Canon C300 review and short film “Le Mont, La Pluie et La Nuit”

Please read my ethics statement here

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..

Photo by James Miller
Photo by James Miller

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.

For the motion timelapse I used the Kessler Crane Philip Bloom 3 foot pocket dolly with Oracle Controller.




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.






















  1. Great film Philip. Any chance of you filming the Castle that the BBC Merlin show is filmed at?

    The timelapse at night does the Canon C300 use a mechanical or electronic shutter?

      1. I did’t know that you pay diferent than the rest of the world; I see 11928 and I look for a conversion in US$; is the same conversion I made when I have to buy in US$ and put it in my local money (pesos). And what is the real realation in prices betwen UK$ and US$???

          1. woawww, sorry to hear that for you guys in UK; so that is good news on the C300, we gonna have a price around US$13000 or less. Thanks for clarifing that and MErry Christmas to you and a real very productive year to come.

  2. It’s all getting so exciting no I don’t mean Christmas but the prospect of me collecting my new C300 in Jan.

    One thing I have still yet to resolve in my mind is what best to do when shooting hand held and coping with focus and stop on my own. In your opinion is the on board lcd good enough to judge focus ? I have to a degree already discounted using the rear viewfinder as it will make the camera too unbalanced when hand holding and also as I think it’s the same as the viewfinder as Canon use on their XF 305 which I have used quite a lot of late and its quite frankly not good enough for critical focus. I would appreciate any feed back you might have discovered on your test.

  3. Again, another beautiful short. It’s a testament to the quality of your work when people use you as a point of reference. No joke. Your name keeps coming up. Now, all I say is, “Let me guess, you want that Philip Bloom feeling, right?” Eyes light up.

    Merry Xmas & Happy New Year.

  4. Ah Foley. That makes sense. Nice to get a glimpse behind the curtain 🙂

    Thanks for all your help this year. It’s made a big difference in my work. I look forward to your continued inspiration in 2012.

    Happy Holidays.


  5. Sorry to be the person playing the Kazoo during a classic musical recital, but at 4:40 we have a shot of a candle with some pretty agressive aliasing going on under the flame, even though I bet you’ve got the sharpening turned off.

    I guess this is just a ‘feature’ of the camera?

    It was the one thing (one of the main things) that dispelled the sense of magic, stopped me watching the film, and got me back to pixel peeping. It’s absolutely there in the MP4 version too, so can’t be part of the web journey…

  6. Great pieces, Philip – very informative review and nice work @ Mont St. Michel! Did you ever get to watch “Mindwalk”?

    Deanna and I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas – hope to see you again soon!

      1. That’s great news, I hate banding!

        Also, I worry about this camera being 8bit 4:2:2. Will that be enough for greenscreen work? I could easily hook this up to a atomos ninja for apple pro hq recording, but I wonder if that would be enough for chroma keying..

      2. Hi Philip,

        thanks for that review, the most comprehensive one I’ve seen. Your choice of location despite the bad weather placed the camera in the real world.

        The lack of 10bit and 720p slo-mo would not deter me and having owned a xf305 for a year I would take to this camera like a duck to water.

        So the big question is when are you going to get one? And could you lend it to me!

        Happy Christmas and thanks for another year of fascinating posts.

  7. I trusted your review of the FS100 and will once again do so for the C300. Thanks so much for this, Philip. Always good to see a fellow artist keeping ahead of the curve while sharing information for the greater benefit.

    Uh…was that a lil’ dramatic? ;-/

  8. Merry Xmas Philip

    do you think it’s possible to listen to the public and fix the camera to 1080 60p before it,s release or it’s too late?

    since it’s announcement everyone is saying the same thing. only 8 bit and no 1080 60p. do you think they are listen and will fix that before the release?

  9. I read somewhere, but can’t find source right now, that for a human eye to see the difference between 1080 and 720 on a 42 inch screen. You would have to be closer than 165cm from screen. If this is correct then it doesn’t matter that much if movies are to be shown on LCD or web. For cinema screen things are ofc different

  10. Hi Philip. Thanks for the review. You must have good thermals to present outdoors that long!

    Question about low light shooting. Do you use C-log shooting in the dark or does that cause too much noise? Is it better to let the camera deal with the contrast?

