Let's face it, the Canon C300 kicked ass for awhile, but it's slowly fading off into the sunset. I am a huge fan of most camera brands, Canon, Sony, Arri, RED, Panasonic, Vision Research, Black Magic, you name it so don't get it mixed up, this is not a biased discussion.
Having an affinity with all cameras, it's my humble opinion that each one has their place and application. People have different tastes, styles, needs, budgets and it's all relative. It's nice to see so much competition for once, even though it may be getting a little ridiculous. That being said, some cameras definitely perform better than others thanks to their design internally/externally and the consideration their creators have for the DP's in the preliminary stage of a camera's creation.
Okay, so back to the C300… That camera was going out like hot cakes! But it was destined to meet a competitor that would blow it out of the water. Why, might you ask? Because of it's flaws.
Canon C300 Mark II
Discussing the flaws of the first camera
The C300 captures amazing imagery, don't get me wrong. The Canon Super 35mm CMOS Sensor coupled with the Canon DIGIC DV III Image Processor yields a wide amount of dynamic range and great low light performance. However, as with any camera, there are strong and weak points. Besides the crispy clean picture you can capture with low noise and the easy menu navigation, here are some qualms that others and myself have had with the camera.
- Highlight rolloff could use improvement. The depth of the image suffers slightly because of this. Images tend to have less of a 3D effect.
- It only captures in HD (1920x1080). This definitely left the impression that Canon was "sandbagging" since the C300 was using the same 4K sensor that the C500 had.
- It has no high speed capabilities. This was a big drawback for a lot of people and many could not understand how Canon justified charging the price that they did for the camera. The best you could capture was 60fps at 720 HD resolution.
- The flimsy top handle is unreliable. Anytime I've had to use this camera, I'm forced to constantly tighten the dial to keep it from loosening to the point of slipping off. Not a very good design and the material it's made of is even more questionable.
- It's not ergonomic, the shape of the body is awkward. Though the menu navigation allows me to move quickly and efficiently, the shape of the camera and weight distribution becomes an issue when rigging it up.
Now that we just tore the camera apart, lets look at some of the improvements to it's successor.
I'm seeing awesome results from the C300 Mark II thanks to it's internal/external design improvements. The best improvement to me was the expanded 15 stops of dynamic range and the ability to record 4K,2K,HD internally or externally (including 4K RAW output). The next best feature is the implementation of the new 10-bit Canon Log 2 Gamma which gives much more flexibility in post. Another great feature I like is the oversampled 2K/HD that reduces moire in the image and things like the improved focus assist and expanded focusing area that helps for run and gun scenarios. This is a great camera, there is no doubt about it.
The C300 Mark II is not without it's own new set of flaws though, check out this interesting video highlighting the best and worst things about this new camera.
Canon's Jon Sagud walks through all of the features with Zacuto's Steve Weiss and Jens Bogehegn.
Short Film - Trick Shot
Filmed with the Canon C300 Mark II
So the C300 mark II is definitely gonna make a splash, the question is, will it make as big of a splash as it's predecessor. I think it most certainly has the potential to as long as Canon keeps it's faithful fans and the benefits of using Sony's new line of recent cameras remains veiled to that loyal crowd.
Check out some additional resources discussing camera comparisons and other useful tips to help gain more knowledge about various video production topics.
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