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Philip Bloom Reviews the Canon C300 and Releases Short Test

12.26.11 @ 3:33PM Tags : , , ,

Preproduction Canon C300 cameras have been floating around for a while, and now DSLR/video maestro Philip Bloom has released an excellent video review. As Bloom notes, the camera is a hybrid: the C300 is the answer to the question, “what would happen if a Canon DSLR and Canon XF camcorder had a baby?” Check it out if you’re interested in the C300, which rumor has it will retail stateside for virtually the same price as the Sony F3 (currently $14k), substanitally less than the originally-quoted $20k. Here’s Philip’s review:

Like most, when the camera was unveiled on November 3rd I was underwhelmed. Spec wise nothing new. Price wise at the original $20k…ouch…pretty much everyone I knew had little interest in the camera… footage started to come out that people really liked, and more importantly once you actually hold it and play with it suddenly it became a lot more desirable. Just in the UK the camera went on a tour of loads of cities and I was hearing from all these people I know who loved it in the “flesh”. The positive buzz just got louder and louder.

Here is Bloom’s sample short, shot on a preproduction C300 and Canon DSLRs (for timelapse):

My own impressions are that I might be interested in a Sony F3 instead of the C300, because of its ability to go upmarket (for additional money, with the S-Log firmware and an external recorder like the Convergent Gemini). However, if you’re not interested in S-Log 4:4:4 output, or if you already have a good collection of Canon glass, the C300 may be the right choice. The RED SCARLET, to me, is a different camera for different purposes (much of the time), so I won’t be getting either the Sony or Canon, but one thing’s for sure: there are a lot of great options in the $10k-$30k range (once you include kit items). Meanwhile, it seems the Sony FS100 basically owns the $5k pricepoint (unless you’re into the AF100).

There are some people lurking here who apparently have some issues with Philip… not from actually knowing him personally but just from criticizing his work from afar. Please, keep your comments constructive. He’s giving his honest opinion of a camera and we can all benefit from that!

Link: Canon C300 review and short film “Le Mont, La Pluie et La Nuit” – Philip Bloom


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!

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  • In regard to Bloom’s sample short, I’m just glad I didn’t waste 4 more min of my life after stopping that “sample short” 2 minutes in. Seriously what was I watching?

    I slightly remember a sample/test footage discussion back when Laforet posted birds flying… All I’m going to say is that this one is the best I’ve ever seen. Thanks Koo for sharing this one.

  • Without a doubt the most comprehensive review of the C300 to date. I agree that the lack of 1080p slow-mo will be a deal-breaker for many. Personally, I couldn’t give a crap less about slow-mo and the only thing standing between me and a brand new C300 come January is my utter lack of money. Too bad, maybe I’ll get a C300 when the C400 makes it obsolete in a year or two.

    • Thats the biggest problem for me. For $14k I would be pissed if it were out of date in a year or less. Depending on what competitors do.

      • it should be out of date within a year without 1080p 60fps alone..

        • All tech stuff will get replaced by new developments in a year or two – including the stuff that comes out in a year or two….! I wouldn’t worry too much about remaining cutting-edge – just get good tools and they’ll last for ages.

          As for the lack of 1080 slow-motion – can’t say that bothers me. Guess it depends what you’d be using the camera for (and your own aesthetic) but I never really use slow-motion anyway. What matters more to me is that the camera is easy to use (hate having to play ‘Rubik’s Menu’ to change a setting), adaptable to different situations, strongly built…

          That said, stlll not buying one – we shoot all our shorts on a 5D and I don’t personally feel we’ve hit a brick wall with that camera yet. When that day comes, we’ll look at upgrading – but I suspect that’s a way off yet!

    • John Jeffreys on 12.27.11 @ 12:01AM

      Hopefully they make a C150 or something, an entry level addition to the C line for under 5 grand

  • You are really starting to dislike Canon, huh? “Check it out if you’re interested in the C300…”

  • Luis Villalon on 12.27.11 @ 6:54AM

    Robert & Joe…what do you want to watch? The usual shaky crap, no lights, unusable sound, out of focus junk from filmmaker wannabes with no sense of composition, drama or lighting? If you think Phillip’s sample short is not watchable, you are in the wrong business. I find him to be an artist and a superb craftsman. One of the things I hate about the digital era is that it allows people with no talent to push a record button, edit and upload to You Tube and think they are in the same level as Phillip. I’ve been in the film business for 40 years. Handled millions in TV commercial, documentary and Independent films. I think I know what quality looks like.