    Thanks and Happy Crimbo.


  11. Great filming Philip and thanks for letting us download it.

    I was just curious:

    1) I’ve heard Canon say that the sensor is a 4K sensor but outputs to 1080. Is that something like the iPhone’s “retina display”?

    2) Is there a chance that a firmware upgrade will punch it up 10bit and/or 1080 60fps?

    Thanks and keep up the great work

  12. Philip, about the broad demand of a 1080@60p recording mode the limitation is the cocec. The MPEG2 specs does not have FullHD at 60p in it’s definitions. I think Canon had two choices: Stay with a very reliable and good quality codec or experiment with new codecs and have problems or uncertenty in post. I like the XF MPG2-long-gop codec a lot – even with it’s limitations. I can live with it 🙂
    I WANT 🙂

  13. Hi Phillip, great video!

    I can’t say I’m an expert on cameras (or actually anything else) but it seems to me that the lack of the 1080 slo-mo recording and even perhaps no XLRs on board is possibly a marketing ploy – if anyone releases the ‘perfect’ product straight off the bat then there would be no reason for anyone to buy the next one in the line. They probably do have the ability to do 1080 and here’s betting they probably have a 4k, 5k, hell even 10k sensor kicking about somewhere but they will get released over many many years.

    I’ll be waiting til at least the C400 I think 😉


  14. I think it doesn’t matter which camera u buy… When it comes down to post, it’s all the same… The real thing is recording in RAW…

    So if it’s an F3, AF101 or FS 100 or a C300 …. It’s all in the same range…
    And let’s be honest… If you lighten everything correct, for each camera.. it all looks pretty! Light is the most imported thing there is!

    So if u ask me… If I would shoot on a F3, yes! Will I shoot on a AF101… Yes… Will I shoot on a C300 …yes… even on a 550d/t2i with proper lighting the image looks fantastic!!

    One by one they are all wonderful camera’s with each there own problems!
    It’s just marketing… nothing else!

    When u get the most impressive film with the most crappy materials! Your the boss!!

    And for the C300… It is a nice camera… But it is nothing new…. and to expensive if you’ll ask me…

    1. None of the cameras you have listed shoot in RAW. RAW means something it is not just a term. DSLR shot RAW stills, RED is the only video camera that shoots RAW. I’m by no means a RED fan, but it is the only RAW recording camera.

      While this argument gets push all the time, it really is bad logic. Cameras do make a difference, same as film stock make/made a difference. Yes they are all tools, yes story is of the most importance, yes you must have proper lighting. A person should not stop making a film just because he doesn’t have the “best” equipment. But these cameras make a huge difference, when and where the difference is important. You can get more creative with shooting style if your camera does better in low light and has a greater dynamic range. A professional still wants the best equipment they can afford to have at any given moment. Pros normally don’t want to work with less just to prove their greatness.

      This camera is a huge step forward, it is not perfect, but it can do things that a DSLR only dreams of doing.

      We keep throwing out these false dichotomies.

      1. Michael,

        What you are saying is true but you are missing out the most important thing. The thing I actually say. Owning a more expensive will NOT make you a better cameraman. You will get nicer looking images and your stuff with have less issues but it won’t make you any better.

  15. Hello Philip,
    great review, great film – but I´m still back and forth between the C300 with EF-lenses and the F3, maybe with the SCL-Z18-140 zoom-lens.
    So my first question: if I don´t get the Canon CN-E30-300mm for 39.000.- Euro- is there no motorized zooming with the C300? That would quite something for a camera that is for broadcast and documentary.
    My second question: do you think the C300 will be accepted by the BBC with 8bit?
    And the third one: how long will it take till we get an EF-adaptor for the F3 (I know that you are no prophet, but maybe you know more than me)?
    Now I hope not to upset you and the community with so many questions.
    Anyway thanks a lot

  16. Hi Philip,

    great to see a classic video review, love it. I found your site vew years ago watching the ex3 review, so this review felt like the old times 🙂

    But i have to wait again. 10 bit would have been so great in this camera… i hate the 8 bit for grading, thats really a reason for me not to invest in the camera. F3 is too big for me with external recorder etc.

