Andrew Reid

Canon C300 Mark II flopping vs the Sony FS7 at rental?

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c300-mark-ii.jpg

Various sources have suggested that the C300 Mark II is having difficulties coping with the run-away success of the Sony FS7 on the rental market.

Is it truly being left on the shelves? EOSHD analyses an unexpected situation...

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras

Hi Andrew,

I couldn't agree more with your article. As a former C300/1DC owner, I love Canon's color science (especially for skin tones). And I was eagerly looking forward to the C300 Mark II. But not at $16K or even $12K. I then hoped in vain that the 1DX Mark II would at least have Log. 

If this C300M2 rental slump continues, Canon may have to drop the price yet again to (hopefully) $9k or $8k. Today, it would have to approach the price of an FS7 to be as competitive and attract the same mass market interest for indie doc filmmakers that the C300 once did. I know that might sound strange considering that the C300 was once $16K for only 1080p, but times have changed and the competition is fierce.    

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Great article Andrew! 

Yes I agree that the c300 II is a flop. And what's crazy is that the canon c300 II was released after the FS7. You would think, seeing the success of the FS7, canon would try to add more features or at least match the features of the FS7. But no, canon just does the minimum and expects the canon fans to follow. They thought that the professionals will be loyal to the EOS line and pay an extra $8k for half the camera of the FS7 just because the C300 mk I was such a success. This is a bunch of crap! They sell us short and then they release the C300 Mark II for double the price of the FS7! Absolutely insane! They don't care about their customers! 

It is messed up to me that they would do this. They are not looking out for us at all. And the fact that they lowered the price of the c300 mk II $4k 8 months later is embarrassing. It goes to show you that canon is not really thinking it through. They just try to rip all of us off and trick us into paying more for a camera that doesn't have it all.

Canon why??? Why are you so lame??? Most of us filmmakers will not buy a camera just because it has the canon logo on the camera. We will buy the best camera with the best features with the best price. So please try harder and listen to the pros that are trying to help you! 

 

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At the rental house where I work, the MK II definitely sat on the shelves for a long time while the FS7 worked all day, every day. Lately though, the MK II has been picking up steam, and we've invested in a few more as we start to replace our aging pile of C300 MK Is. But it still has a long way to go to catch up. That said, I can imagine that Canon has been feeling the squeeze, which is why they lowered the price drastically. And while it's still pricer than the FS7 despite the slightly inferior specs, it's not unreasonable considering that the build quality is far superior. The FS7 feels like cheap plastic crap and breaks often. The MK II (as well as the other C-series cameras) is a beast, and holds up to production rigors much better. And the color science is on another level entirely. The Canon RAW output approaches the Reds and Arris as far as color reproduction and dynamic range is concerned. I'm amazed every time I plug an Odyssey 7Q in.

The original C300 is a legend, though, and I expect it to continue working for a long time. It's in the same league as the Arri 2C and Eclair NPR as far as its importance as a documentary and low budget filmmaking camera.

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5 minutes ago, BrooklynDan said:

At the rental house where I work, the MK II definitely sat on the shelves for a long time while the FS7 worked all day, every day. Lately though, the MK II has been picking up steam, and we've invested in a few more as we start to replace our aging pile of C300 MK Is. But it still has a long way to go to catch up. That said, I can imagine that Canon has been feeling the squeeze, which is why they lowered the price drastically. And while it's still pricer than the FS7 despite the slightly inferior specs, it's not unreasonable considering that the build quality is far superior. The FS7 feels like cheap plastic crap and breaks often. The MK II (as well as the other C-series cameras) is a beast, and holds up to production rigors much better. And the color science is on another level entirely. The Canon RAW output approaches the Reds and Arris as far as color reproduction and dynamic range is concerned. I'm amazed every time I plug an Odyssey 7Q in.

The original C300 is a legend, though, and I expect it to continue working for a long time. It's in the same league as the Arri 2C and Eclair NPR as far as its importance as a documentary and low budget filmmaking camera.

A lot of us say"it's only about the image", and that's fine. It would just be a lot more useful if we could slow that wonderful image down aswell. 

They only needed to add 4k/60p and better slow motion. The 1DX II betters the C300 II in this regard.

If that was the case, I'd be renting the Canon. 

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On the mark, as per usual. What Canon is doing makes no sense at all to me...and apparently I'm not alone. I think the crazy thing is what you pointed out in your open letter; they give something wonderful and exceptional and, in the same model, take something else equally wonderful or essential away.

