Canon Intros Ultra-Compact Pro Camcorders, Develops 35mm Cinema Prime Lens
Strategically integrating some of Canon’s sophisticated next-generation imaging and wireless technologies, the new XA25 HD and XA20 HD professional camcorders from Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, provide an impressive combination of professional features and optics in a compact design. Ideal for run-and-gun style videography, or electronic newsgathering (ENG), both models weigh only 2.6 pounds, allowing for extreme mobility and portability. Both camcorders feature multiple shooting-assist functions and enhanced key components such as a newly developed Genuine Canon wide-angle 20x HD zoom lens with an ENG-style “rocker” zoom control and built-in real-time optical image stabilization. Delivering outstanding low-light performance and image quality, the Canon XA25 and XA20 HD camcorders are equipped with a new high-sensitivity 2.91-megapixel 1/2.84-inch HD CMOS image sensor and the new Canon DIGIC DV 4 image processor.
Additional features include simultaneous recording of multiple bit rates and Full 1080p HD formats – including 60p and native cinematic at 24p – on two separate SD cards. Users can simultaneously record Full 1080p HD video at 60p in either AVCHD Progressive (28Mbps) or MP4 (35Mbps) format for crisp moving images, or record at a lower bit rate and transmit MP4 (3Mbps) format video to cover and quickly upload breaking news via wireless FTP file transfer. The cameras’ dual SD slots allow for relay recording for long periods without interruption.
“The nearly instantaneous rate by which video news is consumed and shared via TV, tablets and smartphones has fueled the immediacy by which journalists need to capture and deliver their content. The introduction of the XA25 and XA20 professional camcorder models are designed to provide these professionals with a compact, portable, and wireless system for content acquisition and uploading,” stated Yuichi Ishizuka, executive vice president and general manager, Imaging Technologies & Communications Group, Canon U.S.A. “In addition, the tremendous growth of independent and documentary filmmaking as well as innovative, creative online content may also benefit from the compact design, high-quality formats and long-range optics found in both models.”
Advanced Canon Optics
Drawing from the many innovations developed by Canon for its EF-series lenses, the wide-angle 20x HD zoom lens in the new Canon XA25 and XA20 HD camcorders features a 35mm equivalent zoom range of 26.8mm – 576mm. The MOD (minimum object distance) of this lens is only 60cm, enabling users to capture up-close shots, particularly useful when filming in narrow, tight quarters. Canon’s real-time optical image stabilization and vibration correction in five axes of 3D movement helps reduce picture shake, even when shooting while walking, particularly useful for run-and-gun handheld videography. An eight-blade circular aperture can help create a natural, smooth look for out-of-focus areas such as a blurred nighttime skyline, and is equipped with Canon’s unique EMD (Electro Magnetic Diaphragm) technology for high-precision control.
Ultra-compact and designed with professional operability and multiple shooting-assist functions, the new Canon XA25 and XA20 HD camcorders feature a handgrip with accessible joystick and other controls, allowing for easily adjustable settings including a broadcast-style zoom rocker. Each camcorder’s wide-angle 20x HD zoom lens can also be adjusted using a multipurpose ring on the lens that can switch between zoom or focus control. A convenient custom key dial provides quick access to frequently used set functions.
The XA25 and XA20 professional camcorders are the first Canon video cameras featuring an Organic LED (OLED) electrostatic touch panel. This 3.5-inch, 1.23 million-dot touch panel displays vivid, clear video images allowing for simple, intuitive operation and menu access. Five custom buttons on the panel allow operators to assign settings according to their unique shooting preferences. The camcorders also feature a 1.56 million-dot high-resolution adjustable-angle compact viewfinder, allowing users to see clearly even when filming in bright sunny conditions. The design also allows operators to use the viewfinder and check critical focus while recording.
Essential for broadcast and professional use, the Canon XA25 HD camcorder provides an HD/SD-SDI connector (BNC) to feed video directly to a microwave van, satellite uplink, or other TV transmission system. The positioning of the connector allows for handheld shooting while the SDI cable is attached. A recorder (sold separately) can also be attached to the SDI connector to make uncompressed recordings. The convenient ergonomics of the Canon XA25 and XA20 HD camcorders also includes XLR terminals with phantom power, a microphone holder, independent audio level controls, multipurpose accessory shoe, and an infrared emitter, all combined in a detachable handle. For extreme low-light shooting, the cameras’ infrared shooting mode makes possible the capture of HD video in conditions with little to zero ambient light. A green or white color option can provide pleasing HD infrared imagery even in darkness for documentary, undercover news, law enforcement surveillance and wildlife operation.
