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Canon Cinema EOS Camera Systems
For all Canon Cinema EOS models: C700 / C300 Mk. II / C200 / C100 Mk II and EF / PL lenses.


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Old January 4th, 2012, 01:12 PM   #1
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C300, just a surgically enhanced XF305?

Sure I want the new C300. And I will probably buy one even though I really feel it is very overpriced for what it is. An XF305 thatís had its eye removed, been chopped to pieces with itís vital organs replaced.

I got into Canon DSLR filming 2 years ago and for a while I was so knocked out with the quality and control over the depth of field that I used it for every job I did. As the bulk of my camera work involves filming solo in potentially dangerous and hazardous environments this quickly became both impracticable and dangerous on occasions. And whilst itís not especially taxing recording dual sound for interviews presented yet another layer of complexity to a days work.

So, hooked on Canon and for those more extreme situations, I bought a XF305, which whilst it lacked the control over shallow depth of field offered by the 7D, had a really nice L series lens that produced incredibly detailed images. The camera was also accepted by the BBC for broadcast production work which provided reassurance that it was a good investment.

So now Canon have launched the EOS C300 and itís received universally good reviews from most quarters and Iím sorely tempted to buy one. Itís really a dream concept for me, all of the functionality of the XF305 together with the optical excellence of this new camera with the bonus that I can use all the lenses I bought for the 7D. That sounds like fun.

However, the marketing for this new camera is a supreme example of how to build interest in a new product. The pre-announcement of a mysterious launch in Hollywood, handing over pre-production models to key players in the DSLR video movement, leaks to rumor sites, and just leaving the rest to our desires and imagination.

I think Canon will do very good business with this camera but probably at a lower production level than the aspirational Hollywood production base who I would imagine would stick with their much higher resolution digital camera systems.

I think that anyone who has used a DSLR for professional video production will want one. Itís got all those little features that will make life so easy, decent audio, a good viewfinder, a high definition LCD, peaking, scopes to check exposure and focus and a new sensor that everybody is raving about. And the form factor, especially when stripped down is very similar to a DSLR.

But lets be clear about this new camera. It is a hybrid. Should anyone bother to study the EOS C300 Manual together with the XF305 manual, they will see that it is basically the next version of the XF series of video cameras with a very nice new sensor and a new form factor.

The similarities between these 2 camera systems go way beyond MPEG-2, MXF, 4:2:2 file type used by Canon's existing XF300 and XF305 cameras.

The menu system is identical, the viewfinder and LCD are exactly the same specification. The functionality of the button system is the same. The scopes and what they do is identical. The onscreen displays are identical bar a few missing functions on the C300.

The C300 has a few new features / functions, the new remote wi-fi looks really useful for a studio situation (but apparently there is quite a time lag).

But the PSU and batteries are identical, the ND filter system very similar, and the dual slot CF system just the same.

I canít quite understand why Canon have removed so many assist functions we have all got used to with our DSLRs, Auto ISO for example.

So why is the C300 twice the price of the XF305?

Can it be just the cost of the sensor and its support functions? Or are we also paying for a sophisticated marketing campaign.

Maybe we will just be lucky and the actual launch price will be lower than the £9,950.00 +VAT being quoted in the UK at the moment.
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Old January 4th, 2012, 01:20 PM   #2
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Re: C300, just a surgically enhanced XF305?

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Originally Posted by Mark Dobson View Post
Can it be just the cost of the sensor and its support functions?
No. It's just the cost of the sensor.
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Old January 4th, 2012, 01:23 PM   #3
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Re: C300, just a surgically enhanced XF305?

Sensor plus amortized cost of Research and Development.

EDIT: R&D costs would of course be mostly for the sensor...
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Old January 4th, 2012, 01:53 PM   #4
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Re: C300, just a surgically enhanced XF305?

Re: C300, just a surgically enhanced XF305?
Sensor plus amortized cost of Research and Development.

So that's a very expensive sensor then.