What kind of marketing is that? What kind of thinking is that? As I've said before, is this some twisted revenge for WWII? Add to your takeaways taking the auto focus feature from Log in the 1dC. WTF! Who the Hell made that decision?

Plus, what they offer on the one hand is terrific, but what they don't offer is downright weird. Where is their full frame constant 2.8 zoom lens? Sigma can make a crop sensor lens at 1.8 and the best Canon can do is 4.0?!? It's all very strange.

snatch.tiff

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I add that: as BMD, Canon Eos and PL are mount limited ... learn from M4 / 3 and Sony E...

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Money might be the only thing that will make Canon change anything. But there are still a lot of people praising and buying Canon for video - even DSLRs - and maybe things are starting to turn, but as long as there are people buying I don't see Canon caring.

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You know what I think is happening?

What I think is happening is that... people are slowly adopting the Sony cams, simply for its features... once they get it they don't like the colors or skin tones. But they've still adopted it and said "screw it..." getting used to those colors. I see a major shift coming... such that people start getting used to Sony colors and saying... thats what I want.

Here is to hoping that Canon fails... and starts saying "what the fuck did we do?"

Starts downsizing and starts firing that whole marketing and research department.

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47 minutes ago, mkabi said:

You know what I think is happening?

What I think is happening is that... people are slowly adopting the Sony cams, simply for its features... once they get it they don't like the colors or skin tones. But they've still adopted it and said "screw it..." getting used to those colors. I see a major shift coming... such that people start getting used to Sony colors and saying... thats what I want.

Here is to hoping that Canon fails... and starts saying "what the fuck did we do?"

Starts downsizing and starts firing that whole marketing and research department.

There might be some truth to this. Recently I've been looking at a ton of Sony footage and actually prefer the colors. All this talk about the awful Sony colors and skin tones, I no longer agree. I don't know if Sony has improved or I've just been conditioned to accept it.

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7 hours ago, mkabi said:

Here is to hoping that Canon fails...

Be careful what you wish for as it may come true. Canon recorded a loss for the last quarter. As one of the largest Japanese conglomerates, they wouldn't even be selling cameras if it weren't for the lenses they sell alongside them (and the fact that their imaging technology and sensors are utilized in several of their divisions). If the losses continue, however, Canon will simply get out of the camera business and focus on printers and everything else.

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At my main rental house in NYC (Adorama), the C300 II is renting for the same price as the FS7, which tells me they have over-invested like you say and are pricing it to move. So for me it's a no brainer, why not rent a $13k camera over an $8k camera when the cost is the same?

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10 hours ago, mkabi said:

You know what I think is happening?

What I think is happening is that... people are slowly adopting the Sony cams, simply for its features... once they get it they don't like the colors or skin tones. But they've still adopted it and said "screw it..." getting used to those colors. I see a major shift coming... such that people start getting used to Sony colors and saying... thats what I want.

Here is to hoping that Canon fails... and starts saying "what the fuck did we do?"

Starts downsizing and starts firing that whole marketing and research department.

I can't say my experience matches your hypothetic scenario. I used Sony cams for 10 years, first as a sort of beginner and the longer I worked, always seeking to improve every aspect of the video, the more dissatisfied I grew with the skin tones in specific and color in general--VERY unhappy. The last Sony cam I purchased was the FS5--which I intensely disliked. It was then I finally decided to try Canon, and purchased the C100 Mk II--and voila! There was the image quality skin tones and colors I'd always been wanting. So, I'm not so sure conditioning is all that significant.  

We're not just subjectively comparing product to one another. There's an objective aspect to this: we're comparing each of those two things (Sony and Canon color and image) to Reality. And using reality as the standard, IMO, is where Sony consistently failed to satisfy me.  The better and more discerning I've grown the more unhappy I was with the results I got out of my Sony cams. In contrast, I've been very happy with my Canon 300 mk II and love the images and color out of the XC10 and 1dC: images and color out of the camera I could not approximate in post with my  Sonys.

Believe me, if I could be pleased with Sony color and image I would go to them in a New York minute--they give you so many more bells and whistles for less money, I'd be an idiot not to make such a move. But they fail to satisfy regarding to most essential things--that's my take anyway. I can live without super slo-mo, but not without image, skin tones, and color.

