May 20, 2015 at 8:13AM, Edited May 20, 8:13AM

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Is it crazy to buy a c100 mk2?

I own a GH3 and BMPCC and use a Tascam DR-70d for audio and an Atomos Ninja Blade as a screen for the bmpcc since it's screen is so terrible. Also need a variable ND and IR filter, as well as big battery for the blackmagic.

I have toyed for a long time with the idea of selling everything I have for a c100, and I'm finally thinking I'll just do it. I love the image from the c100 and have used it for another company I freelance for. It's just all started to feel a bit ridiculous with all my add ons. I don't want to only shoot run and gun style but, mostly, that is what I end up doing... running and gunning and getting frustrated with external audio, battery solutions and screw on ND filters. Also... both my cameras suck in low light...

But then.... 4k? I know, I know it's bloody boring talking about 4k all the time, it's boring looking at it too! Because other than reframing I can't see a difference if the footage is nicely framed and lit and the content is interesting. But clients? I dunno... some idiots will start asking for it eventually.

So... it feels like a bad time to buy a 1080 camera. Is it? I REALLY want one. I need the 50p for music videos from the mk2 as well and it's just a more complete camera with the better screen/EVF et al. Just feels like a hit money wise when it will become obsolete.

URSA Mini? Still no built in ND's, heavier (I'd need a new tripod), V-Mount battery, still needs grading, CFast cards. So not totally sold on it.

P.S I still haven't seen ANY GH4 or a7s footage that I like. Colours are not pleasant at all and I want to get a good image in camera as well as occasionally to grade.

Am I crazy to spend a few grand on one? It still seems like the only plausible solution right now.

31 Comments

>>>P.S I still haven't seen ANY GH4 or a7s footage that I like. Colours are not pleasant at all and I want to get a good image in camera as well as occasionally to grade.

I'm really surprised by this statement, as I've seen fantastic color from both of these cameras when used by people that know how to light, color-correct, and properly grade their footage. Any time I've seen bad color from these cameras it's always the fault of the person shooting and processing the footage. ( with the one exception of how Sony sensors reproduce intense blue LED lights on dance floors, which is a well known Sony problem across several of their cameras )

May 20, 2015 at 10:03AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30054

It may be down to preference I don't know. Do you have any examples you could link to? I find the a7s weird with skin tones, and the Gh4 looks over sharpened personally and a little inorganic when I compare to my bmpcc or c100/c300 footage. I have the same problem with my GH3 it looks a bit sterile to my eyes.

Liam Martin

May 20, 2015 at 12:22PM

But yes... I am sure in the right hands they'll still do great things obviously, like any camera

Liam Martin

May 20, 2015 at 12:24PM

>>>I find the a7s weird with skin tones

A lot of people are shooting S-Log2 with the A7S, which means the final color is going to come from the grading of their shots, and it's obvious that some people need more practice with their grading skills.

With the GH4 it's all about camera settings, because the default settings are horrible: too contrasty, over saturated, too sharp, and too noisy. I shoot almost every day with my GH4 but most of the time I have contrast/sharpness/noise-reduction set to -5 and saturation at -2. The recorded footage looks dull and flat, but it totally comes to life when grading.

The GH3 is worse because you have less control over the image you are recording, but essentially it's the same sort of GH4 camera settings where you shoot with the "Natural" profile and turn everything down as much as possible.

I don't have any specific videos cataloged for skin tones, but here are two older examples that I think are pretty good. ( there are probably better more recent examples around, as people have had more time to figure these cameras out )

Sony A7S Skin Tones Test - Gonzalo Ezcurra
https://vimeo.com/106180022

Panasonic GH4 24p C4K 'Cine-D Profile' Skintone Quickie test - Nick Driftwood
https://vimeo.com/90794067

May 20, 2015 at 4:54PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30054

I can't post video from my work, but here's a 4K frame grab from an interview I shot yesterday with my GH4 using a Nikon 50mm f/1.4 and a Metabones SpeedBooster, so the effective focal length is about 35mm and the effective f-stop is f/2.0. The color looks pretty accurate to my eye, and I'm happy with the skin tones.

