This review was commissioned by CVP who are an affiliate of mine. I was not paid by Canon UK to do this. This is a fully independent review with no constraints, no terms and conditions applied on me by Canon or CVP. As always, my opinion is my own.
I used to do quite a few reviews for CVP back in the day but I haven’t done any since doing the JVC HM100 for them back in April 2009! So it’s nice to be able to do some reviews without me having to buy the camera for a change!
The review is in video form.. it’s quite long as there is a lot to cover. There is also some footage that I shot on the camera (timelapses done with DSLRs) below called “Le Mont, La Pluit et La Nuit” filmed at the beautiful Mont St Michel. We had TERRIBLE luck with the light. On the afternoon we arrived, the sun was out and I got a few shots. After that was rain and grey. So I made the best of it. The camera was a pre-production unit, so do not judge the final image from this as it may or may not change..
Like most, when the camera was unveiled on November 3rd I was underwhelmed. Spec wise nothing new. Price wise at the original $20k…ouch…pretty much everyone I knew had little interest in the camera. Then things changed, most of the people excited by the Scarlet had a reality check in that it was not as affordable as originally thought, and its off-speed stuff was not the same 4k as the normal stuff, and the crop factor changes at high speeds. That of course is not enough to excite people about this camera….but footage started to come out that people really liked, and more importantly once you actually hold it and play with it, suddenly it becomes a lot more desirable. Just in the UK the camera went on a tour of loads of cities and I was hearing from all these people I know who loved it in the “flesh”. The positive buzz just got louder and louder.
The next key thing of course was the $20k price tag was nonsense thankfully. A street US dollar price of around $13k has been mentioned but I have not seen an actual price for it. Here in England it is going for just under £10k without VAT. Around the same price as an F3.
I was very pleased with the footage I got from the camera. It was a joy to use too. The images I found very detailed. Stuff you just don’t see in DSLRs. This is what I wanted to see in the footage – how it dealt with high details shots. No image issues were found, just the usual minor rolling shutter like the F3. With regards to how it compares to other cameras, if you can hang on until my mini shootout thing is done that would be great.
Lenses that were used were the Tokina 11-16, 70-200mm F2.8 IS, Zeiss 35mm ZF F1.4, Canon 85mm F1.2, 50mm F1.2, 100-400mm Canon L. Tripod was the Miller Compass 20.
Using the Canon lenses for video on a camera that can take them properly was a joy. These lenses are superb…
All graded within Magic Bullet. Check the banner above for a 20% discount code.
As a test to see how easy the footage is to work with, I edited both the review AND the film native in the latest version of Premiere on my i5 13″ Macbook Air. Now that is easy! Worked just fine!
I cover all the main points, pros and cons in my review so please watch it as it is very informative, but here is my summary.
For a camera I had little interest in when it was announced, it’s amazing how much I actually want it now. Do I need it? Not really. I have an F3 and an FS100. My F3 has S-Log which is way superior to what the C300 can output externally. BUT the C300 is MUCH smaller, records better quality on-board and works an absolute treat with Canon glass which I have a lot of. In fact DSLRs work great as B cameras due to them using the same glass. A big plus.
The image out of the camera is superb. Operating the camera was a cinch compared to the FS100, which I have done 4 shoots on and it still drives me nuts (but love the image). Compared to the F3 not much in it, but it is definitely easier to operate for most functions than the F3 due to the nipple control rather than the fiddlier menu operation of the F3. What I love about the C300 is that it operates in a very similar way to the DSLRs at times, the ability to dial in ISO at the touch of a dial is very reminiscent.
Things I love about the C300: Size, the amazing image, EVF pretty good, the little lip at the front of the camera, light sensitivity, the on-board codec, the way it works with the Canon lenses, great quality LCD and waveform, actually works great in my hands ergonomically especially with IS lenses. Works out of the box without a rig surprisingly although a rig would be recommended for longer handheld filming. Excellent build quality yet still nice and light. The price at just under £10k for a camera of this spec is amazing. Remember this is not a DSLR but a high powered S35 camera.
Things I don’t love: only 8 bit output, 720p slow motion, no waveform in EVF, no XLRs on-board without the add-on module, 8 bit output, 720p slow motion (did I already mention those?) Although the 720p is actual pretty nice and very detailed.
Will I get one? Most definitely. Why? After all I do have an F3. It comes down to these key points. The size is amazing and the way it works with my amazing Canon glass. The image is very similar to the F3 but in a much smaller package. For me that is key. If I need higher quality recording for certain jobs then I will get the F3 out. For most things though the on board recording will suffice.
I have done a mini shootout-ish thing between this camera and a few others. Just a bit of fun and terribly unscientific. One of my real world ones. I will cut it very soon. I had hoped to get it up on Christmas day but this took up too much of my time!
You can order the reserve a C300 from CVP by clicking below…I don’t know what the US price is but expect it to be a bit more than the F3 body only. The UK price of the F3 is £500 less than the C300.
Remember this is a web compressed and graded image. Do not judge the final image quality from this. Download the mp4 as it will be better…Watch it on media player on a proper TV if you can!
Photos by James Miller.