Canon Cinema EOS C500 camera hands-on (video)

The familiar EOS-1D C isn't the only Canon camera to make its public debut ahead of NAB. The Cinema EOS series welcomes a third model to the collection this week, with looks that nearly match last year's C300. Unlike that model, which you can already pick up through e-tailers and at specialty shops, the C500 has a long way to go before it gets a shipping nod -- it may not even make it to market in 2012. The $30,000 price tag may pose an even greater barrier to entry than its to-be-announced availability date, however, and may in need of some tweaking before it's ready to compete with already established models, like the much less expensive RED Scarlet. Like the 1D C, the C500 can shoot 4K video -- the most apparent upgrade from the $16,000 C300. To that end, boosting its price tag may be the only way for Canon to avoid cannibalizing that less-abled flavor, since many cinematographers would otherwise pay little attention to the C300, due in part to its 1080p-limited shooting capabilities.

It's been a few months since we've last seen Canon's first Cinema EOS model, but the C500 has a look and feel that seems to be only subtly different from the C300. It is noticeably heavier, likely due to the additional cooling gear on board to accommodate 4K shooting. Both flavors include dual CF card slots, which you'll only be able to use for snapping 1080p video -- 4K is fed to an external recorder through the dual 3G-SDI ports, which for obvious reasons you won't find on the C300. There's also a larger grip on board, now a permanent fixture on the C500, which should aid with bare-bones handheld shoots -- but if you're dropping 30 grand on a digital body, some sticks and a dolly shouldn't be far behind. Like its sibling, this year's model ships with either a Canon EOS or industry standard PL mount, so if you have a need for both, you'll need two cameras. Overall, you're looking at the same sleek, albeit slightly unconventional body design, with a price tag that's likely to make amateurs weep and pros run for the rental house. As always, there's a hands-on video waiting just past the break.