Best Canon EOS C70: A Fantastic Cinema Camera

Best Canon EOS C70: A Fantastic Cinema Camera

Best Canon EOS C70: A Fantastic Cinema Camera

This is the Canon C70, this thing needs to be the perfect upgrade to the C200, an uncompromising budget version of the C300 Mark III and a viable alternative to Sony’s recent releases, but with an RF mount.

So is it all those things? Yep. Let’s get undone! What’s happening, everybody?my ISO is over 9000. As usual, let’s start things off with some disclosure. Canon lent me this camera for about a week to make this review.

I do not get to keep it, I was not compensatedin any way, and Canon does not get to preview, I also borrowed somelenses from Camera Canada, so shout-out to them for always coming through in a pinch.

Big fan of that store! All right, now before we jump right into me yelling numbers at you, I highly encourage you to watch my C300 Mark III review. This camera is nearly identical to that camera in so many ways So instead, we’re going to build off of it.

But jumping back to the C300 Mark III, I would say that one of the most impressive things about the C70 is just how much of the C300 Mark III is in here. You’re getting the same sensor, the same image performance, same battery type, a fully featured audio system, built-in NDs,a fully articulating screen, 13 customizable function buttons, and even a BNC time code port. Every inch of this thing is smartly used and stuffed with functionality, and it’s very intuitive to operate.

It’s chunky, but not unwieldy, and comes in at 1.4 kilos, or 3 pounds, with a battery and SD cards installed. Physically, it feels like you’re holding the biggest DSLR of all time. But the grip is substantial, deep, and well-textured, and it actually utilizes some of the controls that you’d expect to seeon Canon DSLRs. Like the position of the top control dial, and the rear set dial.

It also features a small function dial, which can be mapped to several operations, and a joy stick. I did have a couple min or fit and finish issues with my version of the camera, but I’m thinking these are probably just related to my specific demo.

My joy stick was a bit sticky at first and it wasn’t as responsive when pressing it to the right, and the thumb wheel on the back feels a bit loose. The joy stick has gotten better over time, and for the most part, I have no complaints about the operation of the camera.

I do wish it allowed me to map the big wheel on the back. I would like to be able to set this to ISO, but I can only do that with this tiny wheel. But I choose not to, because I’m constantly accidentally hitting this with my palm. Right now, you can’t map any settings to the big thumb wheel, and I think this is a missed opportunity.

I am very impressed, however,by how many function buttons they retained, and the placement of them, which is something I found abit annoying about the Sony FX6. I also much prefer this touch screen operation compared to the FX6. You can easily move your focus point by just touching, and there are also touch options for changing exposure and white balance without leaving your shooting display.

The only thing I can really take points off for is the fact that the full menu is not touch-navigable, and in order to activate tracking, you have to first press a button and then touch the screen, just like we saw on the C300 Mark III, which was my favourite auto focus implementation until the a7S III came along, because the a7S III stream lined this by making tracking a simple “touch once” operation, and improving the stickiness of that tracking over what Canon currently offers.

But before we get too deep into auto focus, I’ll summarize by saying I prefer using the C70 over the FX6, and it’s a close second just behind my a7S III. All right, now let’s talk about what’s missing on this camera from the C300 Mark III. First off, there’s no EVF, and the screen hasa few less positions and angles it can take on. You can supplement this with third party accessories, but out of the box, it’s slightly less versatile for viewing angles compared to the C300.

I didn’t find this to betoo big of a problem though, and the screen can be made reasonably bright, and is a decent size and resolution. No major complaints. It also doesn’t havean SDI port, but it does have a fully-featured HDMI output with no known quirks. Everything just seems to work. You have full control over your on-screen display, and you can individually add or remove display items, and obviously output a clean feed as well.

There’s no limitations when it comes to auto focus when using HDMI,and no screen black outs in any setting I tried. The only thing that’s missing from the HDMI output is the ability to apply a LUT from the camera over HDMI. You can only apply the LUTto the built-in LCD, which means you’ll have to install your own LUT onto your external device. Luckily, Canon does providethe same LUT they use in the camera for free on their website.

Just go tothe C300 Mark III support page and download the lookup tables. Also, whether you recordinternally or externally, there is no raw recording on this camera. That’s something you’ll need to go to the C300 Mark III or beyond to get.

But to be honest, I don’t particularly like Canon’s raw implementation, and always find myself shooting 10-bit XF-AVC anyway, and it’s the recommendation I gave in those previous reviews, even though those cameras did have raw.

