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Old November 18th, 2011, 05:56 PM   #1
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Reasons to go for C300 over RED Scarlet X?

What I really wanted to know (pardon me for not asking it specifically), is why should I buy a Canon C300 instead of the Scarlet X?

If it does have an 'edge', then what is the advantage? Because of the 'Canon' brand name? Because it works straight out of the box? I apologise if my questions seem idiotic. But I can't seem to find this answer in this forum (having read the other threads)
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Old November 18th, 2011, 06:27 PM   #2
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Re: Reasons to go for C300 over RED Scarlet X?

I'd say you'd buy it if you wanted a straight forward no-nonsense approach for high-quality 1080 production - shoot, straight to edit, and a broadcast codec without external recorder. No need for extensive digital "developing" of a RAW file. That's likely to be attractive for a lot of broadcast organisations.

Maybe not the most suitable if you are relying on a lot of heavy grading - but for a lot of TV drama etc, that's not going to be the case - no time or budget for more than "tweaking"! And likely to be used by cameramen who are used to getting it right in camera.

Worth reading what Adam Wilt has to say - ProVideo Coalition.com: Camera Log by Adam Wilt | Founder | Pro Cameras, HDV Camera, HD Camera, Sony, Panasonic, JVC, RED, Video Camera Reviews

And from his comments, he says:
Quote:
I also think the form factor of the camera and its ergonomics are another big deal. Size, weight, and usability are frequently just as important as bit counts, pixels, and other tech specs. I have access to RED ONEs and Arri/Zeiss Ultra Primes, with all the 4K goodness and RAW recording bit-depth those cameras allow, but I’m far more likely to grab our 1/2” Sony PMW-EX1 or my micro-4/3 Panasonic GH2 or full-frame Canon 5D Mk II for any sort of location work. I love the images I get out of our REDs, but I don’t love hauling ‘em around. The same sort of “can I just pick it up and use it” calculus will likely drive the C300 into places where its numerical specifications alone wouldn’t make it seem so competitive.

We’ll see…
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Old November 18th, 2011, 11:11 PM   #3
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Re: Reasons to go for C300 over RED Scarlet X?

Happy to answer your question, now that you've asked one... but David beat me to it.
I'll add in SPEED as a main reason for taking the C300 over any Red. Fast set ups, (assumed) no reliability issues, and much faster post production. All of that equals money and that adds up fast. And in the broadcast world that runs on tight deadlines, this is a deal maker. Need to turn your spot around by tomorrow night? You ain't shooting on a Red, any Red, ever.

Another problem is that you're comparing apples to oranges. The C300 is really a competitor for the Sony F3. If you aren't looking at buying an F3, you shouldn't be looking at buying a C300 either.

And since you brought up the 5D3 in another thread... here's a dose of truth. The 5D3 isn't going to do more than the C300... so if you think the Scarlet is a better camera than the C300, you're going to think it's a better camera than the 5D3 as well.
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Old November 19th, 2011, 12:14 AM   #4
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Re: Reasons to go for C300 over RED Scarlet X?

On the edge side, let's add low light ability (from what I've heard anecdotally, the red starts to show a lot of noise around 800-1200 ISo.. Which is about the c300's base ISO. Larry Thorpe showed a chart during an interview yesterday showing virtually no loss of dynamic range or s/n ratio at 6400 iso' and impressive numbers all the way up to 16000.

On the 120 fps red 1k mode. Keep in mind that's on a windowed sensor. (2/3" or I think 6.24 x crop) so forget anything wide angle or even normal length unless you have ultra wide glass or go with pl lenses.

For me the primary issue comes down go workflow. I cost of capturing storing and processing raw video is substantial and time consuming.
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Old November 19th, 2011, 01:53 AM   #5
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Re: Reasons to go for C300 over RED Scarlet X?

Probably depends on what you're actually going to be filming.

If you're doing a movie thats going to be screened theatrically, or something that needs excessive grading then Scarlet might be the one.

If you're doing something for broadcast (or anything that will be finished in 1080p like Vimeo for instance), or documentary work etc, then the C300 might be better.

But the C300 and Scarlet are aimed at different markets really. A better comparison might be which should I buy: the C300 or the Alexa? Which should I buy: the Scarlet of the Epic? Depends what you want to film.
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Old November 19th, 2011, 02:05 AM   #6
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Re: Reasons to go for C300 over RED Scarlet X?

