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Canon C300 Mark II - $15,999 4K camera


AaronChicago
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Tell that to Roger Deakins.

I did see the zacuto shoot out, I thought the Alexa stuck out. A lot of the mid range cameras looked very alike. I'm sorry but if you think the c300 mkII looks great and comparable to an Alexa that's fine, however for me I can tell immediately that it isn't. The sharpness, the roll off, the motion, the noise, the colours, the overall organic 'feel' of the image simply isn't as attractive to my eyes as the Alexa, and still bears the c300 mkI family of 'look'. There is a reason the Alexa is the most used digital camera in the industry. Can you get great images out of lower end cameras? Of course, I think 'Blue Ruin' showed that. Can the c300 look like the 'collider' music video for Jon Hopkins. No.

​I've had to intercut Canon and Alexa footage and it can be shockingly seamless. It's done on a lot of high end shows (Rush, Wolf of Wall Street, Need for Speed, tons of tv and surprisingly it's the Canon on the jib/crane getting the wide and the Alexas picking off coverage... only no one realizes that the shots aren't Alexa). But it sure takes a lot of work and you have to use the Canon either for close ups, low light, or low dynamic range portions of the image or expose more carefully because the Alexa just cleans up in terms of highlight roll off and rolling shutter reduction, though not much else. I'm also ashamed to admit that the best footage I've shot has been on the C100 (and some decent Epic stuff) and some of the worst footage I've shot was on the Alexa. But between the two cameras, the Alexa is SO MUCH better as regards IQ and the ergonomics are a miracle if you're transitioning from 35mm (not from dSLR).

The C300 Mk II sample video does look troublingly awful, though. 

Canon's choice to go 8.7 under and 6.3 over (was it?) really bothers me. I was assuming they'd go for 6.7 under and 8.3 over (the Alexa is 7/7) when I learned about the C300 Mk II well before NAB. I think there will be a lot of C300 Mk II footage that looks so good we assume it's Alexa footage (and fwiw that video doesn't look that great to my eye, so obviously it's all about taste!) and you can redistribute your DR a lot better with a 10 bit codec than an 8 bit one and the "looks" designed to match other cameras will make this thing sell. Canon's roll-off doesn't oversaturate like SLOG2, but it's not quite Alexa.

Blue Ruin was made by a lot of my friends. And I think it looks better than the video you mentioned, which has a cool anamorphic look and not much as regards composition or purpose and the lighting is very "broad strokes." Oddly enough, their mantra was more "camera doesn't matter, look doesn't matter, story matters" and yet it's the best-looking C300 feature I've seen. Really talented group of just awesome people!

I don't think you could shoot Skyfall on a C300, though. Canon is a little plasticky and digital, though the look is excellent overall and the overall ergonomics/workflow make it very attractive at the low-end professional segment. I anticipate the C300 Mk will be the best of the best overall below Alexa (with the Dragon, which is great, cleaning up when you have the light to feed that hungry beast, but not under challenging conditions....), but the Alexa is the gold standard for a reason.

That said, if your work looks worse than the video you've mentioned, and you have the budget to work at that level, camera isn't what's holding you back.

 

 

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​I've had to intercut Canon and Alexa footage and it can be shockingly seamless. It's done on a lot of high end shows (Rush, Wolf of Wall Street, Need for Speed, tons of tv and surprisingly it's the Canon on the jib/crane getting the wide and the Alexas picking off coverage... only no one realizes that the shots aren't Alexa). But it sure takes a lot of work and you have to use the Canon either for close ups, low light, or low dynamic range portions of the image or expose more carefully because the Alexa just cleans up in terms of highlight roll off and rolling shutter reduction, though not much else. I'm also ashamed to admit that the best footage I've shot has been on the C100 (and some decent Epic stuff) and some of the worst footage I've shot was on the Alexa. But between the two cameras, the Alexa is SO MUCH better as regards IQ and the ergonomics are a miracle if you're transitioning from 35mm (not from dSLR).

The C300 Mk II sample video does look troublingly awful, though. 

Canon's choice to go 8.7 under and 6.3 over (was it?) really bothers me. I was assuming they'd go for 6.7 under and 8.3 over (the Alexa is 7/7) when I learned about the C300 Mk II well before NAB. I think there will be a lot of C300 Mk II footage that looks so good we assume it's Alexa footage (and fwiw that video doesn't look that great to my eye, so obviously it's all about taste!) and you can redistribute your DR a lot better with a 10 bit codec than an 8 bit one and the "looks" designed to match other cameras will make this thing sell. Canon's roll-off doesn't oversaturate like SLOG2, but it's not quite Alexa.

