Canon C70 review

In January of 2023 we made the transition from filming with DSLR’s to cinema cameras. Having started in photography we were long time Nikon users but started to feel the limitations within the Nikon family. After weeks of research, consulting industry professionals and renting gear, we ultimately purchased the Canon C70 cinema camera.

Several factors lead to this decision.

  1. We primarily film videos for international nonprofits and require a small footprint suitable for run and gun type videography.
  2. With a focus on producing more documentaries we wanted a Netflix approved camera.
  3. Most of our shoots are outside without controlled lighting so built in ND filters was a must.

After shooting with this camera exclusively for 10 days in Kenya we’ve complied a list of pros and cons for the Canon C70.

Pros: 

  • 4k footage looks amazing
  • ND filters ***must must must
  • Multiple audio inputs (up to 6 channels of audio)
    • Easy access on back of body for gain options / input selection
  • Focus peaking (if you haven’t used this before you’ll be glad you have it)
  • Full size HDMI output – for studio settings this is a great feature to easily connect external monitors.
  • Different options for output monitoring. You are not confined to your onscreen settings for your external monitors. You can toggle luts, overlays, etc.
  • More assignable buttons than you’ll likely need
  • Auto focus / continuous auto focus responds quickly
  • Native Shutter Angle 180*
  • LUT toggle lets you easily view footage with a LUT preview.
    • Handled the heat of the African sun like a pro. No overheating or noisy fans
  • Footage pairs nicely with C200’s.

Cons:

  • Folding screen – I know many other cameras offer a folding screen but this feels like the greatest shortcoming on the overall design. The hinge feels flimsy and is easy to get bumped. Overall I wish the screen was bigger especially when shooting outside without external displays.
  • I recommend the BP-A60 batteries over the standard A30’s. The A60’s allow me to film all day in the field (8+ hours) without worrying about switching batteries.
  • Digital audio monitor is a little clunky. Navigating the audio settings menu is a challenge until you get a hang of the layout for channel monitoring, input selection etc.
  • Deleting footage from memory card can only be done by selecting each clip, no option to delete by date or time.
  • Upgraded the handle / mic holder to a small rig metal casing.
  • No user settings – Coming from the DSLR world where you typically have at least 2 customizable user settings I wish you could easily toggle between your 30fps and 60fps settings.
  • Most cinema cameras are now offering at least 6 – 8K so hope to see a similar model in this range soon.
  • RF mount – since we didn’t already have a collection of Canon lenses this didn’t impact us specifically but for many Canon users you’d have to use the adapter to use your existing lens collection.

Canon C70 Summary:

If you’re looking for a rugged 4K cinema camera that can handle the day to day demands of an international video production company then look no further.

*June 13, 2023 update: We’ve now used this camera for 3 international trips and can’t say enough how happy we are with this purchase. This is the exact setup we’ve needed in every situation. Even on our most recent trip filming alongside other videographers with RED’s we were confident in the visuals we could produce.

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