The C300 also has an advantage if you're working away from power. The camera doesn't seem to be power hungry and you might get away with keeping the lower cost CF cards as master media, rather than needing to download and make back up copies.
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Old November 19th, 2011, 02:37 AM   #7
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Re: Reasons to go for C300 over RED Scarlet X?

There are several important operational differences between Scarlet X and the C300:

Data
- Scarlet: Max data rate is 440 Mbps
- C300: Max data rate is 50 Mbps
- Conclusion: Scarlet will require up to 8X more data storage space for as long as you own it. That's an enormous amount of data that could be a burden in the long run.

Power
- Scarlet's Redvolts only last about 25-30 minutes and cost $195 each.
- C300's BP-955 last 190 minutes and cost $175 (OEM)
- Conclusion: C300 totally wins here. You'd have to buy over $1100 in RED batteries and swap them 6 times just to equal the one battery included with the C300.

Media
- Scarlet exclusively uses RED SSD. The least expensive 64 GB drive is $950 and gets you about 25 minutes of run time.
- C300 uses off the shelf CF cards (but must meet minimum speeds). You can buy a 2 pack of 32 GB CF cards for $145. If you don't make a backup, 64 GB will get you 160 min of run time.
- Conclusion: C300 media is almost an order of magnitude more economical. If you consider cost per minute of run time, it's almost 40X more economical. RED's high performance certainly comes at a price.

Media Slot
- Scarlet SDD side module only has one slot and the drive is not totally enclosed
- C300 has dual, covered slots. This allows relay recording or simultaneous recording for an instant backup.
- Conclusion: Advantage C300

ND Filters
- Scarlet has no built-in ND filters. There will be a future option for a filter tray in the sensor port, but you can't change it without removing the lens.
- C300 has three built-in ND filters.
- Conclusion: Advantage C300

Side Handle/Accessories
- Scarlet side handle can not rotate. Accessories and cover plates mount with screws, requiring tools.
- C300 side handle feels like a Canon DSLR grip and can be rotated. All included accessories can be removed or attached without using tools.
- Conclusion: Advantage C300

Boot up time
- Scarlet, if similar to Epic, boots up in about 8 secs.
- C300 boots up in 4 secs.
- Conclusion: Advantage C300

Monitoring
- Scarlet's Bomb EVF is very good, but it's not included and it cost $3200. The 5.0" touchscreen is larger then the C300's LCD, but it has had some reports of reliability issues.
- C300 comes with an integrated EVF and the LCD unit can be mounted and rotated in more ways than the RED touchscreen
- Conclusion: Advantage C300

Connections
- Scarlet requires third party XLR or PRO I/O module for an extra ~$3000 and it has no ETA yet.
- C300 has full jack pack and dual XLRs.
- Conclusion: Advantage C300

Autofocus
- Scarlet with Canon mount can autofocus Canon EF lenses
- C300 does not have autofocus or auto exposure of any kind
- Conclusion: Advantage Scarlet

Regarding operational aspects, the C300 seems to be more attractive.

Regarding max grading potential, Scarlet has the advantage with 16-bit RAW workflow.

Regarding 4K recording, only Scarlet has this.

Regarding frame rates, Scarlet is less attractive if you consider the sensor gets cropped further and further as the frame rates go up. 60p can only be done at 2K, which is a 3.47X crop factor. 120p is only 1K and has a huge 6.4X crop factor. It's very important to understand Scarlet's data sheet and all the implications shown here: Scarlet X Data Sheet
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Old November 19th, 2011, 08:08 AM   #8
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Re: Reasons to go for C300 over RED Scarlet X?

Tim,

All these are excellent points and often understated. These clearly make the C300 much more appealing for TV and documentaty productions and also make it a better choice for handheld camera work.

Take care,

Thierry.
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Old November 19th, 2011, 09:14 AM   #9
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Re: Reasons to go for C300 over RED Scarlet X?

It's harder to distinguish reasons for/against the F3 compared the C300. The F3 can actually be purchased now. It's unclear when someone ordering today can get the other two cameras.

The power issue with Red is remarkable in 2012. I wonder what in their design is so power hungry. I don't see how a camera with those power specs can be called upgradable. Replacing the sensor and the electronics isn't an "upgrade".

In practice if the Scarlet data rate is desirable, then the change of storage and battery may sync. But the needs of both make for a bigger kit. Especially for someone shooting alone that's an issue. But do we know if Scarlet has the same power issues as Epic?

