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Tempted? Should you get a $6499 Canon C300 or wait until after NAB?


Andrew Reid
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If being used on a weekly basis (commercially) for the year it's still viable as a commercial shooting solution then the price is worthwhile - particularly if you need to notch your profits down to stay below a tax bracket.  As a consumer purchase (ie, used for what the majority of us will do), the price is still madness when compared to consumer cameras like the a7s and gh4 - both of which surpass the needs of non commercial shooters.

 

 

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The CX00 line has the best image rendering available short of the Alexa (worse highlight rendering than the Dragon, but much better noise pattern and low light and color) and this is a STEAL.

I laughed when I read that. Just proves how overrated this industry workhorse really is.

The Red Dragon and Panasonic Varicam S35 are in a different league along with the Alexa. The difference is enormous.

8bit MPEG 50Mbit/s 1080p better colour than 6K Red Raw? Really?

The FS7 stomps all over the CX00's image, which is why it is being promptly replaced. The 1D C is by far the more pleasing image rendering wise, being almost full frame. The A7S as well, renders with more panache with a variety of beautiful full frame lenses by comparison to the Super 35mm CX00 line.

The GH4 and NX1 beat it soundly for detail rendering and come close in overall look and feel for $1.5k.

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The CX00 line has the best image rendering available short of the Alexa (worse highlight rendering than the Dragon, but much better noise pattern and low light and color) and this is a STEAL. But the C300 Mark II has some features that are really disruptive (and oddly forward-thinking) so investing now might not be the best choice, especially among the IQ-centric audience that populates enthusiast sites.

Canon (and Arri) are after the "pro" market. Which is all about "good enough" out of the box, because when you're "pro" you get paid and so hiring a crew and post team costs money. The focus isn't image quality. A low bitrate is desirable, as is an image that doesn't need (or have) much flexibility for grading... It's decent 1080p that has small file sizes in an easy-to-ingest format that attract the pros. Not because they're better or more talented (clearly they aren't judging by the quality of reality tv) but because they care about money first and a camera with small file sizes, amazing ergonomics, and a great image out of the box gets you the most for you money. For enthusiasts who enjoy grading and 4k and want the best IQ (if you like raw, don't get Canon–I can't stand raw because it wastes my time, so I love Canon)... go with something that's more techie and more fun. For wedding videographers and professional shooters on the low end, get what your clients prefer (Canon or Alexa more toward the high end).

That said, I like to judge images based on images and not specs. Canon's 1080p is sharper than anyone else's (not sharper than others' 4k, though, but 99% of the world is delivering to 1080p) and their colors are better than anyone other than maybe Arri. Sony's images have been garbage until SLOG 3 started to fix saturation clamping and color matrices but it's still nowhere near Canon level. Dragon Color is quite good, however, on the Red side. But the saturation clamping, skin tones, etc from Canon... brilliant. WideDR is a fantastic color space and Canon Log is sort of functional for what it is. 

The C300 isn't an enthusiast product, it's for pros (who care about money they can make back over image quality and about ergonomics; this is why the 1DX is 18MP to the enthusiast's 5DSR's 50+ MP but the 1DX has killer AF and durability) and so it is hard to recommend Canon to most people on this forum.

Especially when the C300 Mark II outclasses the Alexa. But it won't come cheap.

​Not sure if you're being sarcastic or not, but this GREAT.

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I laughed when I read that. Just proves how overrated this industry workhorse really is.

The Red Dragon and Panasonic Varicam S35 are in a different league along with the Alexa. The difference is enormous.

8bit MPEG 50Mbit/s 1080p better colour than 6K Red Raw? Really?

The FS7 stomps all over the CX00's image, which is why it is being promptly replaced. The 1D C is by far the more pleasing image rendering wise, being almost full frame. The A7S as well, renders with more panache with a variety of beautiful full frame lenses by comparison to the Super 35mm CX00 line.

The GH4 and NX1 beat it soundly for detail rendering and come close in overall look and feel for $1.5k.

​I judge cameras by images, not specs. So all I've got is... I've shot with them all... and this is the one that shoots the best looking 1080p footage (again, what I need to deliver).

Its popularity is more due to the ergonomics and easy workflow, but the image is much stronger, too.

Anyhow, just wait a few weeks. :)

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Yeah, I judge by images as well funnily enough! And C300 is nowhere near an Alexa!! It isn't better than an FS7. It isn't better than the 1D C. It isn't more cinematic than the Dragon. It isn't better than an F55 or F65 either. It's not in same league as the Varicam S35. You have mushy detail by comparison to ALL those cameras and less dynamic range as well as less colour information to grade from.

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Correct, and that's why I have a BMPC4k and not a C300 eheh ( I bought it exactly because of fantastic colors...), but that requires a much longer workflow, what I wanted to say is that Canon colors are the best you can have out of the camera without post.

 

 

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I very rarely ever use the colours straight out the camera - I always shoot as flat as I can and grade it .

So for me in 'in camera' colours are not a big deal - its what you do after that counts to make the look you require.

 

I do think the price on this will keep dropping so I would hang fire a bit!!

581
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The C300 was (is) popular because it provided fantastic quality with little effort. That's Policar's point regarding working pros choosing it so often, and why it was one of the top rented cameras. By using 5D3 RAW as a reference, I was able to figure out how to make the A7S look good (biggest challenge was skin tones). That took time & effort- I and most people would prefer to spend time shooting and editing (creating) vs. figuring out something that should work 'out of the box', which is what Canon does very well. Sony stepped up their game with the FS7, but it sounds like the firmware is still a mess. Canon releases solid cameras from day one.

