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Old March 23rd, 2015, 05:17 PM   #1
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C100 - beginner's impressions

Hello there,

(my first post here, so please bear with me).

I borrowed a C100 from a friend for a week-long marathon of a science festival here in Athens, and the whole project was a last-day situation. So, I downloaded the PDF manual and started reading while I charged the battery. This is the original model, no Dual AF upgrade.

My available zoom lenses from my photography days are: 17-40/4L, 24-70/4L IS, 70-200/2.8L IS.
No fixed lenses were used, due to the unpredictability of each situation.
No lens was suitable for all situations, I am saddened to say. The Super 35/APS crop factor meant the 24-70 was not wide enough at indoor situations, while the 17-40 had not enough reach.
Typical situation was using either the 17-40 or the 24-70 on the C100 and a tripod, while the 6D was used with the 70-200 and a monopod for telephoto shots (but often I used the 70-200 on the C100 for speaker shots)

The secondary camera was an 6D. I know that the colors were not the same (the C100 seems more muted and less contrasty compared to the dSLR, but I wasn't able to go deep into the manual in order to configure the C100 to match the 6D). At least, I matched color temperatures, at 3100-3200 K on both cameras.

It seems that AF is only usable only for fast acquisition of the initial target, and I need to follow focus manually for the duraton of the shot. Not a real problem if you shoot on a tripo and the subject is rather static (a conference shoot, for example). If you shoot on a monopod or handheld and the subject is moving, things become harder (obviously).
I would *love* to see continuous AF with that camera, but I suppose not even the MkII offers it?

The swiveling screen is not very useful (no tilting down) if you want to place the camera overhead and shoot in a crowded room above the heads of the people in an event (e.g. by mounting the camera on a monopod).

After I recover from the shooting marathon, I will review the shots and will try to write more impressions.

N.F.
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Old March 24th, 2015, 06:30 AM   #2
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Re: C100 - beginner's impressions

One irritating thing is that my zoom lenses are not very useful.
Which lenses would be suitable for covering the whole range instead of changing lenses all the time?
The typical situation is a company event/conference.

I have read about the Canon 18-135 IS STM, which seems adequate as a feneral purpose lens, but it suffers from vignetting and serious barrel distortion at the wide end, according to reviews I have read. If I am not mistaken, the C100 does not automatically correct for that?
And that sensor does like good glass - it is obvious when I use the 70-200/2.8L instead of the 24-70/4L IS or the 14-70/4L, according to a friend who reviews the videos at the moment.

N.F.
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Old March 30th, 2015, 08:50 AM   #3
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Re: C100 - beginner's impressions

Hi Nick:

I have the 18-135 STM IS with my C100. It is a good run and gun lens, the focus is decently smooth and fast and the IS is pretty good. But the lens speed (3.5-5.6) is slow so indoors under poor lighting, you have to crank up that ISO, which is not the best. It is also variable F stop so once you have perfect exposure set at 3.5, you zoom in a little and have to re-adjust everything, kind of a clunky way of working. Most of us just set exposure manually at 5.6, even at 18mm and that way it stays consistent. Easy if you are outdoors but not as easy indoors. The build quality is so-so, not nearly as good as your 70-200 and the sharpness is not as good either. But for U.S. $549.00, it is usable. Yes, it does have some barrel distortion at the wide end. Easy to correct on stills not as easy to correct on video.

Canon makes the 24-70 2.8 but it is overdue for an IS upgrade and is still expensive. The 24-105 F4 is a clunker IMHO, not wide enough on a S35 sensor, the quality is so-so. I agree, Canon needs to make a 2.8 24-120 IS, that is what you are probably looking for but it doesn't exist, at least in Canon's line. If they made it and it cost $2k, lots of EOS cinema camera owners would stand in line for it.
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Old March 30th, 2015, 03:40 PM   #4
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Re: C100 - beginner's impressions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Fotis View Post
One irritating thing is that my zoom lenses are not very useful.
Which lenses would be suitable for covering the whole range instead of changing lenses all the time?
The typical situation is a company event/conference.

I have read about the Canon 18-135 IS STM, which seems adequate as a feneral purpose lens, but it suffers from vignetting and serious barrel distortion at the wide end, according to reviews I have read. If I am not mistaken, the C100 does not automatically correct for that?
And that sensor does like good glass - it is obvious when I use the 70-200/2.8L instead of the 24-70/4L IS or the 14-70/4L, according to a friend who reviews the videos at the moment.

N.F.
My 18-135 is on my C100 95% of the time. I shoot a wide range of events and corporate work, and it does the job for most. The only exception is interviews where I usually use my Sigma 18-35.

The C100 must correct the vignetting, because I've never noticed it. As for barrel distortion, I haven't noticed that either.

IMO it's a great lens. Although I would swap it in a second for a 18-70 2.8, or something similar if it existed. That would be perfect for my kind of work.
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Old March 30th, 2015, 04:24 PM   #5
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Re: C100 - beginner's impressions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Brockett View Post
I have the 18-135 STM IS with my C100. It is a good run and gun lens, the focus is decently smooth and fast and the IS is pretty good. But the lens speed (3.5-5.6) is slow so indoors under poor lighting, you have to crank up that ISO, which is not the best. It is also variable F stop so once you have perfect exposure set at 3.5, you zoom in a little and have to re-adjust everything, kind of a clunky way of working. Most of us just set exposure manually at 5.6, even at 18mm and that way it stays consistent. Easy if you are outdoors but not as easy indoors.
Usually I shoot at f/4 indoos (two of the three zoom lenses have f/4 as their maximum aperture, anyway), and that seems to be a practical limit for the C100 sensor. I have been forced to shoot up to 6400 ISO indoors, while using 1/60" speed (other speeds seem to induce flickering from the computer monitors or projectors often used).
An f/5.6 pushes it at the telephoto end (I think I could survive with it at most conference rooms, where the speaker is adequately lighted).

