Canon’s new generation of PTZ cameras

Three new pan-tilt-zoom cameras, along with hardware and software controllers, add even more diversity to Canon’s integrated imaging system.
The Canon CR-N300 pan-tilt-zoom camera.

Canon introduces three new 4K PTZ cameras, the CR-N500, CR-N300 (shown here) and CR-X500, complemented by a suite of system tools.

Thanks to their pan, tilt and zoom capabilities and the fact that they can be controlled remotely, PTZ cameras are perfect for a wide range of applications. In an era when video production is rapidly changing, Canon is releasing three new 4K PTZ cameras, the Canon CR-N500, CR-N300 and CR-X500, and continuing to grow the range with more system tools.

“The PTZ cameras we are introducing are flexible solutions expanding Canon's video product range, meeting the changing demands of remote production and video streaming,” says Canon Europe product manager Matthew Koshy. "They can be used in simple standalone set-ups or in a large-scale production environment as agnostic cameras that can integrate into all types of existing and new systems."

The new PTZ cameras build on Canon's heritage of imaging and optical excellence. They feature advanced sensor, processor, optical and precision control technologies evolved over the decades Canon has been developing professional camcorders, lenses and acclaimed cinema systems.

They also include powerful practical features such as advanced autofocus technology and flexible control protocols and interfaces, enabling camera operators not only to adjust a PTZ camera’s orientation and zoom remotely, but also fine-tune picture quality and other camera settings. This means there is an incredibly broad range of potential applications for Canon's PTZ cameras – everything from broadcast, live production and live events to higher education and corporate use.

This solution is invaluable especially in today's world. It also complies with Covid-19 social distancing measures, because you don't need as many people to be present to create content. Indeed, a single operator can control multiple Canon PTZ cameras remotely from a single desk, making it possible to record an event or broadcast a multi-viewpoint live stream without having to be physically present.
Canon CR-N300 camera tilted down.

PTZ stands for Pan-Tilt-Zoom. These cameras can be operated remotely, making them perfect for filming events, TV productions, conferences, education seminars, religious services, studio productions and much more.

Exceptional imagery, control and streaming

Exceptionally, all the Canon PTZ cameras support 4K UHD resolution as standard, with 4K optics to ensure high imaging quality. With more Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) supporting 4K UHD streaming, as well as 4K becoming standard in broadcast workflows, Canon's solutions deliver the image quality and immersive experience today's viewers expect.

Drawing on Canon's expertise in pro video and cinema cameras, the PTZ cameras incorporate proven focusing systems for flexibility and speed of focusing: Hybrid AF in the CR-N300, and Canon's industry-renowned Dual Pixel CMOS AF in the CR-N500 and CR-X500. The latter features Face Detection and Tracking AF, which helps ensure subjects are always in focus, plus Touch AF for increased control.
A Canon ZB 132 camera.

The Canon CR-N500 PTZ camera has a 1-inch CMOS sensor capturing 4K UHD video via a 15x zoom lens, and the industry-renowned Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus system. Its pan/tilt mechanism is capable of amazingly precise incremental adjustments.

A Canon CR-N300 camera.

The Canon CR-N300 shares the same precise control system as the CR-N500, in a smaller device equipped with a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor – and still with 4K UHD capture. Both models support a comprehensive range of streaming and control protocols such as NDI|HX* and RTMP/RTMPS.

The CR-N500 and CR-N300 support RTMP/RTMPS (Real-Time Messaging Protocol and Real-Time Messaging Protocol Secure). This protocol enables content to be shared directly to platforms such as YouTube and Facebook, making it incredibly easy for anyone to live stream to one of these platforms.

Both PTZ cameras also support NDI|HX*, RTP/RTSP and the new Canon XC Protocol. NDI|HX* is the industry standard for broadcast applications, as it enables the camera not only to deliver the content but also to be controlled via this same protocol.
Support for these protocols is pivotal today, with the popularity of streaming platforms having grown exponentially since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Users can stream straight from one camera to their desired Content Delivery Network (CDN). This support for a range of protocols also means Canon's PTZ cameras can be used as part of a wider system as well as "out of the box".

"We're well aware that most set-ups consist of more than just a camera nowadays," says Matthew. "Canon is dedicated to delivering imaging products to not only fit within established workflows but also create new imaging ecosystems as well."

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Accordingly, while Canon’s new PTZ cameras can be happily used as standalone devices and operated via the dedicated Remote Camera Control Application available for PC, they can also slot into a larger integrated system. The bespoke Canon RC-IP100 remote camera controller enables flexible control of multiple cameras via a network, but all the PTZ cameras are also designed to be used alongside Canon’s range of professional camcorders, Cinema EOS cameras, projectors and 4K reference monitors to deliver a complete end-to-end solution.
The ports on the rear of a Canon CR-N300.

The CR-N300 offers a comprehensive range of connection options, including HDMI, SDI, USB and LAN (PoE+), making it straightforward either to deploy out of the box or to integrate into an existing professional production workflow.

The ports on the rear of a Canon CR-N500.

The slightly larger CR-N500 has an equally broad choice of connection options including dual XLR audio ports for excellent audio connectivity, plus the same type of 1-inch CMOS sensor used in Canon's professional camcorders.

Why is PTZ meaningful today?

Events, education, worship and even everyday office attendance have all been hugely impacted during the Covid-19 pandemic, and people have had to adapt.

PTZ cameras can be at the forefront of these changes in society. They are ideal for use in higher education, where face-to-face lectures and seminars are being replaced with remote teaching.