    I want a camera with great inside recording! 4:2:2 and 50mbit is really great i think, you can handle it much easyer and faster than raw, but please, i want a camera with 10bit! Its not always about fast working OR most flexibility in images, the combination would be best. So good compression likethe 422 50 and good information to grade. Especially for documentarys it would be the best…

    Greetings from Bavaria


  17. The pictures look great and this camera so tantalising close to a handheld broadcast solution for obs docs without bolting on outboard recorders and the need for rigs. The issue is of course a zoom lens with a range that allows you to shoot an unfolding observed sequence without pausing life while you change lenses. The Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS kind of works but I would have thought so slow that that all the advantages of working with a large sensor are pretty much lost? I’m guessing that powered zoom lenses for the S35 sensor will always be hopelessly slow the FS100 kits lens and the Sony zoom for the F3 would seems to bear this out? Does it mean for true observational work large sensor cameras are still not truly an option? Or d’you think a fastish zoom lens is possible? I assume it’s a question of physics – that to cover a large sensor with a wide ranging fast zoom requires so much glass that any lens is always going to be too big to work with handheld..? Just wondered what you thought Philip..?

  18. I tested the F3 (without S-Log and firmware update, just right out of the box) and it seems to me that the Canon C300 has more of a filmic look. It might be due to the short piece you made, the shots, the lights, the lenses, the place you filmed etc but to my eyes the C300 produces more filmic images.
    I really hope 10 bits out can be added with a firmware update, that would be so usefull. As far as a 1080p60 mode…

    I saw that we can use EOS DSLR picture profiles in the camera. Is it easy to install ?

  19. That’s Awesome, I kind of surprised myself with how much I’ve anticipated this review. I could feel my wifes glare as I ignored the Christmas eve party to watch it. Its no surprise that you werent going to like the 8bit or the low rez slowmo. But what I’m seeing is that for 720 60p… that the images seem a lot cleaner then one of the dslrs slow motion. And although 8 bit is unfortunate, well for what I’m mostly doing its totally acceptable.
    I dont think I saw you touch on the whole integration with smartphone and Tablets feature. That looked pretty handy, did you try doing anything with an ipad? Thanks again for a stellar review.

  20. Hi Philip,
    we know the Canon DSLRs produce a very
    “filmic”, organic image, a unique look.
    What do you think about the C300 more
    detailed image? Aside the obvious improvements
    have we maybe lost something of that magic?
    Thank you and happy new year

  21. Hi, Philip,

    Great work. Great review. Question: Since you have a lot of Canon glass (as I do), would you choose the C300 with an EF mount, or one with a PL mount for greater flexibility? I imagine there are pros and cons each way. Would be interested in your thoughts.



    1. Thanks Rob. I mention in review EF for me because I have so many lenses. Some people may prefer PL but I dont think it will sell as many. Also if an adaptor comes out for the EF camera to take PL which could be possible then that is the way to go. The EF mount is so good!

  22. Hey Philip,

    I was just wondering about music rights, and if I ever wanted to use a song like the Debussy song you used for a short film (non-commercial for festivals), would you know if that is ok, or would I have to clear it with lots of $?

    LOVE the film btw, everything seems much sharper compared to a dslr’s naturally somewhat soft image. All of your compositions are beautiful.

  23. I don’t know where else to post it so…

    Will you have the opportunity to test the Ikonoskop camera ? (I know it’s “only” a 16mm sensor)
    I’m a bit curious to see what kind of footage you can get out of it and to have your thought on the camera ergonomics and stuff like that.

    And for the EF to PL adaptor on the C300… Can’t we use one of the adaptators that are working on the 7D ? (anyway the CP.2 doesn’t come with the option of interhcanging the mount from PL to EF ?)

