August 6, 2015

Here's An In-Depth Look at the Canon C300 Mark II, Plus Brand New Footage

Canon C300 Mark II Zacuto First Look
This October, Canon will start shipping its most anticipated new camera in several years, the C300 Mark II.

While we've already got some basic information on the C300 Mark II (gathered from the original announcement and our interview at NAB), there's still plenty left to learn about the camera in terms of how the new technology crammed inside of it will benefit filmmakers. And perhaps the biggest question of all is whether or not the Mark II will impact the industry in the same way its predecessor did. The original C300, despite specs that may have seemed underwhelming, became one of the most popular professional cameras in recent memory thanks to a combination of reliability, ease of use, low light ability, and most importantly, image quality. Will the Mark II live up to that legacy?

To help answer that question (and many more), the folks at Zacuto brought in Jon Sagud from Canon to talk in-depth about the new camera. Of course, the video also shows off Zacuto's next generation Recoil rigs and the Gratical EVF, but more importantly Jon provides all sorts of technical insights into how the camera was redesigned in accordance with all of the feedback Canon has received over the past few years. Here's a brief sampling of the topics they cover in the video:

  • How users can change the lens mounts on the camera (hint: by sending it in to Canon)
  • How the dual pixel autofocus works and why it's great for one-man band shooters
  • The camera's many small (but not insignificant) ergonomic upgrades
  • How the dual Digic DV5 processors push the camera's sensitivity to new levels 
  • How the camera achieves "future proofing" by meeting ACES and Rec 2020 color standards
  • And much more

Now onto the subject of footage. Of course, most of us have seen Trick Shot, the promotional short film released at NAB that was shot on the C300 Mark II. However, that film had a fairly extreme grade on it, and it came from an early version of the camera, so it might not have been particularly representative of what we can expect from the Mark II when it begins shipping in October. In the past few weeks though, Canon has been getting pre-production versions of the camera into the hands of a few shooters, and the footage making its way onto the web is promising.

For instance, here's a new reel of footage from Yoshishiro Enatsu that puts the Mark II through its paces:

And here's another corresponding video from Enatsu that shows off the camera's auto focusing features:

From Brett Danton:

Lastly, here's one more promotional short film from Canon's marketing channel:

All in all, the C300 Mark II is looking more and more promising as we get closer to the shipping date. Like its predecessor, the Mark II doesn't have the most impressive specs and features, but it seems like a sure bet that it will be warmly adopted by the same professionals that loved the original.     

Your Comment

52 Comments

I think i stay with my GH4. Best value for money.

August 6, 2015 at 5:53AM

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Nico Saiger
Indie Filmproducer
160

I agree with you here, you have a GH4 (that does Cinema 4K internal) for 1300 euros now. The C300 is good but in relation to the arm and leg it will cost you (without lenses) you can have a really good GH4 setup included with all primes, memory cards and batteries. And you probably get some change back as well. It is the person behind the camera that makes the movie (if you can't pull it off with a MFT camera and some primes what can??).

August 6, 2015 at 10:09AM

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Lutte Kikker
Photographer
271

How is that XLR doing on your GH4? How about the ND? How is the low light? The GH4 is an amazing camera, especially for the price, but it is not the end-all, be-all of production cameras. Two very different cameras, two very different markets.

August 6, 2015 at 4:08PM

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Not 2 different markets.

August 6, 2015 at 10:51PM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
1970

Actually........I use the XLR inputs on my Tascam audio recorder.
What? You mean you record your sound directly into your camera?

August 7, 2015 at 3:14AM

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Jerry Roe
Indie filmmaker
1551

Yes. All the time for the past 5 years on two national network television shows. I actually get hired because my audio is so good. Killer mic, nice pre's before the C300 pre's. I just fail to see the problem? One less step in post. Digital audio is digital audio, does not make any difference where it ends up - it's all binary digits. If a guy is wearing a lav 20 meters away from the camera or the guy holding the boom is 10 meters away from the camera how does the noise level of the camera possibly affect the sound? If you are serious about clean audio, learn about headroom, eq, compression, good mic choice and placement etc. etc. I understand that the hipster 30kg audio mixer/recorder shoulder bag is part of the look, a uniform of sorts but recent advancements are making the old ways of doing things redundant. XLRs on devices CAN be trusted folks, it's all good.

