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Q: How Do the 'Ready to Shoot' Prices of the Canon EOS C300 and RED SCARLET-X Compare?

11.4.11 @ 11:30AM Tags : , , , , , ,

A: They’re basically the same.

First of all, you need to add all this stuff to the RED SCARLET-X to be ready to shoot:

Second of all, the list price of the Canon EOS C300 is $20,000. Once it hits retailers like B&H Photo, that will come down. Let’s take its closest competitor, the Sony F3, as an example: the camera’s list price is $16,800, but B&H is selling it for $13,960 ($13,160 after a rebate). So let’s take 20% as the estimated street discount, which brings the $20k camera down to $16k (which has also been a reported selling price of the C300 — probably due to confusion between MSRP and street).

The RED SCARLET-X lists for $9,750 and that is direct from RED: no discounts. However, that is a “brain only” price (though it comes with a SSD recording module, Canon lens mount, and AC adapter). After December 31st, in fact, the RED’s prices will go up. But if you include the prices of the things you’ll need to shoot in each cameras’ most basic configuration, many all of these things are included with the Canon but not with the RED. (A couple of them are not included with the Canon either, where noted).

  • Camera Body
  • Lens Mount
  • Side Handle (RED +$950)
  • Viewfinder/Screen (RED’s 5″ LCD is $1,600, though it’s probably nicer than the Canon’s EVF)
  • Media Module
  • Media for 1 hour of footage (a cheap $100 CF card for the Canon, but two $950 SSDs for the RED)
  • Media Reader (a cheap $50 CF reader for the Canon, but a $250 REDMAG for the RED)
  • Battery Charger (an extra $150 for the RED, though I’m not clear on whether the included AC adapter can also charge batteries)
  • Batteries for a few hours of shooting (an extra $150 battery for the Canon, three $195 REDVOLTS for the RED)


This brings the RED up to an even $15k. As you get into more realistic battery and media numbers — I included the absolute minimum above — the SCARLET-X becomes more expensive than the C300. Which is to say nothing of the fact that the C300′s 1080P MPEG-2 files require much less computer power to edit and process in post than do the 4K R3D files (thus more expense on the back-end for the RED). Plus, I’m betting the Canon will be better in low light situations, which makes your necessary lighting budget lower (though just because you can shoot without lights does not mean you should).

Finally, while some pointed out during yesterday’s brouhaha that “the RED will be available sooner,” that remains to be seen — RED’s November 17th (for the PL mount version) and December 1st (for the Canon mount) dates are for when the SCARLET-X starts shipping. RED’s history is not one of shipping on time (not in any real quantity, at least), and on top of that some of the required accessories are backordered, so by the time you’re able to get your hands on a full SCARLET-X kit, I’m betting the C300 will be shipping in volume.

Certainly by the time RED has all of the SCARLET-X features enabled — including a basic ability like playing back the footage in-camera (yes, this is not currently possible with the $28,000 EPIC) — you can bet the C300 will be out in the wild. I’m not second-guessing my decision to order a SCARLET-X, but let’s not pretend that the RED will be ready to shoot for $10k on December 1st. For all intents and purposes, both of these cameras are $16k (without lenses), and both of them are shipping in 2012.

But only one of them’s being used to shoot The Hobbit in 3D!

UPDATE: some of the comments here and elsewhere have caused me to write Why I’m Ordering a RED SCARLET-X, and How it Relates to My Feature ‘Man-child.’ Hopefully that clarifies things.

Related Posts

  1. Canon's Historic Hollywood Announcement is the Canon Cinema EOS C300
  2. Full Specifications of the Democratizing (and Canon-Beating) RED SCARLET X Camera
  3. See Vincent Laforet's Stunning Canon C300 Short 'Mobius' Here

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  • Has the smoke cleared yet?

    Healthy debate about camera specs, RED vs Canon etc is all good but though I’m not surprised by EOSHDs response I am still disgusted by his accusations and his refusal to even edit out errors in his piece.

    Koo, I don’t consider you an “aspiring filmmaker” – you’ve made a features+ worth of narrative content already with your (award winning no less!) web series. Well before your Kickstarter campaign for “Man Child” and even this site you were a filmmaker. Which is more than can be said for Andrew at EOS who still insists on shooting boring abstract views of buildings and bridges etc. and has the gall to charge people for his highly questionable anamorphic shooting guide when others offer advice for gratis.

    That being said, as a supporter of “Man Child” I am confused by your decision to invest in a Scarlet and would appreciate some clarification. I was under the impression that you were the writer/director of the film not the DP as well. Are you going the Robert Rodriguez route and are going to try and do everything?

    Now, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with this. However, why make an already difficult job that much harder? Why not just focus on being a great writer/director? There’s a reason these jobs are split on more ambitious films. On a short its fine. Everyone is learning and the expectation is not to make money with a short but to have a calling card. I’ve made shorts where I was writer/director/producer/DP/editor and it was a lot of work and I probably spread myself too thin creatively in some areas and hurt the end product. On other productions (those with a higher budget) I was extremely grateful to have others fill those roles so I could focus on doing the best job as a director.