  24. Great work Phillip, loved the time-lapses. I am currently riding a bicycle from London to Iran with a Sony a77, it’s been behaving ok so far, some things about the camera i love and some i hate. I’ve made couple of short films of the Journey so far (we are currently in Nice, France. What are your thought on the A77?

    Your a very busy man i know but if you find the time you cansee my short (under 3 minutes) films at

    They aren’t very polished as editing in my tent is not ideal! Been following you for a while and still respect your reviews



  25. Which one should buy EF or PL Version … considering if one has lots of good collection of Ef lenses? If i buy EF version will i able to put PL lenses … with suitable PL mount … I read there are some problems with some lense due to flange depth?

  26. Great review + short Phil, lovely quality + detail coming out of that C300 – Hope to see you shoot another short with it sometime soon!

    IS still a must with the C300? (due to less rollingshutter?) or still useful for eliminating micro-vibration /wind?

    Great BTS shots as well, looks like you were having fun with the cam – despite the weather!

  27. I am scared, no, I’m actually TERRIFIED of the fact that Mr. Bloom has mostly avoided to include any shots with actual motion in his little review clip. All of it is static, landscapes, details. All of this is great, obviously, but it’s alarming. Every video of the C300 I have seen as of now has not only terribly excessive sharpness and a very “video-y” motion look, but also heavy rolling shutter. The latter might not be so bad, since we’re all about used to it by now. But the motion could be a huge issue. Now, I’m not sure if this is because no one has realized that motion needs to be shot at 1/50th or the images of the C300 are actually so sharp, that they need serious camera filtration (Soft-Fx, ProMist, whatever) and very soft lenses to bring the sharpness down to something that’s actually pleasing to the eye.

    Motion wise, the stuff that comes out of 5Dmk2 and 7D (24p or 25p, 1/50th) is beautiful, if you forgive the ridiculous dynamic range. I’ve watched Mobius, obviously and this does not show any of the weird video motion, jittery, sharpness and scaling artifacts that almost all of the C300 videos on Vimeo and Youtube seem to be plaged by.

    Here’s to hoping that it’s just people shooting at 1/500 or 1/1000 with no Log gamma, no decreased sharpness with stopped down lenses.

    1. I know this post is old, so you may already have your concerns addressed by now. I have an example of more motion using the C300. I found it to be acceptable, no problems with this camera. Here’s a link to a 30 second spot we shot with it: . The thing about this camera for me is the feel / ergonomics and the workflow is a dream. I love working with it when shooting, handling data and post. I really found this to be way easier to color grade as well. I used C-Log, and highly recommend it. On a side note, I wanted to thank Philip Bloom for the amazing work, information and reviews on the various products over the years. It’s been a huge help to me, and I always find his information very relevant.

      Best Regards,

      Jimmy Keegan

  28. Hey Phil,

    Question on the C300 EOS look scene file…. Canon claims the EOS look is design to match with EOS DSLRs. I am curious to see how accurate this is. Do you feel that aside from the DOF factor, C300 footage would inter-cut seamlessly with 5D footage?



  29. Well I’m not really the target market because I have mainly Nikon glass but I would think that is another big weakness of the C300 not really dwelled upon in the review. One thing I really like about the F3, FS100 and to a less extent the AF100 (because of the increased crop factor) is the flexibility of the glass you can use on it. I guess if you have all that Canon glass it isn’t a big issue but to have to buy two bodies to use PL and EF mounts is a bit rich..

  30. Hi Phil,

    I was just wondering if you’d come across the ‘Green color fringing’ issue? I’m shooting with the 24-70 2.8 and picking up on some pretty ugly fringing on highlights that goes from green to purple as I pull focus. I understand that this is possibly either a lens or a sensor issue and since I’ve not seen a huge amount of this on the Mobius film it kinda leaves me wondering if it’s an EF thing.

    I cant see the same problem when shooting on the 5D with the same lenses.

    Any thoughts?


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