Superproducer Ted Hope on...

December 13, 2012

Canon C100 vs. Canon 5D Mark III vs. Sony FS100 with Magnanimous Media

If you're looking for a camera in the $3,000-$8,000 range right now, there aren't too many options -- at least as far as large sensor cameras go. We've always had lots of options in this range for 1/3" cameras, but it has taken a bit for manufacturers to start moving the prices down and really get competitive larger sensor cameras in this range. Magnanimous Media, a rental house in Chicago, Illinois, has taken the Canon C100, Canon 5D Mark III, and the FS100 for a spin and offers their thoughts about some of the advantages and disadvantages of the new C100 compared to the others.

Dynamic range testing:

Rolling shutter test between the C100 and Mark III:

Here is a really insightful behind the scenes where we get to hear what the guys have to say about the cameras:

As the guys themselves admit, this isn't a fully scientific test, but just a quick one to give an idea about where each of the cameras stand and some of the issues they may encounter. They plan on testing more of the cameras in a bit more controlled environment, but this does give you a good sense the capabilities. I think the C100 looks great, and really the camera that doesn't do well in the test is the Mark III, which is clearly showing its softness resolution-wise compared to the others. Of course, price comes into play here, and depending on your needs, $3,000 vs. $6,500 is a pretty big difference for a lot of people.

As far as rigging is concerned, I know the C100 is light, but with the cinema lens and the Atomos sitting on top, it's no longer the lightest rig in the world, and certainly a lot heavier than a DSLR. Other lenses are definitely lighter, so you could theoretically handhold without a rig, but I think in a realistic shooting environment, if you need maximum image quality, a rig might be better than just trying to hold the camera -- thereby removing some of the advantages of having a more ergonomic camera. There are other options for external recorders out there, but with the way that the HDMI will send out a 60i signal for most camera systems, the Atomos is probably one of the better options since it will give you 24p on the fly.

Be sure to check out the whole behind the scenes video as it is a lot more telling than just watching the other videos alone. The C100 does a lot of things right, and if you're comparing to a DSLR, it's going to be a lot better image quality, but it will all come down to your uses and how much you can really spend. I think we'll see prices come down even further, and within a year or two the equivalent camera to the C100 could be well within that DSLR price range of $3,000 or so.

What do you think about the images above? Did any of these tests surprise you?

Link:

Your Comment

69 Comments

A direct comparison shot in Italy.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRILDcq_9ZY

December 13, 2012

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Luigi Montebello

Yes I am surprised, I am suprised that Canon still thinks they can just throw into the market cameras of this quality and price and hope to rule them all as if they had no competition whatsoever. Considering what we have available on the market right now, The C300 should be at the same price as the C100 and the C100 shouldn't even exist, instead the video quality of the 5D MkIII should compare to what we get out of the C100 recording internally. I mean c'mon, we get a camera with better image quality than those three with just the BMC alone not to mention the deal we had on RED ONE's recently.
It's not about them even being bad cameras,they aren't, it's about having ridiculous prices for the quality level they offer.
Sorry for the rant, just my 2 cent on the matter.

December 13, 2012

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Raphael Wood

Amen!

December 13, 2012

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Casey

We need a "like" button! In the meantime, +100

December 13, 2012

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It seems to me that the C100 is more competitive with Sony camcorders than it is with either the Red ONE or the Blackmagic camera. Both Red and Blackmagic can get a better image under ideal conditions, but I don't think that's the market it's competing for.

December 13, 2012

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cows

I think it's EXACTLY the same market.

December 21, 2012

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Terence Kearns

Man, nearly ever cinema/camera blog/site is just full of people bitching and whinging about how they should be getting more features for less money. It's such a downer.

May I suggest to all you people moaning about companies not releasing the exact camera that you want at the exact price you want go to the shower and wash the sand of your vaginas.

F#@k, now I've turned into you!

December 13, 2012

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Phil

Now I can't even spell, great! Ad a y to "ever" and an out before "of your vaginas"

That's better.

December 13, 2012

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Phil

Hi Joe, please take phil's comment off your site. I'm sure I'm not the only one who finds it an offensive comment.