Regarding color, I agree the Fuji X-T1 is on par and even better than Canon. Makes sense, since Fuji is a color company (lots of film experience). However, when helping a non-techie friend buy a new stills camera, as soon as I saw the menu system of the X-T1, I realized it was an instant no-go for her. She liked the smaller size and image quality, but the camera was way too complicated. The 5D3 is far simpler and easier to use (which is what she chose- the latest pricing made it an easy decision).

In terms of absolute best color & resolution with little or no artifacts, the F65 is on the top of my list. Reportedly the reason it's not more popular is the camera itself is ugly. I suspect the file sizes and workflow might also be challenging/expensive. So ARRI still has the best balance, though it sounds like Canon is stepping up their game for NAB to compete with ARRI. Guessing the Varicam 35 isn't used more due to price and, if the F65 'ugly not used' report is true, could be Panasonic doesn't have the prestige to get people to switch from ARRI. So it would appear that Panasonic would have to drop the price (at least for a while) to get converts and buzz.

Color & resolution are good enough now. DR (including highlight behavior) and noise (low light) still have a ways to go, as does more affordable HFR. However, what really needs work is autofocus and more importantly, intelligent focus assist. That is, manual focus, but with 3D depth technology (IR, ultrasonic, laser, photogrammetry, 'focus/depth pixels' etc.). Where the camera can accurately display a 3D slice of the focus plane rendered into a depth-mapped 3D scene (the viewfinder could even be stereo 3D as an option, but this would work without stereo3D). Embedded computers & GPUs are easily fast enough to do object tracking, which can further assist with focus, where the operator can move the focus track point(s) as well as focus depth plane in real-time while recording. Accurate dynamic (non-rehearsed) manual focus, even for experienced full-time focus pullers for 4K and beyond is very challenging. With budgets constantly shrinking, providing a reliable means to perform accurate focus by the camera operator is long overdue.

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In terms of absolute best color & resolution with little or no artifacts, the F65 is on the top of my list. Reportedly the reason it's not more popular is the camera itself is ugly.

​The thought of this actually being a factor to humans with functioning brains makes me very angry.

Outside of ergonomics, people *actually* care about how a camera looks? Good lord.

 

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​The thought of this actually being a factor to humans with functioning brains makes me very angry.

Outside of ergonomics, people *actually* care about how a camera looks? Good lord.

 

​In Hollywood, looks do matter. For everything. Fortunately Luc Besson & his DP gave the F65 a chance and Lucy looks fantastic (as does Oblivion). Here's the quote from Luc's DP, Thierry Arbogast, AFC:

I think also in the beginning people were afraid of 4K and maybe now it’s more accepted in France?

I don't think so. The RED was already in 4K, you know? The RED was very popular. So I don’t think that’s the reason. I think the reason that the camera was not popular is it’s a little ugly. It looks a little cheap. And it’s a little too big. So people stayed away from a big camera. It’s a big camera. Much bigger than the others.

The film business is almost like the fashion business. If the camera’s not stylish, they’re not going to use it. It’s like fashion.

Yes, exactly. Not fashionable. Sony has to think about that. The Genesis was very ugly too. Actually the Genesis, the Panaflex, and the F65 all kind of look the same? The Alexa and the RED have the best designs at the moment for sure. The ARRI D-21 was not very pretty. 

Full article- excellent read! http://community.sony.com/sony/attachments/sony/large-sensor-camera-F65/523/2/Lucy_Special_Report.pdf

They also used Alexas (steadicam) and Reds (multicamera car cam)... as B-cameras! Even the 5D was used for a few shots.

 

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Never, ever liked the C300. Most overrated camera of all time. Thin 8-bit colour junk. Crayon skin-tones. A log profile with a bit-depth that would shit itself the second you pushed it. Glorified Canon DSLR. People rave on about the ISO performance. Who needs more than 1600 anyway? If you need more than 1600, nine times out of ten says you probably shouldn't be shooting in that type of light to begin with. I have an A7s, and 3200 is overkill as is. The C300 wasn't popular because it allowed the ability to create an aesthetically pleasing image. It was popular because it had an EF-mount and good ergonomics. It was also a camera a lot of Canon DSLR users bought because they thought their clientele would take them more seriously. And ridiculously enough, they did.

I'd take a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera over a C300 in a heartbeat. BMPCC eats the C300 alive. As for comparing the C300 to an Alexa - that's ludicrous. That's like comparing a Toyota Corolla to a Mitsubishi Evo. They're both reliable and do their job, but the former is an mediocre, all-rounder, the latter is a work of art that shames super-cars.

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"BMPCC eats the C300 alive", you can't be serious here, are you?

the bmpcc has an aliasing and moirè that even foliage and grass looks wierd, architecture? oh man ...

 I had it for one year for aerial videos, aliasing and moirè everywhere! I now use the bmpc4K, that's much better.

bm cameras are worflow cameras, c100/300 are events cameras.. different tools for different jobs. c500 with external 4k recorder rocks. 

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"BMPCC eats the C300 alive", you can't be serious here, are you?

the bmpcc has an aliasing and moirè that even foliage and grass looks wierd, architecture? oh man ...

 I had it for one year for aerial videos, aliasing and moirè everywhere! I now use the bmpc4K, that's much better.

bm cameras are worflow cameras, c100/300 are events cameras.. different tools for different jobs. c500 with external 4k recorder rocks. 

​Very serious. I've never had a problem with aliasing and moire on my BMPCC.

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​Very serious. I've never had a problem with aliasing and moire on my BMPCC.

​You're lucky. I couldn't even use raw on the BMPCC b/c the aliasing was absolutely horrendous. The grid pattern from flares totally ruined the ability to add that dynamic (which I love from time to time.) When conditions were right, the BMPCC Pro Res was beautiful though.

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