Good old Canon certainly threw down the gauntlet with their C300 offering during the last embers of 2011, Philip Bloom has had his first look over the camera and was more than impressed with it’s overall build quality though he agrees with me about not having 10bit out of the SDI socket, a major mistake in my books. If you are out to not only impress your competition e.g. the Sony F3 you are in my opinion letting your guard down by not producing similar specs to the F3 (10bit out of the SDI socket with 4:4:4 as a firmware upgrade).
If Japan perceives this £10K+ large sensor market as their sweet spot for sales they must cut the ties with the past and start producing cameras fit for purpose 10bit, 4:2:2, 50Mbs is the MINIMUM starting point from here on in and anything less will be a joke.
Once again the compactness of the Canon making it look more akin to a medium format photographic camera is in my opinion the wrong way to go the Sony F3 is about the right size though when you look at the ARRI Alexa it’s a bruit compared to both the Sony and the Canon.
Film units are used to coping with lots of metal when it comes to cameras especially 35mm film units, I am not condemning the Canon but when you start to add prime lenses the weight of the glass certainly upsets the balance between the camera and the lens.
What about 2012 what do I predict Sony and Panasonic will come up with…
SONY : I think we may see a new F5 around NAB time certainly with 50Mbs capability if not better, 10 bit 4:2:2 and dare I say it 4K recording with a better hi res viewfinder rather than the pull out version seen on the F3 today.
I don’t see Sony upgrading the FS100 anytime soon as that would fight against any new camera like the F5.
PANASONIC : Due to having the first large sensor camcorder out in the market Panasonic hit an all time high with huge sales for their very popular AF101, two things that let it down slightly are the lack of resolution (800 lines) compared to the competition and the 8 bit processing (same as the competition…FS100), many cameramen have spent an extraordinary amount of time developing scene files to blend a less noisy picture versus banding thats exacerbated when you tweak for a less noisy picture.
The AF301 a direct poke at Canon will have 10bit, 4:2:2 processing as seen on the HPX250 and will swap over to P2 giving us AVC Intra, unless P2 becomes a lot cheaper the P2 route if chosen would be an achilles heal for an updated AF101. I don’t see Panasonic going away from micro Four Thirds as they have invested far too much development on lenses. I hope we see a far better viewfinder and far higher resolution on version two (1000 lines +).
JVC : We saw a concept 4K camcorder from JVC at IBC 2011 but with the crazy 4 card recording system and as yet no NLE supporting it I think it will stay a concept let alone the size of the camcorder and no interchangeable lens system.