Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor

“So expensive! It’s a kind of 5DmkII with ND filters, XLR input and headphone output. Nothing revolutionary.”

“So we’re on the brink of an unprecedented global recession and a possible meltdown of the whole financial system, and Canon decides now is a good to release a couple of 50 grand zooms to go with thier “affordable” new camera good luck with that one…”

I received these heartfelt comments from a couple of regular readers this morning who put many betrayed Canon DSLR users thoughts in a nutshell, not forgetting those of us who were looking for an alternative to the Sony and Panasonic large sensor camcorders. Most of what I predicted last week has indeed come true but for one prediction…”A sub £6K EF model”

Don’t get me wrong this C300 is very sexy but spec wise it’s lame in comparison with the competition…8bit is a very poor starting point for a camera of this magnitude like all other camcorders in it’s class it does output 10bit from the HD-SDI socket but once again whats the point in giving us 50Mbs 4:2:2 on board if you are going to resort to a NanoFlash to get that extra all important 10bits from the back end.

I really feel so sorry for the millions of film makers who were so hoping that Canon would solve their problems with a camera fit for purpose at a price they could afford, not forgetting the fact that as yet no one can use Canon EF glass electronically on any large sensor camcorder thanks to canons decision a few years back to make EF lenses fully electronic.

The EOS C300 is nothing more than a medium format 5D with all the hassle taken out and a smaller sensor !

Photo courtesy of

The other side of the coin is that Canon R&D were very reluctant to go with having HD video tagged onto their 5DMk11 at the beginning and it took Chief exec. Masaya Maeda all his efforts to convince Canon to run with a dual purpose camera…the rest is history.

I personally think Canon has by-passed it’s loyal followers who as a collective have made the company what it is today, by ignoring their needs and concentrating totally on the wrong end of the marketplace, with a camera that by Vincent Laforet’s own admission is flawed by needing a Zacuto Z-finder EVF to see critical focus.

We were all expecting a sub £6K large sensor camera that would finally plug the gap for the majority of people wanting to make a step up to a film like camera that takes EF glass instead we get a £15K 8bit camera that once again suffers from a poor viewfinder probably due to lack of space…what more can I say.

Will it affect the Sony PMW-F3 which is the market the C300 is aiming at, initially but Sony have a very loyal customer base and Sony will possibly reduce their S-Log upgrade or make it free to new customers who knows but you can be assured the next incarnation of the F3 will not only start at 10bits but will be 50Mbs or higher and have a viewfinder fit for purpose…you mark my words.


Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

6 thoughts on “Are Canon trying too hard to impress Holywood

  1. I’ve been an ENG cameraman for 30 years. I bought a 5DMKII a year after it came out to shoot photos not video. Because of the moire and aliasing problems I didn’t shoot a frame of video on it for months. For most of what I was doing I just hated the look not to mention the list of annoying work-arounds – however I learnt how to avoid the faults and recently I shot a paid broadcast job with my 5D and a 60D – an opening sequence for a documentary. They were the right tools for the job.
    With the Nov 3rd announcements, I like many wished for a solution to the work-arounds – something between $5K and $10K. Now-the more I think about the Nov 3rd announcements the more I reflect on how fortunate we’ve been to have such powerful large sensor film making tools under $2,500. You can pick up a GH2 or a 60D or a Sony NEX5N with lenses for under a $1K.
    These film making tools are somehow very special beyond the accessible price point. As objects unto themselves these cameras evoke some kind of unique quality that seems missing from the latest lineup. It’s like getting away with something that you shouldn’t. I don’t own a GH2 but it is kind of remarkable and fun to know that such a camera can produce such great pictures. The spirit of good quality film making for the masses is alive and well in DSLR’s but somehow not in 4K for $14K or 2K for $20K.
    For me the Canon 1DX is more exciting than the November 3rd announcements.

  2. As a DSLR owner myself, I was definitely among those hoping for a sub-$6000 camera, comparable to the FS100 and AF100. But just because Canon is going for a different market, it doesn’t mean they’re abandoning the DSLR crowd (as evidenced by the Concept “C” DSLR).

    I agree the C300 has it’s faults, but condemning it for 8-bit internal recording and a poor viewfinder might be not seeing the forest for the trees. Vincent Laforet’s review is actually quite glowing, despite those few points.

    Oh, and 50,000 for a 4K zoom is pretty in line with the rest of the market. Glass is one thing Canon can’t magically make cheaper.

  3. I agree pretty much across the board. They already had the recording system and codec from their other camcorders, they already had the lens mount, they already had the viewfinder and view screen internals. What’s new here that justifies the price? Really only the chip. Aside from low light performance and questionable delivery dates, why would anyone choose this camera over the Scarlet at that price? People already have the lenses and camera rigs, it probably makes more sense to buy Canon’s new full frame 1DX!

    Two small exceptions to the posting: the Nanoflash is still only and 8bit device. Also, I don’t think Sony will offer a 10 bit F3. Sony has a history of incremental updates, you know: Soon Only Not Yet 🙂 They’ll move to 50mbit, 4:2:2 next. It’s what they already have as a codec, it matches the 300C, and it doesn’t obsolete the need to buy their external high priced memory cartridge unit if you want very high quality. If Sony was smart, and I don’t know if this is technically possible, they would offer 50mbit 4:2:2 to their existing F3 customers via a free firmware update.

  4. After the disappointing launch of the C300 in terms of spec and price, the RED Scarlet is a much better prospect and will probably be my choice unless Panasonic bring out a new generation AF series camera in the next year or so (hopefully with a slightly better reoslution and 10 bit output – even better if it could do 4:4:4.

    I am pleased with my AF101 and other Panny cams and would like to stay with them.

  5. The ND filters are huge. The CF cards are huge. The ability to use EF lenses is huge. If the image quality is as good as Canon is saying, it all points to a great system. Keep in mind image quality, not specs rule the industry. That’s why on every commercial we request an Alexa over Red. It just looks better. Armchair filmmakers concerned with bits should beware of such black and white thinking. If it’s shoots a nice image, and is easy to use, that’s way more important, than specs.

  6. Ive just posted loads about this camera on my blog do I won’t repeat myself here but one thing I would say it that you should try the evf on the c300 before accepting that it can’t be used for critical focus, its actually quite good, a lot better than the one on my EX1.

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