I got an email from our Canon rep asking me if I wanted to see the new EOS C300 at BBC Scotland, not an offer I could refuse.
There was a mixture of staff and freelancers all keen to try out the new C300 and thanks to Danny from CVP I even got a picture with me holding a C300. OK first impressions, a lot heavier than I was expecting, well made, nice and solid.
I was keen to see the viewfinder as I had read mixed reports on its usability but fret no more it was nice and sharp and critical focus will not be a problem in fact the second LCD that sits on the camera itself was also nice and sharp.
The first cameras into the UK will be late January and sport the EF mount, Canon recon the majority of freelancers will use the EF version and it will only be the rental houses that offer the PL version at first which does not appear till late March 2012.
An interesting quote from one of the Canon reps though chromatic aberrations differ big time from lens to lens.
chromatic aberration (CA, also called achromatism or chromatic distortion) is a type of distortion in which there is a failure of a lens to focus all colours to the same convergence point. It occurs because lenses have a different refractive index for different wavelengths of light (the dispersion of the lens). The refractive index decreases with increasing wavelength.
The select button just above the chaps index finger is your control over your iris it was relatively smooth but not something I would like to use in a live filming situation. I was guided through the menu and I have to say its very comprehensive.
We also had a chance to see the iPad working with the C300 now here is my dilemma, it looks the business but has a small delay in transmission making your moving shots staccato, personally for the extra £950 for the Wi-Fi dongle I love the concept but feel its a lot of money for a non realtime image.
We got a preview of two of the films made with the C300, Mobius and XXIT, out of the two films XXIT was the more impressive mainly for technical reasons, a lot of the scenes are against green screen which is a hard test on any camera.
My overall impression of the C300 is quality and a well thought out product from the glitzy Hollywood introduction to the quality of build to the most important feature…the quality of picture. I love the EF mount it makes so much sense in so many ways though a chap I got talking to said if only it had been about £5K to 6K in price he would have bought one.
At just under £10K plus vat this is not a camera for Joe Soap but Canon did not conceive this as an upgrade for 5D2 users, its a quantum leap into television drama, TV commercials, taking a chunk out of Sony and RED, a camera that has been built with the thoughts of the end user and not stunted by 35MBs.
DPs have been crying out for an HD broadcast spec large sensor camera and Canon once again have delivered.