To me Scarlet is distinct in features and benefits from the C300 and F3. If the decision is unclear then perhaps project needs require further evaluation. If in practice Scarlet will need to shoot 3 or 4K to get good 1080p then that's a PIA to do frequently.

At this point only the F3 is the proven system.
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Old November 19th, 2011, 10:03 AM   #10
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Re: Reasons to go for C300 over RED Scarlet X?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Wood View Post
Probably depends on what you're actually going to be filming.

If you're doing a movie thats going to be screened theatrically, or something that needs excessive grading then Scarlet might be the one.
Regarding theatrical screening, I think Canon put this one to bed at the Paramount Event. Images projected on a 60ft screen in the big theater looked stellar and certainly didn't raise any red flags regarding image quality in this type of venue. There was no question in my mind that this camera can and will be used in "film"

Regarding grading. I think the best way to describe Scarlet-Xs advantage here is "flexibility in grading"...essentially allowing for a more neutral, less committed approach when shooting. For folks coming from a traditional film background, (accustomed to getting the look in camera) this might be considered lazy...for those coming from a digital still photography background (like Jim Jannard...umm...and myself) this could be considered an essential freedom.

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Old November 19th, 2011, 01:43 PM   #11
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Re: Reasons to go for C300 over RED Scarlet X?

I just spent a week pulling focus on an Epic for the first time. I can't compare the Scarlet yet but here's some first thoughts on the Epic. We were in studio and are heading outside next week.

The two things that jumped out at me were power consumption, media cost, and workflow.

Firstly the Epic is Power Mad - literally... this thing eats batteries. If Scarlet is anything close, you either better plug it in or buy extra,batteries

Media cost - at 5k and 5:1 compression we got about 30 mins on a 128gb card. We rotated 4 of them. I don't like reformatting non-replaceable media when it's not that critical, never mind critical stuff. We re-formatted the SSD daily. That is a little scary to me. The 128gb SSD are 1,800.00 each. So we were re-formatting about 7,500 worth of media daily. The Scarlet production package ships with 1-64gb SSD. You will definitely need to upgrade. Depending on compression rate - it's about 3.5k for an hour of media.

We shot with the Red 18-85 t2.9 lens, which is a beast at about 12 pounds. Set-ups were really slow. This wouldn't be an issue with Scarlet.

The Epic doesn't yet have in-cam playback (although any day now) and we had to review by pulling media and plugging into the proprietary Mag reader. I'm not even sure what that costs.

Basically, the Scarlet production package might list at 15k, but you will definitely need to add at least 5k more in basic upgrades, plus glass to have a functioning workflow.
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Old November 19th, 2011, 02:22 PM   #12
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Re: Reasons to go for C300 over RED Scarlet X?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Diewert View Post
The Epic doesn't yet have in-cam playback (although any day now)
This was added yesterday :-)
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Old November 19th, 2011, 02:31 PM   #13
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Re: Reasons to go for C300 over RED Scarlet X?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Diewert View Post
We shot with the Red 18-85 t2.9 lens, which is a beast at about 12 pounds. Set-ups were really slow. This wouldn't be an issue with Scarlet.
You could be still using that lens on a Scarlet, it really depends on the lenses you're using on either the Epic or the Scarlet. Likewise you could mount this lens on a PL mount C300.
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Old November 19th, 2011, 03:55 PM   #14
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Re: Reasons to go for C300 over RED Scarlet X?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Drysdale View Post
You could be still using that lens on a Scarlet, it really depends on the lenses you're using on either the Epic or the Scarlet. Likewise you could mount this lens on a PL mount C300.
Yes...but why. It is a freaking beast.

Our Canon mount was ordered in August and is still not shipped. Supposed to be here next week. We had to add 10 pounds of counterweight to the back to try to balance it a little.

And yes... that is a carbon fibre matte box on the front. Kind of like eating a 3,000 calorie meal, but drinking a diet coke with it. :P
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Old November 19th, 2011, 04:13 PM   #15
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Re: Reasons to go for C300 over RED Scarlet X?

It's a cine zoom lens, with all the mechanical advantages over a stills lens when shooting films. These lenses are all about that weight

You need to rig it using the support bars and a bridge plate that the camera/len combo balances, in this case more or less somewhere under the lens. It's a set up you'll find when small cameras are used with the larger lenses. This arrangement commonly also happens with 2/3" TV cameras using very large zoom range lenses which are often fitted for sports coverage.

When properly rigged you can easily move the combined camera and zoom lens as one unit to the next camera set up.
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