    • I’m an amateur who has even learned how to press record on my DSLR from Philip Bloom’s resources, but ironically, I totally agree with you on this : )

    • Luis, I won’t get into a debate about Philip Bloom’s work, if you find him an artist and superb craftsman, so be it.
      I guess I’m just looking for something other than a static shot of a tree or a building. I’d like to see how this camera reacts to moving shots. Although, when it comes to static shots of trees or buildings, yep, Philips pretty good!

    • Maybe I am just jealous that he gets to use an amazing camera like this one but what makes it worse is that the all powerful and mighty Philip Bloom can’t produce something worth watching with it. Your comment about it being the digital era and people with no talent push a record button, edit and upload to You Tube has nothing to do with what I am trying to say. By the way no one cares what you have done with your 40 years its called an opinion and I think guys like Bloom and Laforet are overrated. Well I wouldnt say overrated, I would just say that people think they are amazing and don’t get me wrong they are but there are so many other gifted talents out there. In a sense it’s a mainstream thing or something.

      • I wasn’t going to mention it, but yes, Laforet is another that has been put on a pedestal, soley on his short Reverie. Himself and Bloom are self proclaimed DP ‘s. Can you imagine what a real DP thinks of all this rubbish. Just because you take still photographs, doesn’t make you a photographer. Anyway, I don’t want to be a name basher and clutter Koo’s sight with what amounts to nothing. I will leave you with this thought, the above mentioned certainly, in my opinion, took this whole DSLR inception and marketed themselves to the masses as larger than life. A subterfuge that actually duped many, and worked. The power of perception.

        • Anybody have reels?

        • Jesus give ol Phillip a break, the montage was great and the review was great too.

        • I can understand what you’re getting at when you say that just taking still photographs doesn’t make you a still photographer. But if taking still photographs for the New York times and National Geographic, among others, and then winning a Pulitzer prize for doing so, still doesn’t make you a still photographer, then I’m really not sure what does.

          • It most definitely makes you a photographer, but not necessarily a DP of moving pictures. That, like winning a Pulitzer prize, comes with time and your desire to earn it, not just labeling yourself as such.

        • Dear NoFilmschool, are you going to let your blog to be another internet outlet for haters?

          • I’m working on some modifications to the comment system. Not enough hours in the day to do half the things I want to, though. Coming in the next month…

          • Some good discussion but not necessarily on topic and is not the right place for it. Koo spends a lot of time researching and writing and presenting all this great stuff so just want to let Koo know he does a great job and sorry for instigating haha

  • Maybe the 4k DSLR will compensate for some of the losses of the C300, but not do most of what the C300 does. So in a weird way they cater for a couple of different markets but maybe the two cameras will compliment each other. just guessin’.

  • Sorry, I was bored by your piece, nothing original there. Philip’s work, especially its second part, is great.

  • I think as people start putting more narrative shows and movies online, data rates and compression will become more and more important. To get clean darks in compressed video I think you need to be recording at least 100mbs. Going into 2012, if my camera package is in the 20-25k range, I don’t want to have to say in the video description “Remember its the compresses version.” The f3 with external recorder, and scarlet down-res online videos I have seen were clean, no compression artifacts even in the darks.

    But on the other hand, the c300 is probably the best doc camera out there right now, at least thats what I think.

  • “Touching it in the dark…pleasurable learning experience…” He gives a new meaning to sexy equipment!

  • “There are some people lurking here who apparently have some issues with Philip… not from actually knowing him personally but just from criticizing his work from afar. Please, keep your comments constructive. He’s giving his honest opinion of a camera and we can all benefit from that!”

    - So many haters these days… :-o

  • Great review but i feel Phils short was a little lacking. He needed to bring more movement in the the camera and not just have it sit there and watch nature. What makes things “cinematic” is not only the framing but the motion in your shots, and just “looking” at something move in the wind is not really going to show you the flow of “motion on motion” or parallaxes like a motion picture camera is supposed to do at 24 frames a second. As I feel that’s where the real magic starts to happen.

    • I mentioned this one earlier in the thread if you missed it, this is probably what you are looking for.
      Jonathan Yi created this exciting, informational and funny one and Koo even linked an article with his in depth thoughts. Many of you probably skipped over this one due to the mainstream issues. Sorry again just wanted to get this post and I’m done. Thanks Koo for all you do with the blog

  • Some of the criticisms are fall-outs of jealousy. Its a democratized system. Take your own cam any cam and sell yourself to the masses. Talk is cheap.

  • ƑɌДЛК Patrick on 12.28.11 @ 12:56PM

    May be Philip should do a short narrative to prove his versatility.

  • Hey Joe, Robert T, and the rest of the Bloom haters…

    Time to bring it on – links to your reels requested at this time.

