Matt Davis “Detailed images, great highlight control with both Wide Dynamic Range and C-Log settings, a small neat hand-held form factor and plenty of features for Pro Videographers rather than indie film shooters. WFM, Cache Record, Dual Media slots with an option to record simultaneously on two cards, the ability to fine-tune shutter speeds to wayward computer/TV screens, fractional iris and gain, 0-6 stops of ND and a solid Canon EF mount that incorporates Auto Focus and Image Stabilisation where fitted. It’s the joy of DSLR video but with all the Pro accoutrements.
You’re getting the C300’s sensor and processing, fed to the non-broadcast AVCHD codec which – in the world of Corporate and Event videography – will be absolutely fine. When you need 4:2:2, simply hook up a separate recorder (the Ninja 2 works very well) and you’re all set for Broadcast or Chromakey.
It’s definitely not a perfect camera. The main downside is that Canon’s Marketing Department were overzealous in crippling the C100 to protect the C300 – 720p50/60 is the standard for DVD material (great SD with web friendly HD) but is absent from the C100. There’s no intervalometer even though there’s a half-hearted Slow Shutter mode. The EVF is barely adequate for ensuring that the camera is pointing in the right direction, and neither the EVF or the Panel should be trusted for exposure and colour balance.
But it comes down to the pictures, which are lovely.
Slomo, Timelapse and 1080p50/60 aficionados must look elsewhere (specifically the FS700). However, if you’re shooting Run & Gun, need to be inconspicuous, work fast and light, the C100 is a very well balanced camera with very good image quality. However, it’s gaining a reputation as ‘the Gateway Camera to C300 ownership”.
C100 Moan/Wish List:
– White balance 1: please can we have a more ‘spot mode’ for white set – currently we must fill the screen for an accurate white set, often requiring we remove the camera from its position, move to the subject and white set. We don’t have long ENG lenses to isolate a bit of white, and I note how EASY it is to achieve poor WB if you don’t fill the screen with a white sample.
– White balance 2: please can we have a more intelligent ‘ambient white set’ like Sonys – if no real white is available, one can white set on a scene and certain colours (e.g. skin tone) are picked up on and a fairly good WB is achieved especially in mixed light (e.g. daylight/fluoro, tungsten/MH).
– Intervalometer: Timelapse is a staple of videography – make dull exteriors or boring subjects like crowds or queues interesting by a little timelapse (1 frame every 1-10 seconds) – WITH SLOW SHUTTER. The latter is vital to achieve the ‘smeary/dreamy’ look. We could bring a DSLR and do it properly, but 1) it requires another ‘camera ecosystem’ with power, lenses, etc) and more importantly 2) I work alone, and don’t want to leave a camera unattended where it could be a H&S or even theft issue. EX1 was a dream in this respect.
– Focus Magnify: we need to be able to move the focus area (like a DSLR) so we can check critical focus on areas other than dead centre during a shot. Rule of thirds composition usually means interviewees eyes are always tantalisingly out of the magnified area just when we need this most. Secondly, the 1x/2x/4x dual zoom mode found on DSLRs would be much appreciated – especially if using the EVF!
– Shot Duration: with almost all interviews, at the end of the take a presenter will ask ‘how long was that?’ – surely a simple option to incorporate a ‘Duration’ display in place of the ‘Timecode’ display would be easy to implement, but I see it’s not even on the C300? This is a very valid requirement on pro video kit! (we don’t have Production Assistants with stopwatches any more)
– Is it possible to set the progressive recording modes to a proper Progressive, rather than ‘PSF’ mode? Same thing, but it’s causing issues with editors who receive rushes – apps such as FCPX and Premiere Pro don’t quite understand this implementation and we’re seeing examples of incorrectly ‘deinterlaced’ PSF being put online that leads to ugly aliasing artefacts. This little engineering cheat is going to cause a lot of tears before bedtime between shooters and editors.
– Will Canon be encouraging AJA, Black Magic and Sound Devices to implement their slightly odd implementation of HDMI? Currently, only the Atomos Ninja plays nice with the C100 – due to a lot of hard work by Atomos.
– Whilst we have ‘Preset free-run’ TimeCode which can be approximated to Time Of Day Code, a proper ‘Time of Day’ code which respects the clock settings (specifically shifting the time zone) would be appreciated.
My thanks to Matt for this comprehensive user review of his Canon C100, while it is a great camera it looses points due to stupidness like not having 720 50p and a viewfinder that quite frankly is not worth having. Plus points are the splendid carry handle with XLR and internal mic which is far better than the carbuncle seen on the C300 and the ability to turn off the noisy fan. Due to some protest I have updated the star rating to 5 stars as it does have the same sensor as the C300 and low noise performance.