    You will only ever have one “First Feature”. It’s important that you line up the ducks and stack the deck as best you can. Maybe that means hiring a story consultant to ensure the script is as good as it can be. Maybe that means spending some $$$ on a great Casting Director that has access to top acting talent. Maybe that means investing on a Sales Agent to help get the film sold when its done.

    You’ve demonstrated that you have great talent as a filmmaker and your generosity and openness to share your knowledge on this site also shows you to be a solid individual who is without ego and thats refreshing in this business. I have no doubt you’ll give “Man Child” every ounce of effort you have but am curious as to where you see your career going. Where do you want to be in 5yrs? Do you want to be a Writer-Director? A DP? An Editor? A Producer? All of the above?

    • Not planning on DPing it myself! I hear your concerns and am writing a post about it right now. You’re on point with all of these thoughts, and thank you for supporting Man-child!

      • Look forward to reading the post Koo.

        I get the gear bug. I’m a geek who often has the “oooh! Shiny new thing!” condition. As a filmmaker its great that there are cheap tools available to play around with. I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with pretty much every camera system in the world from old 35mm Mitchell’s, Aaton, Arri, Panaflex, Movicam etc. from when I was a camera assistant. In the late 90s I shot several shorts on Mini-DV and now have a DSLR – they’re great for experimenting on and stretching those creative muscles. Better to get those hard lessons on axis and screen direction etc. in a no-budget scenario with a 1 to 5 person crew than on a $1000 a minute feature with 100+ people standing around rolling their eyes! :)

        If I had the cash would I buy a Scarlet (or similar)? Sure. I’d also go on a vacation, eat at better restaurants, drive a better car and live somewhere nicer.

        At the end of the day its about doing what you need to do to get ahead and, more importantly, continue to pursue your passion. Sacrifices need to be made but are still no guarantee of success thats for sure. I’m just grateful that after 15+ yrs I’m still making a living in film and have never had to get another job.

        Keep up the good work Koo and don’t let the naysayers get to you.

  • Has anyone seen footage from Scarlet yet? If so, please post a link.

    • Look for any EPIC footage. Same body, same sensor, same dynamic range… lower frame rates and 4K instead of 5K at 24fps.

    • Have a look at: “RED Epic verus Panasonic GH2″ http://vimeo.com/30751603

      Image quality/resolution out of the GH2 looks better! Read Philip Coltart’s comments about what he thinks after using both cameras.

  • Are you really surprised by aggressive posts when you post that you could care less about the two cameras this thread is about. Really?

    Plus even if when the 5d mark iii comes out, which if it does will be in the far wake of the 1dx, and its actually in your price range, which I’m assuming is sub 5000, its specs as a dslr and not camcorder will not be able to compete with the video functionality and picture of a fs100 or af100 with a sub 5000 price tag, especially not if the 1d can’t at 7 grand.

    People who can’t afford the new way of digital cinema cameras and who are clinging onto 5d’s for dear life have the habit of posting on threads that have absolutely nothing to do with them.

    I think I understand you pretty good.

    • Well George, not everyone needs a camcorder like an af110 or fs100 – my school already has af100s. You don’t even know what I’m shooting or using the camera for, yet you are jumping to conclusions and making assumptions about price points.

      I also understand you as well. You somehow have such a chip on your shoulder, that you go on a rampage when someone doesn’t feel they have to purchase a certain piece of equipment. Somehow the equipment you work on is wrapped up in your ego.

      I will post the words of of a DP Philip Bloom, “…one last thing…does all these cameras coming out mean you cannot shoot on your 60D, 5Dmkii, 7D, Gh2? NONSENSE…They are just tools. Expensive ones. Me? I shoot with the right camera for the right job and sometimes that may just be a $500 stills camera!! Trust me…owning one of these new cameras is not going to suddenly going to make your work better! Use what you have!!

      Oh and by the way. I ordered a Scarlet.”

      • “My school has a af100″ Classic. I didn’t know I was arguing with a film student. I feel foolish now. Good luck kid.

  • Sweet Hobbit clip!

  • That 2k@60 is a cropped spec, though. So less than 2/3″ fov. And at 50mb/s cap it’s going to look more like upscaled 720.

    When Scarlet users see that anything below 4K is going to be pretty underwhelming it’ll be a weird day.

    Then again, 4k at 30 wil look close to MX footage so.

  • good post. Red overall won for indie filmmakers, but it is definitely not half the price. 1000 dollars for 64GB is pretty ridiculous, having shot with a company with red this adds up really fast. I think C300 will be popular with news companies though, they don’t want 4K or raw, they want reliability and the best 1080 video they can get…maybe some mobility too. Red wins but it’s not a landslide since the price will be the same, and the C300 will be better suited to some peoples’ needs

  • You realize 50mb is a huge codec right? Don’t confuse megabits with megabytes

  • Kholi – You do realize that the “cap” on the Scarlet is 55 MB/sec – not mbps; that’s megaBYTES, not megaBITS – roughly 8x more. Also – the Scarlet-X won’t look “close to” MX footage but the same as. They are exactly the same sensor – the ASICs in the Scarlet are just less capable of processing the signal, hence, the lower frame rates.