    Surely you’ll have no issues uploading from your Mother’s basements…

  • I find it very curious that, instead of a discussion of the pros and cons of the C300, we have a bashing of a man’s contribution. I could go on about it but, I’d rather address some technical points that PB made in print and in the video.

    PB, “My own impressions are that I might be interested in a Sony F3 instead of the C300, because of its ability to go upmarket (for additional money, with the S-Log firmware and an external recorder like the Convergent Gemini).”

    Outstanding point.

    Furthermore, in the video he speaks about the C300… No 10bit output, No XLR connections and No 1080P slo-mo.

    3 more outstanding points.

    Hear that, Canon fanboys?

    Thank you, Mr. Bloom for saying this in a public forum.

    My point for pointing this out?

    Even though it has received little acclaim, comparatively speaking, and remained, essentially, in the shadows, the Sony F3 is the better camera. It has XLR connections, 10bit output (4:4:4 even) and full 1080P at 60 frames per second. Yes, it requires external devices to realize these things but, it is capable of actually doing it. The C300 cannot do these things and it never will.

    Don’t get me wrong, the C300 is a GREAT camera. I, myself, have several Canon cameras, 5DMK2 included and a compliment of Canon glass. I am a Canon fan and a Canon user but, I’m calling it like I sees it. Until Canon releases the C400 or whatever, the F3 wins. Period.

    Thanks, Koo, for this site. It’s the only one I read nearly every word of.

    • You’re welcome Dixter! And that printed sentence was mine, not Philip’s. The video was all him of course…

  • Dixter – I was right there with you on F3 winning until I got a C300 in my hands… It is a little marvel – so easy to get incredible shots. Try handheld on a F3 with a 70-200mm lens – ha ha ha. image stabilization, good luck.
    There is a reason that Jonathan Yi and Nino Leitner are talking about making this the camera they’d actually BUY… after doing the demos.

  • I stand corrected, Koo, I realize now that was your statement but, it is well-founded nonetheless.

    And, Jeff, that doesn’t change my mind in the least. The facts are, well… facts. I don’t have a problem with people wanting one… I wouldn’t mind having one myself but, no matter how much you like it, it will not and cannot outperform an F3. Those that would prefer the C300 over the F3, evidently, don’t care about 10bit color or having the option to record 4:4:4. How those items could be dismissed by someone poised to drop $15K on a camera is beyond me as they are high on my list of requirements. I say, get the tool that does the job for you. Investing oneself, emotionally, in a brand does not make it better.

  • Great review and some BEAUTIFUL imagery in the test short. Philip Bloom is a Cameraman and Cinematographer, not a storyteller…

    I’d definitely hire him to shoot one of my stories!

  • The images and video were ridiculously nice.

  • Dixter – it’s me again… your words: “Those that would prefer the C300 over the F3, evidently, don’t care about 10bit color or having the option to record 4:4:4. How those items could be dismissed by someone poised to drop $15K on a camera is beyond me as they are high on my list of requirements. I say, get the tool that does the job for you. Investing oneself, emotionally, in a brand does not make it better”

    Seems that you’re putting the cart before the horse… this has nothing to do with “investing oneself with a brand”… frankly I could give a **** about any particular camera brand. I had an F3 for a week – just sold it. Hated the ergonomics amongst other things. Impossible to handhold without large, heavy rig + must get all the extra bits like S Log + recorder. The $10k+ needed for that doesn’t help, but not the deal breaker… I can’t get the shots handheld or in run & gun tight spots with the F3 that are a joy to capture with the C300. The great image is good enough for the bulk of my work. If I need log C or S log when the job requires, I’ll rent an Alexa or even an F3, though there’s not a lot of rental shops in Antarctica or the North Cape of Norway – even hard to find in the south of France or St. Thomas on short notice. Like you said “get the tool that does the job for you”.

  • Couldn’t agree more, Jeff!
    For a run and gun shoot, I’d love to have a shot at the C300. I’m sure it’s images are wonderful. The problem I’m having with a lot of what I read, the hubbub surrounding the C300, and the inevitable (seemingly) emotionally biased comparisons to the F3 and other cameras is that the C300 is a SUPERIOR camera. And that just ain’t so. It can’t be so because, technically speaking, it is inferior in several ways. It may be better in a run and gun situation. I dont do run and gun so, to each his own. But, I’m sick of the Canon fanaticism (and any other brand of fanaticism, for that matter) that subverts objectivity. And by doing so, overshadows a more capable product for a majority of circumstances. What gets me is not so much the praise heaped on the C300 but, the oddly palpable lack of it for a camera at least as capable if not more so, in the same category. I think I’ve made my point and thanks for the opportunity to air it. There’s a lot of “my camera can whip your camera” adolescent mentality permeating these threads but, if you compare apples to apples, it doesn’t add up. All my best Jeff and happy globetrotting! Send us some moving pics from that C300.

