February 17, 2015 at 8:06PM

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Black Magic Cinema EF vs Canon C100

HI!

I'm looking at getting either cameras for my work. I already own a Sony NEX VG20 and a Canon 7D for my wedding work, but I think for my actual documentary and film making the Black Magic Cinema 2.5 and 13 stops of dynamic range.

What do you think?

Which camera should I buy? Could you perhaps name some pros and cons of each camera etc.

Thanks a lot
:)

33 Comments

I prefer blackmagic, is cheap and i buy other things like better lens, etc.

February 18, 2015 at 7:14AM

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Ragüel Cremades
Film producer and director
7151

i'm primarily a stills photographer 20+ yrs - i have an opinion rather than an answer - like which is better nikon or canon - i used to shoot nikon since i had a ton of old nikkor glass - but then canon came out with the 1dx and that was all she wrote. i traded everything i had in for two bodies and the two lenses a 24-70 and a 70-200 - and started collecting again! for me it's ALL about the end product regardless of whether you're shooting an independant film, a documentary or a commercial. assume your content is mind blowing, must see, one of a kind and then all you have left is the image and sound quality. sound is just as important as image. after a couple of years research, back and forth through the looking glass - speaking to tech experts - watching vimeo and youtube reviews for days on end - all that will matter in the end is how you 'feel' about your reel. people will throw numbers versions firmware possibilities how one camera is this or that compared to this or that (which is why youtube reviews are doing well) at the end of it ALL the quality of your reel will be all that matters to the producer skimming vimeo or youtube etc... price of course counts - what can you afford - that can obviously make a huge difference - and stop the conversation right there. someone who replied to you wrote, "I love the BMCC image quality, but that's the only thing it has going for it." my reaction to that other than i agree - is if a camera's image quality isn't the reason it's bought - then why isn't it a jeep? workhorse vs image quality - xlr vs 1/4" - horrible touch screen vs a fold out viewer - "looks" like you know what you're doing vs it's a brick with a hole in which to stick a lens. final point - or perhaps an observation a year or more after you posted your question - you're going to want to kit out whichever camera you get - whether it's a shoulder rig, a glidecam or gimbal (you mentioned weddings), more batteries and media, plus a great mic and something to put it all in when you travel. no matter what you end up getting or got at this point, as long as YOU know what you're doing and how to work with people, clients and talent etc., your equipment will simply become a part of you and your m/o - how you make people feel always lasts longer than what you say or do - it's true in the fashion world, the wedding industry, on commercial sets, motion picture back lots and all the independent work you do with friends who ultimately become friends AND coworkers or vice versa. i hope you're tickled pink regardless of what you get... or got. cheers. simon

December 7, 2016 at 8:54PM

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Simon Gentry
Stills Photographer/DP/FAA Part 107 Drone Pilot/Cameraman
1

If you shoot commercial work, then I would buy a used Canon C100 for the following reasons...

- Very quick to set-up ( pretty much a self-contained camera )
- Up to 80,000 ISO low-light performance
- 12 F-stops of dynamic range
- Can shoot ALL day on just 2 batteries
- Easy to sell down the road if you want to upgrade
- Full functionality of Canon lenses
- Low cost recording media

February 18, 2015 at 8:03AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30417

Shooting RAW on the BMCC (EF mount) has been nice with the extra resolution. Just bear in mind the need for an external battery solution and SSD cards.

February 19, 2015 at 1:00AM

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Jake Keenum
Filmmaker
1969

For sure, I have already thought about this. :)

February 19, 2015 at 1:58AM

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Tatjana Hamilton
Director of Photography / Cinematographer
192

They are geared at different markets. The C100 is definitely more of a workhorse camera. If you are planning to do any kind of freelance DP work, I would recommend it over the Blackmagic in a heartbeat. Although it is cheaply built compared to it's beefier C300 cousin, it is still something meant to be used day in and day out. Batteries last for hours without a need for an external solution. It records to friendly formats to handoff to producers. It takes professional audio connections natively. It's just made to be used in that environment.

For something totally independent, the Blackmagic camera is going to give you a higher quality image. However, you have to deal with building a rig around it for it to be usable. So if you are prepared to deal with that, don't mind separate synch audio, and don't mind the file size, then the Blackmagic will be the way to go.