December 14, 2012

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k13

Joe, could you clean this off this site please?

December 13, 2012

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TiCa

Phil i feel you while i dont agree with all of your langauge , i get the picture people spend entirely too much time complaining about minute factors, such as the "blacks" dont have too much details etc. Honestly ask yourself when was the last time you concentrated on blacks when you saw a film on the big screen.

Honestly this is how i feel about the c100, far from the perfect camera, but it is the first budget friendly tool that can basically get your feature on the bigscreen without all the crazy work around work flows, long battery life, hdmi external atomos thats not too heavy, basically everything minus the lens all in one setup. Again you have too many film nerds concerned with details in blacks and dark areas , while i'm more focused in learning the art of film making.

The audi r8 is not a lambo but its more practical and can definitely get you there just as fast as a gallardo with a good decent driver. The car does not drive it's self , just as the camera does not shoot a great feature by its self. Its just the option of having a tool that can get you there with combined with your talent.

December 14, 2012

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JAY CHASE

Phil, I think you might be missing the point of what Raphael is saying. Without wanting to put words into his mouth, I think he means that the Canon cameras are overpriced compared to what the competition are offering, not that ALL cameras should be cheaper.

December 14, 2012

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Hi Ross,

I'm not missing the point and, while my wording is not to some peoples favour, the point is, people have no clue how big business works.

Saying the C300 should be 6-7k. ha! mega super LOLZ to the max.

December 15, 2012

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Phil

Phil, both you and Raphael have a point. Raphael is saying the Canon cameras "should" be cheaper, and they should be, for what they offer, but because big business works the way it does they aren't and they won't be cheaper.
Raphael is not saying that they will be cheaper which seems to be what you are on about, he's just pointing out the disparity in the canon pricing i.e the BS of big business. Please try and get what people are saying before pointing out the condition of their privates.

December 16, 2012

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Strongly disagree, i too at first thought the C100 was a joke, but it is not the same as a 5D . For one you will not need seperate recording. Second what you and others fail to realize is that the Sensor is damnn near a 4k sensor with no need of fancy debayering and simple workflow with the c100. Basically it is almost the same camera as 5d, not to mention the lowlight capablilites with higher iso. Also while i appreciate these test, honestly there are plenty of test like this done on the web. The most important test that can not be done on the web is the BIG SCREEN TEST. A test to determine how the c100 performs on the big screen. Neither the 5d nor the fs100 could hang with the c100 on the big screen.

Black magic camera is nice but , no view finder, also troublesome lens choices for wide shots with people on a budget. Add the non removable battery of the BLACK MAGIC camera also. Again the Black magic camera is nice, but if you plan on shooting any indie film or remotely anything that you want to put on big screen that you can actually afford, then the c100 is the best choice.

December 14, 2012

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JAY CHASE

Am I to understand that the BMC will NOT be be great for the big screen?

December 15, 2012

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Hal

The the perceived "problems" with the bmcc, can be easily remedied via mild rigging. I think it will be excellent for film.

January 10, 2013

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Will

i ditto your rant. yeah those are my thoughts exactly. . . . @ Phil: you mustve missed your breast feeding time this morning. and do us all a favor and go back inside the playpen you crawled out of.

December 21, 2012

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pstchaseki

Agree 100% with Raphael.

December 22, 2012

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Terence Kearns

Here is the proper link to the BTS Video https://vimeo.com/55060220

December 13, 2012

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Sorry about that, fixed the link above.

December 13, 2012

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avatar
Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

Thank you, Sir!

December 14, 2012

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Frankly, I don't think the Mk III fared all that badly overall. Especially considering you can pick one up now for less than $3k, which is less than half what the C100 costs (and somehow records to an inferior internal codec!). I'm curious to see what the 4:2:2 output looks like when the new firmware is released.

December 13, 2012

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Swested

I believe if you put 5D II to the test, it will be sharper than 5D III

December 13, 2012

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Peter

Yum, sensor dirt.