August 13, 2015 at 4:39PM, Edited August 13, 4:39PM

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James Manson
Photographer
327

Yeah, any serious film maker will tell you that recording directly into camera is a serious no no due to the noise level cameras have. So I wouldn't trust the XLRs on this device nor any device for that matter and get a proper, dedicated audio recorder. Sure it may be one more thing to carry around but if you're serious about having clean audio, you would rather want a separate audio unit altogether.

August 7, 2015 at 8:22AM

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It strikes me odd that camera companies don't work with people like Robert Rozak at juicedLink to have clean audio. Is it because they want to keep the camera price lower? Well, at least at Canon I don't think that's an issue. Canon has always been overpriced. There must be some reason that camera companies don't work out the kinks in audio.

August 8, 2015 at 3:21AM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
1970

I'm hoping they add those arrow alignment focus assist features into the C100 MkII, with a firmware update.

August 6, 2015 at 6:09AM

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I'll pass. I can see it's use for broadcast, but honestly, it took Canon how many years to give us 10-bit 4K? And only 60fps? For $16k?

For that amount of money I could get a Scarlet package, get higher frame rates, 4k RAW, etc.

I'm not discounting all the nifty features of the C300mkII. The build looks great, the improvements are very nice, autofocus, the 15-stops... but in terms of value for money both the A7s and GH4 blow it out of the water. They may not "look" like they're suited for production, but they can surely handle it.

August 6, 2015 at 6:50AM, Edited August 6, 6:50AM

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E. David Nazario
Filmmaker
188

This camera also shoots RAW up to 60 fps with the Convergent Design Odyssey7Q+ external recorder and their C500 CODEC pack.

August 6, 2015 at 7:13AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
33090

7Q, add another $2400.00.

August 6, 2015 at 10:54PM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
1970

Skin Tones are a lot more pleasing personally than Sony's color palette. However, this is going to be an interesting matchup with the Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6k. Their skin tones are actually quite good as well. I could never be an early adopter with Canon anything, it's always well above my price point. I'm curious to see the built in LUTs to match the Arri Alexa and other high end cameras. To me that'd be incredible. Canon has a look that's great for commercial and doc work. I can't put my finger on it, but there's something about the color that's beautiful until you throw it up on a big screen. This is a personal comment so please don't misunderstand. Yes I saw Need for Speed, but there's a reason why the Alexa is used as the A cam. It screams "high end Indy film." They're getting closer to competing with Arri and RED but still got a ways to go. Back to the URSA mini: The only thing the 4.6k URSA mini lacks is built in NDs (deal breaker? ) but other than that 2015 and beyond to me should have a hashtag with all the available color palettes and paint brushes we artists have at our disposal....#noexcuses .......oh by the way I'm a C100 owner and shooter so I'm not knocking Canon at all. I'm being harder on them for raising the price on me and not offering a C100 that at the very least shoots Pro Res internally 1080p and 120fps in HD (not 2k, not 4k, just 1080p) I don't think that's a lot to ask for when for just another 2 grand I'm at the FS7 with its 2k, 4k, 180fps in HD offerings. Now the URSA mini with it's 160 fps in HD. Do I think the C300 will be one of the hottest selling cameras out there? yes! It's Canon, in fact it'll sell like hot cakes, but I'm tougher on them because I have a big love for them, and I feel they could do a little more for we mere humans who can't afford the car. lol

August 6, 2015 at 6:50AM, Edited August 6, 6:51AM

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This camera will be a low-light monster, which the Ursa Mini won't be.

August 6, 2015 at 7:14AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
33090

You can buy an FS7 AND an A7s... have both low light monster and 4K with high frame rates for ~$5K less than this camera...

