Canon Offers C700 Global Shutter Sensor Swap, Why You Probably Don’t Need It
Canon Europe announced a program for the C700 that includes Locking EF & PL lens mounting options. Pretty standard stuff there. You can send the camera to them for the mount change, or do it yourself. They encourage you to send it in for the service, but I can’t imagine why anyone who has a C700 can’t do basic work on it themselves unless they have donkey brains (little IASIP reference for ya there)
They also announced a sensor swap option that allows the standard sensor to be swapped out with a Global Shutter sensor. Changing the sensor to global shutter will also require use of a PL mount along with a loss of what is estimated about one stop of dynamic range. Now I’m looking at this from the perspective of just some guy working at a midsize shop who doesn’t rent out gear. But I can’t see any reason why the hell you’d opt for a GS sensor swap.
Rolling Shutter has a negative connotation because back during the 5D/7D revolution while everyone was going nuts over the cinematic look, any fast pans or motion resulted in pretty horrid distortion. This was due to the slow sensor readout. The word “rolling shutter” became a descriptor of a problem rather than the technology. Today’s cameras are much more advanced and readout much faster:
Rolling Shutters readout the photosites row by row from one side of the image to the other. In practice, this happens with film as well. With a rotary shutter the spinning disc exposes the film to light. This disc exposes the film in a ‘sweep’ as the opening rotates across the gate.
With this method of readout, the spatial distortions that occur is what we are all used to from the early days when it was so extreme that a big part of any camera review was “How Bad is Rolling Shutter?” I remember receiving DSLR footage and a requirement in the post chain was using RS reduction/correction before being able to even track it. The faster the readout, the less spatial distortion. Other common artifacts occur with cyclical motion & flickering from electronic displays and lighting.
A Global Shutter is just what it sounds, the circuity is designed to read information from all sites at the same time, or readout near instantly with exposure set on a curve. (hard and soft shutters) These are ideal for situations when you’re shooting with flashing strobes or trying to capture extremely fast motion. We did some BTS footage for a fashion shoot and (If I remember correctly) we rented a URSA 4K which has a global shutter because there were strobes going off all over the place.
Now bringing it back to the C700, this sensor change is not an upgrade, but a preference and what you really intend to shoot with your camera. In 99.9999% of situations I have never needed a global shutter. With a decent cinema camera and a bit of testing you will learn what situations are beyond the capability of the sensor.
I know as a shooter that my time is spent wishing for more exposure latitude far more often than wishing for a global shutter. Unless you’re a rental house with a stock of C700’s you want to offer with each sensor, I really think you’ll be better off with the standard rolling shutter. It’s not such a dirty word!