Blue Ruin was made by a lot of my friends. And I think it looks better than the video you mentioned, which has a cool anamorphic look and not much as regards composition or purpose and the lighting is very "broad strokes." Oddly enough, their mantra was more "camera doesn't matter, look doesn't matter, story matters" and yet it's the best-looking C300 feature I've seen. Really talented group of just awesome people!

I don't think you could shoot Skyfall on a C300, though. Canon is a little plasticky and digital, though the look is excellent overall and the overall ergonomics/workflow make it very attractive at the low-end professional segment. I anticipate the C300 Mk will be the best of the best overall below Alexa (with the Dragon, which is great, cleaning up when you have the light to feed that hungry beast, but not under challenging conditions....), but the Alexa is the gold standard for a reason.

That said, if your work looks worse than the video you've mentioned, and you have the budget to work at that level, camera isn't what's holding you back.

 

 

I've had to cut c300 in with Alexa and it looked really bad, the image fell apart under the 8bit codec, the colour information simply isn't there. I imagine the c500 which as you point out was used on Wolf of Wall Street etc was far better due to the external raw output. 

I Think blue ruin is strong from a storytelling perspective and the cinematography was very good, you could say it was better than the video I mentioned, but the c300 can't do the look of the 'collider' music video. It just falls apart and doesn't have the organic feel of that Alexa image.

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I've had to cut c300 in with Alexa and it looked really bad, the image fell apart under the 8bit codec, the colour information simply isn't there.

​I've measured the Red Epic and Alexa together in RAW mode and the Alexa was way better. 

Does that mean if someone makes a shitty video with a Red Weapon that Weapon is equally "bad"? You continuosly keep comparing Alexa to a camera you have not used based on a video. I know a professional color grader who thinks Red Dragon is WAY better than Alexa. I don't know, I've only compared the Epic with Alexa but I'm not gonna jump into conclusions based on graded videos...That's just amateur.

He was showing me a shot from the Epic Dragon (sunlit scene with buildings and reflections) and he was as excited as kedbear about the highlights. "Look at the highlights, the highlights!". Of course, if you ask Roger Deakins about that he'd just probably be "meh, I'll use an Alexa thanks".

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I've had to cut c300 in with Alexa and it looked really bad, the image fell apart under the 8bit codec, the colour information simply isn't there. I imagine the c500 which as you point out was used on Wolf of Wall Street etc was far better due to the external raw output. 

I Think blue ruin is strong from a storytelling perspective and the cinematography was very good, you could say it was better than the video I mentioned, but the c300 can't do the look of the 'collider' music video. It just falls apart and doesn't have the organic feel of that Alexa image.

​I've cut C300 with Alexa before and it looked fine, it was done as well in the movie "HER" looked perfectly fine....... People really have the wrong impressions about these cameras it seems and what professional colorist do all the time.......

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​I've cut C300 with Alexa before and it looked fine, it was done as well in the movie "HER" looked perfectly fine....... People really have the wrong impressions about these cameras it seems and what professional colorist do all the time.......

​I agree. I had to cut C300 footage in with an Alexa in the same feature that also had some Epic footage. The C300 footage was so much easier to cut in with the Alexa (granted, since we had more of it, we shot color checker charts first and were more diligent). I don't know what I'm missing. The only time we had any issues with banding or limited color depth was when there was a sky overexposed like five stops in Canon Log. Even then it was hard to tell the difference.

Although YES the Alexa had two stops more highlight detail and a somewhat cleaner highlight roll-off.

Granted I'm not terrible adept at this (I've graded my share of features, maybe five or six, but all for TV, though some tier one cable) and I approach things more based on look than on specs, but the C300 and Alexa seem to cut just great for me so long as you shoot competently with both. Obviously the Alexa is a MUCH better camera overall and less limiting. But I think we should respect that the poster above probably has more experience than us, and the colorist for Her has more experience than ALL of us. Basically, we don't have the eye to differentiate between the best C300 footage and Alexa footage we grade (nor, to be fair, has my audience guessed which was which), whereas kedbear does, whereas whoever graded her knows how to match better than we do. But whenever I hear someone express an opinion that they can notice something I can't, I generally defer to that person's authority, since we're all honest online. (Or try to be, I did have inside info on this camera, but never used one! And insulted I might have known someone who had.)

