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Old July 2nd, 2013, 03:34 PM   #1
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Do clients prefer C300 over Sony F3?

Hello,

So I have had my F3 for a while now but I'm finding after the initial surge, the work with the F3 is dropping off. Is anyone finding clients are preferring crew with the Canon C300, maybe because its more broadcast friendly higher bit-rate, in the UK at least?

Do I need to sell up and jump ship to canon or upgrade to the F5? Looking forward to your thoughts.

Josh
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Old July 3rd, 2013, 07:37 AM   #2
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Re: Do clients prefer C300 over Sony F3?

Urgh, the poor F3. Phenominal camera, beautiful results, reassuring workflow, solid footage.

The blots on its copybook were the 4:2:0 35mbit recording and, sadly, the lack of an integrated EOS lens adaptor which failed to bring the high end DSLR users across. Mike Tappa's mount was solid and functional, but wasn't as 'cool' and 'instant' as, say, the Metabones adaptor.

The DSLR crowd went for the C300 which stole the limelight a bit with a very nice picture in 4:2:2 at 50 mbits. Without seeing the images, it's a bit irritating to lack the F3's 10 bit when output to an external recorder, but the images don't seem to suffer much.

So, Sony put out the F5, which is infinitely more sexy than the F3. It's the camera that should have come first. Just like the FS700 basically stomped all over the FS100 and killed it, so the F5 killed people's desire for the F3, and thus you can pick up a bargain in the F3 going for 5k down to 3.5k. A dear friend started out with a full price F3 after owning an EX1 and EX3 - he now has 4x F3s with one of them wearing the big AF IS Power Zoom, awesome setup for less than half the cost of the original F3.

Clients? What am I hearing from my clients?

C300 all the way. It's the new EX3. Nobody's going to reach for the Rennie if your guy turns up with a C300. It's the ultimate 'safe-cam'. Lovely pictures, good audio, excellent ergonomics, safe codec, easy rental, known workflow.

TBH, with my editor hat on, I like the F3's picture a bit better when recorded to Samurai, S-Log is very, very nice, 10 bit wins in so many ways, but the C300 is the IBM PC, and nobody got fired for shooting C300 rushes.

Donning my Corporate Video Shooter/Editor hat, I understand why the F5 gets lots of praise but it's one step beyond my needs and the aftermarket items are too much. The C300 would be my weapon of choice if could add enough to my day rate to make it pay within 18 months, but my needs are met with the C100.

My clients desire EX1/EX3, and express a growing dissatisfaction with the broader adoption of DSLR. They all feel safe with the F3 (basically the EX1 with a DSLR sized sensor), and it does what you need if you're willing to ditch all your L series EOS glass for manual Nikkor or Zeiss. You're absolutely fine with it.

However, C300 is eating its lunch at the moment. Well for the last 9 months, I'd say. Many freelance cammos I know went C300 as their first 'own-a-cam' and haven't looked back since.

What would I buy? I love the F3. I love it to bits. It's everything I asked for in upgrading my EX1Rs. But I'd buy the C300 in a heartbeat. Heart says C300, brain says FS700 (!) with the 4K and SDI record options. The F5 is one step beyond corporate budgets, but the F3 still delivers the goods, especially with the S-Log software on-song.

The PMW-F3 is rapidly becoming a 'fable' - the Sierra Cosworth amongst hot hatches. So corporate clients (a.k.a. 'Agencies') are still happy with it, but you're forever saddled with a Samurai for broadcast.
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Old July 3rd, 2013, 11:03 AM   #3
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Re: Do clients prefer C300 over Sony F3?

Excellent post Matt. Can't fault your logic. F3 is a fine cam and I yearned for one a while back. Now I yearn for a F5 - but not sure my corporate clients will pay for a hike in my rates right now! So it's an ageing EX3 and C100 that keep me busy/pay the bills in my world at the moment.

Josh, interesting but very tough call! Look forward to reading what others advise.
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Old July 3rd, 2013, 01:33 PM   #4
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Re: Do clients prefer C300 over Sony F3?

My first response to clients who are asking for the C300 over an F3 is "Why?"
What is it about the C300 that they want?