  • just wanted to note that with the F3, you really need the upgrade to 4:4:4 to have a camera that is in the same ballpark as the other two. so a full blown package of the three cameras w/ EVF, LCD, battery, and charger is about $2160 (street) for the F3, $18715 for the Scarlet, and (list) $20,360 for the Canon, obviously significantly less once we know the street price. but basically all around the same price, give or take $1500.

    just finished typing up a list comparing the specs of the three:
    http://idisk.mac.com/ressler-Public/largeformathd10k.pdf

  • Peter’s gaining some weight

  • MARK GEORGEFF on 11.10.11 @ 11:39PM

    If I was ready to go right now with my first feature since film school? I’d go with the SCARLET. After seeing the specs on that canon crap. Scarlet all the way. There also isn’t a damn thing wrong with doing it all, Koo. I’d prefer not to…but like Rodriguez always said — if you have the creative, artistic talent…it’s easier to learn the tech side. And the minute you start farming out work to others; and your crew grows and the costs along with it all…you end up with more problems. Unless you have the budget. Nolan did his first short film on weekends; over the course of many, many months. With a small crew and basically because he had no money. He went against the so called system. That movie led him to eventually get a indie project going called MEMENTO, which led to you know what. Do what you gotta do. looks like SCARLET is the way. Can’t wait to use it.

  • I don’t understand all this blabla and rage about those new cameras.
    If we are all talking about feature films that are going to be shown in theaters, ONE shooting day including actors, crew, lighting, grip, production,… is usually more expensive than a Scarlet or a CS 300. If we are not talking about movie shown in a theater on a 4K projector, who give a shit about 4K, 2K or even HD.
    So which serious production company would take the risk to plan a shoot with one camera? what if it breaks ? you are going to run to the shop to buy a new one? or ask everybody to come back tomorrow for free?
    95% of movie are shot with rental equipment, NOT because they can’t afford to buy a RED or a ARRI, just because with rental if you have technical issues or if it’s broken, you give a phone call and you have another one ready in a few hours, also because you have insurance included in the price. Technology goes so fast nowadays that by the time you finish to edit your movie there will be another, camera out, etc….
    Directors buying cameras for their feature movie? Is this a new trend? Don’t they have anything else to do than worry about the RED versus Canon “war”. What about their next movie are they 100% sure they will use the same equipment? What if their DP prefers the looks of the MX or the Alexa?
    Yes, I know, not everybody get’s 30 million dollars budgets, but even with the smallest productions I worked for/with the director NEVER worried about what brand they were shooting with. They had shit loads of other stuff to worry about.
    To all the tech experts, maybe after all the advices to Canon ( 45 billions $ revenue per year – 200 000 employees) you can also start giving advices to ARRI, after all the ALEXA only shoots 2K and it’s worth 80 000€. And don’t forget to have a go at Steven Soderbergh, he was shooting with an XL2 when he could buy an ARRI per day with the budget he had for ” Full Frontal”.
    I’m not criticizing Koo for buying his camera, I just think it’s pretty unusual in the movie business and more importantly what he will shoot with, will only be a very very small technical ” detail” of the movie. I hope most people will love his movie for other reason than the fact it was shot with this or that.
    Good luck to him and have fun doing what you love.

    • john jeffreys on 11.1.12 @ 2:32PM

      it’s a side effect of the consumerization/democratization of film. smaller, cheaper digital cameras that are affordable compared to their 80k+ traditional counterparts get covered on film blogs and you see a new breed of prosumer owner-operators getting them, being fanboys over them, and just turning film from a complicated, respected craft into a product-war cesspool.

  • I am between the RED and something else, the C300 best feature seems to be the ND filter.
    What is on with the Scarlet? why can’t we just use generic SSD drives that costs 1/6 of their SSD drives?
    What is the audio connector?
    Maybe I will have to settle for a FS100 after all.
    If only Panasonic would do a C300 version of their GH2. ( that AF100 is thoughtless )

  • can you shot 4k and record to samurai recorder out of the scarlet hdsdi output if clients want pro res files for smaller jobs

  • These are very cool cameras. Now we need to factor in the added cost of being able to see and evaluate 4K images! Even when we were only shooting 16mm film a couple decades ago back in film school, we were projecting our work on decent wall sized screens. A close-up shot of an actress was 15 feet tall. Now everything I see is measured in inches not feet, so I would like to start seeing 4K projectors from Sony that are affordable for consumers so that the 4K films we will be making will be viewable at a size to make 4K look like 4K is supposed to look for our audience.

    • If not Sony, I hope that Apple will figure out this consumer 4K projector for us. They put an HD video camera in everyone’s pocket or purse( iPhone), and have multiple screen sizes from iPhones, iPads, iMacs etc and created the “Cinema Display” so why not a 4K projector to fill in the gap for the lack of a huge screen in this selection? Wishful thinking of course…

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