158 x 153 x 332 mm)
Here are the answers:
Many people propogate the crazy notion that DSLRs are smaller and less intimidating for subjects, but that is BS. In the many years I’ve been shooting, I’ve found that everyone is intimidated, even if you point an iphone at them. The only way to shoot good interviews or action is to have the talent as relaxed as possible.
Don’t get conned, do your own tests.
Canon 1DC vs Sony FS700 as Video Tools
Let’s look at how the Canon 1DC fares against the Sony FS700 in terms of video abilities:
|HD Codec and Bitrate||1080p60 28Mbps AVCHD – Non-standard variant||1080p60 180Mbps ALL-I H.264 non-standard variant|
|Connectors||3G-SDI, HDMI and LANC||HDMI|
|External Signal||8-bit 4:2:2||8-bit 4:2:2|
|Lens Mount||E-mount||EF Mount|
|Frame Rates for 1080p||24/25/30/50/60/Upto 240||24/25/30/50/60|
|Weight of body (grams)||1360||1355|
*To know more about how form factor affects ergonomics, please read this.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out the Canon 1DC is seriously lacking in ‘traditional video ability’. The generation brought up on DSLR videography might not realize the importance of these features. So, if you feel the features of the Canon 1DC are ‘enough’, then it’s enough.
But not in my eyes. Other than the obvious, here are some observations:
- XLR inputs and ND filters are life-savers. If you find them on high-end cameras, there’s a strong reason for it.
- The 28 Mbps codec holds up surprisingly well against the ALL-I codec on the 1DX, so I don’t expect the 1DC to be any different. Don’t be fooled by marketing into assuming more is better. See videos below.
- The E-mount is as strong as the EF mount, and it can take more kinds of lenses due to its small flange distance. To know more about this, read my chapter on lenses from the Comprehensive Guide.
- The 1DC smokes the FS700 on weather sealing capability (crash-cam?) and still photography.
Both cameras will need to be kitted up to bring it up to ‘production worthiness’, and in that respect they are similar.
In my mind, there’s just no comparison. The Sony FS700 is a power-packed video tool. Period.
Before we go ahead, here are two videos, first from the FS700, and the second from the 1DX, where you can get a ‘feel’ for what they are able to deliver:
Canon 1DC vs Sony FS700 – the battle for 4K
Here are the 4K specs side-by-side:
|Price for body||$7,999||$11,999|
|4K Extras||Interface: HXR-IFR5 / Recorder AXS-R5||n/a|
|Extra Cost for 4K***||$7,350||$11,999|
|Codec||12-bit RAW||MJPEG 8-bit 4:2:2|
|Color||RAW||Canon Log Gamma|
|Data Rate||n/a||546 Mbps|
|Total Price of 4K***||$15,349||$11,999|
**Canon is rumored to be working on 25p
***The price of the interface hasn’t been announced yet, but it is rumored to be around $2,000
Again, the specs are very clear – RAW from the FS700 will outshine the 1DC, if we can use the current quality of each sensor as reference. To be honest, I assume the imagery to be similar for all practical purposes. Where the FS700 surges ahead, is in varied frame rates. No matter where you are in the world, you can use the FS700 for high-end television broadcast work directly. The Canon 1DC on the other hand, cannot cover all television scenarios.
Is there a flip side? Yes, the HXR-IFR5 interface for the FS700 isn’t here yet. We don’t know exactly how it will work, and what the expenses are in terms of media and post production. If the Sony F5 is any indication, then it would be prohibitive for most small production companies and freelancers.
The jury is out on this one. If the prices on the recorder and interface drop a bit, they might be worthy investments – especially since they are compatible with the Sony F5 and F55 (the recorder, not the interface). I also expect the interface to be useful for newer models – or I can’t explain why Sony would bother developing one just for the FS700! Wishful thinking maybe.
This ends my 4K comparison, and dream. Sigh. It’s not for me. If I do need 4K for some strange reason, then I’m sure I can rent an Epic of F55, and justify the expense.
What about you? Do you see the Canon 1DC befitting any scenario where no other 4K camera will do?