Frame Grab from Scientist Interview
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Byy1CMO9ZfmrcHRicU5qZFNXOFU/view?usp=sh...

May 21, 2015 at 10:44AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30054

I'm also considering a C100 mk2 (I still shoot on a 5d mk2). What really attracts me are the ergonomics, scopes and autofocus capabilities. I'm a solo shooter and using a DSLR + Rig + Viewfinder + external monitor + etc. gets exhausting after awhile.

What I'm curious about is this: Can you shoot handheld with the GH4/A7s if you have an IS lens? (I'm not steady enough without IS) Or do you need a rig? How much extra gear do you have to pile on the GH4/A7s to make it a video camera for a solo shooter?

May 21, 2015 at 2:48PM

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I've shot handheld with the GH4 with IS lenses both from Lumix, and from Canon via Metabones, both work beautifully.

Sebastian Kammonen

June 30, 2015 at 11:52AM

>>>Can you shoot handheld with the GH4/A7s if you have an IS lens?

I shoot handheld using a GH4 with a Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 IS lens and a $20 pistol grip handle, and the results are pretty good.

Dot Line P&C Handgrip
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/900329-REG/Dot_Line_pc_grip_P_C_Gr...

...Here's some footage shot handheld with a GH4 mounted on a $700 Nebula 4000 pistol-grip 3-axis gimbal. ( the last shot is done with a DJI Inspire 1 quad-copter )

Christopher Mayer : Parkour test
https://vimeo.com/126713751

This pistol-grip gimbal works with any lens on the GH4, so it doesn't have to be an IS lens. ( I am thinking of buying the PilotFly H1 pistol-grip gimbal for my GH4 )

May 21, 2015 at 3:45PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30054

Wow, that Nebula 400 pistol grip footage looks fab

Dan Horne

May 22, 2015 at 5:23AM

This is the same question I've struggled with. I ended up sticking with my BMPCC for now, same Tascam set up you have with a Rode NTG4.
There is a lot of plus/minus. C100mii is just such a complete camera out of the box which is so nice!!! That alone is hard to beat. And the codec is great, doesn't take as much room as a robust prores.
However, something about sizing down the pocket if I need to, or rigging it up big if I need to, and still being able to maintain in all honesty just a stunning image...I just love it. And there are plenty of flavors of prores in it now to try to keep storage down a bit.
I personally kind of like the grading process as well, and flexibility with the footage, so that doesn't bother me much. There's some pretty quick fixes you can make with some presets to get a good image out of the bmpcc very quickly in post, then grade further from there if you'd like.
But, again, toss up. c100mii, i've seen nothing but beautiful things.
As for 4k, that's the question, huh!? The industry does seem to be going strong in that direction. I was considering picking up a cheap/used Canon 1DC as that produces a wonderful 4k image, but then again that URSA Mini spec wise is pretty on point. That will be my next camera of choice, as far as I am currently concerned. Canon stuff does get so, so pricy.

May 21, 2015 at 4:21PM

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Ben Meredith
Cinematographer/Filmmaker
1035

Keep the Atomos recorder.
I used it in combination with a C100mk2 lately and the difference is very big. The files from the C100 are really compressed. That may not always be a problem, but Prores looks so much better.

May 22, 2015 at 4:55AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
9004

The C100 Mk2 costs $5999 and apparently has image processing improvements from predecessor, but the C300 is now reduced to $6999, with some possible advantages for the extra $1000. It is not quite clear if the C300 with internal codec gives a better image than C100 Mk2 with external recorder - if it does I would go for the better image.

