January 19, 2012

The Canon C300 Street Price is $16K, and More Details from Canon's Larry Thorpe

The Canon C300 will begin shipping January 31st for a street price of $16k. It's not what people were hoping for, given the Sony F3 with S-Log firmware is about the same price ($16,840), and given there were rumors of the C300 coming in at $14k or even $10k without the top handle/monitor/audio inputs -- but it's finally official. Also note that the PL version, at B&H at least, is already backordered an additional month. Despite this slightly higher-than-hoped-for price, the camera is still the best option for many, so here's a full (and lengthy) presentation by Canon's Larry Thorpe at Rule Boston Camera, wherein he stresses that the C300 is just "the first" of Canon's cinema camcorders:

Note that the Sony F3's sensor is also higher than 1080p -- it's apparently a 3.36 megapixel sensor -- so Sony is using a higher-resolution sensor to downsample to 1080p, as is Canon.

Also, from an interview at Filmmaker Magazine (link below), Larry answered some more pertinent questions:

The sensor in the C300 is 4:4:4 internally, but it’s going out 4:2:2. Why couldn’t you send out 4:4:4?Because the processing chip and the codec, the recording codec chip were designed some years ago, we lifted them from a small camera that we have [the XF305], and they were designed to be 4:2:2. The HDMI and the HD-SDI are uncompressed, but they are 4:2:2. The component set is 4:2:2. Compression is something else, that’s the MPEG engine that’s inside the codec. We take the 4:2:2 signal, we compress those components down to 50Mbit, put them on the recording card, but we take that 4:2:2 base-band signal and bring it out on the HD-SDI spigot.

Finally, please see DP Randolph Sellar's comment for some pro-C300 logic. Also of interest is Larry's details about reading out the CMOS sensor at 2.5X speed to reduce rolling shutter. It's still there but it requires an extremely fast whip-pan to manifest (the test is at the very end):

On my RED SCARLET, for example, you can definitely get it to wobble under extreme situations. However even running handheld it is not an issue in most situations -- CMOS sensors are getting pretty fast these days.

I post these details not to start a "which camera is better" discussion, as I think we're currently living in an unprecedented era of sensitive/inexpensive/high-resolution digital motion picture cameras, but rather to compare the different options for different purposes. The C300 isn't the camera for everyone, but no camera is -- it all depends on the particular needs of your production.

Link: LARRY THORPE ON THE CANON C300 - Filmmaker Magazine

[via planet5D]

Your Comment

37 Comments

Canon doesn't need to mark the price down. It will sell well, because not everyone wants to lug around a F3, deal with the hassles entailed with a RED, and want a nice form factor that gives just enough to get the job done (in most cases).

January 19, 2012

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moebius22

Canon is in this for the long haul. This is just the beginning.

January 19, 2012

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Wilbert Thomas

Also 5 years from now the Sony F3, Canon C300 & the Red Scarlet will be in attics collecting dust.

January 19, 2012

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Wilbert Thomas

dude thats kinda a wild statement lol.

people still shoot on 16mm Arri SR2's from the 70s....
cameras are immortal :) an image created is an image created.

January 19, 2012

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John Jeffreys

Oh, really? How many people, apart from antiquated TV news rooms, are still using digital cameras from the early 2000's?

Don't underestimate the speed at which digital-era products succumb to the unrelenting pace of new technology.

January 19, 2012

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ras

There is a big difference between 5 years ago and 'early 2000's. Technology years are like dog years. I think many camera's bought today will be used in 5 years, but very few of them will be used in 10 years.

And one supposed advantage of the RED DMSC system is that one only needs to replace the brain and can keep the other components for much longer. I like that concept. How it plays out has yet to be seen, but I like RED's thinking in this regard.

January 20, 2012

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we should remember also that a film camera is different from a digital video camera.

the cinema camera depends on the kind of film stock you use to set resolution, dinamic range, etc... in a digital camera the sensor is the film stock... that´s why the fact RED says its gonna upgrade sensor is neat,

also that´s why the concept of Aaton penelope delta is cool, it´s a cinema camera with the sensor not in it, but inside the magazine, like a film stock, so with the aaton penelope delta if the sensor gets obsolete, the camera can adapt to anew system... i think it´s clever!