August 6, 2015 at 7:17AM

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Dre Kahmeyer
Director
305

But you won't have the C300 Mk2 auto-focus, which looks like one of the first actually usable AF systems on the market. Probably not much use for digital-cine shooting, but for corporate interviews and live events I could see it being very handy. ( I hate shooting interview subjects that keep leaning forward and then backward every minute or so, so having something that would automatically guarantee exact focus for me would be a nice feature )

August 6, 2015 at 8:27AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
33090

Sony has always had good auto focus for video, my FS100 & 700 have awesome AF.

August 6, 2015 at 3:13PM

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Kaster Troy
Director, DP, Editor
1032

I don't think it's in the same technology performance range as the Canon dual-pixel technology, which appears to be pretty flawless almost all the time. ( provided you know how to use it properly )

August 7, 2015 at 6:23AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
33090

If you want a 'low light monster' get the Sony a7S w/ Atomos Shogun. You'll certainly save a lot of money. And you will have an image that looks better than what is coming from this camera.

August 8, 2015 at 3:25AM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
1970

Agree with a lot of what you said.. I also do not like the Sony color palette on the higher end camera's and agree BM looks much better. But I think you made a mistake on the Ursa Mini. It will only do 60fps, The Ursa does 160fps. And the Mini as with BM camera's were meant to be lit. If they could get a little more low light, they would be amazing

August 6, 2015 at 7:33AM

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The larger Ursa is a "boat-anchor", so it's meant to live on a tripod almost 100 percent of the time. ( with a lens and V-mount battery it's pushing past 25 lbs of camera )

August 6, 2015 at 8:30AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
33090

There are rumors floating around that 4.6K sensor rivals Alexa low light.

August 6, 2015 at 8:48AM, Edited August 6, 8:57AM

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Joseph Lindsay
Director of Photography/Motion Designer
288

But the Alexa isn't known for great low-light ability, so this isn't saying much.

I'm sure the new Ursa Mini 4.6K will produce a fantastic image in good light, but I don't think it's a competitor for the C300 Mk2 in low-light.

August 6, 2015 at 8:53AM, Edited August 6, 8:53AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
33090

fo sho

August 6, 2015 at 1:13PM

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Kyle Lamar
Director Producer DP
1215

This is old-fashion camera from canon.. Who need 10 bit?!!! I will by blackmagic ursa mini camera ( 15 stops!!!). This is twice better camera and of course much much cheaper.

August 6, 2015 at 7:46AM

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In the recent demo wars, the a7r II is the clear winner to me. I can buy 2 bodies, lenses, cards, lights and some groceries.

August 6, 2015 at 7:55AM

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Lance Bachelder
Writer/Director/Editor
323

Reports are coming in that the A7R II can overheat after 20+ minutes when shooting internal 4K. ( and when it overheats it shuts down completely )

August 6, 2015 at 8:32AM, Edited August 6, 8:34AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
33090

They made it pretty clear, this camera is going to be more for rental then purchase by the low budget indie crowd. Rental houses will purchase several and production companies will use them. Unless BMD improves reliability, they will be ignored by those very same people. (As a general rule).

August 6, 2015 at 7:58AM

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Finally, someone who gets it.

August 7, 2015 at 7:35AM

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Jerald Roberts II
Filmmaker
328

One thing I don't get is why autofocus ? Cine lenses are all manual.

Also, would be nice if they could fix the ergonomics ala ursa mini to be easily shoulderable.

August 6, 2015 at 8:09AM

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Not all cine lenses. The Canon cine zooms can be outfitted with full zoom and focus electronic controls.

...And of course there are the Canon EF lenses.

August 6, 2015 at 8:34AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
33090

I'm fairly certain that there will not be any autofocus coming out of any cine lenses. Some Canon cine lenses have an external rocker, but none will have an internal motor required for autofocus.

August 6, 2015 at 1:16PM

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Derek Olson
Directomatographeditor
695

>>>Some Canon cine lenses have an external rocker, but none will have an internal motor required for autofocus.

One of the NAB 2015 interviews I watched was with a Canon rep that stated that the C300 Mk2 AF would work with some of their cine zoom lenses with the proper set-up that included full motors for the focus and zoom. He was basically saying that it could be used for live events with full AF on the C300 Mk2.