December 13, 2012

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Tom

Just rented the C100 out over the weekend. It's a solid camera no doubt. Still over priced IMO. That being said, if you are any sort of run and gun shooter it's a great option.

December 13, 2012

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@Luke....Absolutely it's a great run and gun camera in fact I optioned 2 cameras for this weekend from Canon C100/300 to shoot in the Sierras instead of a free Epic package. The Epic is completely unmanageable as a run and gun camera from all standpoints unless you have "all" the right tools including human capital....which I do not. If I did the RED would have been a no brainer.
I will have to see how the C100 fares agains the 300 but "unofficially" even with a Atomos it's not the same animal.

December 14, 2012

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DMW

It's interesting you would complain about price after happily buying a Scarlet. Canon in the C100 is giving us their best sensor (the same as in the $25K C500), their best log gamma plus a new semi-log gamma (remember how Sony charged for S-LOG), their best build and ergonomics with active side handle, top handle with P48 XLRs, and AC adaptor in the box, usable ISO20000, redundant internal recording to commodity SD cards, the ability to use 3-hour $28 knockoff removable batteries with no rigging, and the use of literally any of the 80 million EF and EF-S lenses (and manual Nikons) in the world with full support for Auto-iris, aperture and even autofocus and LANC focus. And oh yeah, they will let you record clean uncompressed 422 HDMI with timecode and start/stop support for a 1080p image identical to that of the $15K C300 but with better ergonomics. For $6500 total and kitted RTS under $10K (my suggested rig is in the recent RED RTS thread and came out to $11,300 plus lenses).

This is the cheapest camera you can really say Canon didn't cripple. Because everyone who cares is going to record externally, and because the HDMI is only 8 bit 60i, you can't have slow motion that way, you would need to go up to HD-SDI, and your TCO just went up... Yes I would like that added but that is a legitimate upgrade in capability rather than something that's already there that they just won't let you have.

I bought it for the $6500 and honeymoon over I am not smarting over it. This thing is not a pain in the arse. It works, it's cheap, it's all there. Add the $1000 Ninja 2 and a commodity SSD, 1080p24 solved, effortless glide into post with no transcodes and even the files named right for you. And worry about finding something worth shooting at that quality instead of a camera, its clutter and its ceremony. Done deal.

December 14, 2012

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Peter

Good info. Cheers.

December 22, 2012

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Terence Kearns

Well color wise the FS100 looks like a dogs breakfast compared to the more natural and pleasing looking canons. OF course that could be user error not setting up the camera properly but Ive seen a tone of great looking canon footage and hardly any fs100 footage that pleases the eye in terms of color.

What I'd really like to see is a comparison c100/c300/F5 - assuming the new Sony gets its color science right then the bang for the buck would be outstanding. Then if Sony releases a new model FS200 with very similar color to its bigger brother and just less features...THAT would give canon some problems.

December 14, 2012

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Paul

The so called flat not impressive FS100 image you saw was a flat g-log profile designed by Frank Glencairn who spent a lot of time tweaking and finding that magic formula to deliberately get a high dynamic range in camera close to the Sony F3. It is close to 12 stops, but must use this flat profile to get it. I think all cameras that have these special logs give this flat image. But take that to post and watch the DR come alive - it is all there. The quality of the FS100 and F3 is definitely class leading IF you know how to make it work. It is not just a simple point and shoot out of the box. It must be worked over and understood.

OTOH, Vortex media has an FS100 profile that nails it right on in camera with gorgeous color that jumps out, but you sacrifice a bit of DR. His rationale is to get it right in camera and spend the time with the right profile, judicious use of filters etc. and forgo the PP work - it is too time consuming. Another DP who does discovery channel docs, says exactly the same thing with the F3. Spend the time in shooting, not in Post. And does that recording internally on the F3!! Not even external recording and gets his work published on TV, commercials, Discovery, TV series etc. Amazing, huh? It is all in the set up.