February 19, 2015 at 11:39AM

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Joshua Bowen
Editor
628

Being a owner of both cameras I would highly suggest going with the c100 mk1. If you can afford the mk2 definitely go that route, because the viewfinder and rear lcd kinda suck on the mk1 and it doesn't have 60p. I love the BMCC image quality, but thats the only thing it has going for it. Also canon has a financing program for users. Monthly payments run around $270 (if you have a partner in crime split that cost and its a decently affordable camera)

C100 -
Better rolling shutter (for all your handheld or car mount shots)
Built in NDs (major plus of not having to carry NDs)
Low light performance check out this video when I pushed the camera to high isos about 120,000. In the scene with the moon and pier 2:45, I pushed the camera to about 80,000 and shot it at F2 and just cleaned it up with neat video.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCXOuRoEZm8
Great form factor

BMCC -
Dynamic range is about 1-2 stops better than the C100
Terrible form factor which will require you to build a rig
Cheap, but after buying batteries and a rig you're looking at a c100 used price

Whatever your choice is go to the store and play with it a little or try to look for a rental house and try it out.

February 20, 2015 at 2:04PM

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Steven
Cinematographer
74

Thanks for this Steven. Since I do editorial work and weddings, I just use my SONY NEX-VG20 and was thinking of going with the BMCC for films and documentaries. Was thinking maybe the C100 after my BMCC purchase. But thanks for these, I will check this out :)

February 21, 2015 at 5:29AM

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Tatjana Hamilton
Director of Photography / Cinematographer
192

I own both the C100 and the BMCC.

I bought the BMCC first, then realized it wasn't fit for the type of work that I do. I am not a cinematographer of feature films, I am a one-man shooter.

The biggest problem with the BMCC that I came across is that the preamps are horrible. It is impossible to get any good sound in-camera, no matter what microphone you plug in. When using this camera, you MUST sync sound in post, which sucks.

I bought the C100 later, and for me it has been the perfect camera. Though the dynamic range of the image isn't nearly as pleasing, it's the ultimate convenience camera: Long lasting batteries, small file sizes, built in ND filters, high ISO for low light shooting, and most importantly, good preamps and professional sound options to get great sound in-camera.

For documentary or one-man shooting, the C100 is perfect.

February 20, 2015 at 6:22PM

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Interesting. Yes I would probably just cut my audio from my RODE mic plugged into my Sony to synch up the audio. I will have a long think about this. Thanks :)

February 21, 2015 at 7:44AM, Edited February 21, 7:44AM

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Tatjana Hamilton
Director of Photography / Cinematographer
192

It sounds like the opinions of the dual-owners are definitely the best points to listen to, but I debated this myself for a while as well before deciding on the C100. Looking back on it, I'm really confused why I ever thought I needed a BMCC. I think the fancy numbers make the BMCC sound like an awesome value, but really things like the massive file size make it less usable for daily shooting. I never thought how awesome shooting 176 minutes on a 32GB card was until I got the C100. The lack of rig brings the price down significantly as well. Built-in ND's are worth their weight in gold.

I've come to realize more and more that the BMCC would have hardly worked at all for my typical one-man shooting situation. And besides, the image quality advantage over the C100 that the BMCC delivers isn't significant enough in my opinion that a well-shot, well thought out, well edited, and well graded piece would suffer from image quality enough that people would really know.

Additionally, for what it's worth, I've received far more calls about being hired out with my C100 as I would imagine for the BMCC.

February 21, 2015 at 10:47AM

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Tommy Penick
DP/Cinematographer
26

I worked with BMD 4k production camera, its super compact camera, but I was very much annoyed with its super misery over the pro controls...this list will summerize
- No digital aperture control
- No shutterspeed control
- White balance control is not for beginners
- Ultra storage savvy, i.e. 1.4gbps per second
- 500GB ssd records only 25 minutes 4K raw footage, 4K prores422hq footage 1.35 hours, Full HD prores422HQ footage 4.30 hours
- You also need Mac Pro with atleast 2 gb graphics card and a 16 gb memory
- You also need Davinci Resolve [costs $1000] (If using premier cc the cost is 0$)
- Requires atleast 1TB space for editing 1 hour video.

My POST setup is
HP xw8600 workstation
- 16gb RAM
- HP 136GB x 2 SAS 15000rpm
- WD 2TB 5400 rpm storage drive
- Adobe Premier Pro CC 2014.2
- Davinci Resolve 11
which is not suitable for 4k editing...I had to downsize my footage for proxy editing.

Used full specs new Mac pro in campus which works with 4k very much fine.

