TOKYO, Japan, December 2, 2013—Canon Inc. announced today that an ultra-high-sensitivity 4K camera was used to successfully capture video of the comet ISON from the International Space Station at approximately 7:08 p.m. JST on November 23, 2013. Canon technology contributed to this world’s-first achievement as video production equipment from Canon’s Cinema EOS System was used to record the astronomical phenomenon.
Discovered in September 2012, ISON was unique in that, among the many large comets that have passed through the solar system in recent years, none had traveled so close to the sun. Accordingly, expectations were high that the “sungrazing” ISON would provide earthbound stargazers with a rare performance that would not likely be repeated anytime soon. After the video was shot, however, the comet is believed to have largely broken up and evaporated, meaning that it will no longer be visible in the night sky.
The footage of the comet ISON was shot from the vantage point of outer space, which is not subject to atmospheric fluctuation, enabling the capture of clear video images that would not have been possible if shot from Earth. As a result, the video will likely prove of high value to the scientific community.
The Canon video production equipment taken on the mission, all from the company’s Cinema EOS System lineup of professional digital cinematography products, comprised the EOS C500 PL professional cinema camera (launched in October 2012) and two EF Cinema Lenses: the CN-E15.5-47mm T2.8 L SP (launched in December 2012) and the CN-E30-105mm T2.8 L SP (launched in October 2012). All three support 4K image resolution and the EOS C500 PL makes possible exceptional high-sensitivity imaging performance that facilitates the capture of usable footage even in low-light conditions.
The actual EOS C500 PL used on board the International Space Station underwent special modifications to further boost sensitivity and to enable the camera to withstand the rigors of shooting in space.
Dual Pixel technology more than just AF?
NL reports that they’ve been told to expect even more new features from Canon’s Dual Pixel technology other than autofocus. Currently the tech appears in the EOS 70D and will also appear in an upgraded EOS C100. Will the C300 get a similar upgrade?
Apparently dual pixel design will need the latest generation of processing (DIGIC 6/7?) technology to realize its full potential. The benefits of this alongside new CODECS will be seen in the next Cinema EOS cameras and possibly in new high end DSLRs.
The video and stills segments of the professional lineup will get upgrades in 2014. Cinema EOS will get it first, and possibly be shown in April at NAB 2014 in Las Vegas. DSLRs will get it in the second half of the year and will most likely be shown at Photokina 2014 in Cologne, Germany.
From the interview with Mr Onda
Reading a bit between the lines during the interview with Dan Chung and Mr Onda, it appears a few new things are coming to the Cinema EOS line and probably to EOS DSLRs as well.
The first being CFast 2.0, a version of Compact Flash announced back in 2008. SanDisk currently makes CFast cards that are capable of writing at 350MB/s. These cards will be needed to record 4K RAW video. It sounds like Canon will be moving towards CFast in their next Cinema EOS cameras, and perhaps DSLRs as well.
Secondly, it seems there’s a possibility of a full frame Cinema EOS camcorder coming down the pipeline. While you can currently get full frame 4K recording (16:9 crop from the full frame sensor) with the EOS-1D C, the C100, C300 and C500 are Super35 sensor cameras.
From B&H Photo
There are now large instant rebates on the top two models of the Cinema EOS cinema camera line.
The rebates run through to August 31, 2013, which will give you enough time to save up or sell your car.
Canon USA at NAB 2013
Canon’s focus here at NAB 2013 is definitely 4K acquisition and broadcasting. They have a big theater and ongoing presentations about the benefits of acquiring your content in 4K resolution.
A lot of people, including myself, don’t think 4K will even become a mainstream thing inside peoples homes. The size of screen you’d need to see the difference between 4K and 1080P in your home would eliminate most potential customers. Think of it like a 1080P vs 720P 32″ television, there’s just no discernible difference when viewing 1080P content. Another big issue with 4K in your home is streaming content at that resolution. As on demand internet content services become more popular, there’s only a handful of people in the grand scheme of things that will have the bandwidth necessary to stream 4K resolution reliably.
Acquisition does have a lot of merit. Canon was very much pushing the idea of cropping, zooming and having more options when editing your film. They showed a lot of examples of 4K content being zoomed 200%-300% and outputting to a 1080P signal, and the image was still quite stellar.
Beyond the cost of a 4K display, the workflow with 4K content needs improvement. There is a lot of software and hardware talk here at NAB to correct this area of the equation.
Will we see 4K in a DSLR camera other than Canon EOS-1D C? One day, though I don’t think it will be soon. A drop in price-point for Canon is something that would be welcomed. The $25K+ C500 is a big jump from the $15K C300.
The 4K and 8K resolution is beautiful on the big screen, just don’t expect it to become mainstream in your home. Your local movie theatre is a different story.
Canon EOS C300 $13,999 (Save $2000)