If it is the look?
I shoot with C300's and F3's together all the time.
Two camera interviews, even side by side.
If you know the basics of matching cameras it can be done easily.
The cameras can be matched identically.

If its the codec.
if they want 8 bit MXF 50 mb/s, then I use a NanoFlash reorder.
The Nanoflash has greatly increased the use of my F3.

I have a few clients that want the best quality possible with an F3 budget.
Then I use a PIX 240 10bit 220 mb/s. You can't do that with a C300.

Dont get me wrong, the C300 is a great camera, but why sell your F3 for a camera that does the same thing if not less ?

The main caveat would be, if you can't convince your clients and you are loosing work because you don't have a C300.
Then go buy one.

Sam Painter

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Old July 3rd, 2013, 04:15 PM   #5
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Re: Do clients prefer C300 over Sony F3?

Some very good points everyone is raising here.

I shoot with the hyperdeck shuttle so I can provide 10bit pure as silk footage to anyone that needs it. I think some of my clients just assume that the C300 is, maybe, cheaper and better, without really looking into it. I think I'm going to have to start educating them more on the merits of the F3. Unless they pay me more, in which case I'll buy a C300 as well.

I need some new clients who love the F3!
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Old July 4th, 2013, 08:00 AM   #6
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Re: Do clients prefer C300 over Sony F3?

It's interesting that you mention 'cheaper' in relation to the C300, jostling with the F3.

The C300 has a definite physical presence, it just looks like someone pumped far too many steroids into a Canon 5D, and our dear friends from the Agencies could not help but notice. Yet it's actually MORE expensive than the F3 was, let alone now. Well, sure it's cheaper than an F5 but as many folks here have pointed out - a lot of the innards of these Canon cameras come from the XF305 DNA.

The F3 is, let's admit it, a brick. It's a lovely, faithful brick that transitions from the XDCAM-EX world, taking with it such things as Slow Shutter, Interval Record, CineGamma, SXS cards that take SDHC, your XDCAM batteries work on it. There's even the semi-useless EVF at the back of it. Bless.

Owners love them. But they're not sexy. They're business tools. F3s will be kicking out beautiful HD for the next 5-7 years. HD images you cannot shake a stick at.

It's worth remembering that good HD recorded through good glass in 10 bit in 4:2:2 or above looks great (as in 'better than it should be') in 4K - you won't hear that in many marketing presos.

Josh, you're right to push the 'silk footage' angle - and so long as you have a bag full of good Nikkors, I'd be tempted to say 'yes C300 - well, the Sony version'. Of course you can match it, better it even. But lets leave the education of the merits of the F3 to our little virtual pub here. Treat it as the sort of 'M3 vs AMG' conversation and let the images do the talking - specifically the Zacuto tests from the last shootout which basically shows 'it's over' regarding comparisons. :)
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Old July 4th, 2013, 09:30 AM   #7
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Re: Do clients prefer C300 over Sony F3?

Wow, it's not often that someone nails it so perfectly that there's nothing to really follow up with.
Great post Matt! As you said, the c300 is the current hotness.
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Old February 1st, 2014, 12:51 AM   #8
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Re: Do clients prefer C300 over Sony F3?

Matt you had me at "The PMW-F3 is rapidly becoming a 'fable' - the Sierra Cosworth amongst hot hatches".

Being an ex 944 turbo owner and Impreza STI owner it was good to see a "car guy" reference on a camera forum !

Ok back on topic.

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Old February 1st, 2014, 03:32 AM   #9
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Re: Do clients prefer C300 over Sony F3?

I"m not doing any shoots with these kind of camera's but I"m curious, if it is not a production house that has to deal with the actual footage, how much do your clients actually know about the technical specifications of the camera like codec, bitrate, lenschoises etc. and what effect that has on the final image?
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Old February 1st, 2014, 04:21 AM   #10
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Re: Do clients prefer C300 over Sony F3?

It can be 'self-selecting' so to speak. IOW, the shooter who has an F3 is likely to be the kind of shooter who knows the benefits and weak points of their kit and caboodle, and if they're not handing over to another freelance editor for an Agency, they're probably going to be editing their own work for the client.