Cheers,
Take 5

December 20, 2012

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For a cam that came out well before the other two in the test I thought the FS100 held up quite well. It's got its trade offs, no doubt. But it''s not like there are no decent & affordable solutions to those shortcomings available. Use some of the fantastic picture profiles available on the net and it holds its own quite well against the C100. Considering you can pick up a used FS100 for about $3k, that's not a bad bargain on a price/performance level vs. the C100. That's not even taking into consideration that there's no true HD 60p for slow mo shots on the Canon.

December 14, 2012

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keith

C100 will cater to a different market than indie filmmakers. If you're a filmmaker looking for the flexibility of 4K and RAW, then you'll have to look to another camera. If you work in reality TV/ENG, documentaries, events, or primarily online media, then the C100 will definitely be worth consideration.

It's not really worth bitching about it if this camera isn't to your liking, because if that's the case, then they most likely weren't making this camera for you.

December 14, 2012

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Ben Howling

Both Cameras accept Zeiss CP2 lenses and record outboard 8-bit 4:2:2. I don't know how the lack of an SDI port (and a few other minor features) affects the cinematic quality of the images in the hands of a skilled operator.

December 14, 2012

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Marc B

I think you got the wrong end of the stick from my comment. I'm more inclined to think that any camera is good enough in the right hands, in the right situation. A lot of people here seem to only want 4K and RAW, and I'm just stating that this won't give you that, so there's no point in complaining about it, because it won't change anything.

However, if you were using this for a film, you'd want to make sure the image you capture is pretty on the money, because there isn't much room to save an image in the grade.

December 14, 2012

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Ben Howling

You seem affirmatively blind to the concept of external recording. It's been mentioned over and over from the article up top through the comments. People making films nearly always use external recorders in practice. Why would this be different? Please pick up an Atomos Ninja 2 or Samurai if you're using an SDI camera and try it out before discussing what is and isn't possible.

December 14, 2012

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Peter

I hate when people try to catagorize the c100 towards weddings or online content, just because of the price. The c100 is fully capable of doing nearly the same thing of the c300 . Again it is 1080p but its more complicated than that, the final video is technically video passing through a 4k sensor in like a debayered 1080p format without any hassle debayering like that of red. People it is not the same as a 5d or fs100, it is not just a wedding or event camera. The fs100 nor does any dslr have a damn near 4k sensor, none of those cameras were designed to grace the big screen.

December 14, 2012

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JAY CHASE

The difference is that it's not a C300, and it's got a 24mb codec (or thereabouts), as opposed to the C300's 50mb. As I mentioned above, you'll want to make sure your image is pretty spot on when shooting, because with that kind of data you don't have a lot of room to push the grade.

But yeah, it could definitely be used to make a film. Plenty of lowbudget features and scenes in high budget features have been shot on the 5D, so i can't see why the C100 would be any different. I just think it lends itself much more to TV, doco, and other fields that don't require as much attention to detail in post.

December 14, 2012

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Ben Howling

Yeah agree and was not meant to go directly at you but most people in general who dont really know that they are talking about.

There have been features shot with 5d and 1080p but most of those still required upscaling, post sharpening etc, basically more hassle than just grading/color correcting.

The c100 with atomos pro res hq 220 mbps is the only camera availble now that can grace the big screen and does not require extensive labor upscaling, post sharpening etc. Just get a DP/DIRECTOR and actors that know what they are doing , shoot -edit-color grade/correct and transfer. For slow motion rent a fs700

When i say practicle im talking more than one camera, to shoot a film without multicams requires great work, this is damnn near impossible and not really affordable to own multiple cameras with RED or ALEXA.

December 14, 2012

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JAY CHASE

bit unfair to be shooting the 2 canons in specific profiles yet just use the fs100 on standard.

December 14, 2012

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The c100 looked pretty decent but too pricey for what it is!

I think they could have done more with fs100 & changed the picture profiles instead leaving it on the "standard" profile. I was shooting with it today and I was able to get a far more dr out of it than this test showed.

Interesting post!

December 14, 2012

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Ben Munro

I kind of wish they would have used the FS700 instead of the FS100. That's more of a similar price to the C100 and it has much better color, highlights and picture profiles than the FS100. The FS100 is a very fussy camera in that you really have to mess with the profiles to get it to look right.