Live events have also been hit hard by the pandemic, with almost every major live event taking place behind closed doors if it is not cancelled altogether. Here again, PTZ cameras can be the bridge in making sure events go ahead in some form, offering people a way to experience them and enjoy content from the safety of their own homes.
In the last year places of worship have also had to suspend traditional services in favour of an online approach. A Canon PTZ camera is ideal for capturing a service in a place of worship and live streaming it to a congregation at home.

For broadcasters too, at a time when crew numbers on-site are necessarily limited, Canon PTZ cameras can be a perfect solution. Thanks to the optical and imaging quality of the cameras, broadcasters can still capture incredibly detailed 4K imagery while operating the system remotely, with a choice of pro standard connection and streaming protocols for delivery. With Canon's remarkable focal length and shallow depth of field, the CR-N500 and CR-X500 in particular make it easy to achieve an incredible polished cinematic look.
A computer in a video edit suite with two HD reference monitors.

Choosing the right 4K monitor for you

Check out Canon's range of high-quality reference monitors, with Native 4K and HDR.
Canon brings to the PTZ market its renowned quality and 80-plus-year heritage in optical design, not to mention its record of innovative video technologies and groundbreaking products that have lowered the barriers to entry into filmmaking, video production, broadcast and streaming. "We're translating all our knowledge and expertise in imaging into our PTZ products," Matthew says.
A Canon CR-N500 camera.

PTZ cameras have a wide range of applications, from broadcast through to individual content creators, with their remote operation offering filmmaking flexibility.

The Canon CR-N500 and CR-X500

The Canon CR-N500 and CR-X500 are aimed at more advanced professional users who demand the best imaging quality. They are ideal for live production and broadcast as well as other applications such as live events, from weddings to concerts.

Both cameras have a 1-inch sensor, the size used in many of Canon’s professional camcorders, which captures 4K UHD video via a 15x zoom lens. Both also feature Canon’s highly effective Dual Pixel CMOS AF system to ensure your subject is always in focus, and the CR-N500 will output FHD 60p (4:2:2 10-bit) video via SDI, 4K UHD 30p (4:2:2 10-bit) video via HDMI, or 4K UHD 30p (4:2:0 8-bit) video via IP, as well as XLR audio.

The CR-X500 is designed specifically for outdoor use by broadcast professionals who require high quality imaging in external environments. Rated IP55 dustproof and waterproof, it's designed to perform in harsh environments. It is also salt resistant and vibration resistant, making it ideal for live sports, live events and broadcast applications such as reality TV as well as security and monitoring.

The CR-X500 comes equipped with 12G-SDI capable of outputting 4K UHD at 4:2:2 10-bit, which is a popular connection method in the broadcast industry to ensure a reliable high-quality video signal.

The CR-N500 is ideal for live streaming and production use indoors, with support for RTMPS, the protocol used by YouTube, and RTP, RTSP and NDI|HX* streaming protocols. As the demand for live streaming continues to increase, this is an important and useful feature, making the CR-N500 an incredibly versatile camera.

The CR-N500 and CR-X500 also bring another key feature to the PTZ market – high precision pan, tilt and zoom movements. The CR-N500 can pan at speeds as gradual as 0.1 degree per second or as fast as 100 degrees per second, satisfying almost any production requirement. They also have built-in image stabilisation, effectively countering vibration caused by environmental factors, from a strong wind to a shaky location.
The Canon RC-IP100 Remote Camera Controller.

Used with Canon's three new PTZ cameras,* the Canon RC-IP100 hardware controller offers a great range of control. Its joystick enables camera movement to be adjusted, while the zoom lever controls its field of view remotely.
*CR-X500 connection to controller via Serial.

A screenshot of the Remote Camera Control Application.

Canon’s hardware controller is not the only choice. The Remote Camera Control Application, available free of charge, enables you to take control of a Canon PTZ camera or a whole suite of up to 20 cameras remotely via a Windows PC.

The Canon CR-N300 and controllers

The CR-N300, designed for a broader range of users, is perfectly suited for use in higher education, corporate events, weddings and places of worship, and for independent content creators of all kinds. This more compact camera has a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor but a slightly longer 20x optical zoom and is also capable of sharp 4K image quality. It also supports the same protocols as the larger CR-N500, as well as featuring the same precise adjustments and video formats, with the addition of Full HD via USB for easy connection to a laptop.

These three PTZ cameras are only part of the new PTZ system from Canon, which also includes the Canon RC-IP100 Remote Camera Controller, a useful piece of hardware with an omnidirectional joystick for precise camera control, a zoom lever and the ability to control multiple cameras over a network should you need to.

The Remote Camera Control Application is also available free of charge for users who would prefer to control their cameras via a Windows PC. This displays a live feed from up to 20 separate cameras, with the ability to switch between them and control each one as required, including pan-tilt-zoom, preset movement, tracing, and focus control.

The rapid increase in demand for streaming and remote viewing looks set to make PTZ cameras much more important, not just as remote-controlled capture devices but as part of a larger imaging ecosystem. Bringing Canon’s strong background in optics and video capture into the design of new PTZ systems, the CR-N500, CR-N300, CR-X500, Canon RC-IP100 Remote Camera Controller and Remote Camera Control Application provide powerful new solutions for almost every need, with superb quality imaging, exceptionally fine adjustment and built-in support for key streaming protocols.

*NDI is a trademark or registered trademark of NewTek, Inc. in the United States and other countries.

Written by Rod Lawton

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