Canon has also announced the development of a 35mm cinema prime lens for large-format single-sensor cameras employing Super 35mm, full-frame 35mm, and APS-C size imagers. The 35mm cinema prime lens will look to join Canon’s line of 14mm, 24mm, 50mm, 85mm, and 135mm EF-mount Cinema prime lenses. The 35mm cinema lens in development will look to become the sixth in the line, filling a strategic optical need between Canon’s 24mm and 50mm lens offerings. As with Canon’s precision-matched, competitively priced CN-E prime lenses, the 35mm lens under development will look to deliver 4K optical performance and inherit the professional operability of the existing CN-E prime lens line.
Canon Cinema prime lenses are part of the Canon Cinema EOS System of professional digital cinematography products, which also include the EOS C500 4K/2K Digital Cinema Camera, EOS C300 Digital Cinema Camera, EOS C100 Digital Video Camera, EOS-1D C 4K DSLR Cinema Camera, and four Canon Cinema zoom lenses. A development sample of the 35mm cinema lens will be on display in the Canon booth #C4325 during the 2013 NAB Show in Las Vegas, NV, April 8-11, 2013, and the lens itself is currently expected to officially launch sometime this year.
“Canon is committed to supporting cinematic culture and the continued advancement of tools for visual storytelling at all levels,” affirmed Yuichi Ishizuka, executive vice president and general manager, Imaging Technologies & Communications Group, Canon U.S.A. “During the past 18 months, Canon has brought our Cinema EOS product line to market, and in that time we have introduced HD, 2K, and 4K cameras, lenses and workflow solutions, as well as structured a comprehensive service and support network for professionals in the theatrical motion picture and television markets to enable customers to create and deliver exceptional imaging content and cinematic brilliance.”
Current Canon Cinema Lens Lineup
Each current Canon Cinema lens is equipped with an 11-blade aperture diaphragm, which is ideally suited to help achieve creative depth-of-field manipulation and pleasing “bokeh” effects. The Canon line of Cinema prime lenses is precision-matched for consistent and solid optical performance throughout the line, and the inner focus mechanism helps minimize focus-induced changes in the angle of view. All feature a full-frame image circle in a lightweight, compact design, and they incorporate proven Canon lens elements designed to fulfill contemporary 4K production standards. All Canon Cinema primes also deliver color tone and balance that matches Canon’s top-end Cinema zooms and compact Cinema zooms. Canon Cinema prime lenses deliver the operation and reliability required in professional film-style shooting environments.
All Canon Cinema prime lenses are fully compatible with the Canon EOS C500, EOS C300, EOS C100, and EOS-1D C digital cinema cameras. The EF-mount design of all Canon Cinema prime lenses provides communication with these cameras for such handy features as display of the f number in the electronic viewfinder, recording of focus/zoom position and f number, and, later this year, Peripheral Light Compensation.
Strategically integrated motion-picture style mechanical attributes (as opposed to those for still photography lenses) are also an important design feature of Canon’s series of Cinema prime lenses. These film-style characteristics include 300-degree rotation on the focus ring for precision focus control as well as large, highly visible engraved focus scales for convenient operation. These markings appear on the angled surfaces on both sides of the barrel, making them easy to read and to adjust the “stepless” focus and/or aperture settings of the lenses from behind or from either side of the camera for camera operators or focus pullers. Focus markings can be switched from standard labeling to metric, and control rings are engineered to maintain the proper amount of resistance with consistent operating torque and familiar tactile “feedback” for satisfying manual control. All of Canon’s current Cinema prime lenses also share the same uniform gear positions, diameters, and rotation angles, as well as front-lens diameters, making them compatible with a wide variety of matte boxes, follow focus gear, marking disks, and other third-party film-industry-standard accessories. Film crews can quickly change lenses without the need for accessory gear-position adjustments or other changes to the rig setup.
The versatility of image-capture options using Canon EOS digital cinema cameras can be further extended with Canon’s Cinema Zoom lenses (the CN-E14.5-60mm T2.6 wide-angle and the CN-E30-300mm T2.95-3.7 telephoto) and Compact Cinema Zoom lenses (the CN-E15.5-47mm T2.8 wide-angle and CN-E30-105mm T2.8 telephoto). All four lenses are available in both EF- and PL-mount versions, and the mount can be switched at a Canon service facility in the United States for added flexibility. Almost all of Canon’s EF Series photographic lenses can also be used with these Cinema EOS cameras, including Image Stabilized zoom, tilt-shift, and macro lenses.