November 30, 2011

A Refreshingly 'Awesome' Canon C300 Camera Test

I was just saying something about how the Canon C300 is looking better and better... and now there's an "awesome" (and funny) camera test further bolstering the case for the initially-maligned shooter. I was actually just doing some scripting for a humorous camera test of my SCARLET-X, but I think by the time my camera arrives in Brooklyn there will have been so many tests that it will be old hat. Still, I'm always a fan of tests that add some humor or story or something to the shot list, and Jonathan Yi's test demonstrates many of the ways the C300 is superior not only to its cheaper HDSLR ancestors but also to the RED (check out the high ISO tests):

Jonathan has also shared his thoughts in an in-depth article below:

I believe that Canon made a beautiful camera that is sensible, reliable and portable in a way that I’ve always dreamed a camera could be. It prioritizes great skin tone and has higher ISO sensitivity than any other camera out there. I know there’s nothing I can say to change the minds of the RED fan club. For the rest of the skeptics, I think once you get your hands on it you’ll understand how great this camera really is.

Link: EOS C300 for Cinematographers

[via Canon Rumors]

Your Comment

91 Comments

Great video. Great test. Great points. I really loved that he added humor and creativity to the test.

November 30, 2011

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That's the best camera test I've ever seen!

November 30, 2011

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Bret Douglas

One day all camera tests will be this entertaining. Can't believe Canon didn't want to get behind this. Can imagine this will convert more people to the possibilities of the C300 than anything else currently out there.

November 30, 2011

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Will

Totally agreed! Canon should embrace this.

December 1, 2011

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I love fake the EOS standard profile is. First of all its OVEREXPOSED. Classic marketing bs. I've shot with DSLR's and if the standard profile would be as bad looking as it is in this video, no one would never started using DSLR's in the first place.

But regarding the camera itself. I think the it author hit the nailhead when he said its good for documentary making. Doc makers often don't have any additional lighting available to them so the high ISO performance is perfect, also using zoom lens with a smaller aparture is a good fast and a cheap option. Decent color grading with 8bit is pretty much out of the question sooner or later color banding will occour. A good tool for documentary and television work but not a good tool for filmmaking.

November 30, 2011

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ceptor

So the Canon 5D MKII was decent enough to be used extensively on "Red Tails", a Lucasfilm Production, but the C300 isn't?

November 30, 2011

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Raphael

i think they used a 7d for a few second unit shots. Ask philip bloom

November 30, 2011

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I said that the native EOS color profile does not look so bad as portraid in this video. The've integrated or atleast for this promotional video a DSLR gamma profile that looks really ugly (so the viewer would say to himself "wow this is soo much better than dslr gamma) when in reality DSLR color profiles don't look anything like. I've used 5d,7d, 60d, 550 and none of those cameras do not give such a bad gamma. This video is pure marketing bs to get the viewers thinking that they c300 gamma is many-many times better than DSLR's.

November 30, 2011

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ceptor

And I understood that and completely agree, what i'm referring to is the color grading on 8 bit footage from c300 and how you say it's not a good tool for filmmaking. that i disagree with. And yes Bloom used a 7D as well but mainly 5D in Red Tails.

December 1, 2011

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Raphael

Well people have to understand that in big budget movies DSLR's are used in places where other big camera rigs just don't fit or are too risky to implement. An thus mainly DSLR's shoot close ups or smth along the lines because in wider shots the lack of detail when compared to other pro cameras would really show. Yeah you can get away with it in montage if the frames is showed for a 1 second but for a longer period of time naah.

Plus if you look at the big budget movies that have used DSLR's you see that all of them didn't have a major grade. Just some color correction maybe and thats because 8 bit will not stand grading and color banding will appear.

December 1, 2011

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ceptor

You obviously don't know how Dslr were used in Red Tails mate.
Over 150 shots from dslr ended up in the final cut and no they weren't shots taken from restricted spaces like cockpits, visit philip bloom's website for more info.

