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Old December 6th, 2011, 08:59 PM   #1
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C300 for wildlife filmmaking?

Anybody have an idea if the C300 will make a great wildlife camera? For my latest wildlife film released this year "Wildest of the Wild" I used the Canon XLH1. I'm now giving the XF300 a whirl, however even with a Century 1.6X attached it lacks lens power for the longer shots and the built in teleconverter degrades the quality and is useless in my opinion. I film in very rugged country and pack everything on my back so my camera can't be any heavier than around 12 pounds with the lens. Will this new Canon be able to shoot with a farily deep depth of field for fast moving subjects? What kind of lens will work for long range and still keep the camera/lens to 12 pounds? I just may buy this camera if it meets my needs. Shooting clean video in very low light has got me interested. I thank you in advance. I also would like to thank Chris Hurd for this great forum.

Leon Lorenz
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Old December 6th, 2011, 09:19 PM   #2
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Re: C300 for wildlife filmmaking?

Hey Leon,

I don't think that the c300 was designed with your type of work in mind.

No large sensor camera will have the reach of a smaller, crop sensor. And the H1 has around 7.2x magnification factor when used with EF lenses. Also the large sensors produce a shallower depth of field by nature, though you certainly can stop the lenses down to give you extra depth. Though in traditional video cameras (with smaller sensors) you get inherently deep dof. Longer focal lengths will also give you shallower depth of field, but no where near as shallow as you would experience with a large sensor camera.

I use an H1 with an EOS adapter and a 70-200mm f2.8L lens, for a reach of over 1400mm. If its reach you want, just get a Nano flash for your H1, and you'll have reach, resolution, and CF card workflow for about $3,000.
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Old December 6th, 2011, 10:14 PM   #3
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Re: C300 for wildlife filmmaking?

Seems like a 4/3 chip would be a good compromise between angle of view and low light sensitivity.
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Old December 7th, 2011, 03:34 AM   #4
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Re: C300 for wildlife filmmaking?

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Seems like a 4/3 chip would be a good compromise between angle of view and low light sensitivity.
Personally, I'd go for a 2/3" 3 chip camera. Bigger chips should mean better sensitivity (all else equal), but don't forget 3 chip versus 1 chip has an advantage as well (all else equal). The two factors tend to cancel out. In your case, wanting magnification through smaller chips, 3 chip has a lot in it's favour.

Likewise, all big cameras aren't equal for sensitivity. It's not just the size, it's how the data gets read out. Go for 4/3 and it effectively means the AF101, and it's well documented that it's far less sensitive compared to such as the FS100 than chip size alone would predict.

The first two I'd look at would be the Sony PMW350 and PMW320. Former is more expensive (but comparable price to the C300) and 2/3" chips, latter is cheaper and main difference is 1/2" chips - so lower sensitivity, but greater lens equivalent magnification. Both have a professional shoulder mount form factor and full connectivity.
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Old December 7th, 2011, 04:41 AM   #5
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Re: C300 for wildlife filmmaking?

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Originally Posted by Ken Diewert View Post

I use an H1 with an EOS adapter and a 70-200mm f2.8L lens, for a reach of over 1400mm. If its reach you want, just get a Nano flash for your H1, and you'll have reach, resolution, and CF card workflow for about $3,000.
I also use the XLH1 with a nanoflash for filming wildlife. I used to shoot with both tape (for backup) and CF cards on the nano as the primary video. Recently I started filming without tapes (just recording to the nanoflash), and an interesting result is that the batteries on the XLH1 now last nearly twice as long (no moving parts). A nanoflash might be an intermediary solution as you get to continue using the equipment you are used to working with (plus the files will be similar to the files you are creating with the XF300 50mbs MXF).
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Old December 7th, 2011, 04:53 AM   #6
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Re: C300 for wildlife filmmaking?

Leon - when I posted before I was overlooking your comment about weight, and doubt that what I previously suggested would meet that criteria. I still think a 3 chip camera with interchangeable lens facility is probably the right way to go, together with adaptor to let it take long focal length lenses designed for stills cameras. And 2/3" or 1/2" chips will be far better magnification wise than 4/3 or S35.

But bearing weight in mind, probably the lightest option is an EX3? Maybe with nanoFlash?
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Old December 7th, 2011, 05:19 AM   #7
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Re: C300 for wildlife filmmaking?

