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?