So before you decide to work with any of these setups, consider your post production workflow and setup as well.
M. Anil Babur

February 21, 2015 at 11:13AM

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Muhammad Anil Babur
Film Producer/Director/Editor
204

And battery is miserable too, i.e. add more cost to use external 3rd party battery solutions.

February 21, 2015 at 12:03PM

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Muhammad Anil Babur
Film Producer/Director/Editor
204

Resolve (it's full version) is included with the Cinema Camera and the Production Camera.
Also is included UltraScope, which is an amazing tool for correctly exposing the image.

February 21, 2015 at 12:44PM

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You are right but that is for 1080p workflow only, you need to buy commercial version to work with 4k.

September 4, 2015 at 7:27AM, Edited September 4, 7:29AM

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Muhammad Anil Babur
Film Producer/Director/Editor
204

Hi mate! :P

June 4, 2016 at 6:27AM

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I own a BMCC 2.5K EF Mount. My answers are based on what I know and personal experiences:

"- No digital aperture control"
It actually does have that, unless the Lens is manual or doesn't support it. I use Canon and Sigma lens, I can control aperture digitally, no problem. I have some manual lens that I use, well they are manual.

"- No shutterspeed control"
This camera uses Shutter Angle (like pro film cameras) which is different from shutter speed. Look it up you need more information on the differences and what that means.

"- White balance control is not for beginners"
If you shoot RAW then white balance is not an issue, you can always correct it in post. On ProRes not that hard either if you know what you are doing. But this camera is really not for beginners.

"- Ultra storage savvy, i.e. 1.4gbps per second
- 500GB ssd records only 25 minutes 4K raw footage, 4K prores422hq footage 1.35 hours, Full HD prores422HQ footage 4.30 hours"
That is just the nature of the beast, for uncompressed RAW footage you have to expect that storage, like with all other cameras that shoot RAW. I have 2.5K, shoots 50 minutes of RAW on 500GB SSD, but can shoot up to 5 hours of ProRez 422

"- You also need Mac Pro with atleast 2 gb graphics card and a 16 gb memory"
I use a PC with 32GB of RAM, Intel i7 Processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 3GB GPU, with 6 hot swappable HDD/SSD slots and a 2K Monitor. Free full version DaVinci Resolve 11 (Came free with the camera). Machine works flawlessly and costs less than Macs.

"- You also need Davinci Resolve [costs $1000] (If using premier cc the cost is 0$)"
Free with camera purchase. They send you a dongle.

"- Requires atleast 1TB space for editing 1 hour video."
Unavoidable if shot RAW. Storage is inexpensive these days.

I do use camera rigs and gimbals and stabilizers for my shoots. This is definitely not a run and gun camera. If you are going for a controlled shooting environment then you'll be just fine if plan ahead. I chose it for it's price point VS capabilities and I am a happy camper. You just have to get used to what you have and learn it all the way. The recent BMCC firmware updates has removed a few earlier issues and added a lot of useful features. You get that film look right from the get go and then the latitude to color grade RAW allows for limitless creativity.

Plan to add external batteries or sources. That's definitely a negative. But to me the positives outweigh the negatives especially with the workflow and the setup I already have.

C100 sounds like a great camera too, I looked into it as well, but settled for BMCC eventually.

Hope this helps.

February 22, 2015 at 3:08PM

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GeoRover
Aspiring DoP
155

This is probably the best answer to Blackmagic Cinema camera question (referring to GeoRover's comment above. I think people to many compare the Black Magic Camera's to DSLRs and even Hi Grade Camcorders and its not. It says "Cinema" Camera for a reason. You are not going to run and gun a RED or Arri so why would you think you are going to run and gun a Black Magic "Cinema" camera? Although this post is almost a year old, I hope people read it thoroughly. I own the BM4K, BMPCC, Digial Bolex, C100 MkII and my old trusty 5D MK II. I have worked with RED camera's as well as an Arri Alexa that I just shot my first feature on. Out of all the camera's I own the Black Magic is the closest thing to the Arri Alexa. Absolutely stunning video. But it is NOT a run and gun. My C100 MKII is probably my most versatile camera out of all of them.

December 26, 2015 at 11:31PM, Edited December 26, 11:39PM

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Craig Anthony
DP, Writer, Producer (Film & Music)
8

Oh .. and I know this is a old post but the Black Magic Ursa Mini is also a beast ......

December 26, 2015 at 11:39PM, Edited December 26, 11:41PM

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Craig Anthony
DP, Writer, Producer (Film & Music)
8

For weddings, a BMCC would produce a far worse image. Why? The low light is flipping awful. I've used both a C100 and BMCC in low light conditions, and the C100 wins every day of the week. You can quite easily crank up to 4000 ISO if you really have to, and the image is easily useable.

