Canon Inc. shows UHD at Canon Expo

Canon Inc. shows working Ultra-High Definition concept pieces including compact 4K video cameras, an 8K broadcast UHD television lens and 2K and 4K video display monitors at their quinquennial Canon Expo 2010 event this week in New York.

Canon Inc., parent company of Canon USA and headquartered in Tokyo, is demonstrating several examples of Ultra-High Definition video technology during Canon Expo, their research and development showcase which is presented once every five years in New York, Paris and Tokyo. Canon Expo brings together all of Canon’s various product technology divisions, such as medical imaging, industrial printing solutions and more. Within their moving image exhibit, Canon Inc, is demonstrating a few working examples of Ultra-High Definition video technology.

Available for hands-on evaluation in a touch-and-try area is Canon’s conceptual model of a compact 4K UHD video camera. It is not a prototype and it’s not an advance showing of a forthcoming model, nor will it ever be produced (or be sold or marketed) in the configuration being shown at Canon Expo. It is simply a working conceptual design that leans in the direction of what a compact UHD camcorder might look like some day if Canon were ever to offer one.

The four models on display at Canon Expo are identical. One is powered up under glass in the 4K Demo shooting gallery to provide a live image to two 4K monitors, one of which is a 30″ Canon prototype 4K display. Two others are mounted on tripod heads for hands-on shooting and a fourth is static, shown under glass adjacent to the 4K Demo projection gallery.

The design approach of the camera’s ergonomics and form factor is aimed at a market which doesn’t even exist yet, at least not in North America: the high-end UHD consumer, or the UHD “soccer mom.” The form factor incorporates a fairly compact body, and EVF and a flip-up display, and a built-in zoom lens. There is no recorder on the concept piece, therefore it is not a camcorder — and a fair amount of electronics and other internal components such as SDI outputs and cooling fans are contained in a “bread box” housing on the underside of the body.

Since it’s not coming to market (ever, in this particular design, or anytime soon in any other design), there is very little technical information available. It incorporates a single 2/3rd-inch Canon image sensor (no word on the color filter pattern other than it is unique) and shoots 4K video at frame rates greater than 60fps. It has an L-series 20x zoom lens with a focal length of 7mm to 140mm which is equivalent to 24mm to 480mm in traditional 35mm still photography terms. The lens has a maximum aperture value of f/1.8 at full wide and f/3.8 at full telephoto. It has manual zoom and focus rings on the lens barrel and a zoom rocker on the body. It appears to be an automatic servo lens. There are no outwardly accessible controls for exposure or anything else, except a switch for manual or auto focus. The panels in the EVF and the four-inch flip-up display are borrowed directly from the XF series product line. There is no shooting information overlay in either viewfinder. The body itself has a hand grip similar to that found on a Digital SLR camera.

This particularly unique iteration isn’t made for the demands of professional digital cinematography, that much is for certain. The most practical application that a refined version of this camera design would have is perhaps for hand-held medical imaging. Its sole use so far has been to provide 4K demo video to display at Canon Expo. Other working UHD technology demonstrations on display at the show include an 8K UHD broadcast TV lens as well as several working 30″ 4K UHD display monitors and 2K 17″ color reference monitors. The expo runs in New York City through September 3rd.

More 4K camera and other UHD concept model pics follow below.


About The Author

After completing my degree in Radio-Television-Film at the University of Texas, I managed a video production studio "back in the tape days" while waiting for the digital video revolution to arrive and for the internet to become mainstream. Things started to get interesting in November of 1997 when I launched The XL1 Watchdog, my first web site dedicated to digital video technology. In January of 2001, that site morphed into DV Info Net — the Digital Video Information Network. More than fifteen years later, the longevity of DV Info Net is exceeded now only by its popularity and reputation as one of the leading technology information resources in the broadcast and professional video markets.

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