Hmmm... I can find references that state that the "EOS C300 Mark II comes equipped with Canon Cine servo zoom lens support", but I can't find anything that specifically states AF support for these cine lenses.

August 6, 2015 at 1:38PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
33090

You're right, you've jogged my memory. I believe that what he was saying is that you can still use the focus assist feature, which is the two carrots the come together and then turn green when you are in focus. It won't be totally hands free like with the EF photo lenses, but it seems like an pretty awesome feature. Also, the Cine servo support would be a great addition because currently you have to power it externally with D-tap, which means an extra non-proprietary battery and extra weight.

August 6, 2015 at 1:45PM, Edited August 6, 1:47PM

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Derek Olson
Directomatographeditor
695

The specs are fantastic but I have no use for 4k anytime soon. The 100ii is such a nice upgrade that with a Ninja Star I can pull off just about amy corporate shoot with confidence.

If anything, providing a 60 FPS upgrade path to the legacy C300 would be a complete no brainer and keep that platform viable for a while.

August 6, 2015 at 8:34AM

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John Foundas
DP, Editor, Director of Production Services
86

Yes! The biggest problem I have with Canon is that they don't bring more features later like Sony. Hey, I get that it wasn't probably possible at launch to do 60 at 1080, but are we really to believe they couldn't implement it with software. If it's a processor problem, why not just just give it to us in the 35 mbs format instead of the 50? I can only assume that it is possible. Also, the C300 is selling probably better than ever now that it dropped in price. Lots of productions are still going to want them for years and 60 fps could be just the push they would need to choose it over the fs7, assuming they want the (original) dual pixel autofocus, like to use hoards of abundant cheap media and don't need 4k as most broadcast and reality shows don't.

August 6, 2015 at 1:21PM, Edited August 6, 1:22PM

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Derek Olson
Directomatographeditor
695

I'm always surprised when post-production folks can't find use for 4k. I find it extraordinarily valuable in post when I need to punch into a image without any loss of quality. Punching into HD to stabilize or crop or reframe always ends up softening the image. I rarely deliver in 4k, but having it available in post gives me creative options.

August 6, 2015 at 4:24PM

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Not impressed by the standard color profiles of this cam.. to me they still look like proper home video. Let's see what can be done when playing around with the color matrix.

August 6, 2015 at 8:38AM

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Kokles
141

The autofocus features and manual focus guides look great. No hunting and precise focus.
Will be a hit for documentaries.

August 6, 2015 at 8:58AM

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Ezi Seel
733

Auto focus is for blind trolls

August 6, 2015 at 1:14PM

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Kyle Lamar
Director Producer DP
1215

That's a very thoughtful response Kyle, but, if you'd be so kind, I do feel like some of us could benefit from some elaboration on this information. Such as, why is autofocus for blind trolls? Does having the ability to use autofocus somehow blind these trolls, by which I assume you mean short camera operators with a poor skillset caused by their bad eyesight and stubby fat fingers. And if autofocus is just for poor camera operators, what does that make an operator who needs a focus puller just to keep things in focus? I imagine you have got a doozy of an insult for someone like that right? Let's hear it. What do you call someone who needs a whole other person to be present or he can't even properly acquire an image? Obviously a polymath like you who is a Director, Producer and DP while also nailing his own focus will know the coolest, most devastating burn.

August 6, 2015 at 1:36PM, Edited August 6, 1:38PM

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Derek Olson
Directomatographeditor
695

The one and only reason people won't use autofocus is that video autofocus implementations suck. When AF stops sucking (perhaps with the implementation in this camera) only dogmatists like you won't use it.

August 7, 2015 at 4:25AM

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Ezi Seel
733

Gotta say, I'm liking what I'm seeing. Canon isn't pushing the envelope by any means, but they're certainly delivering. I'll be picking one up first chance I get.

