Canon C500 Mark II gets new RAW Light recording options

Canon has announced an exciting new firmware update for its flagship EOS C500 Mark II cinema camera. The update will give users the option of three new Cinema RAW Light recording modes.

C500 Mark II

Canon launched the EOS C500 Mark II back in December 2019. The camera has a 5.9K full-frame sensor with 15 stops of dynamic range. It also delivers up to 60p recording in 5.9K and 4K, and up to 120p at 2K. In addition, it was the first Canon cinema camera with five-axis electronic image stabilization. Other headline features include Dual Pixel CMOS AF and optional user-installable EF-lock or PL mounts. The EOS C500 Mark II is approved for use on Netflix productions.

Cinema RAW Light

Cinema RAW Light is a compact RAW file format developed by Canon. It delivers a significant reduction in file size but doesn’t sacrifice image quality. Despite the smaller file size, the footage is also great for grading. However, before the new firmware update, the C500 Mark II could only record 12-bit RAW video at up to 30 frames per second. When shooting at higher frame rates you were limited to 10-bit.

Firmware update

The impending firmware update will add three new options for recording in Cinema RAW Light. Canon is calling these LT, ST and HQ. Importantly, you will be able to record in 12-bit at all frame rates. While 10-bit recordings can render over one billion colors, 12-bit recording delivers over 68 billion colors. This can make a big difference when you are grading your video or compositing for VFX. In addition, you can utilize the new Cinema RAW Light options with the C500’s 4:3 and 6:5 sensor crop modes.

What we think

Canon released firmware v1.1.0.1 for the C500 Mark II as recently as 30 January 2024. However, that only offered minor improvements and fixes. The new flavors of Cinema RAW Light in the upcoming firmware are much more exciting. In addition, following the update, you will have four different RAW recording options with the camera. Canon says is a first in the Cinema EOS lineup. If you already own a C500 Mark II you should upgrade to take advantage of the new smaller file sizes. The release of this update also suggests that Canon isn’t planning to replace the EOS C500 Mark II any time soon. This may tempt more purchasers to pick up the camera instead of waiting to see if a new model is in the offing.


Canon says that the firmware update for the EOS C500 Mark II will be released later this month.

Pete Tomkies
Pete Tomkies
Pete Tomkies is a freelance cinematographer and camera operator from Manchester, UK. He also produces and directs short films as Duck66 Films. Pete's latest short Once Bitten... won 15 awards and was selected for 105 film festivals around the world.

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