The LCD on the BMCC is laughable too - the viewing angle isn't very handy, so colours invert unless your eye is almost dead on with it. Then we're getting into everything else - no XLR audio (vital for me, I use radio mics all the time on weddings), lack of inbuilt NDs (life saver for outdoors), lack of adjustability with focus peaking, guides, etc.

Then of course, the other massive issue - BMCC requires an external battery if you want more than 45 mintues (and you can't just swap the battery!) and the need for expensive SSD drives to record.

I don't mind the BMCC when I've used it for short films, but it requires a lot of rigging/accessories to become a useble camera, and the lack of buttons/wheels to adjust settings would drive me up the wall on weddings.

February 21, 2015 at 11:19AM

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James Donovan
Camera Operator/Editor
88

I wouldn't be using it for weddings

February 21, 2015 at 6:16PM

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Tatjana Hamilton
Director of Photography / Cinematographer
192

Sorry - misread the original part. Unless you're doing a documentary with very controlled situations with lots of light, and can put up with having to buy all the extra rigging, I'd still take the C100. 800ISO is pretty much useless.

If you plan on doing anything run and gun, the BMCC gets very heavy with mounting plates, shoulder pads and hand grips. The C100 is light enough for me to use on monopods when I need to run around and quickly get shots.

February 21, 2015 at 10:44PM

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James Donovan
Camera Operator/Editor
88

Yeah for sure. I wouldn't mind paying the money for a decent rig, and it would give me practise for when I do start using big rigs. I think I'm going to buy the C100 after the BMCC because my camera that I have now is ok and it's doing the job and I want something different.

February 22, 2015 at 2:21AM

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Tatjana Hamilton
Director of Photography / Cinematographer
192

the blackmagic is significantly cheaper than the c100 but you would also have to add equipment around it; thus making them similar in price once there both useable.

you could always consider an old red1 its a comparable price to both.

February 21, 2015 at 11:42AM

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Roraigh Price
Runner, Reasercher, Asistant Editor
147

Get the c100, eyes closed, especially for run and gun shooting.
The image coming out of the BMC is the only thing it has going, for run and gun it is probably one of the most frustrating cameras in the world due to ergonomics, storage and battery life...

February 21, 2015 at 1:08PM

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gandulf charpentier
director of pornography
734

Hi everyone, I don't own any of those cameras, neither I've used them, but I've made a lot of research regarding the Black Magic cameras.

It's up to your taste and to what you are going to use it. The Black Magic cameras are not for live events, like weddings, sports, plays, etc.

In my opinion the BMCs are for film/shortfilm cinematography, were you will record sound on a separate system, you will have control over lighting, you will plan and frame your shots, and so on. Also if you have a laptop with thunderbolt (like the MacBooks) you can use UltraScope (included with the camera) on set for correctly expose the image with the waveform monitor, that's priceless.

By the way, you can record 1080p ProRes, so the storage issue is only present when you shot 4K RAW, which makes sense, you are recording an insane chunk of data.
And the "expensive" SSD is not entirely true, for example a 64GB SDXC is $75, and a 240GB SSD (from the same manufacturer) is $145, which give us a $1.17/GB for SDXC, and $0.60/GB for SSD... so SSD are almost half the price per GigaByte compared to SDXC.

Regarding post production, yes you will need a beast... if you want to grade 4K RAW with Resolve. But if you've recorded 1080p then you don't need such a powerhouse.

In summary, my inexperienced consideration, the BMCs are good if you can also invest in new storage media, rig, battery, external sound recording, and you have control over the shots (e.g.: not live events!). If so, the results will be amazing.

February 21, 2015 at 1:17PM

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZI8S7swUybI

I used Black Magic MFT at the beginning all the way until i say CUT then we use C100

February 21, 2015 at 1:52PM

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Andrey Medina
Renaissance Man
74

For daily use the c100 is a good way to go, but for a real films the BMCC is a better way to go. I own the BMPC 4k and the Prores image quality is excellent even at LT flavour which give you 5:40 hours of recordings for a 240 Gb SSD at full HD that you can easily upgrade to 2k in post because of the space for color grading Prores give you in post. Yes you have to keep in mind how to power up the camera and rig it, but if you can control in some way your environment on set you won't be disappointed.

