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Philip Bloom's Camera Shootout Features the Latest Large Sensor DSLRs and Camcorders

I was waiting for part two to post this, so now that it’s live, here is Philip Bloom’s latest camera shootout pitting the Canon C300, Sony NEX5N, Panasonic AF100, Panasonic GH2, Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 7D, Sony FS100, Sony F3, and Nikon D7000 against each other in a variety of real-world situations:

Bloom, myself, and anyone else posting camera tests often starts off with a disclaimer, “don’t judge final image quality based on what you see here, because of internet compression.” But what percentage of video content these days goes through a similar compression pass? There’s the theater, there’s cable/satellite (compressed, but differently), there’s Blu-ray and DVD (also compressed, but with higher bitrates), and the rest — Vimeo, YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, etc. — are all compressed in a similar manner. So to me, you can judge the images even though they’re being degraded by compression, as this represents a “real world” viewing circumstance. Should one make final judgements on these images? Perhaps not. But regardless of how you feel about evaluating internet-compressed footage, these tests are very informative. The Panasonic GH2 impresses in the bang-for-the-buck department, and I’m always a smitten by the Sony F3 in S-Log — it’s been said in the past that the S-Log mode turns the F3 into an entirely different camera, and it shows here. And the C300 is, as advertised, a hell of a low-light camera.

If you’re wondering why there’s no RED camera in the shootout, you missed this whole incident. Thanks to Philip and co. for the tests! Thoughts on the cameras here?

Link: Part 1 and 2 now live!! The Christmas mini shootout with the C300 (pre-production), F3, FS100, hacked GH2 and more!! – 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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  • C300 is looking great!

  • Fauxtogramme on 01.7.12 @ 5:24PM

    It’s a pity Bloom doesn’t include the Epic or the Scarlet here. In my opinion RED’s treatment towards him wasn’t correct but the shootout feels very incomplete without any of these cameras.

    • Wilbert Thomas on 01.7.12 @ 6:38PM

      +1, I wish the RED could have been included.

    • Yeah. If anything, RED should have completely replaced his camera for free or for a reasonable fee if he was having those issues. Bloom has a lot of influence so you’d think they’ed want to go the extra mile for him. He seems like a cool guy also.

    • Granados11 on 01.8.12 @ 1:16AM

      Philip Bloom doesn’t own RED cameras. If my memory is correct, he announced RED bought his camera back from him as he had crtiziced some specs from a RED Camera in one of his videos and someone in RED had written him some harsh emails he couldn’t believe, so he simply sent his RED product back.

      So that’s probably why RED isn’t featured in here.


      • They accused him of being bought by Sony.

        • Philip Bloom on 01.8.12 @ 4:28AM

          No RED did not accuse that. A muppet on REDuser did. I didn’t include RED cameras as I dont have one. The C300 I had to review so i jumped on the chance to compare them with my own cameras. All those others are mine. This is not a be all and end all test. It was just a bit of fun. The moment anyone gets upset over any results is the money they need to take a deep breath and realise they are just cameras.

          Remember this was just for fun. I did not get paid for it. Done for enjoyment not for a university paper!!

  • John Jeffreys on 01.7.12 @ 5:24PM

    the people that obsess over which camera is better are annoying.
    focus on what you will MAKE, not what you make it WITH

    • who are these people? They haven’t commented here. Wagon before the horse.

      • John Jeffreys on 01.7.12 @ 7:44PM

        You cant seriously be denying this phenomenon.

        • Speak for yourself, being a gear head is what pays my bills. I couldn’t care less about what gets shot or the creative aspect, that is someone else’s job.

          • John Jeffreys on 01.8.12 @ 3:00AM


          • I really, really hope you are a camera assistant or a rental house guy and not a camera operator of cinematographer. You don’t care about the creative side? It’s not your job? Wow… That’s really inspiring… Good luck with that.

        • People keep saying that, However it’s not entirely through that a camera doesnt make a difference. Artists needs to know their medium. Painters needs to know their brush and use them correctly. Digital Artists needs to use the right software. Cinematographer needs to use the right camera. Not everyone of us are directors and care entirely about the story and the plot. We are cinematographers, and we care about how the mood and feel is in a movie. Choose the wrong medium that you’re not going to maximize the quality of your vision.

