November 14, 2014

Early Footage from the Canon C100 Mark II: How Does It Stack Up Against the Original?

Canon C100 Mark II Comparison
Last month, Canon announced an updated version of their popular C100, the low-end entry in their Cinema EOS line of cameras. But just how does this updated build compare to the original, both in terms of features and image quality? The answer may surprise you.

Our friends over at Cinema5D recently got their hands on an early version of the C100 Mark II, and they dutifully compared it to the original from a number of different perspectives, including build quality, hardware features, software features, and even image quality. Here's their video comparison of the two cameras.

And here's a short profile piece shot with a beta version of the C100 MkII by Johnnie Behiri

As a refresher, here are the full specs on the C100 Mark II:

  • Same Super 35mm CMOS Sensor (24.6 x 13.8 mm) as previous C100
  • 1080p: 23.98, 25, 29.97, 50, 59.94
  • 720p: 23.98, 25, 29.97
  • 640 x 360: 23.98, 25, 29.97
  • ISO 320 to 80,000 in 1/3-step increments
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AutoFocus is Now Standard (Also includes Face Detection AF with STM Lenses)
  • Canon Log LUT Support on the HDMI Output (so you can see what the final image will look like while still recording log)
  • 4:2:0 to SD card, 4:2:2 via uncompressed HDMI out, Timecode over HDMI
  • Dual SDHC/SDXC Card Slots
  • AVCHD: 28, 24, 17, 7 Mb/s
  • MP4: 35, 24, 17, 4, 3, Mb/s
  • New 40% slow motion to 250% fast motion in MP4
  • AAC Audio Recording
  • Built-in 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi support
  • New internal mic built into the body, not just the top handle
  • New 1.23MP OLED Screen that can be tilted to the side of the camera (camera can now be controlled without side handle)
  • New 0.45" 1.23 MP viewfinder
  • Availability: December 2014
  • Price: $5,500
Canon C100 Mark II with Lens 1080p 60fps 50fps
C100 Mark II (back)

From the looks of it, the C100 MkII isn't necessarily a spectacular upgrade of any kind, especially considering that higher resolution video and high frame rates don't seem to be on Canon's roadmap for their lower end cameras. We already knew that. However, where the C100 truly excels is in providing a solid and reliable entry-level cinema camera that makes great images and is usable right out of the box. It's very much a workhorse camera that is the next logical step for anyone who has been shooting on DSLRs and is already heavily-invested in Canon glass.

With the Mark II version, it's not only capable of 60fps in full HD (finally), but it's also more user friendly in a number of key areas, especially with a decent viewfinder that can be used for critical focus and a tiltable LCD screen for shooting at high and low angles. Add to that the fact that the image quality seems to have improved at higher ISOs, and it seems clear that the C100 Mark II will continue to be a respectable option for people who don't need 4K video for their work.

You can read more about Cinema5D's tests on the new camera here and here. The C100 Mark II is now available for pre-order at B&H    

Your Comment

20 Comments

The original C100 was a really great camera to use. Shot a doc on a couple of them with very little issues. They seem to have addressed all of them with this model. Would probably pick this up as a "daily" shooter over a DSLR now. 4k isn't a big deal for most things. HD and a quick turnaround are what most projects call for. Looking forward to getting my hands on this.

November 14, 2014 at 6:53PM, Edited November 14, 6:53PM

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Kaiel Eytle
Director of Photography/Executive Producer
98

While I like my Canon glass, I regret not buying more manual lenses (like Rokinon). I hate being burdened to one company or else (as I currently do) have to adapt an electronic lens to another camera. Oh well, I guess I'll just get used to locking down on one aperture when shooting.

November 14, 2014 at 7:25PM, Edited November 14, 7:25PM

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Jason Blevins
Director / Producer / Videographer
147

Just bought into a C100 back in August, mainly because of it's "workhorse" status. While I love the look of the C100/C300. I don't think I will be buying another Canon camera, which sucks to say considering I have a decent amount of Canon glass from shooting photography.

They just are not putting out the best products for the price. They seem too busy protecting their tiers of equipment rather than innovating new products.

I know this release wasn't intended to be HUGE, but why would anyone buy this over the FS7? It's not even a matter of Stats on a sheet. The FS7 has better out of the box usability and form factor.

It kind of makes me sad really, considering I like Canon products. But they haven't done anything innovative in years.