Quote:
Canon makes the 24-70 2.8 but it is overdue for an IS upgrade and is still expensive. The 24-105 F4 is a clunker IMHO, not wide enough on a S35 sensor, the quality is so-so. I agree, Canon needs to make a 2.8 24-120 IS, that is what you are probably looking for but it doesn't exist, at least in Canon's line. If they made it and it cost $2k, lots of EOS cinema camera owners would stand in line for it.
I think that the Sony EA50 package lens is probably the best compromise range: 18-105mm (at a continuous f/4 aperture). This offers a sweeping range of a conference room *and* can isolate (barely) adequately the speaker in an all-in-one solution. An 18-135/4 lens would be probably ideal, but I suspect that the cost would surpass easily one grand.

Currently, we 'solve' that situation by keeping the 70-200/2.8L on the C100 trained on the speaker, and using the 24-70/4L IS on my 6D for audience shots.
Or the reverse, depending on venue/situation. For example, I was using the 17-40/4L on a symphonic orchestra for a wide, nearly static shot, while I was focusing on music performers with my 6D and the 70-200/2.8 (playing also with focus transitions). I was practically alone in these situations, as my friend was focusing on still shots.

N.F.
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Old April 2nd, 2015, 06:12 AM   #6
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Re: C100 - beginner's impressions

For the type of shooting you were doing, there's still a lot to be said for the basic fixed-zoom video camera. Cameras like the HPX250, EX3, PMW-200/300, HM600, AC160, etc. are made to cover run and gun situations. From wide to tight shots, they can do it all with one lens.
I realize you borrowed a camera, and the C100 is a very good camera to use.
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Old April 3rd, 2015, 01:57 PM   #7
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Re: C100 - beginner's impressions

I agree with Glen, the C100 is not the best run and gun camera, even though I sometimes use it for that. Shallow DOF is usually a hindrance when you don't have the time and resources to ride focus carefully. The built in NDs of the C100 are not enough for really bright situations so I end up using an external Tiffen variable ND when outdoors in bright sunlight., which is also a PITA in comparison to internal NDs. Wish Canon had made ND3 8 stops instead of 6. Hand holding a traditional video camera like an HPX250 or 170 is so much easier than trying to handhold a C100 with a decent lens on it.

I am shooting at a local charity event later this month, as a favor to a friend and I will be using my HPX170, not my C100. I rarely shoot events but if I did a lot of them, I would have bought an HPX270 instead of the C100. But I shoot a lot of interviews and the C100 looks a lot better than the HPX270 in general and shallower DOF is nice for interviews and covers a myriad of background issues.
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Old April 4th, 2015, 07:02 PM   #8
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Re: C100 - beginner's impressions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen Vandermolen View Post
For the type of shooting you were doing, there's still a lot to be said for the basic fixed-zoom video camera. Cameras like the HPX250, EX3, PMW-200/300, HM600, AC160, etc. are made to cover run and gun situations. From wide to tight shots, they can do it all with one lens.
I realize you borrowed a camera, and the C100 is a very good camera to use.
Of course, this camera was not what I would expect to use. But a friend had this camera available in short notice.

I feel that the Sony EA50 would be a better match:
- my friend uses already two a6000 E-mount cameras and has made a collection of lenses (M42 Pentax, a-mount Rokinon and Sony AF lenses)
- the cost of buying the EA50 (including the motorized 18-105/4 zoom lens) would be a little above half the price of the C100 body alone.

I am still waiting for a pair of 3 TB drives to arrive, in order to unload the massive amount of videos we shot (400+ GB), in order to review all this material. My friend liked the output of the C100 sensor, though (and he said that the 6D was rather underexposed).

N.F.
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Old April 5th, 2015, 01:37 PM   #9
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Re: C100 - beginner's impressions

As an update, I did a photo session with the Canon 18-135 STM IS yesterday, mounted on a T3i body. It was a table top shoot with products and I used four strobes, Pocket Wizards, etc. A real shoot, not just snapshots. I have to say after processing all of the stills through Lightroom and Photoshop, the 18-125 STM IS is NOT a very sharp stills lens. The images were mostly shot in the sweet spot at around F7.1 to F8. The right side of the images were very soft and overall, the lens is just not very sharp. On the positive side, the color and contrast were amazing but for sharpness, bleah!

Then again, for video, I think this lens is usable. But compared to primes or a good lens like a 24-70, no comparison.
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Old April 5th, 2015, 05:20 PM   #10
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Re: C100 - beginner's impressions

I guess the 18-135 fully open is not exactly what a C100 wants for indoor shots.

Shooting interior shots at closer than f/5.6 is not exactly my idea (you are forced to raise the ISO too high, beyond 6400 even - f/4 is probably my limit).

This sensor really likes good glass, and you can even differentiate between different L lenses, judging from our experience.

N.F.
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