A couple weeks ago I teamed up with Philip Bloom, Paul Joy, Suresh Kara and Sarah Estella to do a mini christmas shootout. It was spurred by Philip having a preproduction Canon C300. Now I’m not what you would call a camera geek (well maybe borderline) but I was particularly interested in this shoot out to see how the c300 held up against the Sony F3 as I was battling with which one to buy. Il go into that in a minute.
The Line up for the Christmas shootout was as follows:
Sony NEX5N- Flat PP by Abel Cine
Canon EOS C300 – C-LOG (Not Cinema mode for the res tests)
Panasonic GH2 – Driftwood Hack nostalgia and dialed down
Canon 5D mk2 – Marvels Advance
Canon 7D – Marvels Advance
Sony FS100 – G-LOG A
Sony PMW-F3 AB-RANGE
Sony PMW-F3 – S-Log
Nikon D7000 – Flat
It definitely was the most accurate of testing, but it gave us what we need to make some good comparisons. You can read more about the shoot out on Philips blog
Even though for me the clear winner of the shootout, regardless of price, was the F3 with S-Log, I still maintained my Pre-order for the C300 and heres some reasons why..
I had been waiting for all the main camera manafactures to show their hand for a while, panasonic went first with AF 100 which was and still is very competitively priced, then sony with FS100 and F3, then the ones we were all waiting on the edge of seats for.. Canon and RED on the 3rd November. The C300 took a huge bashing when it was announced, mainly because of it being the same time as the RED scarlet was announced which seemed to be twice as good for half the price. The C300 was at the bottom of my list with the F3 and Scarlet battling for 1st. I wanted the scarlet, I mean really wanted it, but I also wanted it to suit my needs and I just couldn’t justify it. First off not having much experience with RED cameras or workflow it scared me a little, a lot of my work requires me as a one man band and a fast turnaround in post production. I don’t think the scarlet would allow this. Yes it was tempting especially with 4K and so called future proofing, but to be honest if everything goes 4K in a couple of years il get one then, no need for one now just incase 4K becomes the prominent format, it’s not going to happen over night. So now the Scarlet was like the mistress I want but know it just wouldn’t be right and the C300 is the bastard child i just didn’t want, so the the F3 seemed like the choice for me.
I quickly came to terms with the fact that no one camera was going to have everything I wanted so it was always going to be a compromise, I just needed to find a camera that tick the most boxes. I soon realised the C300 was ticking a lot of boxes especially when the official price was given to me “£9995″ excl VAT, now this camera was a contender, it was priced the same as the F3. Out of the box the C300 shoots 4:2:2 at 50mbs where as the F3 shoots 4:2:0 at 35mbs. The C300 takes my canon EF lenses and uses the image stabilising, its small and light weight and feels great to hold, a rig is not essential. The F3 however is an oversized brick that just feels awkward to hold, needs an external recorder (more weight and bulk) to compete with the C300 spec and it doesn’t take my EF lenses. Now the main thing still attracting me to the F3 and this is a big one, the stunning footage you get with £2500 S-Log upgrade and the ability to get 10bit uncompressed 4:4:4 out the back of the camera to an external recorder. With the S-Log and ext recorder your looking at an additional £6K+. So it was no longer in the same price range as the C300. Now in my day to day work (broadcast, documentaries, interviews etc) I don’t need 10 bit uncompressed 4:4:4 but it would just be nice to know you have it if you need it. The C300 unfortunately only allows 8bit 4:2:2 throughout which really sucks. But most of the time thats all I need.
Of course up until that point all of my comparisons where based on what I had read as I hadn’t seen any C300 footage hence my eagerness to do the Christmas Shootout. The C300 held up great in all the tests and like I said earlier I preferred the image from the F3 S-Log but the C300 in C-Log wasn’t far off. Heres a quick breakdown of my pros and cons for each camera:
Shoots 4:2:2 50mbs out the box
Takes my EF lenses that i already own
Uses my CF cards that I already own
Camera Rig, monitor and accessories are not essential
4:4:4 10 bit uncompressed out the back of the camera
possibly an upgrade to 50\60p and full 1080p
No option for 10bit
50/60p only at 720p
Doesn’t take Ef lenses
S-Log is an expensive upgrade
External recorder adds ££ and bulk
need camera rig and external EVF/monitor – more ££
So as you see the C300 climbed its way to the top of my list and I hope to have it here with me in a few weeks!