I've no doubt they will sell a lot of cameras though. And also that as this sensor finds its way into other EOS cinema products that there will be a lot of second hand C300s on the market.

I'm looking forward to hearing what Alan Roberts has to say about the C300.
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Old January 4th, 2012, 02:28 PM   #5
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Re: C300, just a surgically enhanced XF305?

This is the first in a series of cameras.......the sensor (4K)is the real magic going on here...double green and the 1st chip not being de-bayered is why it goes to an amazing low light level. Any future cameras in the Cinema EOS line will no doubt be using this sensor (no need to re-invent the wheel).

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Old January 4th, 2012, 02:51 PM   #6
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Re: C300, just a surgically enhanced XF305?

If they could sell a million of these sensors, they'd be fairly cheap. Low volumes mean higher prices.

Also, never assume that price = cost. A great example is touch dialing systems in the 1980s. Back then, the phone company would charge an extra dollar per month for touch tone service even though the costs to support electronic touch tone decoders were much lower than the costs of supporting dial decoder mechanisms.

The price is mainly by the market. If the costs are low, profits are high. If the costs become too high, the product is generally discontinued.
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Old January 4th, 2012, 03:32 PM   #7
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Re: C300, just a surgically enhanced XF305?

I'd be interested in having a closer loom at it at BVE in London next month. As a CPS Platinum member, I recently asked Frankie at Canon if I could borrow a C300 for a short loan, but apparently there is a long line of people before me already.

I too find it hard to buy into the price Cacon are demanding for the C300 given that it is so similar to the 305. I think a part of it is that we are being asked to buy into an XF305 with shallow DoF capability. In the same way we are asked to pay a lot more for the 14mm EF-L 2.8 than what it costs to manufacture it. That lens is over priced on purpose. Professional photographers want to produce an image that is fresh and different. Placing it outside the price range of most enthusiasts ensures only pros get their hands on it.

It's less about R&D and more about 'rarifying' a piece of equipment. Canon wants professionals to own this camera, not the video enthusiast or hobbyist. Price divides the pros from the hobbyists.

However I can't get away from the attractive lure of owning something that functions exactly like my 5D2 but without all the problems of moire, aliasing, rolling shutter and <50mb/sec data rate. I'm forced to admit that's worth a lot to me.

On a personal note, perhaps we should grab a coffee one day, Mark, as it would appear I live 10 minutes away from you.
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Old January 4th, 2012, 05:37 PM   #8
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Re: C300, just a surgically enhanced XF305?

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Originally Posted by Kris Koster View Post
However I can't get away from the attractive lure of owning something that functions exactly like my 5D2 but without all the problems of moire, aliasing, rolling shutter and <50mb/sec data rate. I'm forced to admit that's worth a lot to me.
I hope to receive a Mosaic Engineering anti-aliasing filter later this month. Hopefully, that will solve the first two problems. Good grip gear and limited motion (though not always practical) avoid rolling shutter. The codec isn't the greatest, but I've seen worse. Hopefully, this will add some life to the 5D2. When compared to the price of a new camera, the VAF-5D2 looks pretty cheap.

And, yes, I'm sure it costs a whole lot less to manufacture. ;)

BTW, with the VAF-5D2, recording from HDMI (which does additional line skipping) might become more viable. Don't hit REC. Move the highlight box to a corner, crop 2.35:1 or so in post. It's still 8-bit, but without macro-blocks. I'm looking forward to running some tests...

Sure, I'd rather have a C300, but the 5D2+VAF could be a nice budget solution until more prosumer options become available.
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Old January 5th, 2012, 03:40 AM   #9
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Re: C300, just a surgically enhanced XF305?

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Originally Posted by Kris Koster View Post
I too find it hard to buy into the price Cacon are demanding for the C300 given that it is so similar to the 305. I think a part of it is that we are being asked to buy into an XF305 with shallow DoF capability. In the same way we are asked to pay a lot more for the 14mm EF-L 2.8 than what it costs to manufacture it. That lens is over priced on purpose. Professional photographers want to produce an image that is fresh and different. Placing it outside the price range of most enthusiasts ensures only pros get their hands on it.

