2014: The year of the large sensor

Guest article

EOS 300C BCL w EF 85mm 1.2 L II USM w HOOD[1]

Television in 2014 has never looked so good, and viewers are increasingly experiencing productions that appear more vivid and textured than in the past. In this guest article, Austin Freshwater, Director, Professional Imaging at Canon UK and Ireland, argues that this is due to a shift in the industry towards large sensor cameras and the filmic quality that this technology brings to the screen.

Once limited to high-end, big-budget productions, large sensor cameras have become much more affordable in recent years, making them accessible for a wider variety of productions. “Large sensor cameras have become massively popular,” says Shaun Wilton of the UK equipment rental firm, Shooting Partners. “It’s because of a particular look – the shallow depth of field that was previously only available in drama with high budgets.”

When it comes to television production trends, rental houses are arguably the best bellwethers of what’s happening in the industry and why. Whereas big media organisations might be inclined to stick with legacy equipment because of sunk costs and established workflows, rental firms have an incentive to invest in the most sought-after cameras. They deal with a range of equipment from different manufacturers as well as the people using that equipment day to day, so they’re in an excellent position to judge how a camera’s performance delivers against its promise.

The sentiment coming from these organisations today is that large sensor cameras have become an increasingly popular standard for many productions where quality matters but budget is still a consideration.

Next: Stepping up from the DSLR…