... but most of cameras get dated with their sensors (film stock) and image processing system, unfortunaly. Not that i can´t still take usable HD images from a HV30 with nanoflash under ISO 80! :)

January 19, 2012

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guto novo

aaton just decided to not produce the hybrid - camera. there will be a film camera (penelope) and a digital camera (delta). the delta uses a special digital magazine and has a real optical viewfinder. the penelope is still a film camera. besides that the solution you wrote about is still here, its the p+s technik ps-mag 16d sr I. its a digital magazine usable with classic 16mm cameras. just wanted to update that aaton-hybrid-news.

best greetings!

January 20, 2012

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phil

sorry for the double posting!

i totally misunderstand your post, maybe i was just reading too fast! please forgive me. my reply is touching a totally different part of the penelope/delta/digital magazine discussion. that happens if your reading over the comments of others quite unconcentrated. sorry again.

best greetings.

January 20, 2012

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phil

If that is the case, I'll take a RED camera destined for the attic off anyone's hands. You know you are gonna buy somethin' better, so just give it to me now, save yourself the trouble and we'll call it good :)

January 19, 2012

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In that case I would expect a rash of attic break-ins.

January 19, 2012

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avatar
Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

Haha :)

January 19, 2012

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Dima

While it's certainly possible that 1080p large-sensor cameras like the C300 & F3 may be of little use in 5 years, a time when many people will likely have 4K TV's in their homes, 4-5K cameras like any of the RED models (even the R1) will still be very relevant, especially with the upgrade program RED has supported from the start.

January 19, 2012

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Agent55

You're kidding yourself if you think people will have 4k TVs in their homes in 5 years. Try maybe 25-30 years. Even assuming people are willing to chuck the big-screen HD TVs they just bought and replace them with the new technology, broadcasters aren't about to go through THAT change again, not when they're still paying millions to change to HD broadcasts.

January 20, 2012

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Jacques E. Bouchard

which, if I remember correctly, is not even True HD

January 22, 2012

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DavidFulde

Not to mention the rapidly diminishing rate of return you get in apparent visual detail from adding more pixels, at least in a home viewing environment. Even the upgrade from DVD to blu-ray makes little enough difference if you own a mid-sized TV and watch from across the room.

Why not put all that R&D money into better contrast ratios and colour reproduction?

January 23, 2012

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Eric

If this is the "first" of Canon's cinema cameras, I'm sure they will get better but probably not cheaper.

January 19, 2012

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...that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Manufacturers almost always release the flagship model first and then release lower-priced alternatives with reduced feature sets. That's marketing 101. There will be multiple, cheaper C300-derived alternatives by the end of 2012. Without a doubt.

January 19, 2012

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ras

First came the red one, 20,000, then came the epic, 50,000. I could easily see it happening.

January 20, 2012

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Robert

And the Scarlet: 16K (Ready to shoot price)

January 22, 2012

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DavidFulde

By 16K I mean 16, 000

January 22, 2012

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DavidFulde

He's right about the 5 year death - it may be longer but once everything switches to 3D these cameras will be like the miniDV to the HD of today - so, who wants my miniDV camera from the attic? And to state that people are still shooting 16mm - well, the image latitude of film is still to be matched (in the price range) by these 'new' digital video cameras, despite the 'high rez'

January 19, 2012

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R V

I would get a Sony F3 over this camera all day long.

1. Cheaper
2. S-Log gives better quality footage for big jobs
3. Form factor
4. It's been out for ages and has very few issues
5. PL mount not on back-order

January 19, 2012

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Lucas Adamson

Form factor is usually the one thing people complain about the F3. Go figure.

January 19, 2012

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moebius22

If it were a shoulder-mount, with vf at the front, all the better as far as I am concerned, but these things are rig-able.