The clients I deal with aren't necessarily 'the norm' here, but there's three broad groups: 1) Agencies who will assemble teams of freelancers per project, and it's down to the teams to sort the workflow. 2) Content owning video production neophytes who need an all-rounder to deal the acquisition and editing of their content, and 3) Established Producers who know exactly what they want, dislike risks, and have learned just enough of the lingo to say 'I want this on DSLR' or 'Bring your EX1' - their decisions made through experience - good or bitter depending. :-)

I'll add this - if you're dealing with someone in Group 2 who wants to edit your stuff themselves, F3 and C300 are a bad choice - plug-ins, commercial software, strange card form factors and wonky workflow all abound with MXF and XDCAM. Bloody nightmare to hand-hold a client through these steps (for little or no money either). That's where AVCHD is an absolute blessing. It's so crap, anything can deal with it. Itty bitty card, pretty easy workflow, non-scary process. Ironic, really, as in the pro world, AVCHD is full of dragons and scary monsters (PSF, motion, over-sharpening, problematic archive, issues with 50/60p, metadata that won't make the full journey - I could go on, and frequently do).

And another warning: just back from a shoot. I was on C100/EX1, colleague using an F3. Editor was grumbling about the F3 being dark and dull - 'and your footage is so bright and shiny!' Hmmm, no, the F3 was shooting S-Log, which this editor hadn't come across - and the idea that every shot would need a bit of simple grading was 'anathema' to him. As a news/ENG style editor, he expects footage to look like the shooter intended it to look, whilst the F3 shooter was into creamy highlights and fuzzy backgrounds, knowing he (for he could edit too) could get a basic grade and apply it to all his shots with a flick of the metaphorical wrist. However, Mr News Editor was mixing photos (lightroomed to an inch of their life), the C100 and EX1 'pretties' (WDR on the Canon, Cine 3 on the EX1) along with the S-Log rushes. So, for the want of a nail, the workflow was a bit strained.

Now that we're relieved from the pressure of banging out daily reports and the proper post can begin, absolutely no problem at all. And the F3 stuff - with a little de-logging S-Curve manipulation - looks gorgeous. And don't get me started about the stuff from his Samurai Blade...
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Old February 1st, 2014, 07:20 AM   #11
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Re: Do clients prefer C300 over Sony F3?

Thx for the answer Matt,

My clients exist of mainly people that get married and small business owners that want a 2 minute film to put on their website, both groups have no idea or don't care about what camera I shoot with and they don't have any technical knowledge about codecs and so on so that would never be a reason for me not getting a job.

Am I right when I say that, like in Josh's case, getting less work is mainly because of not having the right kind of camera? I can understand that with your kind of clients equipment does matter but I only wondered if your end client is a big corporate company who you deal directly with, could that also be a reason for not getting a job if you have a f3 instead of a c300? I can't imagine they have any knowledge about camera's but they just want the best result so you use or rent the best camera you can get, or is it more complicated then that?
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Old February 1st, 2014, 10:15 AM   #12
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Re: Do clients prefer C300 over Sony F3?

Noa,
It's been my experience that 99.99999% of brides and grooms don't know nor do they care about the camera you use. They want good quality, properly exposed, well composed video that tells the story of their day. Period.
Most corporate clients don't know the difference between a Sonysonic AZ10,000 and a Canoriffic KL29CUTEY! (I'm being very sarcastic here with the various camera models but they are what I've said to clients over the years) HOWEVER there are certain clients that might have in house art directors, in house creative department that want very specific things and KNOW the gear commonly being used out in the real world and insist on certain camera, lens, codecs, filters, type of lighting, for a particular job.
Now I'm not talking about a seminar although in some cases they want a certain type of studio camera rather than another. I'm talking about full blown production work be it for a TV commercial or a technical training seminar or whatever. I've been in that position with a couple of companies and frankly renting the gear was a far better solution than passing on the job.
Anyway yeah, there are companies out there that know what they want and won't settle for anything less than that and as far as I'm concerned, since they're writing the check, it's their prerogative. Just spell my name right on the check!
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