November 14, 2014 at 7:56PM

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Alex Smith
Documentary/Cinematographer
1398

One of the reasons people still prefer C100/300 over any Sony is that they prefer the picture that come out of the camera, even if it isn't 4K. I still believe that what's more important than resolution is dynamic range and colour reproduction, where I think canon is great at, compared to Sony at least, IMHO.

Each to their own, though.

November 15, 2014 at 3:47AM

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PJ Palomaki
Cinematographer | Motion Graphics
423

Some people may prefer the image from the Canons over Sony IF they aren't going to do much (if any) grading in post. The Sony image, from the F3 on up, can be graded to look pretty much like any other camera save, possibly, the Alexa and even that's debatable if the footage is exposed properly and in the hands of a capable colorist.

November 15, 2014 at 10:40AM, Edited November 15, 10:40AM

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Richard Krall
richardkrall.com
894

I agree with you. Some people want the look that Canon provides. But at this point, the benefits of everything you get from the FS7, to me, great out weigh that difference. The ability to shoot in 4k and recompose, the high frame rate, the internal codecs. All of those things provide creative freedom that the C300/C100 can't do.

Not to mention it's cheaper than the C300

November 16, 2014 at 5:27AM

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Alex Smith
Documentary/Cinematographer
1398

Exactly... So... Why Canon? Worst dynamic range ever... Even Sony is much better than Canon Dr :)

November 18, 2014 at 12:12PM

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Matteo Bertoli
Cinematographer - Colorist
72

"I like Canon products. But they haven't done anything innovative in years."

I agree, Canon is not the most spectacular, flashy company. As a documentary maker yourself, you should be appreciating the ease of use of this camera and the image quality it offers in c-log with and without a Ninja 2 recorder.

Robert Hardy has a point when ending the above article:
" . . respectable option for people who don't need 4K video for their work."

November 15, 2014 at 3:52AM

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The FS7 cost twice as much as the C100 MKII. Even more when you add media. The FS7 is aimed at the C300.

November 15, 2014 at 9:09AM

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Erik Naso
eriknaso.com
179

The FS7 Retail is 2,500$ more than the C100 MkII. And you don't need to purchase a EVF or shoulder rig technically. Hardly twice as much.

November 16, 2014 at 5:24AM

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Alex Smith
Documentary/Cinematographer
1398

Okay maybe not twice but media is expensive for the FS7. A 64GB QDS64/T XQD Memory Card from Sony cost $300. You will need several. If your shooting 4K you need bigger cards. 128GB Capacity are $800 Easily $2K in media alone. If you have EF lenses then an adapter is also needed. People tend to overlook the extras needed.

November 17, 2014 at 12:50PM

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Erik Naso
eriknaso.com
179

Mosquito baits on the grey area? ...OK?,,,

AVCHD: 28, 24, 17, 7 Mb/s
MP4: 35, 24, 17, 4, 3, Mb/s

Everybody knows this cameras are much more capable than that. Lets see: companies are fighting for best sensor, hardware, and such. M.. This is a commercial from Canon. "Canon, when you hav-... G... Canon"

November 14, 2014 at 7:57PM

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Edgar More
All
1215

Does anyone else really dislike what (I'm assuming web) compression does to skin tones? Green blotchy mess.

November 15, 2014 at 11:06AM

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Lane McCall
Producer/Director
88

As a one man band with the kind of work I do, I might be pulling the trigger on this. I've come to realize that these "prosumer" cameras come in two flavors: those for the hobbyists and those for the videographers-for-hire. Falling into the latter camp, I can tell you that my employers really could not care less about "cinematic" images, or even stuff like moire. They just want a relatively nice image that promotes whatever it is they want you to promote.

Sign me up for a relatively compressed image if it means I don't have to spend a fortune on hard drives. Sign me up for 1080p if it means my computer (retina macbook pro with good specs, mind you) won't be wheezing when I'm editing.

The cinephile in me would LOVE to spend hours grading 4k raw beauty shots all day. But the working man in me would pick the nice "baked in" image any day of the week.

I can see how this is a slap in the face to owners of the original C100, though.

November 15, 2014 at 3:59PM

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I don't think it's a slap in the face. If you make money with the C100 then you have to have paid the camera off. Sell your C100 for around $3800 and for another $2K you get a great HD camera with the best AF around. The C100 MKII is a very capable camera at a good price. Media is cheap and the batteries are to.

November 15, 2014 at 4:09PM

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Erik Naso
eriknaso.com
179

Good point. What I meant was I could see how it'd be frustrating, but then again products get updates/facelifts all the time.

