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Old December 4th, 2011, 12:04 PM   #1
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Is the C300 worth all the hype?

I've surfed the web for all the C300 footage I could find, and nothing is convincing me to even rent this cam. I own a 7D and a 550D (T2i). I occasionally use the 5D Mk II as well. But this cams footage is not that far off from what I already use. I love strong DOF. And the ISO settings aren't anything many of us can't handle in post. I hope I'm not coming of pessimistic. I know that there are perks with the above mentioned features, but does that justify the $20,000 price tag. Not at all IMHO. It's just the footage is essentially the usual Canon HDSLR stuff we've already seen. I'm actually thinking about a Sony A77 to experiment with the full 1080p 60p more so than this. Anybody agree?
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Old December 4th, 2011, 12:36 PM   #2
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Re: Is the C300 worth all the hype?

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Davis View Post
I own a 7D and a 550D (T2i). I occasionally use the 5D Mk II as well.
The C300 isn't really pointed at 7D owners or Rebel owners. It's intended primarily for
broadcast television production. If you're not shooting for broadcast / satellite distribution,
if you're not shooting for Discovery or History Channel or HGTV for instance, then it's
probably not the right choice for you.

Unless you already own or are planning to buy some really expensive PL-mount cinema
glass or L-series EF lenses, you're *not* the target market for the C300.

Quote:
I love strong DOF.
I bet you meant to say the opposite. Like a lot of folks, including me, I bet you love shallow DOF.

Quote:
And the ISO settings aren't anything many of us can't handle in post.
Have to disagree. In my experience it's practically impossible to "simulate" a very clean high ISO in post.

Quote:
but does that justify the $20,000 price tag. Not at all IMHO.
I'm not sure how many times I've said this now, but after the first month it *ain't* gonna sell for $20,000.

Quote:
I'm actually thinking about a Sony A77 to experiment with the full 1080p 60p more so than this.
That sounds like an excellent idea, and at ~$2,000 it's much more in line with the
Rebel / 7D price range. I think we should probably host a Sony Alpha forum here.
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Old December 4th, 2011, 12:52 PM   #3
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Re: Is the C300 worth all the hype?

I suspect if you projected the images from those particular cameras along side the images from the C300 on a 40 foot screen you'd notice the difference quite easily. You can't tell that much from highly compressed web video viewed on a computer, you can lose a lot during the compression process.

I once viewed 2 examples of the same scene, one was compressed and the other wasn't, but one looked sharper than other. It turned out the softer scene was the uncompressed, the compression process had removed the diffusion that the DP had used on the camera and made it look sharper.

The Moire test and the vibration tests in the test video here http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/new-cano...nathan-yi.html show marked advantages over DSLRs.

The camera isn't being sold at $20k, it's just a price that Canon gave out at the announcement. Even in the UK you can order the C300 for less than that price, Canon haven't yet given out their actual US price yet and the street price could be even lower again.
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Old December 4th, 2011, 03:07 PM   #4
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Re: Is the C300 worth all the hype?

Is this about the price again?
It is, isn't it.
Might need an "I hate the C300 list price" forum at this rate.

I kid, I kid.

But I must be reading the wrong blogs or something. The real question would seem to be "Does the C300 deserve the scorn?" based on what I've seen.
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Old December 4th, 2011, 03:15 PM   #5
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Re: Is the C300 worth all the hype?

Once the camera ships in January, if all remains on schedule, there will be plenty more examples of footage out there. In fact, the production version of the camera may well solve some of the concerns raised with the footage that currently exists.

Hype is only effective if you buy into it. The C300 may not be the groundbreaking camera that we were all hoping for, and it is likely not to hit a price point that many DSLR users wanted, but it is clearly a solid contender and a much more user-friendly camera than the DSLR's in terms of form factor and flexibility. I myself got much more out of Jonathan Yi's demo clip than any of the ones that Canon used for the rollout, so safe to say that the hype didn't work on me.
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Old December 4th, 2011, 03:35 PM   #6
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Re: Is the C300 worth all the hype?

Look at the C300 projected in a theater and then you will understand that it is meant to compete with RED and Sony F3, not with DSLR. Online with web compression, all of these camera platforms are comparable. In a theater or even with HDTV, it's another story.

Yes, it's worth the hype. Amazing battery life, incredible low-light quality, good form factor, and lens versatility. Ultimate cinema-ENG crossover.
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Old December 4th, 2011, 04:15 PM   #7
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Re: Is the C300 worth all the hype?

I always use the word strong when speaking about shallow DOF.

@ Jad. I took my girlfriend to see Like Crazy a few weeks ago and to be very honest, her and everyone I talked to after the screening told me they thought it was shot on film or an expensive HD cam (Red, Arri, F35). The images were stunning.
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Old December 4th, 2011, 04:20 PM   #8
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Re: Is the C300 worth all the hype?

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Originally Posted by James Davis View Post
I know that there are perks with the above mentioned features, but does that justify the $20,000 price tag. Not at all IMHO.
You make a very good point, and for many it will no way worth all that cash. The DSLR's are and will remain an amazing tool to give filmmakers on a low budget the ability to create images that resemble the more expensive cameras.

For me though what makes the C300 worth all that extra cash are the tools included and reliability it brings to the table. Obviously any improvements in image quality are going to be nice as well.

I spent some time with the C300 a couple of days ago and have written loads about why it's worth it to me on my blog if interested.