En event is doable. Just for comparison here is a shooting for an event I made using the BM Production camera using Prores Lt full HD and a GH4 at full HD 100Mbit/sec. In post I tried to match the two but the difference is noticeable in terms of image quality when you want a film look.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1-UKNkgrwQ

February 22, 2015 at 9:03AM

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Fabio Salas
Filmmaker, DP
72

Doesn't look cinematic at all? Careful with your LED light and blasting it too bright, makes everyone's face white and the background black...

February 26, 2015 at 7:15AM

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Blackmagic camera's produce an excellent picture for the price but be aware you have to have the $$ to complete the camera if you're going to use it for professional work.

My company purchased a BMPC4K mid 2014 and it was the best decision I ever made. The image quality is amazing and leaves the Canon DSLR's for dead The C100 is really just a DSLR with a few extra features but the codec is still a highly compressed format. With the Blackmagic cameras, the log image is even comparable to much higher end digital cinema cameras. But don't be fooled by the cheap price tag of the camera body. Without the right accessories it's a difficult camera to operate with. In addition to the camera I spent a further $7,000 on accessories to make it a usable professional camera. Here's what I got:

SSD Cards, V-Lock Battery plate, V-lock batteries, shoulder rig, matte box with filter tray to hold ND filters, a filter set, EVF, EVF holder, external audio recorder, follow focus.

Something nice about BMCC is that if you already have a set of EF lenses you can use those on the EF mount model.

Here's 2 camera shoot we did with both the BMCC and BMPC. The tripod shots were shot with the Blackmagic 4K and the steadicam shots are shot with the Blackmagic 2.5K
https://vimeo.com/112435896

Hope this helps.
Cheers, Ben
Producer, Global Pictures
___________________________________
Learn the secrets to your success in the corporate film industry. Get my course: https://www.udemy.com/how-i-make-300000-as-a-video-producer-how-you-can-...

February 22, 2015 at 7:03PM

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Ben Kumanovski
Director | Cinematographer
294

Thanks for this Ben, this is a really helpful breakdown for the consideration of the camera :)

February 24, 2015 at 6:16AM

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Tatjana Hamilton
Director of Photography / Cinematographer
192

I think that it's tough to tell the difference in resolution between Full HD and 2.4K... The BMCC actually shoots 2.4K and they state 2.5. That in mind, shooting in RAW is an awesome learning curve that will help you significantly as a shooter and also as an artist. Just look at all the great films... These are all built on the essence of the RAW image. So having that in mind... It's probably worth noting that the BMPCC might truly be the way to go. Myself, I've shot on the BMCC, the BMPCC, the Canon 50D (DNG), 5DII (DNG), 5DIII (DNG)... And in all honesty there isn't that big of a difference... We're really talking about a generation of camera. In these generations you're going to have to deal with a noise floor. The noise floor is going to negate your ability to capture a sharp image. Dollar-per-dollar the BMPCC seems to have a full list of nearly all the attributes and qualities that folks have been talking about in this forum... That being said... There are some technical road blocks that are waiting for you down the road, but they are manageable. Moire (Mosiac Engineering)... 3x Crop Factor (.54 speed booster for Canon EF (works with Mosaic filter)... Battery... Monitoring... Rigging... Audio... Variable ND Filter... ETC...

February 24, 2015 at 4:04PM

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Levi Davis
Editor / Shooter / Writer
71

I own a BMCC EF and love it. I bought it mainly for independent films, but I use it for weddings all the time. Low light hasn't been an issue with fast lenses. I already owned an Anton Bauer battery and I highly recommend them. I run this thing all day and have yet to have it die in use. I use a standalone recorder for the audio. I don't see this as a negative, but positive. Good audio is a positive no matter how you get it. As far as the rig is concerned, 95% of the time it doesn't change. I don't rebuild it per shoot so it doesn't take any extra time.

February 24, 2015 at 5:08PM

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I forgot to mention that I work with the C100 all the time. I do love the image and small file size, but I never edit with AVCHD. It's horrible for that. So it's rigged with a Ninja.

February 24, 2015 at 5:10PM

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It is also important to understand the Black Magic 2.5K has a crop factor of 2.4x. 30mm becomes 72mm. So unless you want to use a fish eye lens and deal with the distortion, then you are stuck within the 27-300mm range.

C100 naturally has a crop factor of 1.4x-1.5x which is dramatically lower.

February 24, 2015 at 5:43PM, Edited February 24, 5:43PM

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Kyle Dockum
Videographer and Editor
392

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