It's less about R&D and more about 'rarifying' a piece of equipment. Canon wants professionals to own this camera, not the video enthusiast or hobbyist. Price divides the pros from the hobbyists.
I don't think retailers will ever sell products at the same price as they're manufactured at. Consumer products tend to be high volume, with lower profit margins. Professional products tend to be the reverse and often the customers want more back up than the usual retailer provides.

When new types of products come out they're always more expensive than established product types. This has been the case with numerous new pieces of technology. With time the prices drop, but, of course, the higher level kit moves up a gear in specification, often maintaining its price.

Pros tend to be more demanding than hobbyists, especially in matters of construction quality and weather proofing, because they're buying tools that they want to use every day for a number of years. These requirements tend to raise prices, the same happens if you buy industrial power tools compared to the DIY versions.

It remains to be seen how the production volumes of the C 300 compares to the XF305, although given the reaction of some TV producers I've spoken to there's good chance the demand will be higher for the 1/3" camera in that world. The latter being a much less demanding camera for the self shooting DV directors etc to use.
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Old January 5th, 2012, 06:32 AM   #10
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Re: C300, just a surgically enhanced XF305?

I get what you are saying Brian but I don't think that anyone would describe the XF305 as a consumer camera.

Because it is so well designed, despite its 1/3" sensors, it's on a par with Sony EX1/3 range of cameras.

But it has an advantage with the MPEG-2, MXF, 4:2:2 broadcast standard file type and a very sharp pro L lens.

Only those who are familiar with the XF305 will fully understand how very closely related these 2 cameras are.

I was really quite surprised.
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Old January 5th, 2012, 07:38 AM   #11
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Re: C300, just a surgically enhanced XF305?

There could also be an element of the premium price for larger sensors, combined with a possible smaller market. I've just noticed that the C300 price at Visual Impact seems to have gone up to approx £11,800 + VAT (at least on their web site - which may be out of date) compared to the CVS price of £10k + VAT, so it could be worthwhile shopping around or doing a can you match it job.
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Old January 5th, 2012, 08:07 AM   #12
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Re: C300, just a surgically enhanced XF305?

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Originally Posted by Mark Dobson View Post
Only those who are familiar with the XF305 will fully understand how very closely related these 2 cameras are.
They have these elements in common:

1. Recording codec.
2. Menu GUI.
3. Some physical components (battery compartment, EVF, card slots, etc.)
4. Custom presets (similar but not compatible).

The primary differences between them are:

1. Imaging sensor.
2. Weather sealing.
3. Form factor.
4. Manual only vs. auto options.
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Old January 5th, 2012, 11:46 AM   #13
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Re: C300, just a surgically enhanced XF305?

Another difference is that the C300 is brand spanking new; hence, it sells for a premium.

The consensus seems to be that it's overpriced not only compared to the XF305, but compared to the rest of the market, given its 8-bit 1080p output.

Keep in mind that Canon has just now entered the Hollywood production market. They were probably smart to err on the high side with their pricing. They can always reduce the price later, if needed. But if the C300 is meets a need and is successful at this price, they're geniuses. :) As they add more models to the range and better understand the market, their pricing will probably make more and more sense.
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Old January 5th, 2012, 11:57 AM   #14
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Re: C300, just a surgically enhanced XF305?

I suspect it's aimed at a different market to the XF 305. Some high end DPs seem to be rather taken by the C300 regardless of the 8 bits.
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Old January 5th, 2012, 12:11 PM   #15
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Re: C300, just a surgically enhanced XF305?

Well it's great that High End DPs like the camera because they won't have difficulty with either the price of the camera or the price of some of the new lenses.

But I do think that this camera will be very attractive to people a bit lower down on the production tree. I think especially of self shooting documentary producers.

But really anyone who has struggled to get good quality video out of Canon DSLRs would find this a very useful camera.

That's if they can afford the inflated price.
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