Canon C300 first look review | Paul Joy
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Old December 4th, 2011, 04:25 PM   #9
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Re: Is the C300 worth all the hype?

DSLRs are amazing, but one shouldn't ignore their shortcomings: aliasing, limited resolution, rolling shutter, ergonomics, lack of pro features (XLRs, timecode, HD SDI, genlock, redundant media slots.) The C300 keeps the general "look" of DSLRs, but it does so with higher quality and a pro feature set. DSLRs simply don't compete when you compare the cameras beyond the general "look".

Also consider that the best DSLR footage avoids problem shots. Good shooters know a camera's limits, so they manage camera motion, dynamic range, and high-frequency content. Do that and a DSLR looks brilliant. Push the limits and the C300 will continue to perform well while the DSLR will fail to deliver.

It's really no contest. That said, if the budget only allows a DSLR, respect its limits and you can deliver great results.
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Old December 4th, 2011, 04:35 PM   #10
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Re: Is the C300 worth all the hype?

Enjoyed your blog post Paul. I see many of the negative issues being addressed/understood more. And your biggest disappointment is the same as mine. With all this talk of 48 and 60 frames being the next step in cinema, I wanted to test out a full HD image at 60p. Thats why I'm looking into the A77.
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Old December 4th, 2011, 05:36 PM   #11
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Re: Is the C300 worth all the hype?

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Davis View Post
I hope I'm not coming of pessimistic. I know that there are perks with the above mentioned features, but does that justify the $20,000 price tag. Not at all IMHO. It's just the footage is essentially the usual Canon HDSLR stuff we've already seen.
I'll repeat again what Chris says: "It's intended primarily for broadcast television production."

And it's important to ask yourself how a camera should be judged from their viewpoint. It's easy to think "well, the pictures should look nice!", but unfortunately (and quite apart from usability/ergonomic issues) that's just not good enough. Aliasing is a good example of why so. At a relatively low level, aliases can seriously affect the compressions used in the broadcast chain, even if not really visible in first generation pictures. To a broadcaster, they may mean that the broadcast bitrate would have to be higher for similar quality than if cameras with little aliasing are used in the first place. And aliasing on DSLRs is well above that level - typically it IS visible at the first generation.

DSLR pictures may seem OK at straightforward viewing - but fall apart sooner in the production chain. But it's impossible to generalise.

And to a broadcaster, the price difference between a fully equipped DSLR and a C300 is a drop in the ocean compared to other fixed costs. For that matter, it becomes pretty small compared to the amount of money that may be spent on a kit of lenses for higher end work. And that may be the reason for wanting to use a large format video camera in the first place.
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Old December 4th, 2011, 09:46 PM   #12
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Re: Is the C300 worth all the hype?

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Originally Posted by Brian Drysdale View Post
You can't tell that much from highly compressed web video viewed on a computer...
Can so.

I have a 14" monitor; and I need to be critical. The 5D II, GH2, 1D X don't have the richness or depth of colour, nor the breadth of sharpness to softness that the C300 has. Even webcast.

And I can forgo the moire. Though I do love the jerkiness and the jello of those old cameras... if only they had the richness, depth, and breadth...I'll keep dreaming, and by the time I get a script together that's worthy of the C300's quality it'll. be 1/3 the price. Or, there'll be something better at less than that, such as the C300JJ ( for jerk & jello ), or whatever.
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Old December 5th, 2011, 02:45 AM   #13
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Re: Is the C300 worth all the hype?

Yes, I know but not everyone sees it. Even in the windowed play outs you can see differences to the C300 images to those from the DSLRs, but as you say these become much more obvious (and with some more differences) when played full screen. Viewing on a large monitor or projected on a screen through a quality system recorded images from the cameras without the web compression will reveal even more.

Re broadcast, I speaking to an expert from a well known UK broadcaster during the month before the Hollywood launch and I got the impression that they may have been in the loop and he was holding back from discussing it.
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Old December 5th, 2011, 03:16 AM   #14
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Re: Is the C300 worth all the hype?

As a follow up.

A short film I directed on 35mm film has an opening close shot of two people's lips moving into shot to kiss. The experienced DP and 1st AC lined up the shot and at the time I wondered if, with the variables, it would sharp be the way the were doing it, but I let them continue. During the edit the shot looked fine on the AVID and its large viewing screen, the neg was then printed onto 35 mm and then, when projected for the first time on a large screen, you could see the shot was soft. On the DVD copies it looks OK, but every time the print is projected you can see the soft shot.
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Old December 5th, 2011, 06:08 AM   #15
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Re: Is the C300 worth all the hype?

I think the images from the C300 look beautiful. Brian brings up the projections issues and even mentions the "35mm kiss".

Last year, I contributed footage shot on HDCam to a film. The editors told me the HDCam material holds up beautifully as long as it is sharp to begin with. We had one other contributor who shot on another codec but was contracted for what is most easily described as "political" reasons. They had a hell of a time with the post on that stuff.

The number of pixels and lines of resolution are only good if the contrast and dynamic range can actually help resolve the final image. Too many people are hung up on the 2k, 4k BS. The image has to be seen and used to be effective. The colors need to be true. Soon we will be guided to cameras which will not need white balancing, and in my mind this is a difficult concept to play with. That being- just shoot it RAW and correct it all in post. After 20 years as a DP that is nearly offensive.
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