Canon’s latest announcement is yet another (after XC10) that’s receiving negative article headlines and comments about being vastly overpriced and at the same time offering too little. We’re talking here about the new ME20F-SH costing $30,000, which boasts 4 000 000 ISO, and according to Canon, among other uses, it is meant for: 'nighttime surveillance and security, cinematic production, reality television, and nature/wildlife documentaries'. While the advertised ability to capture clear image in color in utter darkness is least to say impressive, lack of higher resolutions or even internal recording (SDI/HDMI outputs only) may put off the potential wealthy buyers.
The thing it does for sure is that it opens some possibilities that are otherwise unreachable, take nighttime aerial shooting, or filming the subjects without the need of additional lighting which might reveal the presence of a camera – like wildlife documentary or reality TV. The issue is that these are still a minority, confining the ME20F-SH into a niche instantly, and permanently.
More than that, Caleb Ward from premiumbeat.com suggests that the new cam will not find applause even in areas it is supposedly aimed for. He suggests that it is simply too expensive for most uses to buy, even these highly specific. He believes that $30k is a huge overkill for security & surveillance, as well as for reality TV. Nature and wildlife documentaries may find full HD not enough to invest in this camera, as it would hardly be future-proof. In his opinion, cinematic productions may find it useful, however, Canon has not released info about cam’s DR, which is one of the key specs.
At the end of his article, Caleb concludes:
A few years ago, having a revolutionary camera that couldn’t record 4K would be fine. But with 4K filmmaking becoming more and more popular, it’s incredibly nearsighted to release or buy a camera that can only record HD. Combined with the inconvenience of shooting with an external recording device and the high price point, it’s hard to see a scenario in which this camera will find a significant foothold in the industry.
Perhaps this is too harsh of a judgement - in the press release Canon clearly states that 'Due to the specialist nature and demand for this product, the ME20F-SH will only be available to selected partners' and was never meant for wider sales and shouldn't be perceived from that perspective. You can read Canon’s press release with major camera specs here and Caleb’s text here. The ME20F-SH should be available from December 2015.