September 27, 2016 at 8:09AM, Edited September 27, 8:52AM

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Canon C100 MarkII or the Blackmagic Cinema Camera 2.5k MFT?

I'm looking to upgrade to a cinema camera from my DLSR. I shoot feature/Short films and cinematic documentaries. I like the C100 for its 'out of the box' capabilities, ND's (amazing), peaking, zebras, false colours, good ISO, audio XLR's and decent viewfinder. However its sacrifice in quality. The codecs aren't great (don't care about 4K) and I know that with a Ninja 2 you can get Prores HQ, 422 and LT with better colour data but still only at 8-bit (Which isn't bad).

Blackmagic have their problems granted, but for cinematic quality I can overlook most of them. Shoots in 10-bit Prores and DNXHD at 1920x1080 and 2.5K RAW at 12-bit 2400 x 1350. I also choose the 2.5K over the 4K because I don't need it, plus the fixed pattern noise issues, ISO and Dynamic range aren't as good as the 2.5K. The reason I pick Blackmagic is the look, it has a cinematic look to it and I don't fully understand why. When compared to the C100 MarkII which to me doesn't look as cinematic. WHY!!! I've used the Blackmagic camera's before so I know what they're like to work with, but I read everywhere that the C100 Mark 2 is a far more functional camera and I agree.

I figured out how much it would cost to bring the Blackmagic Cinema Camera up to the par (functionality wise) with the C100, and its close.

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Blackmagic Cinema Camera 2.5K

-Blackmagic Cinema Camera MFT - WEX (£1649)
-Samyang 50mm f1.2 AS UMC CS Lens -MFT- WEX (£309) = £1958
-Samyang 21mm f1.4 ED AS UMC CS Lens -MFT- WEX (£279) = £2237
-Samyang 85mm T1.5 AS IF UMC II Video Lens - MFT- WEX (£299) = £2536
-Sandisk Ultra II Internal SSD - 480GB - WEX (£129) = £2665
-SMALLRIG® DSLR Shoulder Rig BMCC Cage Kit - Amazon (£146.40) = £2811.40
-FOTGA DP3000 M2 DSLR follow focus - Amazon (£74.59) = £2885.99
-ET-PV2BM V-Mount Adaptor BMCC - CVP (£138) = £3023.99
-IDX 2x DUO-95 Battery Kit - CVP (£440.40) = £3464.39
-BMD Micro Converter SDI-HDMI - CVP (£82.80) = £3547.19
-Samurai Right-Angle SDI Cable Set - CVP (£48) = £3595.19

TOTAL: £3595.19
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Canon C100 MarkII

-Canon EOS C100 Mark II High Definition Camcorder + EF 24-105mm Lens + Ninja 2 recorder - WEX (£3825)
-Sandisk Ultra II Internal SSD - 480GB - WEX (£129) = £3954

TOTAL: £3954

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So my question is, which option would be better for creating quality cinematic content which I could submit to festivals and upload online and have space to grade in the edit. Plus for my documentary content, be good enough to work outdoors in natural light in a more run and gun setup. Because I've seen amazing lowlight footage from both cameras, just a bit harder with the Blackmagic.

Cheers,

Joe.

8 Comments

I'd look at getting the BMCC, but I'd look at buying a used one and saving money. No reason to spend new $$ on something that's been out for so many years.

September 27, 2016 at 8:41AM

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Besides money...
The C100 Mk II is a much more user friendly camera than the Blackmagic (well, Blackmagic camera never seemed to me as a user friendly as their competitors). It's 1080p not 2.5K but what's the matter? It's beautiful 1080p. Lowlight is much more improved than the BM.
And it right. Summed up the BM would be more expensive thant the C100 because the Canon is a "shoot-out-of-the-box" while the BM is a "need-to-buy-stuff-to-get-it-work". The BM is not very handy. The C100 is. The C100's codec is crap. The BM's isn't (raw + ProRes, what should keep on with that?). But that's nothing that could not be fixed with some nice recorder by Atomos.
And, by the way if not mentioned before, the BM MFT has a passive MFT mount. PASSIVE. That means it will not work with any Panasonic or Olympus glas. Because there are not contacts on the actuall camera mount. And so there will be no signals send to the lenses. Ain't considered that, did you?
I would always go with the C100 over the Blackmagic. If you need a third opinion I recommend watching Philip Blooms review of the Black Magic Cinema Camera 2.5K. Just Sayin'...

