Canon Expo in New York

Entering the Canon Expo

Entering the Canon Expo

I spent today at the once-every-five-years Canon Expo in New York. As expected, the hot topics on the seminar agendas were related to shooting video with DSLRs.  I attended sessions with Steven Poster (president of International Cinematographers Guild and Director of Photography for a slew of feature films from Blade Runner to Cats and Dogs), Shane Hurlbut (Director of Photography for Terminator Salvation and upcoming Acts of Valor), and other HDSLR mainstays such as Vincent Laforet.  I was particularly impressed with the work Shane has done with the upcoming Acts of Valor, an action film about the Navy SEALS. He shot all the main action shots with Canon 5Ds and 7Ds, and the results were stunning. Even more interesting, when the film is released next year, it will screen in over 300 IMAX theaters, further proof that the Canon’s image quality can meet the demands of the big screen.

The expo itself presented an impressive, sweeping display of Canon’s pioneering technology. I got to try out the new 8-16mm fisheye zoom, but Canon staff wouldn’t allow me to save any pictures to my CF card because the lens is still in development.  In fact, the lens at the show is the only of its kind in North America. I also tested a prototype for the new 70-300 mm zoom.

Most impressive, however, were the new 8K monitor and 4K cameras, both still in development. The images produced by the 8K monitors were simply astonishing. One lady next to me mistook the 30-inch displays to be 3-D, but they are actually just super high resolution 2-D displays. In fact, they are 4X the resolution of 1080P HD. Think of the iPhone 4 display’s resolution, but applied to a 30-inch monitor. Photographs were absolutely stunning, and video looked indistinguishable from real life. Unfortunately, something like this can only be seen to be appreciated. My guess is that this technology is a long way from the living room, but it should find a fabulous fit for photography studios.

I would have liked to see more DSLR video rigs on hand, but I was able to do some test shooting with some of the new lenses. They did have a Cinevate rail system to try out, and a Redrock Micro shoulder-mount rig, but I would have liked to see more by Zacuto and Cinevate.

It’s exciting to think what we’ll be seeing in 5 years at the next Canon Expo.  I imagine that the world of cinematography will be almost entirely converted from film to digital. And hopefully I’ll see one of those 8K monitors in my studio…

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