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Should I still buy a C100?

Milan Dorji

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So I am mainly a wedding videographer but also do occasional commercial and music video work. I am also getting my master in documentary film. I have been leaning heavily towards the C100 mainly for its usability, lenses, audio, and sensor. I currently own a BMPCC and a 7D. I am also looking at the A7S and the GH4 but those don't seem as complete as the C100. What I am worried about is if I invest in the C100 and then they come out with a replacement I would be super pissed. I want a camera that can last me 2-3 years. 

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If you're fed up of workarounds and add-ons in the case of your BMPCC and 7D, the GH4 and A7S are actually a very practical step up.


Good focus assists on both. Very good EVFs and articulated screen.


Superb battery life and long run times on the GH4. The A7S run times are good if you add the battery grip.


No built in ND filters so that might be a consideration, however with a decent vari-ND you get more control than with a switch.


Low light on the A7S is better than C100 and it's full frame so full use of your EF lenses, whereas the C100 is APS-C.


GH4 low light not as good as C100 but it's 4K and 10bit capable externally whereas C100 is limited to 8bit. The GH4 files grade very well but the A7S with S-LOG 2 grades even better. Does the C100 have C-LOG or is that just the C300, I can't remember.


Anyway I'd say get the A7S and save some money for more important things like lenses and filters.

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I totally understand your dilemma. I'm a C100 owner, and have an A7s on rental that will be arriving tomorrow. I'm shooting a wedding this weekend with both and will definitely chime in with my thoughts. At the moment I'm leaning towards selling all of my canon equipment and investing in sony. I don't doubt that canon will come out with a C100 replacement in the next year

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

if you can pay it off in 4-6 months, buy a C100 and start making money. If you only pay it off in > a year then no it will depreciate by then and you will not make much money out of it. If that's the case then look for the cheaper dslr options there are the great a7s & gh4. having used the c100 and owned a gh4 i would never give up on a c100 for a gh4, but it's also a lot more money and the gh4 is more than adequate for any job. I think it all comes to how fast you'll be able to pay it off.

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Here's some comparative prices:






So taking this as an example site, you're looking at about 800 quid difference with XLRs on the Sony. The answer of which you get depends on what you want to do with it.


I have no experience using an A7s, but I've played with footage and it's excellent and has a great unique look in S-log 2. It looks really good for low light and cinematic colour, so for indie film it's got a lot going for it, since lighting set ups are often minimal, and it's a good geurilla cam.


From a working perspective however, I use C100 a lot: We have two C100s and I was considering a Sony A7s too. As the Ebrahims say, since these C100s are used to make money etc. simplicity helps and the slightly higher initial cost pays off. We also already had glass from using Canon SLRs, which aided the decision.


The C100 means you never have to f*ck around, but it costs you some more up front. You pay for convenience in bucketloads. You get a ton of footage in a 32GB card and it looks better than it should at AVCHD... voodoo. Voodoo, but not magic. There are limits to what you can do with 24mbps. Wide DR profile grades brilliantly. C-log is indeed available and grades very well IF you're careful, but can go fudgy in AVCHD.


Add a Ninja 2 for ProRes HQ C-log happiness. a Ninja 2 gives you better footage than internal C300 plus an external monitor. Quite an upgrade...


XLR and internal stereo mics are included on the top handle, ergonomics start brilliant so rigging is minimised. You can now run without top handle and side handle for ultra small setup if needs be, since the newest firmware allows more control remapping. Three built-in NDs are a godsend for working at high speed, I love them.


Battery lasts hours and hours, I was in LA shooting recently at a show, and I think we got something like 2 and a half hours from one battery. It could have been more. Madness! You can forget about it, unlike with the SLRs. Also you can plug it in to the wall with the stuff you get in the box.


I'm not worried about it being obsolete to be honest, because good footage doesn't become obsolete, and I know I can make good footage with this. Good footage at very low res does, but no one is yet demanding work in 4K as a rule in my experience. They will start to soon, but it won't be the majority for a while, and when it is we can hire in the transition, then buy something new. By then it will be available. Almost all films are 2K (a little wider than HD) at the cinema. It's damn good.


I do not make decisions based on rumors, as Andrew rightly says, it's no basis for a financial decision. Yes, Canon could release a 4K C200 in NAB 2015, but if they do, my C100 won't suddenly be rubbish. My 600D isn't rubbish! I still like it. It's more likely Sony will obsolete/depreciate the A7S first though, they release a lot of cameras. Still, all of this paragraph is just conjecture really, and shouldn't influence you: you buy from what's available now. You do not need the latest camera to make a good film OR to make money from talent, knowledge and ability.


So why am I considering an A7s? It has a some good toys that aren't in the workhorse C100:

  • High speed footage - goof for music promo
  • S-log/S-gamut look is very Kodak and I like it, I think it'll be nice for drama and music promo.
  • It's a great stills camera, with extreme low-light sensitivity.
  • Option of 135 frame (vistavision/still full frame) video recording

What don't I like about A7s on paper:

  • The blue channel hard-clipping issue - problematic for blue LED light especially.
  • No internal NDs (expected).
  • 4K requires very expensive external recorder. I pretty much ignore it as a purchase-decision specification.
  • Slow motion is pretty fuzzy compared to true 1080p.
  • Recording time limit precludes use for events etc.

That pro's list is pretty small for the price of investment so I've cooled off a bit on the idea. I figure I'll hire an FS700 for high speed shots as 200/240fps is sharp, plus you can hire with external recorder for 2K raw slowmo... I make decisions like this with mostly logic and not too much heart, since it's investment in a tool. Also, since it's a depreciating asset in a business context, return on investment is directly related to how well it works on deadline under pressure, also known as convenience.


So there's one experience with the Canon and my reasons for purchase decisions. As usual, your own situation may nullify one or all of my points as far as your own decision is concerned, but I hope this constitutes useful input. This typing isn't helping my jetlag though ;)

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It's a tough choice for me the xlr add on does make me consider the A7s a little bit I also love the lowlight performance. I have a 7000 dollar budget so I trying to figure out what is best I am really trying to upgrade my gear not just camera like buying a good slider, a 70-200 canon which I lacked on my 7d. The dual pixel autofocus really is tempting. I live in NYC so it will take a little bit longer to pay a c100 off maybe in 6 months taking out rent and cost of living out of my salary. Tough decisions ahead.

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