Canon EOS C500 4K Digital Cinema Camera
While not as easily run-and-gun designed as their mid-level C300 or budget level C100, the C500 body is only 4 lbs, making it lighter than almost every other 4K cinema camera on the market. Its Super 35mm CMOS sensor only records 1080p internally but can output 12-bit 2K and 10-bit 4K RAW to an external recorder. The camera records onto high speed CF Cards using Canon’s XF codec which performs with surprisingly good results, and comes standard with an EF or PL mount to attach any lenses you may already own.
This camera is built to shoot pro style so it has a lot of added costs (Like the external recorder) to take advantage of its full powers, but isn’t too complicated for anyone who’s ever picked up a video camera or DSLR before. Built-in ND filters control light with a base sensitivity of ISO 640 but low light environments are where this camera really excels. Noise starts to show as you increase the ISO but the impressive thing is how organic it looks; the noise almost resembles film grain thus giving it another distinct advantage over competitors. The C500 handles skin tones really well and the depth of field is consistent with what Canon has worked to establish.
This cameras real failure is its cost prohibitive for what it offers, contributing to why the C500 is more often rented than purchased. Because you need the external recorder on top of what’s already one of the more expensive cameras on this list, the value is not where it should be. Even so, the Canon C500 is one of the best tools on the market.