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Nino Leitner's Canon C300 Test Film and Review

12.11.11 @ 1:42PM Tags : , , , ,

I’ve said that for all intents and purposes the RED SCARLET-X and Canon C300 are the same price and shipping at the same time, and even though production units of the SCARLET-X started shipping first, it’s interesting that there’s a lot more C300 footage out there than there is SCARLET stuff. This is partly due to the fact that the first SCARLET units are likely in the hands of pro RED acolytes like Steven Soderbergh, David Fincher, Peter Jackson, and Greg Williams, and those guys are too busy to post camera tests or reviews — but Nino Leitner has just posted a C300 review and a short. Here ’tis:

First of all, I should note: as with Vincent Laforet’s Mobius, this was a test film made with very limited time. It would be much easier to simply shoot a number of test shots instead of putting the camera through the paces of a real-world production. Note the following was shot in Canon LOG mode. Thanks very much to Nino (and director Mario Feil) for doing so!

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Check out Nino’s full review for more observations:

The Canon C300 has much to love, and very little not to like. Its biggest downside is clearly the lack of 10bit output, but I can count on one hands the times that I have really needed that.

Canon fulfilled most of my wishes here:
- small form factor, light
- no aliasing or moiré
- increased light sensitivity
- EF lenses on a proper camcorder, without the need of expensive adapters
- 4:2:2 50MBit codec
- proper batteries (they last FOREVER, we got almost 5 hours out of one of the big ones

I have already decided that this will be my future camera … it fits most of the jobs that I do and it ticks more boxes on my list than any other camera before.

Also, thanks to Peter Hainzl for this behind-the-scenes:

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“I just hope the price will be competitive.” Indeed! No final word yet on U.S. pricing.

Link: Canon EOS C300 – Review & short film – Nino Film

[via Cinema5D, thanks Richard]


We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

Description image 32 COMMENTS

  • Great I waiting on my partner
    Frank aka :Ofa
    Hes testing also

  • I really don’t like the look of it, good test to show the C300 speed, but image wise…not pleasing to me.

    He also posted a camera test comparing the C300, F3, 7D and 1D. Its very hard to tell the difference between the DSLR and the C300 at some points and at other the C300 looks…to me…not so good.

    You can watch it here:

    I think the F3 looked the best. I learned 20,000 ISO is the exact same thing as 6,400 on a DSLR.

    To me this short shows of its broadcast capabilities more so than filmic. You can test its ahybrid between Canon video and Photo team at some points it looks like a broadcast others a DSLR short.

    I personal love the Ikonoskop a-cam dII look:

    Here is a camera test for it:

    That will give you a glimpse into my eyes.

    Ikonoskop is $6000-$10,000 cheaper than the Canon. As of today its $10,000.

    And its shoots raw. I’m a sucker for the Super16 look.

    • Yeah, I’m about to post that test too. The C300 does look pretty video-y in this particular short, but I’m curious how much of that is a matter of the colorist’s tastes — Mobius looked a bit more filmic, after all. My $0.02.

    • I’ve been on the fence on getting an Ikonoscop myself. Ironically, their SP-16 cam. Because I’m a sucker for shooting on film and hey, I have C-Mount lenses lying around and not being used. :)

    • This is very interesting. I thought that 20,000 iso would have been far more sensitive than 6,400 iso on a dslr. That was a lot of the hype of this camera, I know the grain structure is a more pleasing than dslr blocks, but given then softness of the high iso test footage I would never shoot that high. Other than form factor, why should someone buy an c300 over an f3? In that 85mm test it saw maybe an extra stop into the darks over the c300.

  • “Wait for the ProRes file, ungraded – tomorrow”

  • I’m really keen to test out the cam myself as well simply to see how much and what can you affect with the camera settings – Moebius looked very cinematic but that was the only one out of ‘canons’ shorts and Vincent Laforet said himself in t making of I think: ‘it looks very much like video with the standard settings and you have to tweak it to make it filmic’
    Nino keeps saying that it’s a very simple camera to use straight out of the box and I think that is exactly what they did – standard settings and press record.
    For me the F3 looks even more like video but I also never got a chance to really work the settings

  • Anyone know what the wireless focus puller they were using is?

    • looks very much like a Bartech

    • DO NOT FIGHT THE FED. That is the most basic rule of investing in the stock makret. People mix up what is happening in the economy with investing in the makret. As long as Helicopter Ben is throwing money out the window, that excess money will find its way to the makret. Now the ECB is finally joining the party. Enjoy or sit on the sidelines sipping water. Ironically if a Paul Voucher type person is put in the Fed it will be time to get out of the makret while the economy takes its medicine.

  • I like the ikon but damn if you think red workflow is to hard then the icon will melt your mind. At this point there is next to ZERO support for the format and nothing in terms of workflow you would want to use in a day in day out production. Also its a little lacking on the dynamic range side and its low light performance is nothing to write home about.

    Honestly the ‘ready to shoot’ package of a scarlet may be slightly more but you’re then comparing a 4k proven and supported workflow and the fact that technically scarlet brings so much more to the table. For me if I wanted raw I would choose the scarlet and if I wanted to go for speedy workflow Id go the C300.

    The only way I could see the Ikon become viable is if they licensed the cineform raw codec and gave that as an option. Then you would have a nice camera pared with a brilliant codec and an established and speedy workflow on any system.