          • In my opinion there’s nothing worse than a cameraman who is “so creative” that they don’t care at all about their equipment and the technical aspects.

            From my experience, the most creative and most productive cameramen always know a lot about their equipment and they do care a lot about what tools they are using for specific projects.
            When I read the interviews in ASC magazine I get the impression that most members might just as well work as a camera technician (and some of them have actually done that job)

            @Neil, that is exactly what Iw said: he has a job that doesn’t require being creative.

    • Relax man. Some people are just gearheads. I am. I also make films. I’m allowed to talk about and care about the equipment I use, in addition to being a tech nerd. People always get up in arms with “it’s just a tool!”. Yea, we know. But before a broke artist goes and drops several grand on a particular tool, he/she likes to know what the hell he/she is buying.

      Give it a break.

      • John Jeffreys on 01.9.12 @ 1:37AM

        you call it “gearheads” i call it being a victim of a shallow, materialist western culture

        • Yes, because only Western cultures have technically-inclined people. Why are you even reading a post on a camera test?

        • Oh come on. We’d still be living in caves if it wasn’t for this “materialist western culture”
          Who do you think invented the digital camera? I guess it was some gear head in his lab.
          If you hate our culture so much, why are you even using a computer?

    • They are just cameras! They only record what you point tmem at.

      The whole thing was just for fun, a lark, not serious, etc.


  • Yeah C300 looks great but so does the F3…and for $5k so does the FS100. For me the C300 is in no mans land – for smaller budgets the FS100 is a winner but once your looking at dropping $13kish – the F3 simply gives you more options. You have to spend more to get those options but the point is they are there. With the C300 your stuck with 8bit 422 no matter what vs the potential of the F3 kitted with slog and a 10bit 444 recorder.

    Id like to see a comparison on the FS100 vs the new D4 vs 1dx – because for roughly the same investment the D4/1dx gives you one of the best stills cameras on the planet!

  • Clayton Arnall on 01.7.12 @ 6:42PM

    Amazing how well the hacked GH2 does for such an inexpensive camera.

  • To me this shows the c300′s weakness. Compared to all the other cameras. It’s just “ok” and doesn’t look to be worth the investment when compared to the fs100 and f3. Shit, if you get an fs100 you can also buy a nikon d4 while your out be ause of the money you will save. And if you get the f3 and make money with it. You can upgrade and use it for years. You buy a c300… You are stuck. And lost 5 figures. Because I think all upcoming camera will have amazing low light this year and beyond.

    • I keep thinking the FS100 is pretty sweet until I remember no ND and the poor construction.

  • For some reason, The c300 doesn’t really move me like an F3(s-log) or 7D(when it first came out) did. Yeah it’s great in low light and has other great features but in low light it looks sort of “ABC 1980′s Movie of the week-ish”. Maybe I’m a bit of a bit freak because 8bit gradation is irritating to me. Although it would cost more, I’d still prefer a 10bit F3/s-log.

  • Great Blog. Here’s a new Sci-Fi/Horror DSLR short of mine.

  • I’ve always wondered why the GH2 hasn’t been used on any pro level projects (commericals, tv, features) as even a b-cam while it’s users swear it is the best dslr out right now. I haven’t even heard Koo say much about it. What gives?

    • I have said a lot about it… I just don’t own one.

      I think it does very well at resolution tests, but I don’t have any M4/3 glass, and it’s not a low-light champ. Still, hard to beat from price:performance perspective!

      • Gotcha. Why don’t you think they are used on serious projects as opposed to Canon’s tho?

        • Part of it might be just the length of time the hacked GH2 has been on the market. Out of the box, it’s great for a prosumer level video camera (in my opinion) but can’t hold up to 5DmkII footage. It’s after the hack, which has only been out for a few months. Like other people have said, Canon’s dominated the DSLR market so part of it is also just brand awareness. I love my GH2, though – for the type of web video I do it’s a tremendous bang for the buck, and after the hack, even the low/mid-range price 14-140mm/20mm/14mm Lumix lenses look great.

