You’re looking at Canon’s new 4k “Multipurpose” concept, a wondrous amalgamation of still and video cameras pumping 60 frames per second at 4k resolution out of an 8 megapixel 2/3-inch CMOS sensor. Yep, we said 4k video, approximately quadruple the resolution of 1080p. We had a chance to go hands-on with the prototype at Canon Expo 2010, and believe us when we tell you that it’s really, really sharp, both in terms of hardware and the images it produces. The hardware is essentially a giant SLR body packing a fixed video-style lens complete with zoom and focus controls and a high-def flip-out LCD viewfinder (we’re told it’s the same LCD found in Canon’s new XF-300 and XF-305 video cameras).
We were told by a Canon rep that, unlike competing camera-maker RED’s offerings, the Multipurpose concept is not specifically designed for digital cinema. Instead, it’s intended to offer “multipurpose image capture,” which seems to imply something like the continuous photography promised by Canon’s other futuristic prototype. And although we’re told that the 4k Multipurpose camera will never come to market, it certainly sends a bold message to an industry content with 1080p that higher resolutions like 4k are coming down the pipe and aren’t just the realm of boundary-pushing cinema nerds.