  • It’s interesting to say the least to read the comments. While I’m not that much of a fan of the productions of PB (Haven’t been able to see the review and acompanied test yet, since I’ve been on a compute without sound and crappy resolution, but will soon). I do however, on a daily basis, check up on his blog and value his comments on current and upcomming equipment, and even as a source to see what others are doing with cameras I could get my hands on myself.

    No-one likes a hater, but as the philosoraptor would say: “If I hate a hater, does that make me a hater?”, It’s a fine line between being a hater-hater and a fanboy. Either way, it shows a lack of perspective. No man or woman are beyond criticism. And in storytelling, again, mr Bloom has been lacking in my eyes. But I don’t hate the guy. It’s just my own opinion. Not my cup of tea. Just like I loath some movies that critics around the world loves.

    Also, the old “Put up or shut up”-argument always makes me mad in these cases. Yes, it’s hard to make movies. But only a handful of the worlds movie-critics are able to make anything that would be better than the average Friedman&Seltzers productions. But that doesn’t automatically make Disaster Movie a great piece of entertainment, now does it?

    If someone does put up a link that they thinks is better than, say Philip Blooms piece in this example, then go ahead. The uploader then should be subject to the very same rationale that he himself dishes out. But just saying that anyone that doesn’t like Blooms work should be able to make better work themselves is like walking up to the local IKEA and stating that their table is shit, and IKEA replying, make it better yourself. The critic isn’t a carpenter, if he was, he wouldn’t buy from IKEA in the first place. So the argument falls flat on its face. Please stop using it. It makes you look bad.

    Now back on topic. For what the C300 is, it seems in my eyes as a superb piece of equipment. And comparing it to a F3 is unfair if the F3 is allowed the Log-upgrade and external recorder that put’s it in another price-range entirely. And the decision to price, what is essentially, an image-style in that range really confounds me. But people seem to put up with it and don’t complain too much.

    Actually, the only thing that I don’t like with the C300 is the lack of 60fps 1080p. But if the 720p is clean enough I’m fine with that. It should still be miles better than the moire&alias-ridden 7D version of 720p since there’s not nearly as much line-skipping going on. No XLR’s? No problem, I’m not a fan of cables running too and thro my camera. No 10 bit? A pity, but the image seems flexible enough in the tests I’ve seen so far.

    I still don’t have the money for either, but if I had I would probably go for the C300, especially since I already have some glass ready to use for it. Although I will be looking very closely for the probably upcomming C400 that surely would fix the 60fps 1080p-issue.

    Just my two cents (or whatever it’s worth in SEK). Have a nice new year and please don’t resort to hating either the haters or the subject of the haters… Because again, hating the haters makes you a hater yourself. Doesn’t it? ;)

  • Let me just state for the record, I don’t hate anyone. I really can’t understand where the word HATE got into all this. I simply stated an opinion, which, in thinking about it, I should just keep my mouth shut, because it doesn’t add anything useful and it apparently offends some. To sum it all up, I just feel the use of the title Director of Photography is just something being arbitrarily used by many in this industry that simply haven’t earned it and use that self-proclaimed title because it makes them sound like something they are not. Just because I have an opinion of Mr. Bloom’s work doesn’t mean I hate the guy. But, I also understand I should just keep those opinions to myself, which I will, you have my word. Peace out!

  • Luis Villalon on 01.2.12 @ 12:55AM

    Maybe I am old fashioned and from another era, but the only way to test the quality of a given camera image is to have a steady shot with a tripod. With film, every time we tested a new film stock, we shot someone on camera with a tripod holding a color chart under different lighting conditions to see how the stock would react.
    We shot it with filters, without filters, under and over exposed and so on. I know people these days suffer from ADD and if you don’t have the camera shaking, wondering all over the place and cutting every 2 frames it’s considered boring. The only problem is that if the camera is doing all the epileptic seizure moves, you will never be able to see how the camera is going to react. This is the way professionals do it. I guess some of you are not.

  • Luis Villalon on 01.2.12 @ 1:05AM

    In other words, Phillip did the right camera test, under different lighting situations, great compositions, without the girl with the red lipstick holding the color chart. This test was never meant to be a demo for a film. From it, I learned everything I needed to know about this camera in particular, what I can do with it is another story.