    • Because resolution isn’t everything, plus a project with a serious budget is not going to rely on a camera with hacked firmware that may crash in the middle of a shot at higher bitrates. If you have the budget for either an Alexa or a gh2 the choice is clear.

      • I would be very interested to see comparison reviews that discussed these new cameras from the perspective of post-production and delivery. For me what’s most impressive about these tests is that the new higher end cameras from Sony, Cannon, Red etc. produce footage that is visibly superior in internet codecs. They certainly look better than most if not all DVDs that you could play on an average computer. What does that mean? People have said various things but they are very hard for me to evaluate. I’d be very interested to see someone like Phillip or one of the many other excellent DPs out there go through it on video.

        You can learn a lot about cameras from these reviews (thanks Phillip!) but I’d also like to learn more about what the camera means in terms of delivery. I know very little about this. It’s a complex question I’m sure but even an informal discussion of the codecs the camera produces, how easy to use they are in NLE, and what kind of quality can be delivered to say the internet or download. I know so little so I’d like a real beginner’s type explanation of the issues. Another thing that people talk about alot but which I haven’t seen any video comparisons of, is what each camera and its possible codecs mean in terms of grading and correction. I read a fair number of discussions and it sometimes seems like everyone is an expert or pretends to be an expert on these sorts of things but I’m not an expert so the discussion doesn’t help me!

        Any of these issues I think could make an excellent 10-20 minute video or even a series. So if you’re sitting on a pile of sweet chips like Phillip maybe you could think about doing something like that.

    • @Jon, I just don’t think many people know about the GH2, Canon dominates the video DSLR market and Panasonic don’t seem to want to get involved, they also want to protect their Af101 sales (they sell a lot). The gh2 used to be very difficult to find in stock, the batteries even harder, they don’t even make a battery pack, they’ve only just released firmware for 25P and you still can’t do 60P in pal land (it’s just 50) etc etc. However here’s a good little example of a feature shot on a GH2, there are some really detailed shots in there that just wouldn’t look as good on a canon imho:

      • I have a 5D Mk2, and am a pro photographer in Australia and use it for all my stills (, but I bought a GH2 to shoot my first music video, and loved it. Used two lenses, 20mm pancake F1.7, and the Oly 45mm 1.8, and the 44meg hack. No issues whatsoever. Video

        For the video I shot, my Mk2 would have aliased all the detail out of the dress and the many highlight edges.

      • God that looks good…. smh!

  • As most here, I don’t see a market for the C300. For about the same price (which could range from 13k to 20k you can get an f3 and an external recorder or slog. Sony could just put the slog as standard if they want to fight the C300 and we are not even talking about the scarlet. Image wise it does not bring much more than the fs-100 except build quality.

    I see it as true company greed, they (canon) had so much goodwill because of the dslr revolution that they thought they could release anything at every price that people would jump on it. Two days ago I would have said that at least they could have a niche with the compactness of the camera, but even this they will have serious competition from a Nikon D4. Just look here

    • C300 will be the documentary king. Small form factor, pro sound, efficient energy consumption, broadcast codec, great low light, CF card compatible… Canon will sell many of these. Rumors of a stripped model for 10k USD too.

  • Cannon_Hood on 01.11.12 @ 6:06AM

    Disappointing to see that the GH2 w/Driftwood did not perform as well in low light as some have claimed it will. Though it seems that the 12800 low light shots that usually look so great are shot in black and white, not color.

    Perhaps it just needs a little bit more light?

  • On the first tests I like the F3 and C300 looks, on the low light comparison The FS100 and F3. I’ll like to see further tests but with also the Canon 1DX and Nikon D4 included. Thanks very much for showing this!!!

  • I have $2500 to spend on a video rig. No idea what I should do. How reliable is the hacked GH2 and what about audio input.. Or should I do that separate. If so what should I use. I love the 5 d’s but I’m wondering if I should wait for the canon 2012 release. I wish they would just tell us when it is. Any advice? I’ll be using it for low light interviews. Short films. And if it is a dslr then I will also use it for photography.