May 22, 2015 at 9:38AM

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Saied M.
1221

I bought one three weeks ago.
I love it for all the functionality it has, not what it " lacks " according to the internet.
It will pay for itself over two years easily, probably longer and is a pleasure to work as a one man outfit.
I struggled with the 4K question but it's moot for my level of production. It's a gimmick and an expense that my clients don't need.
If you can suck up the costs, go 4K, but are you doing it to justify some paranoia / tech fetish perpetuated by places like NFS ?
Be honest with yourself, your needs and the needs of the people you're making films for.
Then make a decision.
I hope you enjoy the camera you end up buying.

May 22, 2015 at 10:02AM

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personally have given up on anything canon now. they're just 3 years behind on everything.

May 22, 2015 at 12:48PM

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Kazu Okuda
Filmmaker
1207

Just do it! If you like using the camera and it fulfills your needs and fits your shooting style, pull the trigger. It's not going to get outdated any time soon, regardless of what people will tell you on forums.

Your clients will not care about 4K. Your clients will not care about bit rates. And if they do, rent a 4K camera and build in the costs to your rate.

Heck, you could buy a C100 Mk1 right now, and still use it for years to come without a single complaint. I am certain of it. I work on a PBS documentary series that shoots on a C100 Mk1 recording to an Atomos Ninja 2. It looks great.

So I think the C100 MkII would be a solid purchase.

You're fed up with having to deal with all the accessories and add-ons. Well, the biggest strength of the Canon cameras is that they're complete packages in and of themselves. So do it. Don't obsess over it. Get a camera and start shooting.

That being said, I'm very happy with the images I get out of my GH4. I agree that I haven't seen too much good stuff floating around but I feel as if I've gotten a handle on it.

Here's a trailer for a documentary I'm shooting on the GH4:
https://vimeo.com/127678965

Would I trade it for a C100 MkII? No. At least not now. But that's only because I haven't quite reached the point of frustration you have with having to build a camera up. I might get there, though.

Because there's nothing lovelier than built-in NDs. That's just a fact.

May 22, 2015 at 7:25PM, Edited May 22, 7:25PM

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Canon C100 MII is a great camera. Problem $6000. Before wouldn't be a problem, but now with ever shrinking budgets is a huge investment. if you have enough work to justify this expense, go for it... But don't forget, to be a filmmaker is not only about shooting films, it is also business. Look at how much you earned last couple of years, look at your expenses, make a reasonable income projections, then decide. People talk too much about specs of the cameras and forget the business part. If you assume life cycle of the camera is 2 years(because of technology changes), then $6000 is $250 a month, you making money or not...

May 24, 2015 at 4:17AM, Edited May 24, 4:35AM

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Vladimir Pcholkin
BeekeeperStories
319

The C100 Mk1 is only $3000 new, and $2,000+ used. It doesn't have 60 fps or face-tracking AF, but otherwise it produces an almost identical image.

Guy McLoughlin

May 25, 2015 at 8:26AM

Thats a great advice! What gear would recommend for someone who is starting out but wants to make money ?

ELi

June 16, 2016 at 7:57PM

I went ahead and did it. I've got two long shoots this week so the proof will be in the pudding!

Great points all, especially about the business parts and the 4k debate. As that recent article on here says it's so easy to get crazy over gear and obsess over it. Sometimes I just have to admit that convenience is a big factor when you're on solo shoots and it's important for what I do. Often I'm working with people who don't have much media experience as well and there's nothing worse than spending an age setting up when they're busy crapping their pants. It'll help me just get on with things I hope.

For now... keeping the bmpcc and keeping the Ninja Blade. I'll just wait and see how much they get used over the next few months.

It's difficult isn't it? I mean you want the best tool for the job... but then... a camera's a camera's a camera. You can do so much these days with what is available, it's more about production and direction.

Also it's so good to see all the great work you guys are doing!!!

May 25, 2015 at 9:02AM

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Liam Martin
DP, editor, part time director
817

To Guy McLoughlin. Liam Martin is asking about C100 Mark 2, so my post is about it, not C100 M 1.