January 19, 2012

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Lucas Adamson

its interesting that the c300 is getting the all the ergonomic praise for hand held use. I'm liking the look of the scarlet with side and outrigger handles.

January 20, 2012

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Ryan

and with f3 it´s possible to use vintage FD and FL lens for those who like the soft look in shadings plus lovely flare of these lens... i have a pile of FD and FL lens from my teens T90 years! :D, great glass. easy to use with fs100, f3, but not with the canon cameras. ;/

January 19, 2012

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guto novo

I have a full cine-modded set of FDs too. They are really fantastic, and not at all soft as they are so often (wrongly) described. They resolve 1080p as well as any lens out there. I know - I have owned Contax Zeiss stuff and there's nothing in it.

January 19, 2012

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Lucas Adamson

agree! i mean, soft in the shades ) transitions, in the edges, indeed, the fd lens can be sharp. inmy experience, from f2.8 to f8 it´s sharp in the edges, from f8 to f16 chromatic aberrations is common

January 19, 2012

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guto novo

Wow...after watching that I think you would have to be crazy to buy that cam. :\

Basically admitting that they were forced to use a 3 year old codec chip (from the XF305) just the get the cam out at this point....but don't worry, this is only the first. There is more coming.

Great, so in another year...you'll release the C301 with a proper codec chip...that will provide gorgeous 444 output at super high bit rates and 60FPS and most likely fix any little issues/deficiencies you find with the C300.

Worst investment ever.

If you were a rental house or mid range production house....you would need to dump these cameras next year.

Great for the amateur filmmaker looking for a pro cam....but the pros who upgrade are going to lose a LOT on the conversion.

Oh, and while we're on the subject, Canon pros don't get any discount on the unit either. So I can get a discount on every other PRO cam....but not on the C300.

I appreciate the fact Canon has gone hollywood and I'm impressed by the quality output they pulled from that handicapped codec, but I think you'd have to be crazy or desperate to invest $16K in a camera that Canon is clearly going to have an upgrade for within a year.

January 19, 2012

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sean

Agree, it's not a camera to buy, I'd rent it though. To buy something like that at this time only if Canon guarantees it's upgradable just like the Reds are. I guess it's not going to happen.

January 19, 2012

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Marcus

unfortunately, in my 15 years as a pro photog...I've never heard of Canon ever releasing "hardware" upgrades to improve features. Since this seems to be a hardware chip issue. I don't foresee any upgrades being made available...

January 19, 2012

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sean

Canon much prefer the camera upgrade system to the hardware upgrade system. That's probably why this camera is so held back from what we were promised (history! we were promised) Well we got a historic chip I guess :)

January 19, 2012

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Lucas Adamson

I work a lot in reality TV, and it's going to be a race between Sony and Canon as to which camera will be adopted as the standard issue camera for Shooting Producers - a role that is increasingly on the rise due to tighter budgets and a format that accepts b-grade camera operation.

Considering that a lot of production companies have already invested thousands of dollars into SxS cards for the EX1's, they might lean towards the F3. I'm quietly hoping I can convince my next production to invest in a fleet of C300's, or at least give me a guarantee that they'll hire one from me for the duration of the series. One job like that would likely pay the camera off, and then I'd have a very nifty B-camera on hand to shoot short films in the interim.

Canon and Sony will be banking on production companies investing in this technology now, because if there's a delay then there's a risk that either Sony or Canon (most likely Sony) will drop an affordable 4K option (more affordable than the Scarlet, in terms of workflow) then they'll have essentially just dropped the equivalent of the MD Walkman... a great piece of technology that is too quickly superseded.

January 19, 2012

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Ben Howling

One of the big problem i see with the c300 is the price. I don't care if Canon is the last to enter the world of cinema camera.

January 19, 2012

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Panasonic AF300...

Doesn't it seem like 4K or near perfect 2K cameras could rapidly decline in price? Don't like the price, just wait a year or two.

January 21, 2012

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Jackson Childs

I would rather buy a f3 instead I can afford that and it will last longer tan this piece of crap...

January 22, 2012

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Menelikk