December 1, 2011

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Raphael

The "8-bits are not letting me color-grade this footage decently" issue is bullshit. There are plenty of short films (even features) shot on DSLR's that have been more than "decently" graded, in it's native 8bit format.

November 30, 2011

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Obviously you haven't used cinestyle and tried to get tottaly different look. Im not talking about color correction here but a decent grade. Going from one look to a completely different one. For example something like this:
http://tinyurl.com/c7ez7ou

Yes you can achive something like this with 8bit but this comes with visible artifacts like noise in the blacks, color banding and overall flat-gray like picture. Maybe you can get away with on the internet, but when showed on a big screen, it really shows.

November 30, 2011

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ceptor

You're right. I don't shoot something then try to radically change it's look in post to something completely different. I shoot as close as I want the final look to be, then tweak accordingly. I'm no expert, man, but these new technologies are surely making very lazy filmmakers...

December 1, 2011

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I want to see what big budget film uses the c300

November 30, 2011

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Why did Laforet fail to make a test film this good? I was totally happy with how uninspiring the C300 looked, as something I didn't want wouldn't cost me anything. Now I want the C300!

November 30, 2011

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I hope they'll come up with a C100 which has the same basic specs and low light capabilities, but a little stripped down for about $5000 kinda like F100 and F3. Come to think of it, maybe that's why it is C300, C100 will come to battle the AF and F100 *jumps in joy for a new discovery*

November 30, 2011

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Bob

its called the 1dx

November 30, 2011

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Ryan Emanuel

1dx will be $6900 street price, rrp $10k

December 3, 2011

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I'm surprised people don't see why Canon isn't behind the video. Its taking shots at its own products. HDDSLR for video is almost exclusively Canon. So overall the video is saying

"see how crappy out current products are, for 8x the price you can get something better from us, if you can't afford an 8x increase, let me remind you what you're not going to get"

It makes a good point about larger scale documentary shooting. I doubt your average documentary person is going to shell out that much but camera aside, to me its pretty obvious why Canon would want to put this on their site. "Don't buy these EOS lines, look at the problems, buy this EOS instead."

November 30, 2011

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pixel wiz

Please get things in proper perspective. Canon never released DSLRs with the intent of them being a movie machine, that's what us users made of it, with all the bells & whistles (rigs, etc) and all of its shortcomings. Of course DSLRs are not perfect! The C300 is Canon's first step towards products that will *really* change movie making. This time they've gone after the F3 and given the Alexa a big FU, RED will be next when their 4K VSLR comes to market. Remember that we came from a situation where no one could afford to make movies or settle for 1/2" sensors with 35mm adapters.

December 1, 2011

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Dslrs cost around 800 to 3000 dollars. C300 will cost around 20k. C300 is too expensive for your average Dslr filmmaker. Don't see the point in comparing them. 7 to 35 times the price of a Dslr, it should be better.

November 30, 2011

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Ruknus

Street prices will be $15k...

December 1, 2011

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nice. but still a huge jump in price

December 1, 2011

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Ruknus

True. It's all a numbers game. There just happen to be so many more photographers in the world than film makers. On the other hand, Canon also needs to find more lucrative (higher margin) markets, due to the strength of the yen. Hollywood is used to paying big bucks for equipment, so that's where they've set their eyes on.

December 1, 2011

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Now This video I think silences the c300 test on skin tones: http://vimeo.com/32843511

This video sold me a Scarlet X

November 30, 2011

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pixel wiz

Try doing that at night with a scarlet

November 30, 2011

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Raphael

Scarlet is a cinema camera, in many cases it will require lighting, which in turn requires REAL cinematography. Because a camera is good in lowlight doesnt mean you dont have to light. Light is to cinematography as paint is to painting :)

November 30, 2011

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Carlos

It requires a lot of lighting because it is crippled, like film is crippled in low light. The only reason people light for film in the dark is because it just.can't.see. If film had the low light sensitivity this camera does, I doubt a cinematographer would still insist on using the shit-ton of light a Scarlet needs.