I do want to point out that John was incorrect about one thing though. He explicitly states that, "There is no other camera on the market that can do 410mb/s 4k internally", which is absolutely not true. The FS7 does 600mb/s 4k internally.

August 6, 2015 at 4:03PM, Edited August 6, 4:03PM

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Daniel Waghorne
Cinematographer/Drone Pilot
202

As a C300 MK I owner, I have loved my camera and used the crap out of it. It's been amazing. But this past two years, the lack of available frame rates have become very obvious to me. It's been frustrating not having the option to over crank. The MK II's 30p maximum at 4k is not good in 2015 for a $16k camera. What I would like to know is if shooting 60P at UHD crops the sensor. Can you shoot UHD at 60p and utilize the full frame? Or do all frame rates over 30 crop the sensor down?

August 6, 2015 at 8:35PM, Edited August 6, 8:58PM

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Derek Doublin
Director, Cinematographer, Large Scale Artist
766

This camera is not going to be the succes the c300 mark 1 was, not even close. There are way more options in the marketplace now at much better price points. For 16k I would much rather have 3 Ursa Minis and shoot 120 in true 35mm frame.

It's obvious Canon doesn't know how to tackle frame rates. And frankly I'm tired of canon still lenses being used on cine cameras, if they don't make an affordable Cine style lens they will loose that market too. Sony is Killing them at every corner and the fact that Sony is teaming up with Zeiss is the final nail in the canon coffin. Mark my words, these changes are real. And the recent decline in canon dslr sales is an obvious fact that canons days of domination are over.

Putting auto focus on a 16k camera is like getting a Ferrari in automatic. Cropping a 35mm sensor to get more frame rates is a crime and 16k is a stupid price for this camera.

And I don't know what people are thinking that the c300 is great in low light, it sucks past 1250 ISO - I know cause I own one. Again Sony is killing them in ISO with the a7 series fs7.

I bet the new iPhone will be better than this canon c300 mark 2.

August 6, 2015 at 9:46PM, Edited August 6, 9:47PM

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Matt Bass
FILMMAKER
88

I believe the Ursa Mini will crop the frame significantly (AKA window the sensor) when shooting at anything above 60 frames. But that's still better than the C300 MK II, which only gives you 30 frames before it crops the image (still waiting to confirm this though).

August 7, 2015 at 8:32PM

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Derek Doublin
Director, Cinematographer, Large Scale Artist
766

The a7S with Atomos Shogun looks better. And even the Samsung NX1 is more eye catching that this. Hard to believe this is the best Canon could come up with for this much money. I'm not inspired by these samples. Even harder to believe how many people will buy/rent this camera when they could just go with buying an a7S and and Atomos Shogun. But to each their own. I'm not trying to be down on anyone that will choose this for a shoot. I wish whoever uses this camera the best of success.

August 6, 2015 at 11:07PM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
1970

The success of this camera will hinge on pulling people away from the C100MKII. It's not going to be a small amount of money more so there will have to be some serious reasons for people to make that jump, not just 4K and a possibly better autofocus. I'm interested to see where it sits in the market long term.

August 7, 2015 at 1:18AM

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Matt Robinson
Film Educator & Cinematographer
245

Can someone help.

For this amount of money can you outline what a cheaper camera for eg the GH4 or Ursa could *not deliver? Image, reliability, build etc

Essentially why am I paying the extra?

August 10, 2015 at 5:35AM, Edited August 10, 5:35AM

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I'm loving all of the upgrades! There's always drawbacks such as Canon's limited frame rates, but if I'm shooting high speed, I wouldn't use a canon camera anyway. For people like me who deal with rental houses all of the time, the price of this camera isn't going to be an issue. Again like the original, because of it's ease of use and it's quality low light performance, this will most definitely be my go-to camera for certain applications.

August 10, 2015 at 6:33PM, Edited August 10, 6:33PM

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Trenton Massey
Director of Photography/ DIT/ Camera Operator
89

I'm looking forward to this release, they fixed most of the issues that bugged the hell out of me.

August 10, 2015 at 6:45PM

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Trenton Massey
Director of Photography/ DIT/ Camera Operator
89