Confused by the Dragon-fantatic Colorist, but it is a LOT better than the MX with more resolution than the Alexa. Maybe he was comparing it against the MX? It certainly has worse looking shadows than the Alexa... highlights are good, but not better than the Alexa. (They are much better than the C300; the MX's weren't).

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I was watching Daredevil the series from Netflix and this thread sprang to mind. Why? Well because it has pretty horrible highlights. It's graded into a pretty stylistic looking show though and I think it looks awesome but I could just imagine kedbear going bonkers if he saw it. And they shot it with the Red Dragon. 

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I was watching Daredevil the series from Netflix and this thread sprang to mind. Why? Well because it has pretty horrible highlights. It's graded into a pretty stylistic looking show though and I think it looks awesome but I could just imagine kedbear going bonkers if he saw it. And they shot it with the Red Dragon. 

The highlights in Daredevil look nothing like the C300MKII short film. The fact you have used it as an example would lead me to question your analysis of rolloff. 

Some people here seem to believe that because you can cut a C300 into an Alexa the cameras are basically equal? If you actually shot and tested both you would soon discover that is far from the case. 

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The highlights in Daredevil look nothing like the C300MKII short film. The fact you have used it as an example would lead me to question your analysis of rolloff. 

​I never said they are the "same", I just said "they look bad". Actually they look worse then the C300mkII shortfilm.

Everything featuring a lightsource looks really bad. Episode 4 had some really ugly highlights. If you think those look "good" then I am seriously questioning your skills as a human being / internet expert.

 

 

Now I'll just wait for Kedbear to come rushing in and say how much better the highlights are on that second shot and claim "I'm a pro!".

 

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​I never said they are the "same", I just said "they look bad". Actually they look worse then the C300mkII shortfilm.

Everything featuring a lightsource looks really bad. Episode 4 had some really ugly highlights. If you think those look "good" then I am seriously questioning your skills as a human being / internet expert.

 

 

Now I'll just wait for Kedbear to come rushing in and say how much better the highlights are on that second shot and claim "I'm a pro!".

 

​So you use a frame from a shot where there are squibs exploding in fractions of a second as an example of bad highlights? Are you joking? 

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  • 2 months later...

​Could just as easily say "Half the price of an Alexa Mini, with proper 4K"

The price tag will only become comparable to FS7, Alexa and whatever else once the IQ is revealed. IQ is the gold dust.

Double the price of the FS7 for the same specs but no 4K 60fps, no 180fps.

It does however have a lot of positives.

No need for lens adapters, just use your EF stuff.

Dual pixel AF can be handy for run & gun.

Much stronger ND filter than FS7.

Double the price? Hardly. Fs7+ extension unit + odyssey 7q+ = 14,000

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  • 2 months later...

We still have NO comparison between alexa and C300 mkii under the same environment. Until then, any conclusions one is superior/inferior to the other are merely baseless predictions.

So, in support of what i felt could clearly be seen in that early C300 MKII short film 'Trick Shot', when the camera is tested it does in fact have much less dynamic range than claimed. 12.3 stops according to Cinema 5D...

https://***URL not allowed***/canon-c300-mark-ii-review-dynamic-range/

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

So, in support of what i felt could clearly be seen in that early C300 MKII short film 'Trick Shot', when the camera is tested it does in fact have much less dynamic range than claimed. 12.3 stops according to Cinema 5D...

https://***URL not allowed***/canon-c300-mark-ii-review-dynamic-range/

Well no. The Cinema5D DR test is incorrect, they rate the 5D H.264 to have more DR vs. the C300, which invalidates their methodology. 