I agree. You still need to light. But you need less. Which means you spend less. Which to us micro-budget filmmakers is a godsend. Using a camera that has better low light sensitivity won't make you less of a cinematographer... right, Shane Hurlbut?

Great looking images. Beautiful skin tones. Proven latitude. Low light sensitivity. A workflow I'm used to (and that won't require me to spend an additional $10k besides the $15k+ I'd spend on a Scarlet + necessary accessories). Enough resolution to project nicely on a big screen (if needed, not all get to that goal). 4k detail downrezzed into a 1080p image (which is not the same as a DSLR *resolving* for 1080p). 50mbps codec. What's not to like? 8 bit? Well... I'll compensate by NOT BEING LAZY and planning my shoot accordingly. ;)

November 30, 2011

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Dramatic lighting requires lights, high ISO just allows for the use of smaller lights. If you want you picture to look like TV News footage, then no lights needed.

In a brightly lit downtown area you can use whats there, i.e. street lights for back lights and store window light for key. But you will still need a bounce fill. Next shot is in an ally with No Lighting, nothing, zip ... what do you do now?

The problem with demo shots is that they can Cherry Pick locations. In the real world of movie production the location serve the story. If the script calls for a scene in an attic ...

With some of the modern cameras (high ISO, 360 degree shutter) you have two choices, crank-up the ISO until it looks like noon-day-sun with a black sky or use a more reasonable ISO, along with using some small lights, to preserve the feeling of night.

November 30, 2011

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c.d.embrey

What Dave said.
Filmmaking isn't just about the bigger productions, it's about also about small productions whether we are talking about a simple short film with a 500 euros budget or a feature film with 50000 euros.
Embrey, what you said about lighting is completely true, being a cinematographer myself i can't help but agree but, with such cameras even what you call "reasonable ISO" becames something else entirely when compared to film or red cameras. Also it seems to me that you fail to take into account that most people who will use this camera will rent it, not buy it. Why? Because they can't afford it. Now with cameras such as these that do very well in low light, you can afford to avoid high expenses on lighting and go for simpler kits that will get the job done and well. But I honestly believe you know that just that perhaps you are not recognizing the proper impact such cameras have for the little "guys"

December 1, 2011

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Raphael

Raphael - lighting is groundwork for cinematography, saving money on lighting is like buying a lamborgini for a desert race. Better to have more lights and shittier camera than the other way around. Yeah and in the perfect situation you'll have both.

December 1, 2011

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ceptor

@ceptor, you're clearly missing the point. Neither I nor Raphael said "don't use lights". If your camera has better low light sensitivity, the lights you'll use will be considerably reduced and therefore it's budget. You need lots of light with film precisely because film doesn't do well in low light, to compensate (which is what these low-light cameras indeed do natively). The point here isn't "look, you can film without lights"... it's more like "you can light with less" which saves setup time, and hopefully cost in the ligthing rentals.

December 1, 2011

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Exactly, couldn't have put it better myself.

December 1, 2011

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Raphael

To reinforce my last post... don't take it from me. This is quoted off of the blog of Shane Hurlbut A.S.C.

"The exciting thing about the Arri Alexa, F-3 and the new wave of DSLR’s is their high ISO range to minimum noise ratio. This has opened up a whole new way to light as a cinematographer. Whether it be daylight interior or exterior, dawn, dusk, night exterior or interiors the option now exist to use available light in new ways, as well as working with less."

December 1, 2011

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@ Dave N you said "The only reason people light for film in the dark is because it just.can’t.see. If film had the low light sensitivity this camera does, I doubt a cinematographer would still insist on using the shit-ton of light a Scarlet needs." Dave N have you ever shot film??? I have, and you would be amazed at what can be done with small battery powered lights. In 1976 (yes, I'm that old) Kodak released 5247 (35mm) and 7247 (16mm) and low budget film making changed forever. Now you could push process to ASA (ISO) 500 and get a usable picture. Within 10 years ASA (ISO) 1500 was possible. I've worked on low budgets without a generator with the biggest lamp a 1K. I've also burned 1,500 Amps for a shot.