December 14, 2012

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Gene Sung

That rolling shutter comparison was really bad. Why? Because the 5d was zoomed closer! Ofcourse it will display more rolling shutter because stuff is moving faster across the frame.

December 14, 2012

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mikko löppönen

Canon Log was pretty overexposed, I think that is more unfair than the fs700 standard profile, plus I saw some g-log in there.

December 14, 2012

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ryan

If you're trying to shoot now, there is no comparison with the BMC, also you can't expect BMC pricing to impact other camera pricing when it is not available. Compared with the fs700, the pricing is fair. If you started on a t2i maybe its not, but its still cheaper than a letus 35mm set up on a hvx by a long shot. If you had to shoot on one of those then its not that bad.

Comparison to the scarlet is not really appropriate either. Its a different kind of camera. If you want to shoot outside then for the c100 you need a lens a memory card and a battery. For the Scarlet you need a battery plate battery, monitor/evf, rail support system, lens, matte box, IR Hot Mirror ND Filters. To shoot on scarlet you need to have a dedicated camera op. Canon cameras you don't. Its a trade of better quality image or more set ups in a day, either one can make a film better, its really more about style than which camera is better.

The one camera it should be compared to is the fs700. In a comparison between the fs700 and the c100 in 24p, the c100 wins on the dynamic range front and on the color reproduction front. So if slow mo doesn't matter to you than c100 is a better camera especially with easier operation.

December 14, 2012

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ryan

The C100 only outputs 4:2:0, even with the external recorder saving it as 4:2:2.

The BMC is superior to all Canon motion picture products. The way the motion is rendered on the BMC is the most cinematic I've seen from any camera, including the Arri Alexa.

December 14, 2012

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Robert

Absolutely, categorically false and yes I have done the tests on color edges. It's 4:2:2 and full 1080p to the Ninja 2. I will need to see evidence otherwise with proof they didn't completely screw up the workflow or the cable or who knows what.

December 14, 2012

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Peter

I just rented the C100 to learn more about the camera as a potential successor to my 5D2 and complementary camera to C300.

One thing I noticed was that the camera practically becomes unusable as soon as you take off the side handle. Since there’s only one joy stick (it’s on the side handle) you effectively can’t adjust color temperature, ISO or shutter speed without the side handle attached.

For me this is a deal breaker, as I intend on using the camera on a Glidecam and then you want to loose as much unneeded weight as possible (read: top & side handle). IMHO, this is a *serious* design error by Canon.

One solution could be that you can assign button 1 to 6 as a ‘+’ or ‘-’ button for whatever function you have selected, but the menus don’t allow for this. Only for adjusting the F-stop. Hopefully Canon will fix this with a firmware update…

December 14, 2012

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Well when using a steadycam you most likely aren't going to be adjusting ISO or white balance on the fly either. Because pressing such functions while gliding will wobble.

So I suggest for that use case to balance without the side handle, but don't put the thumbrest thing on there either. Just leave the open rosette mount (hopefully not in the rain of course) and when you need to make adjustments stop recording, plug in the side handle, adjust and pull it out again. It won't shift the balance if you do it carefully.

The other option is to get the Zacuto grip relocator for the C100/C300. Then you will just have a cable draping off your steadycam which if tied down right shouldn't bother things too much. The side grip would then mount onto the handle or vest or something on the operator side of the gimbal.

December 14, 2012

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Peter

I actually managed to balance the C100 on my Glidecam last night, although I'd happily lose the extra weight and rebalance. The swiveled out screen counterbalanced the side handle somewhat.

Your suggestions are valid, but somewhat cumbersome too. Of course you don't touch the camera while flying, but if conditions change, you should be able to adjust the settings accordingly and with ease. The ability to use this camera in various configurations (including bare bones) is possible with C300 and C500, so should not be missed on C100. It's part of the EOS cinema line.

Nonetheless, Canon should fix this via a firmware update in which they designate function 1-6 (e.g. 1 and 3 or 4 and 6) to the '+' or '-' adjustments for whatever function you activate by the other buttons.

December 15, 2012

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