All the other testers confirm the 15 stops of DR and top-end image. I trust more Geoff Boyle in CML and Philip Bloom and this visual test from Radiant Images clearly showing the C300II to have identical alexa DR (14) with a bit more shadow detail, 15 stop sounds accurate. The highlight roll-off and rendition is strangely also alexa-like, while the C500 looks absolutely terrible. Lots of emphasis was clearly put on this in the C300II design. This test is the way to asses DR not Trick Shot (where the Director/DP stated he clipped highlights and shadows on purpose but the 15 stops were exactly available on the waveform)

https://vimeo.com/140441330

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Well no. The Cinema5D DR test is incorrect, they rate the 5D H.264 to have more DR vs. the C300, which invalidates their methodology. 
All the other testers confirm the 15 stops of DR and top-end image. I trust more Geoff Boyle in CML and Philip Bloom and this visual test from Radiant Images clearly showing the C300II to have identical alexa DR (14) with a bit more shadow detail, 15 stop sounds accurate. The highlight roll-off and rendition is strangely also alexa-like, while the C500 looks absolutely terrible. Lots of emphasis was clearly put on this in the C300II design. This test is the way to asses DR not Trick Shot (where the Director/DP stated he clipped highlights and shadows on purpose but the 15 stops were exactly available on the waveform)

https://vimeo.com/140441330

If this is the case then i stand corrected. Going to watch that link. Seen the first 1 min and it already looks like an amazing test.

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Well no. The Cinema5D DR test is incorrect, they rate the 5D H.264 to have more DR vs. the C300, which invalidates their methodology. 
All the other testers confirm the 15 stops of DR and top-end image. I trust more Geoff Boyle in CML and Philip Bloom and this visual test from Radiant Images clearly showing the C300II to have identical alexa DR (14) with a bit more shadow detail, 15 stop sounds accurate. The highlight roll-off and rendition is strangely also alexa-like, while the C500 looks absolutely terrible. Lots of emphasis was clearly put on this in the C300II design. This test is the way to asses DR not Trick Shot (where the Director/DP stated he clipped highlights and shadows on purpose but the 15 stops were exactly available on the waveform)

https://vimeo.com/140441330

Ok so just got to the C300MKII highlight test and it's nothing like the Alexa. It's clearly blowing out and does not have the highlight roll off, so i am confused what you are seeing, but it's definitely NOT 15 stops DR. The Alexa appears to have a significant amount of highlight retention over the C300 MKII. On the Alexa test it wasn't even blowing at +5, the C300 was horrible at +5. The Lowlight of the C300MKII doesn't look anywhere near as nice either. I'd say Cinema 5D have got it right.

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

I don't know what you're seeing, I see a smooth completely stepless highlight rolloff from +1 to +5 exposure, just like the roll-off blooming effect of the Alexa XT, and the C300II is giving a significantly more robust images at -5 than the Alexa. I can't see how it could be less than 14 stops like the F55/F65/Alexa/Varicam and even 15 if we do a strictly technical test including the shadow retention. The C500 has full 12 stops and it looks horrible in DR vs the C300II, having at least two full highlight stops and at least one stop of shadow retention. Note this is not just a DR test, but colour science, skin, noise levels, noise pattern, green screen keying, and highlight & shadow rendition, all of which the C300 excelled at, just like the much more expensive F55, F65, Alexa, Varicam, with negligble differences between them both ways.

All the testers are rating it for 14 stops, so I believe that extra stop will depend on how acceptable the shadow noise level is. 

BTW the Varicam looks to me like the best image in the world of digital filmmaking in that test. Just f\&££ing gorgeous

I wish they hadn't screwed up the FS7 settings as it's important to see how it looks vs the C300.

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I don't know what you're seeing, I see a smooth completely stepless highlight rolloff from +1 to +5 exposure, just like the roll-off blooming effect of the Alexa XT, and the C300II is giving a significantly more robust images at -5 than the Alexa. I can't see how it could be less than 14 stops like the F55/F65/Alexa/Varicam and even 15 if we do a strictly technical test including the shadow retention. The C500 has full 12 stops and it looks horrible in DR vs the C300II, having at least two full highlight stops and at least one stop of shadow retention. Note this is not just a DR test, but colour science, skin, noise levels, noise pattern, green screen keying, and highlight & shadow rendition, all of which the C300 excelled at, just like the much more expensive F55, F65, Alexa, Varicam, with negligble differences between them both ways.

All the testers are rating it for 14 stops, so I believe that extra stop will depend on how acceptable the shadow noise level is. 

BTW the Varicam looks to me like the best image in the world of digital filmmaking in that test. Just f\&££ing gorgeous

I wish they hadn't screwed up the FS7 settings as it's important to see how it looks vs the C300.

I don't understand. The C300MKII is blowing out in a sharp roll off manner at +5. The Alexa isn't even blowing at all. How can they possibly be seen as the same?

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