Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor


I don’t think I have owned a camera for as long as a year recently so it’s a testimony to Canon that the C300 has not been part-ex’d with H Preston Media ! Up until the Canon C100 I always thought my second camera had to be a standard video camcorder but my thoughts have since changed.

The restriction with having one Super 35mm camera is the time it takes to change from one lens to another, especially outdoors, I am not happy swapping lenses with the sensor exposed to the elements. If on the other hand like photography, you have two bodies then lens changing becomes less of a problem.

My Canon C300 is undoubtedly the best pictures I have had from any camera to date, having the shallow depth of field (SDOF) is an asset but not as important as it used to be, SDOF can destroy a good interview so must be used with caution.


During the year we have been commissioned to produce a 45m DVD about Type One Diabetes for the Scottish Government this has taken us from Aberdeen to Abernethy in the Scottish borders. The C300 has been invaluable with interviews and if we take 8 doctors and NHS staff, 20 patients and 5 carers plus more to film it’s been a joy having the continuity of the C300 throughout the shoot.


Every time without exception I still get a kick watching the footage back and the camera has come down almost £4K since I bought my C300.


1. Love the picture from the C300 it has a cinematic texture all of its own, especially good in low light.

2. The hand grip is one of the cameras strengths having so many controls to hand is a joy to use.

3. 50Mbps onto compact flash makes it relatively cheap compared to the competition.

4. Very user friendly menu system especially custom picture settings.

5. Dedicated Canon EF lenses give you such a wide scope

6. 3 ND filters plus clear gives you far more control over depth of field


1. Don’t like the LCD attached to the XLRs, makes sound recording very cumbersome.

2. Would prefer a dedicated switch on the side of the camera for ISO like the C100.

3. The CF flap doors can be fiddly to open.

4. The LCD can get stuck if you tighten the knob too much.

5. The two umbilical leads are messy and quite stiff to remove.


I have a lot of soul searching to do over the next few weeks as I decide on a new partner for the C300, I had set my mind on a JVC GY-HM600/650 till I saw the C100 pictures. The C100 is a perfect “B” camera to the C300 as it matches the C300 in both colour and noise.

The lesser price of the C100 is also a major bonus and the lighter body is also an asset for hand held filming.

So that’s my year with the C300 now it’s not all been a bundle of joy, having one camera body is very restricting when doing corporate work and can lead to missing shots or re takes due to having the wrong lens attached. The lack of servo zoom is also a pain but the solution certainly for corporate work is a second body or a more conventional camcorder.

The only problem with a conventional camcorder is the “look”, the C300 produces such a unique smooth cinematic punchy picture its very difficult to mix and match though not impossible.


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.

4 thoughts on ““A year with the Canon C300”

  1. Happy New Year, Philip!

    I take it you are veering towards the C100 because it is a good match for the C300? Are you still of the opinion that the JVC is a great run & gun camera?

    I’m gearing up for a new camera soon, in the Panasonic AC130/160, Sony NX5 and JVCHM600 line-up. Canon XF300 and the C100/300 are way too expensive for me.

    The NX5 is getting quite old, and the JVC seems to be the better camera of the rest.

    I’d be delighted to hear your thoughts.

    HDW : Hi Mike as a replacement for the NX5 the JVC would be a good move, having used the HM650 last week you need to ask the following questions…
    1. Do you need WiFi to an iPad which will allow zoom, start stop but the latency (delay) means its far from real time.
    2. Do you need record onto 2 codecs second being internet size 480px.
    3. In the future the 650 will also be capable of live web streaming.

    If the answer is no then the HM600 is the camcorder for you and you will save £700, everything else on the 650 is the same as the 600 which is a good move by JVC, it gives you a clear choice, also having 35Mbps does give you better pictures than 28Mbps on the 160. PS. The noise at 0dB is fantastic JVC have tweaked this camera with a new firmware and it shows.

  2. Philip – thanks for the fast response. I’m on an NX70 at the moment and it’s a pain in the bum at times, with screw-on NDs, the touch screen instead of physical buttons etc. I want the next camera to be the one I keep until it dies or I die!

    I’ve no need for WiFi, 2 codecs or the live streaming (nothing time-critical here) so the HM600 would be sufficient I think.

    The only thing missing is the 1080 50p that the NX70 gives (and the AC160)… but! My final outputs are web or DVD, and I’ve never needed it! And who knows, it may come in a firmware update eventually. If not, it’s not a big deal. 35Mbps is attractive too.

    I think I’ll have to shoot that nice Mr Preston an email tomorrow for a part-exchange… thanks again for the feedback!

    HDW : 1080 50p is being worked on by JVC if it’s possible they will bring out a FW update early this year, JVC know this is a sales clincher.

  3. Hi Philip, I just bought a C300 and need to kit it out. Including 2-3 lenses, mount system for tripod, lights for travel and quick setup, etc. Can you give me suggestions for what works for your rig?

    HDW : I have a few lenses but the ones I use the most are my Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 for interviews, a 60mm f2.8 macro Canon lens and a 50mm F1.4 Leica lens and for a bit of reach I also use a 70-200 f4 Canon lens. I did try the f2.8 70-200 Canon lens but the f4 is far smaller and lighter and the C300 has such a fantastic low light capability you can easily work at 12dBs without much problems.
    I use a GenusTech rig for my rails, matte box & french flag. Calumet LED lights plus one Bi colour Kelvin Tile but for travel a suitcase of smaller LED lights from DataVideo would be better.
    Tend to use Sennheiser and RODE mics for sound and I have a Miller Compass 25 video head with carbon fibre legs which are fantastic.

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