Canon’s 1D C 4K Cinema DSLR is Simply a 1D X with Different Firmware

If you thought the design and hardware specs of Canon’s upcoming 4K-capable 1D C are strangely similar to the company’s flagship 1D X, you’re right: the two models feature identical hardware loaded with different firmware. At Photokina 2012, DSLR filmmaking blog EOSHD spoke to Canon representatives, who confirmed this fact to be true. They write,

The 1D C is a 1D X with a 4K firmware update. Canon’s man told me that the only hardware change was to do with the flash sync jack […] So essentially the 1D X hardware – sensor, processor, everything – is capable of 4K video, 100%, no heat or bandwidth issues either.

What’s crazy is how much the difference in firmware affects the camera’s price. With a suggested retail price of $15,000, the 1D C more than doubles the 1D X’s price tag of $6,800.

The fact that the hardware in the two cameras are identical means that 1D X owners could potentially one day use their devices for 4K video by simply downloading and installing a firmware update.

When EOSHD asked the rep whether or not a paid update might be in the company’s plans, the answer was no. One of the factors in this decision is how tax works in certain countries. Video cameras require much higher import taxes, so the ability to turn a 1D X into a powerful video camera with a software tweak wouldn’t sit well with government regulators.

Another is the fact that Hollywood studios with deep pockets are more than willing to pay heftier prices for a solid 4K video camera, while the hamstrung version of the camera would still be popular among photographers when priced much lower.

Still, having such big differences in camera functionality be due solely to firmware differences means that the camera could potentially be hacked to provide these features for free. The Canon 7D has just been cracked to run Magic Lantern, giving it fancy new features. Perhaps we’ll soon be saying the same about the Canon 1D X.

Update: New reports are casting doubt on EOSHD’s story. There may be some hardware differences after all.

Image credit: IMG_6327 chdk firmware canon sd1000 ixus70 101b by shannonpatrick17

  • Sasebastian

    Just one more way that canon is ripping their customers off.

  • Rūdolfs Rancāns

    Yeah, Leica already taught us that red logos cost much more…

  • sierrarobba

    Magic lantern kids never touch thier hand on 1DX because they cant afford it and NO ONE give they 6000$ to try hack.

  • Jonathan Maniago

    This is getting ridiculous. Magic Lantern has shown that the DIGIC processors of EOS cameras are capable of so much, yet Canon seem to be hellbent on crippling their own products.

    What’s next? Canon announcing that their less than stellar results at DxOMark are also due to firmware limitations?

  • Bo Reidler

    I reckon what’s crazy is that Canon is compromising the enjoyment of their customers by being too cunning by half and misrepresenting what they are actually selling. If we look at the above example and take what is happening with the 7D and the 5D mk3, there could quite feasibly be a class action somewhere in the offing because the company is essentially selling hardware the equivalent of a PC computer. Computer companies by and large, do not misrepresent the true capacity of the hardware at the time of release, and improve the performance of the hardware with software upgrades. These are either free or paid upgrades, the equivalent of firmware updates The fact that Canon is forcing customers to seek alternative upgrades, hacks that void warranty, is irresponsible and possibly illegal as they must have a duty of care to their customers just like PC manufacturers. If Magic Lantern can come up with a hack that extends the product far and above the state at which the original is sold then one can only presume that this capacity was always within the product. So what product are we being sold? It is basically withholding vital information that prohibits the consumer from making the best assessment of the product at purchase time.

  • Arnold Newman

    Wow. I just don’t see it taking long before hackers liberate the 1Dx from its firmware bondage.

  • Gregory

    I’m a Canon c300 owner and it REALLY BURNS ME UP, that Canon seems to
    piss in our faces and tell us it’s raining!! The c300 is a computer, and they keep telling is that it has a 4K sensor, which means you can’t shoot 4K. It is a beautiful camera, but why mention 4K and it doesn’t shoot it. Now a few months later they announce the c500 and they say its the same exact camera, and it shoots 2K and 4K! Really Canon? Not that I need 4K, but you want me to spend $25K + to be able to shoot 120fps when you should just put 1080p 60, 120, and 240fps in the camera already! Think about it, regardless that this is a better camera than the Sony 700 they allow you to shoot at 240fps and the damn camera is something like half price. Can anyone explain this to me other than greed?

  • Zhemin

    Nope, Leica taught us no Logos cost much more…

  • hagavaletudo

    Are lawyers really necessary? Canon is not “forcing” anyone to do anything. It’s a free market and we can buy what we want. If someone is unhappy with the product, return it, go to another vendor, or explore a hack. Heck, maybe even fund development of a new product via Kickstarter. There are so many things at play in a company like Canon but we end consumers pretend to know it all. My point is, we don’t have enough information and we are jumping to conclusions (ie Canon is BAD). All we’re going off of is some reps claim about the firmware upgrade and unless s/he is in R&D, I’m not going to put much value in that claim.

  • planetMitch

    Personally, I don’t believe it is true – am trying to verify that.

  • Marcel Gallo

    The 1DC is NOT the 1DX with a different firmware.

  • Jahled