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Originally Posted by Simon Wood View Post
I also use the XLH1 with a nanoflash for filming wildlife. I used to shoot with both tape (for backup) and CF cards on the nano as the primary video. Recently I started filming without tapes (just recording to the nanoflash), and an interesting result is that the batteries on the XLH1 now last nearly twice as long (no moving parts). A nanoflash might be an intermediary solution as you get to continue using the equipment you are used to working with (plus the files will be similar to the files you are creating with the XF300 50mbs MXF).
Simon, How do you trigger the nanoFlash? I have tape in my XLH1 solely so I can trigger the nano via the camera, either from a lanc controller or the little wireless remote off my HV20,


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Old December 7th, 2011, 10:35 AM   #8
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Re: C300 for wildlife filmmaking?

If the FL is adequate, it could be a good choice. The coming Canon 200-400 f4 might work as the primary long lens. Combined with the 24-105 it would make a small kit.
The Scarlet with better battery life would have been nice for your purpose. The higher data rate compared to the C300 makes for better cropping.
I do think an ideal size is probably 4/3. It might be worth looking at the AF100/101 as a lower cost alternative.
I would like to see some cropping of the C300 compared to other 1080p files.
I'm sure there will be wildlife shot on the C300, as well as Scarlet. The quality to camera size ratio of the C300 is looking too good to not consider.
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Old December 7th, 2011, 11:34 AM   #9
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Re: C300 for wildlife filmmaking?

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Simon, How do you trigger the nanoFlash? I have tape in my XLH1 solely so I can trigger the nano via the camera, either from a lanc controller or the little wireless remote off my HV20,


Ron
Actually I have just been using the record button on the nanoflash itself. This works fine on a tripod or in situations where the wildlife can be seen coming a good distance away (which is what the situation has been like with my recent shoot). I just set the nanoflash to record trigger, internal timecode, and turn standby on the XLH1 off.

For more fluid situations and for run-and-gun shoots I still revert to using tape to trigger (and for back-up).
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Old December 7th, 2011, 08:21 PM   #10
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Re: C300 for wildlife filmmaking?

Thanks to everyone for the replies. I think I'll wait until the reviews start coming in on the C300 and make a decision than. I can't see why a good wildlife lens can't be developed for this camera. I found it frustrating this week not being able to zoom in tighter on snowy owls as they swooped down to catch voles and mice using the XF300. It's a great camera, packs well and the image quality is excellent, it just lacks in lens power for long range wildlife.

Happy filming!

Leon Lorenz
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Old December 7th, 2011, 11:38 PM   #11
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Re: C300 for wildlife filmmaking?

A good wildlife lens could no doubt be developed for it but it would probably be big, heavy and expensive. You should dig around the web for footage samples from an EX3 with old, long Nikon lens on it. Talk about reach! That combination and a NanoFlash or something like it might be just what the doctor ordered.

PS: I think I might order a copy of Wildest of the Wild. Looks great.
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Old December 8th, 2011, 03:39 AM   #12
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Re: C300 for wildlife filmmaking?

2/3" cameras seems to be more or less the standard kit on wildlife productions. Option of quite a few long zooms or the long stills lenses.
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Old December 8th, 2011, 08:41 AM   #13
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Re: C300 for wildlife filmmaking?

In my experience over 1000mm is just for birds. There's just no getting around the need to do the work to get reasonably close.
The 200-400mm has a built in 1.4TC. That gives in total about 900mm equivalent. Perhaps the regular 1.4 TC is usable with that combo too.
The older Canon 100-400 is quite good on the long end. As a push/pull zoom it's compact and would make a small kit. With the good high ISO performance of the C300 there should be no problem stopping down, even in low light.
I do think a denser sensor than the C300/Scarlet would be the ideal. A 4/3 would give up a stop of light, but produce about a 2x FL crop equivalent. I'm assuming 4/3 can be made into a smaller field camera than 3 x 2/3. I'm only aware of 2/3 cameras being shot with a crew of two or three.
The next generation of DSLR video looks like a viable solution too for the solo shooter.
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Old December 8th, 2011, 09:08 AM   #14
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Re: C300 for wildlife filmmaking?

You don't need crew of 2 or 3 for a 2/3 camera, although you mightn't want to hike more than a couple of miles with one slung on its shoulder strap while carrying a tripod over the over the other shoulder. You could also carry the camera in a back pack.

News guys commonly work alone with 2/3" cameras.
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Old December 8th, 2011, 09:18 AM   #15
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Re: C300 for wildlife filmmaking?

EX3, plus nanoFlash plus lens works for BBC Wildlife and quite a manageable outfit. Easy to get adaptors for Nikon 35mm lenses with 5x crop factor.


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