Events transpired quickly during Canon and RED's dual announcements on Thursday night, so now that the dust has settled, what are people saying about the RED SCARLET-X (left) and Canon EOS C300 (right), other than the fact that they're basically the same price?
My own thoughts about the C300 is that it's a great camera -- and don't take my word for it, listen to Vincent Laforet's podcast below to hear his thoughts since he's actually shot a film on it -- but given the current market, it seems priced high for owner/operators, and it has a faint whiff of planned obsolescence. The "historic" part of Canon's announcement seemed to be that they are getting into cinema cameras with the Cinema EOS line, more so than the C300 itself (did anyone else notice in the liveblogs that they showed all the shorts and then jumped straight into a Q&A, instead of talking up this particular model?). Canon is going 4K eventually, and the C300 in fact has a 4K sensor, but outputs a maximum of 1080p. The sensor can output to 1080p/60p but processor can do a max of 30p. Almost as an afterthought, they mentioned that they'll be releasing a 4K DSLR within 12 months, which seems to upstage their own C300 announcement.
I expect over the coming months and years folks will react to videos shot on the C300 with "wow, that looks really good!" A spec sheet does not a camera make, after all, and I think the importance of 4K is often overstated. But the C300's launch was certainly less-than-perfect, and I think many people -- Vincent Laforet included, I suspect -- thought the C300, given the specs, would and should come in significantly lower than $20k. I'd love to shoot with it, but it seems a prelude to what they'll eventually release, and it seems handicapped in terms of output and codec (8 bit, 50Mbs) compared to a market that includes a Sony F3 and RED SCARLET-X (also, I think the Canon LOG mode may just a picture style and not an actual LOG output as is the F3's).
Those are just my thoughts, however, and none of us should be too quick to judge anything before we shoot with it. So let's take a look at what others are saying:
- Vincent Laforet: These are interesting times for filmmakers – the tools keep getting better "Then came the announcement of the Canon cinema concept camera. All that’s really been said so far is that it will shoot 4K footage and be optimized with a better codec (Motion JPEG) – though likely not a RAW one (but that still remains to be seen or clarified by anyone.) So where does that leave us? (The filmmakers that is.) In short: in a very, very good place! Competition can only benefit us. We will directly benefit from having Jim Jannard and RED going toe to toe with Canon. And don’t forget Sony, Panasonic, Arri etc. No one can afford to rest on their laurels in this fight. Trust me... ((Given Laforet's position in the industry, I would take this "trust me" statement to mean that he's seen something from one or more of those manufacturers, and given the Panasonic AF100 is
1811 months old, I would think that they might be next with a higher-end F3 / C300 competitor.)) The Canon C300 has one of the very best sensors in the world – and an image that I love. I can honestly say that I will debate between the Arri Alexa, the Canon C300, and the Red Epic/Scarlet on future productions. Each camera has clear advantages and shortcomings to anyone that has worked with them.
- Stu Maschwitz: Scarlet, Canon C300, and “Super 35” "The Scarlet X has a larger sensor than the Canon C300, but you won’t be using it all to make movies. You can only achieve 24 fps at 4K and below -— where the window you’re shooting to is actually smaller than the C300’s near exact match to the Super 35 frame width... What you’ll probably be shooting on your Scarlet X is 4K HD, where your frame size is noticeably smaller than Super 35. So is it fair to call the Scarlet a “Super 35” camera?"
- The Verge: Canon EOS C300: an interview with Canon's Chuck Westfall ""This is not going to be the single camera that kills all others," Westfall admitted, "but it's a new tool that addresses the 1080p concept in a much, much different way from everything that's on the market now." When Canon talks about "killing other cameras," it's not necessarily talking about competitors like RED, though. When the company announced a series of Cinema EOS lenses to accompany the C300, the word "4K" appeared four times in the press release, and there'll be a bona fide 4K camera to go with them soon. There was a 4K prototype DSLR under glass at the event, lurking in an EOS-1D X case. Westfall told us that Canon's hoping to bring it to market within the next twelve months."
- FXguide: The RC #100 C300 with Dir. Laforet & RED ScarletX Great podcast with Vincent Laforet about his experiences shooting with the C300, wherein he talks about the C300 being the new low-light king -- better than the F3 and quite a bit better than the ALEXA. "You do not want to shoot with this camera's default setting, it looks terrible -- turn down sharpening, turn on Canon LOG, and then it looks like film... I would feel comfortable saying that this camera performs better than the EPIC in low-light. The Alexa has a special quality in dealing with highlights. The EPIC is the sharpest camera in the world... [the C300] is more camera than the F3."
- Dan Carr: 10 Things You May Not Know About The Canon EOS C300 & Future Of Cinema EOS "With so many people wondering why Canon did not deliver 4k recording in the C300 I asked [Canon's] Erik Allin why Canon would seemingly debut 4k in a DSLR format and NOT in something purpose designed for video? The DSLR hybrid stills/video camera format has been around now for a little while and that market has been asking us for something that is higher resolution. The original purpose of us putting video in the 5d MarkII to begin with was to satisfy the news agencies like AP and Getty, for them to be able to do video and stills, and they have a need for something that is a little bit higher resolution as well. In terms of why it was put in that camera to begin with we’re getting into the second generation of video in a DSLR at this point in time with the new 1D X and this development announcement and in terms of the new Cinema EOS C300, we are 1st generation."
- DPReview: Canon EOS C300 launch: Interview with Larry Thorpe "In five years time the C300 will have brothers and sisters. We'll probably move in a number of directions. We think this is a very very good start but there's no question that 4K is coming, so we have to keep our eye on that. As for a lower cost model [...] that would make a lot of sense in the marketplace. We have a master plan and [the C300] is step one - into HD. We've stepped in, and we're never going to stop. We're in for the long term. Wherever the marketplace dictates that we should go, and wherever our technology allows us to go, we'll be there."
- Bruce A. Johnson: Canon Cinema EOS C300: A Dissenting View "Where’s the killer Canon camera for the tens - to hundreds-of-thousands of us that actually work in television? When I reviewed the Canon XF305 a year ago, I was very impressed with the package, with a few caveats - chief among them the 1/3” chipset. If Canon can jam a 35mm CMOS into the D5 mkII, why not the same hardware in a form-factor that a real TV production crew could easily use? And in a package that can sit on your shoulder?"
If I missed any notable articles about the November 3rd announcements, add them in the comments...