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As someone who has just bought a c300 mark 2 and is the owner of two c100s, I second Tom's comments. The sony camera's have failed to deliver a shooter experience let alone a image quality I desire. One has to realize that the c300 mark 2 was never competing with the fs7 but the F5 and F55. The F5 that still retails for over 16k, has no internal 4k, no 12 bit 4444, and one stop lower in dynamic range. So compared to that, the c300 mark ii is quite a steal even at the same price. Canon was always aiming for the Sony F5/F55 line during their C300 Mark ii development process.

However, Sony's release of the fs7 wasn't ever based on a real product strategy. Which company would release the two lower priced prosumer products that have a wealth of features that there entry level Pro camera could not do without a pricey firmware update. Sony has shown a resurgence in the last two years with the A7 line by throwing the entire kitchen sink at the problem of slumping sales. We as the consumers have benefited greatly from this. However, as a videographer/cinematographer that needs gear to provide a living for me (www.kyalla.co), these cameras though feature rich lack great image quality. 4k is overrated when compared to skin tones, color science, ergonomics, etc. Though I think there is many areas that Canon needs to improve in (overcrank), I do think they have been taking the right approach of focusing on image quality, ergonomics, build construction, and color.

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The FS7 is great for slomo, the C300 II is great for AF, color, and skintones. Getting ARRI-like color from the C300 II is an amazing deal and the DPAF is super useful. Not having to mess with color AT ALL (if just wanting accurate/pleasing skintones) is a great advantage of the C300 II over the FS7. That's why Canon is still so popular.

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3 hours ago, tomsemiterrific said:

I used Sony cams for 10 years, first as a sort of beginner and the longer I worked, always seeking to improve every aspect of the video, the more dissatisfied I grew with the skin tones in specific and color in general--VERY unhappy.

The interesting thing is, it still seems like Sony is using the same kind of colorimetry it did 10 years ago. For example, the old Sony HC1. Great handycam for it's time. But when I compared it to the Canon HV20 in cinemode... The difference is actually almost the same now. The Canon HV20 had a mode that disabled sharpening completely and had a very cinematic image, a bit orangey with a great whitebalance. The Sony was a bit more blue, bit more magenta, bit more sharp. Sony was also two years before Canon in the market.

Nothing has changed in 10 years haha.

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Another thing to mention is, the original C300 is still being used pretty widely. If you're not rendering out to 4K, I am not sure the upgrade is really worth it. 

Man though, if you shoot a lot of interviews, you will really really please your clients if you shoot with the C300ii. The color is just so amazing. The auto focus is also incredible. Those two features alone are worth it. No 60p/4k is a really big bummer.

3 hours ago, tomsemiterrific said:

Believe me, if I could be pleased with Sony color and image I would go to them in a New York minute--they give you so many more bells and whistles for less money, I'd be an idiot not to make such a move. But they fail to satisfy regarding to most essential things--that's my take anyway. I can live without super slo-mo, but not without image, skin tones, and color.

Exactly. 

I do want to say, the Sony Cine Alta cameras are on a different level. The F3 has amazing color. So cheap as well.

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With these kind of anecdotal stories... You need to ask yourself some further questions before drawing any kind of conclusion:

Is the C300 mk1 still renting well?

Have rentals simply dropped across the mid range, now people can afford truly good cameras as owner/operators?

Are people just renting the FS7 for occasional slow-mo shots to go with another camera?

Has the FS7 taken rentals away from the F55, RED etc too, eg, we have hit saturation point where that camera is good enough to scoop up all kinds of work?

It seems to me that alot of the market that the C300 was so successful in.. what I would call throw away tv (reality, interviews etc)... Is still 1080p based and the C300 is still king. I can see the C300 ii slowly grabbing back ground as the price comes down and the need for 4K in that area grows. Too little info and too little time passed to call it a flop.

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3 hours ago, jcs said:

The FS7 is great for slomo, the C300 II is great for AF, color, and skintones. Getting ARRI-like color from the C300 II is an amazing deal and the DPAF is super useful. Not having to mess with color AT ALL (if just wanting accurate/pleasing skintones) is a great advantage of the C300 II over the FS7. That's why Canon is still so popular.

But apparently not with the people renting equipment, if the OP is true.

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13 minutes ago, tugela said:

But apparently not with the people renting equipment, if the OP is true.

I talked to the biggest rental house here in Chicago and they said the C300ii and FS7 rent about equal. "Both very popular".

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