@ Raphael, I've worked on No Budget, Low Budget, Big Budget and Bigger Budget. I've worked on Student, Non-Union, NABET and IATSE films. TV Commercials, Documentaries and Narrative Fiction. For the most part with RENTED equipment. I've been the smallest of the "little guys", using nothing but Photo Floods for lighting.

December 1, 2011

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c.d.embrey

And? No one is questioning that Embrey, we are merely stating that these new cameras with greater low light sensitivity allow new possibilities when lighting, which in turn helps save work, time and money, that's all.

December 2, 2011

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Raphael

@ Raphael, you just don't get what I'm saying.. Doesn't matter if the ISO is 100 or 100,000 you still need light. All the new cameras do is make the light source smaller/lighter/less expensive. You don't need a 40 footer and two 750 amp generators, now-a-days a piece of B&W show card and a couple of hand held battery powered LED lights will suffice in many instances. Oh, and don't forget a 4'x4' silk, not everything is shot at night. :)

December 2, 2011

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c.d.embrey

And i never said you don't need light mate, just that it offers new alternative ways of using said light.

December 2, 2011

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Raphael

Yeah, I still can't justify the cost of this vs the cost of the Scarlet. Come on. HD vs 4k. It just boils down to that for me. I have a great camera that does comparable footage to this already... it's called the GH2.

November 30, 2011

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RevBenjamin

You know the "$10k" Scarlet is only half a camera, right? Remember to budget for little things like power & memory before you go off about "cost." The $14k Scarlet "ready to shoot" package only comes with 64GB of memory... :)

And if you only get the 10k Scarlet, here's the recommended add on list, direct from RED:

* DSMC Power Pack
* REDVolts
* RED Touch 5" LCD
* BOMB EVF (BOMB EVF requires DSMC Side Handle or REDMOTE to navigate menu)
* SCARLET BASE PRODUCTION PACK
* DSMC SIDE HANDLE
* REDMOTE
* SCARLET TACTICAL CAGE
* RED ROCKET

December 1, 2011

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Bryan

Just when I WANT to like the C300, Someone (uhmm uhm Pixel Wiz) points out the visual qualities of the S.X. What can I say. I see what I see!

P.S. I love what your doing for us Koo. Please keep up the informative work.

November 30, 2011

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David

This is a great test & the images look great but I think the final output may not have been compressed at the best setting. I'm seeing some compression artifacts.

November 30, 2011

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Vimeo. 5mbps. Can't expect much more.

November 30, 2011

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....They could have just made it a 2K camera at the same price, and it would be worth it. 1080p is a joke.

November 30, 2011

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Sean

I didn't realize the difference between "a joke" and a good image was 120 horizontal pixels.

December 1, 2011

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*920 horizontal pixels

December 1, 2011

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Wes

2048-1920 = 128.

December 1, 2011

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Hey Sean,
I thought 4k was the only was to go for digital until I went to go see Drive, while was shot on Alexa to Hdcam-sr tape. That's right, 1080p. I had no idea watching it that the film was digital, it was as great looking as a Robert Richardson or Roger Deakins-shot film.
Then came In Time and Hugo, both as gorgeous as anything shot on film, both shot with a Alexa, and both using 1080p 444 to codex boxes. Not even the arriRAW format (all 3 films were shot with Alexa prototype workflow).
I guess I can't speak for you, but to my eyes 1080p is not a joke. after seeing those films I suddenly don't find myself desiring more resolution than 1080p.

December 1, 2011

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Drew

Couldn't agree more. Numbers don't mean nearly as much as actual results. 1080p is by no means the new "standard def" as Jim Jannard said. Drive looked incredible and I saw it on a 35mm print and 2k DCP.

December 2, 2011

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Will

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