September 27, 2016 at 2:32PM

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avatar
Eric Halbherr
Director, DP, Editor, Creative Storyteller
2167

I did consider the passive mount, would buy some MFT Samyang lenses to solve that. I do understand what you mean about the C100 being ready out of the box. But the codec's aren't great. Yes the Atomos, Prores 8-bit HQ, 422 and LT. Blackmagic does it better out of the box. Compressed 2.5k RAW, 92 minutes on a 480GB SSD, I'd call that manageable.

My only concern is quality. If I bought the C100 Mark II bundle from WEX (C100 MarkII, 24-105 L Canon, Ninja 2, 480GB SSD) would I be sacrificing quality? Is the Blackmagic worth kitting out to maximise its image quality? Thats the space I'm in, I love both cameras, I want the cinematic look. Which is better?

September 27, 2016 at 3:13PM

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I also trust Mr Bloom's word, but what I took from his BMCC review was Its a crappy camera, with a superb image. Battery problems, buy batteries. Crap touch screen, get a monitor etc. Is it worth it compared to a camera thats ready out of the box (plus an Atomos).

September 27, 2016 at 3:18PM

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I think it won't end with some batteries, monitors and a lot of disk space. You will probably also need some kind of rig (counts something like $ 1.5-3K), a computer that can also handle those raw files (at least $ 2K and the sky is the limit) and also lenses that are well made for that camera because it's still a cinema camera. Compare it with a RED. But much cheaper. You cannot do everything with a RED. It's also a cinema camera. If you are in the price range of a RED so get it but if you are rather in the price range of a C100 it's better to get a allround camer than one that is made specifically for one sector of film.

October 3, 2016 at 6:22AM

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avatar
Eric Halbherr
Director, DP, Editor, Creative Storyteller
2167

I would buy a used C300. I have had the C100 Mark II for a while and would have liked the better codec that the C300 offers.

October 3, 2016 at 4:56PM

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Viktor Ragnemar
Director/Cinematographer
1143

I've been told besides the C300 Mark I downscaled 4.4.4 to 4.2.2, a C100 MarkII plus a NINJA-2 gives me that equivalent colour data but in a higher mbs uncompressed Prores codec. Correct?

October 6, 2016 at 7:44PM, Edited October 6, 7:44PM

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Definitely consider a used C300. I use a C100 mkii and absolutely love it but would occasionally like the codec of the C300. I use a Ninja when I need to, but to be honest the spec of the C100 is a weird one because it really does produce a beautiful image despite the low numbers, especially once you get used to grading it.

I also have a Blackmagic pocket cinema camera, and I would say that in a well lit, well lensed and well set up shot, the Blackmagic has the better image. For every day and run and gun shoots though, there is no comparison in usability. The Blackmagic is SUCH a pain to use when it comes to going in and out of menus, attaching ND's, attaching IR filter which you 100% will need with a blackmagic camera, shitty audio...the list goes on. It's like a very nice sensor in a box and nothing else. The C100/C300 cameras are workhorses built for being used all the time in lots of different situations, but the Blackmagic would have the edge for cinematic narrative work.

Not to mention. You can get a nice image out of the box with a c100 which is very useful for corporate work. For the blackmagic cameras you have no option but to grade everything heavily, which isn't always what you need.

So in conclusion I would strongly favour the c100 as your A cam. The blackmagic cameras produce beautiful imagery under the right conditions, but well used the c100 can get 90% of the way there image wise, but with all day batteries, ND's, no need for IR, dual card slots, handheld work etc etc etc.

October 9, 2016 at 2:17PM

0
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Liam Martin
DP, editor, part time director
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