So I rented the EF-S 18-135 STM lens to use with my t4i the other week and while I didn't have much time to really test the autofocus feature, I could not get it to work properly. I'd tap a face on the screen, for example, and it would keep searching and not catch it. Granted, the lighting was pretty bad. I'm guessing that'd be a major factor, right?

November 15, 2014 at 5:55PM

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I own a C100 and it's been and still serves me well. I keep thinking about selling it but just cant. I rent it out too so that helps. Sony has been death kneeling users a lot in the past few years with charging high prices for cameras and payed upgrades then giving the upgrades away for free later. Ask a F3 owner about SLOG. Now F5 and F55 owners see this new FS7 camera with the same sensor for a fraction of what they paid. Seems like thats how this is playing out now. Canon to a lesser degree. The 70D worked really well with Dual Pixel AF. Not sure if the t4i is optimized for the STM AF.

November 17, 2014 at 12:57PM, Edited November 17, 12:57PM

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Erik Naso
eriknaso.com
179

I totally am with you - I too am a corporate shooter (I have 2 x AF100s, a GH2 and c100 MK1). This is a great camera for people like us in many ways - one example - I think people have overlooked the feature of wifi on this camera - I tested this out at a demo at CVP in London a few weeks ago - log in via any browser and you can see the timecode and picture remotely...I am going to give my client an ipad whilst they are sitting at the back of the room in an interview and they can make notes on the interview with timecode (they tell me the takes they want on the day). This not only is something my clients will love (I think), but its about massively speeding up the workflow (i.e. making the edit faster and cheaper for client, which the client will definitely love).

Articulating LCD - I am on my own all the time, I want to check the framing (I usually shoot 2 camera interviews), an LCD I can see myself in is essential.

These cameras pack down nicely too... and seeing how I cary 4 lights, 2 cameras and 2 tripods plus laptop on a motorbike, is really important.

I am buying a MK2 (and selling both my AF100s) so I have a good 2 camera set up. I will probably be selling the C100 Mk1 and buying an FS7 once the bugs are sorted out too. I think a C100 MK2/ FS7 combination would have everything covered (I am also shooting docu this year as well as loads of corporate).

My calculation is buy the camera for £3500, upgrade in 2 years (sell for £1000), use it once a week roughly, therefore depreciation is £25 on each shoot. That is a bargain.

December 31, 2014 at 6:57AM

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Simon Morton
Cameraman/ editor, Orange Eye Ltd
74

I'm so happy with my Mk1 c100 and it's an amazingly capable camera. Using it in the field is a joy, granted the zacuto c-finder saved me when being out at a hot Australian festival so the new view finder is a welcome thing - generally on set, with useful XLR controls, audio meters, built in ND, backup peace of mind with dual slot recording, waveforms, amazing auto focus if you got the upgrade done - really it's such a capable tool that is so far beyond using a DSLR on a paid gig. I would almost buy it again if the mk2 didn't exist - but it does so I will as the A camera in January.

Don't fret if you bought a mark 1 recently, the clog in avchd is beautiful without a recorder, that just adds time and complexity - and very likely only bored cinephiles online or folks in the industry will be able to see a fraction of difference compared to a 4k 10-bit image by the time they are watching it on YouTube/Vimeo on their iPad - so go for it, make work, tell stories.

November 15, 2014 at 5:38PM

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Philip Bateman
Bravo Charlie - The world is waiting for your story™
93

Call me crazy but, for half the price of the C100 you can get the Sony FS100 which is a monster of a camera. Or for nearly the same price, you can now grab the FS700. Canon gives off a great image but let's be real... They're dinosaurs!

November 16, 2014 at 3:28PM

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Kaster Troy
Director, DP, Editor
899

The following statement is a testament to my personal faith in Canon video cameras. "I didn't even bother to watch the videos in this post because in the last few years, canon's video cameras have not made any significant impact when it comes to value for the tech that is offered."

November 17, 2014 at 12:29AM, Edited November 17, 12:29AM

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Dantly Wyatt
Musical Comedy & Content Creator.
585

Still no HD-SDI...

November 29, 2014 at 6:25AM, Edited November 29, 6:25AM

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Daniel Mimura
DP, cam op, steadicam op
2119

Sorry i have a dumb question. I don't understand why this camera will not be able to output a 4k recording? It has a 4k sensor right? Why an external recorder will not be able to record an uncompressed 4k image?

December 16, 2014 at 3:26PM

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Julien
163