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.