In Review: Canon EOS C70 Cinema Camera (RF Lens Mount)

Published on in Equipment / Tech Reviews

There is almost nothing better than when I can get my hands on a camera to review. I know the EOS Canon C70 has been out for a while now, but sometimes I have to wait my turn. Spoiler alert: It was well worth the wait. The C70 is a great camera. You should know as a disclaimer I have been shooting with Canon cameras and lenses for a long time — C100, C100 Mark ll C200 and a few others.  

I have always appreciated how Canon looks “organic” to me. My clients like the look as well. To me, there is a certain richness and artistic look (not a technical opinion, just a note). There are lots of cameras out there that make beautiful images as well. Now we are going to focus (no pun intended) on the Canon EOS C70 Cinema Camera (RF Lens Mount). 

Let’s Talk Ergonomics 

I have said this more times than I would like to remember that when you are buying a camera you need to pick the camera that you will feel the most comfortable with for the long haul. Ask yourself a few of these questions before you purchase.

Can you shoot with it all day?

Can you build it out the way you want?

I can answer that. With the Canon EOS C70 Cinema Camera I was out on some all day shoots with the C70 that required me to move pretty fast (I've had to shoot a fair amount of sports and documentaries.) I have always liked to shoot handheld but before you ask, yes, I have a tripod and monopod as well. It just depends on what the shot and the day calls for. The C70 has the mounts to go vertical, if needed. The C70 was at home either as a handheld or on sticks. I have seen a few people complain about how they couldn’t set up their “cages” the way they wanted with the C70. I always ask (in my head) how much research did you do before you bought the camera? I just know that for me whatever the setup, good camera ergonomics are always welcome here and I was more than comfortable out on my testing shoots with the C70 for a good amount of time. 

More Creature Comforts 

Starting with the unpack, and taking the C70 out of the road case, the first thing that struck me was how well built this camera really is. Weighing in at 2.58 lbs sans lens, I really liked how the C70 felt in my hands. One of my shooting days was windy and that little extra weight had the C70 “sitting down” in my hands and not moving around. I welcomed the little more weight and body size in the C70. I also had the Canon 24-105 in the EF and RF configuration along with a 50 mm Image 7A and RF/EF adapter along with the Canon BP-30 battery. The  C70 felt like a DSLR bigger brother, really solid and good to go. 

Why Features Matter (to me) 

I promise, we will get to the technical specifications in a moment but let’s talk about features first. Right off the bat I have to say that I have never met a XLR connector mini I didn’t like. The C70 has built in motorized ND filters. With the shallow RF flange this was a strong feature. I don't like to change ND filters too much unless I have to, but it was nice to be able to do the changes I made on the fly. 

The Canon EOS C70 Cinema Camera has a mechanical filter wheel with Clear, 2 Stop (1/4), 4 Stop (1/16), 6 Stop (1/64), 8 Stop (1/256), 10 Stop (1/1024) ND Filters. Those choices worked just fine for me. Next stop? Auto Focus with Touch and Face Detection, Auto Gain, and Shot Stabilization Feature. 

Most of the time I work in manual focus, but I have to say that the Auto Focus and Face Detection features on the C70 are really, really good. The C70 has the Dual Pixel CMOS AF Technology, which uses each pixel on the CMOS sensor for both focus detection and image information. The EOS C70 is also the first Cinema EOS camera to feature the EOS iTR AF X autofocus function with a head-detection algorithm. In Face Detection mode, this algorithm helps to improve distance measuring and tracking reliability.

The ISO/Auto Gain was spot on and I also appreciated the shot stabilisation feature which was helpful when I was getting tired and still had to get a fairly tricky move done. 

Now to the technical specs! Here are some of the technical specifications of the Canon C70 to get you going. Canon has the whole range on their website. As mentioned before you really need to know what it is you are buying/renting/using before you take the plunge. 

Some Tech Specs

Sensor: 8.85MP Super 35mm Dual Gain Output 

Dynamic Range: 16 stops 

Video formats:

  • XF-AVC (MXF) ALL-I or Long GOP, 4:2:2 10-bit
  • MP4 H.265/HEVC, 4:2:2 10-bit
  • MP4 H.264, 4:2:0 8-bit
  • 26.2 x 13.8 mm (29.6 mm on the diagonal) in 4096 x 2160 or 2048 x 1080
  • 24.6 x 13.8 mm (28.2 mm on the diagonal) in 3840 x 2160 or 1920 x 1080

Frame Rates:

  • 59.94Hz mode (59.94P / 59.94i / 29.97P / 23.98P)
  • 50.00Hz mode (50.00P / 50.00i / 25.00P)
  • 24.00 Hz mode (24.00P)
  • Slow-motion 4K up to 120fps
  • Slow-motion 2K (crop) up to 180fps (audio recording at normal frame rate possible)

Gamma curves:

  • BT.709 Wide DR (T.709 Gamut)
  • C-Log2 (Cinema Gamut)
  • C-Log3 (Cinema Gamut) PQ (BT.2020 Gamut)
  • HLG (BT.2020 Gamut)

Final Thoughts

The Canon C70 is a serious camera for professionals who want to take their productions to the next level. With the adapter RF/EF adapter you can get your EF set off the shelf and put them to good use as well. The versatility of the C70 makes it a strong contender. If I am going with more than one camera the C70 would be my choice. If I am going with a single camera the C70 is going to do very well in that role. I know there are a lot of great features on the built-in viewfinder, but you could also go to Zacoto or maybe a SmallHD or Atomos. Other than that I think you are going to be very happy with the look and feel of the C70. 

P.S. With the summer comes lots of heat and humidity, be sure you are hydrating with lots of water and hang in the shade. Don’t grab that C stand barehanded and pace yourself! 

About Mark Foley

Mark J. Foley, MBA BA is an award-winning producer and director and the Technology Editor for ProductionHUB.com. He is on a mission to provide the best in new equipment reviews, along with exclusive analysis and interviews with the best, the brightest and most creative minds in the entertainment and production business. Have a suggestion for a review? Email Mark at mfoley@productionhub.com.

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