So I personally don’t feel like I’m missing anything here. And if you’re a C200 user looking to upgrade, or maybe you skipped the C200because of the lack of 10-bit, rest assured, the C70has 10-bit internal recording in both ALL-Intra and Long GOP modes on this camera.

And it even has an HEVC option, which offers the same quality, but at slightly smaller file sizes, and using an MP4 container instead of the MXF. So I find the codec optionson this camera much more useful than on the C200. However, there isone more shortcoming compared to the C300 Mark III: you can’t record ALL-Intra above 30 frames per second.

Best Canon EOS C70: A Fantastic Cinema Camera

Best Canon EOS C70: A Fantastic Cinema Camera

This is a limitation that comes from this camera using only SD Cards. The 50p or 60p ALL-Intra modesrequire 810 mbps, which is higher than what a V90 SD card can guarantee for continuous, reliable video writing. But you can record up to60 frames per second in Long GOP, and up to 120 frames per second when using the S&F mode. And you can actually get away with just V60 cards for most of the recording modes on this camera.

The only mode it asks for a V90 card is the 120p S&F, but I was actually able to record the 120 on a V60 card as well without dropping frames, but it’s not advised, and the camera warns against it when switching modes. The last potential short coming on the C70 would bethe XLR inputs. Thankfully, unlike the FX6,on this camera they’re located right inside the body, insteadof being on the top handle.

The C70 comes with a top handle, by the way, if you want to mounta shotgun mic. However, in order to fitthose ports on the body, they had to use mini XLR. I’m used to this from my Black magic cameras, but if you’re coming from the larger cameras, you’ll need to usean adapter cable. But regarding audio and the aforementioned 120p mode, the C70 does have one trickthe C300 Mark III doesn’t. You can record a separate audio track in real time on the second card slot while recording slowed-down120p footage on slot 1.

So in post, you’ll have that audio if you want to do speed rampingor need a sound bed. This is a clever way to remove the audio limitations of the S&F mode. Very smart. However, that does mean that you can’t do red undantrecording while in S&F mode. But when you’re in normal recording, you can use the second SD card slotas either a backup, or put it in relay mode to swap to the next card when the first one is full.

And you can open the card door and swap out the one that isn’t being written to as well without stopping your recording. So that’s great! There are still someother considerations to make, though,regarding the S&F mode. First, I wish the fast motion was more flexible.

The lowest you can go is 12 fps, which is only gonna give you a 2x speed multiplier, versus the 24x, or 1 fps,on the Sony cameras. However, compared to the FX6, the C70 has more auto focus versatility in the S&F modes. The FX6 disabled auto focus for many frame rates, including DCI 24p and 48p. The C70 also has limitations in this regard.

For example, there’s no auto focus in less common speeds like 72, 75, or 96 fps, or the slow speeds,like 12 fps. But there is auto focusin 30p, 48, 50, 60, 100, and 120,as well as DCI 24. However, just like with the C300 Mark III, the auto focus performance takes a major hit when you use S&F mode, and the face tracking is also disabled.

You can compensate for this abit with the auto focus settings, which offer plenty of customization, but it just never quite gets back to the confidence and speed it has when shooting in normal recording modes. This whole section isone area where the C70 felt like a downgrade when compared to the Sony a7S III.

On the a7S III, not only canyou record 120p normally without needing in-camera slow motion, but enabling it has no consequenceson autofocus performance, face or eye detection,or image quality. There is a slight crop though,which the C70 doesn’t have when shooting 120p,but overall, the a7S III wins in the high frame rateand autofocus categories.

Because unfortunately, the C70, just like the C300 Mark III, disables its Dual Gain Output when shooting higher than 60 fps. Again, if you don’t know what I’m talking about, please watch my C300 Mark III review. But the short version is that your image becomes more noisy and you loseabout a stop of dynamic range when you switch from 60p to 120p.

That being said, the image is still very usable, and that 120p dynamic range is stilla respectable 12 stops, it’s just noticeably worse than when shooting at lower frame rates. Part of that also has to do with the lowering bit rates. At 60 fps, you’re getting 160Mbps in LongGOP, and the image looks pretty great.

But by 96 fps, you’re down to 130Mbps. And then at 120p, you’re at 108Mbps and there isa noticeable loss in detail. This is not enough for it to bea deal breaker, in my opinion, and in many scenarios, it isn’t even that noticeable, but you should be aware of it,because if all you care about is 4K120, the a7S IIIis probably the better option. thanks for reading this artical.

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