May 25, 2015 at 11:46AM

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Vladimir Pcholkin
BeekeeperStories
319

I know that, but if budget is an issue the Mk1 is not that big a down grade from the Mk2 and it costs half what the Mk2 does.

Guy McLoughlin

May 25, 2015 at 1:18PM

I got myself one a few weeks ago and couldn't be happier. I went from 5dmkiii to a7s and just really didnt get on with the colours the Sony put out. I tried every single in camera preset and so many luts but just couldn't get the colors i was wanting and found it took a very long time to grade the footage to match clips.

With the C100 mkii i find the colours extremely natural looking and also Clog seems a lot easier to work with then s-log2.

I got a package which came with the Atomos ninja star and i would highly recommend it. Some say its hard to notice a difference but i found with high detail and moving shots it makes a difference compared to the low internal compression.

If you want any sample clips just drop me a message and i can upload some raw clog for you to play with.

May 26, 2015 at 9:16PM

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Hey George!! Can you please link me with some raw c-log footage that I could grade?? That would be amazing and help me make my decision much easier. Thanks in advance!

Joshua Fernandez

June 12, 2015 at 7:45PM

"compared to the low internal compression" - you must mean "compared to the high internal compression". Highly compressed means less information with smaller files. I also would think that the Ninja Star would be good for chroma key work, which I do occasionally.

Terence Morris

July 2, 2016 at 11:28PM

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May 26, 2015 at 9:19PM, Edited May 26, 9:22PM

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I had a canon C100 (mk 1) for 1 year but sold it. Sure it had some advantages, low light features were good, but the images weren't that detailed and colors, well, not bad either, but a bit on the yellowish side. All in all in it a pretty large camera still. (try shooting with it all day) I switched to a GH4 and love its small size light weight feature, its very detailed 4K image, and once you know how to adjust the settings, the colors are absolutely fine. With VLOG coming soon, the dynamic range will get even better. Would I trade my GH4 for a Canon C100 mk II? Nope, I am happy with what I've got.

May 27, 2015 at 5:07PM

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Erwin Hartsuiker
CineVideo-NL videographer
713

My humble 2 cents would be that the C100ii is probably the most sensible purchase right now if you want a super35 sensor in a well-rounded package. It's true that it doesn't have raw, ProRes or 4k sexiness, but it does a lot of things well. It's easy to shoot with, the media is relatively cheap, files are easy to work with, image is good, has xlr inputs, the list goes on. The FS7 is a step up, but really ends up becoming a lot more expensive when you add up the costs for media and storage. There are a lot of great cameras, but it's definitely not crazy to get a C100ii.

May 28, 2015 at 10:23AM

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Tom Abray
Indy Videomaker
287

I read this post earlier today that said "stop obsessing over gear and make some damn films". I'm not saying you are not making stuff. I'm trying to say that there will always be something better then what you have. The bmpcc is a perfectly capable camera. As far as I am concerned you have all the tools to make an amazing film. Remember its the person behind the camera that makes the difference between amateur and professional footage , not the camera.

May 28, 2015 at 4:20PM

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Andrew
Director/Cinematographer
258

I just bought the C100 Mark2, will receive it on 8 of June, and I have the GH4 for 4k shootings, when clients request. For me, it has been a long decision to get the C100 mk2, when there is so much to choose from.... So, I decided to get the best camera for documentaries today for a single/small crew. No need for heavy extra equipment, delivers what is needed,(But I will get a Ninja Blade for ProRes) and... I CAN FOCUSING ON CREATING IMAGES, PUTTING GREAT LIGHTS AND... I HAVE 4K WHEN NEEDED...

June 2, 2015 at 10:10AM, Edited June 2, 10:10AM

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Sold all my canon gear and never looked back.... I wouldn't invest in company not willing to invest in themselves.

January 7, 2016 at 7:56PM

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Walter Wallace
Spokesperson/Entrepreneur
1186

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