November 15, 2016 at 10:36AM, Edited November 15, 10:45AM


How does the Canon C100 with External Recorder compare?

For narrative filmmaking (mostly scripted) how does the Dual Pixel CMOS AF Canon Eos C100 paired with lets say an Atomos Ninja Blade compare to C100mii or a c300 price wise weight out with image quality and versatility. This will be my first cinema camera and the price for a Dual Pixel CMOS AF C100 used in my area is running at $1,800 Body only. Is it more efficient to get this C100 + External recorder for and save the rest for lighting/ great lens?


If it's your first cinema camera then yes C100 will be best for you, save money for lenses and such that will be compatible further down the road.

November 15, 2016 at 11:31AM

Clark McCauley

The Mkii does seem to have some useful improvements. 60fps (maybe not useful for narrative), positionable screen and proper view finder could all be useful. The tests I looked at showed improved image and better low-light performance from the new processor.

November 17, 2016 at 6:53AM


Its depends on how you like to film. The external recorder will be more detailed but noisier. The encoding taking place on board will wipe out fine detail, but also noise on the low end. If you like to push iso's then don't get an external recorder, you're only shooting 8 bit so noise reduction in post will not be pretty. If you like to expose for 400 ISO and get a beefy negative you'll get more out of the external recorder.

November 25, 2016 at 1:59PM

Indie Guy

Not sure about Indie Guy's comment, but I run a C100 with the Blackmagic Video Assist and get HDMI uncompressed out to ProRes 4:2:2 10bit. Since the C100's native ISO is 800, you still get great exposure and color in your image. I too was in your same position where cost was an issue. The money I saved on this combo I could then afford another lens and lighting kit.

December 25, 2016 at 3:53PM


Alas, not. The HDMI output remains 8 bit. Also, the Video Assist can't manage the pull-down needed from the C100. I hope BMD add this - they would probably steal the crown from Atomos for many users.

Ben Johnston

January 11, 2017 at 12:19PM

Also, consider the BMVA. It uses inexpensive SD cards so both cost and post-production work is less.

December 25, 2016 at 4:16PM


For what it's worth, I work with a c100 on a daily basis, and I haven't seen much of a difference between recording to an Atomos Ninja and recording to SD. I haven't done any extensive tests. I haven't viewed on big screens. Mostly, all I do notice is much, much bigger file sizes, and clunkier and longer editing/processing/rendering. From memory, I think you do see slightly more detail in both highlights and darks when recording uncompressed, but only in a way that's there when you're pixel peeping and looking for it. So, I just record internally instead.

This is what I believe (but I hope someone more knowledgeable will chime in): when you record to 10 bit 422 or whatever, the image is still 8 bit. It's limited by the processor. There might be more flexibility in pushing around the grade in post, but you're not going to see immediate differences. In theory, there will be fewer compression artefacts, but, to be honest, I very rarely notice compression artifacts in ordinary footage anyway.

December 25, 2016 at 5:48PM, Edited December 25, 5:54PM

Adrian Tan

For relatively still scenes, there isn't much difference between H.264 and ProRes to the human eye. When there's complex motion, H.264 falls apart and ProRes is the obvious winner. Now, I said "human eye" because CODECs are designed to drop information where people don't notice, but a computer will notice. If you're doing aggressive grading or compositing, ProRes has an advantage. Some editors also have the ability to export ProRes without recompression as long as no processing is done to the image, giving further advantage over H.264. Only use HQ mode, BTW, or it can be inferior to H.264 under some conditions

Side note, when recording an 8-bit HDMI signal to 10-bit CODEC, the last two bits are essentially just left as "zeros" and make no difference. It's simply that ProRes has no temporal compression that allows it to look and composite better.

December 27, 2016 at 2:12PM, Edited December 27, 2:32PM


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