  • Hey Koo! Thanks for posting the video.

    I have been considering canceling my Scarlet-X order due to the fact that it may not perform well in low-light situations the way the C300 appears to excel. Like many others, I have become accustomed with the great low light performance of Canon’s 5D2 and 1D cameras – is there any comparison out there between the low light performance of the Scarlet (or Epic) vs. the 5D mkii?

    I had originally believed that these sensors performed about the same in low/medium light, but I am starting to hear murmurs that the Scarlet-X needs a decent amount of light to excel. Of coarse, ALL cameras will perform better when a scene is well-lit, but I shoot documentary and I rarely have the opportunity to light a scene before shooting it.

    Either way, I’m confident the Scarlet it the right choice for someone in your shoes – I still don’t know why you have been under fire for making such a purchase. I’m just now having second thoughts weather it is the right choice for documentary, given the longer turnaround time in post, and possible low light issues. We can afford the massive storage space needed to store all the footage (AND backups) but what money won’t buy you is TIME.

    Anyone else have thoughts low light performance or Scarlet/Epic use for documentary work?

    • The low light would not concern me. The post processing may depending on the system you have. Heres the only available low light test on the scarlet. It was shot at 400 ISO.

      I personally think low light capabilities between scarlet and c300 is subjective, its a question of do you want cleaner under exposed regions(scarlet) or the ability to expose underexposed regions with less light.(c300)

      • Thanks Ryan. Yes those are good thoughts and seem to jibe well with what others out there are saying. It’s hard to judge cameras against each other without seeing side-by-side comparisons of the same shots. Either way, the information packed into an R3D file is impressive. Thanks for sharing that.

        • Link in Nagato’s post below is a great demonstration of Epic’s low light latitude in case anyone else was wondering. Tons of information to pull out of those underexposed areas.

          One of my colleagues owns an Epic and seems to think the Scarlet will perform very similarly, if not identical in low light.

  • Ty, I think this test might help you as well:

    Paul, I worked with some of the ikon footage and yes, the workflow…is interesting. Only 3 programs support .dmg. Photoshop, After Effects and Resolve. When you get the footage, its a ton of raw pictures. I dropped teh folder into After Effect and worked from there. To edi you would have to export the footage to something the editor an read, such as a .mov uncompressed, cineform whatever, then start editing. So its not bad, just very tedious. Lucky you don’t need a fast computer (though it helps a lot!). So its not bad, just…annoying because to add effects after the edit I have to send it back to After Effects unless I use Nuke instead.

    Koo, I agree, with enough work almost any camera have be somewhat filmic.

    I have an interesting question for all of you. Since Compact Flash decided to replace compact flash cards with the new XQD card early 2012. And the C300 and 1DX run on CP cards. That would make both camera outdated before they are released. And its not backward compatable. That means c300 and 1dx owners are stuck in buying the next model to continue operating. To me this means people who buy this camera are going to have to make their money back FAST in order to get the next body which has the new card slot.


  • Hey Nagato,

    I’ve heard this pop up a lot re the C300, 1dx etc being outdated due to the new XQD but the argument holds no truth. None of the cameras offer anything that would require the new technology. Nothing they shoot or record would benefit from the new technology so really its a non issue.

    Only a camera system like the Scarlet that is upgradable would benefit because red could create an QXD card module as an option over their SSD offering. To me the fact that scarlet only records to very expensive propriety redmags is a big drawback. If the XQD media turns out to be significantly cheaper (and red offer it as an option) then suddenly the Scarlet would look like a better deal to a lot more people.

    • Wow, “XQD”… it rolls right off the tongue…

    • don’t get too carried away with the XQD thing: there was already one successor to CF, which was CFast, and it seems it has already died, before anybody got to use it

      the rumour mill says the Nikon D4 will have both CF and XQD, but even if that’s true it could mean nothing: if lower-end models (the ones without dual card slots) stick to CF, the market for XQD will remain very small, and it may not take off

      for me, the best solution would be for everybody to move to SD:
      * if you want a tough card, get one with an aluminium casing (I think that would appear as soon as pro users demand it)
      * UHS-II has the same maximum bandwith as XQD

      (and yes, worst name ever)

  • Refreshing to see a short with subtitles… kind of odd to see the stedicam being used in this kind of production. The impression I got was that the buyers of the C300 wouldn’t be able to afford a stedicam rig but maybe the rental price isn’t that bad?

    Curious but does the new canon cinema glass have smooth aperture rings… I’m sure it does but have not found confirmation anywhere.

    • In most cases you’re renting a stedicam operator rather than a stedicam rig itself. They’re very difficult to use untrained and you can actually insure yourself without proper fitting and technique.

      • Sorry, meant “Injure” not “insure” haha :)

        • So most likely the rental price is even higher because you’re paying for both the stedicam and the operator? I’ve played with one before and can understand the learning curve so it makes sense.

          I’ve got nothing against production value but it’s surprising how much money gets invested in a short considering that the profitability margin is almost always zero.

  • I’m loving the incredible low-light capability and lack of most DSLR-failings, not much else… If it cost under $10k I could probably find a few more things to appreciate about it ;)

  • I’m wondering if the the viewfinder and LCD screen are better than most cameras like the AF-100 and F3 for focusing. Any thoughts?

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