Canon C300 Mark II - 17-120mm Cine Zoom - Zacuto rig at DVinfo.net

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Old January 24th, 2016, 12:05 AM   #1
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Canon C300 Mark II - 17-120mm Cine Zoom - Zacuto rig

I went all in and picked up the kit. I wanted both the lens and the camera for all of the C300 work I have been doing and the bonus is that the Zacuto stuff basically gets thrown in for free. This includes a Gratical HD, a customized VCT PRO rig for the cine lens and customized power supply.

Here is a timelapse unboxing and setup of the unit:

The kit is nice, Zacuto does a lot of video tutorial online of the whole rig, for reference on what they've assembled:

They have customized a lot of this VCT Pro base to work specifically with the C300 Mark II, namely the v-mount power option. Also they customized a support arm for the lens that swings up and onto the Cine Zoom. The rest of it seems like plug and play parts from their Recoil series. It all feels like the rig I bought for my original C300.

So far, pretty good. The unit works well. There are some little things that I am getting used to... the weight of the lens for one. Zacuto includes literally about 10lbs of counter weight, which is needed for perfect balance but is crazy heavy. I will deal with a little front heavy rather than add 10lbs.

The VCT PRO baseplate rig does not have 15mm rod mounts like my original VCT universal baseplate. I purchased a bolt-on adapter from Zacuto, but it does not fit (even though they told me it would). It interferes with the cine lens arm support and the sliding baseplate. You can remove the arm support piece, but I think the sliding baseplate would be useless with the 15mm rod adapter in place. Not including the 15mm rod support is a bad design and makes switching lenses, and using follow focus or a front handle, a major complication. I might ditch the VCT Pro and try out my original baseplate. I will lose the custom support arm but will gain rod support.

I am trying to sort out a missing screw from Zacuto, and they have been helpful with customer service. I get the feeling that this custom unit throws them for a loop when it comes to finding non-standard parts, but they are trying. It is very new.

On the whole, it is a nice solution for this particular camera setup and it works great with the Cine lens attached. I have used Shape and Arri baseplate rigs... and they are too heavy and overbuilt, with not enough, or poorly designed, padding. For all day ENG shoots, mixed with tripod and shoulder work, this is the rig to get.
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Old January 24th, 2016, 03:43 AM   #2
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Re: Canon C300 Mark II - 17-120mm Cine Zoom - Zacuto rig

That looks like a nice pocketsized setup you got there :) If you are using this shouldermount is it not difficult to reach any controls on the camera while you are shooting? What is the current total weight excluding the 10lbs counter weight?
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Old January 24th, 2016, 11:53 AM   #3
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Re: Canon C300 Mark II - 17-120mm Cine Zoom - Zacuto rig

It is a great setup for the type of work I do.

Reaching the controls is a challenge for anything on your shoulder but I feel that this camera is the best at it yet. The whole rig maximizes ease of use. For comparison, the Sony f5/f55 is less ergonomic and has more menu driven controls, which is awful for doc and eng work.

I would guess weight at 18lbs. Very similar to other 2/3 broadcast eng cameras. Most of the weight is in the lens, however.
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Old January 25th, 2016, 08:01 AM   #4
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Re: Canon C300 Mark II - 17-120mm Cine Zoom - Zacuto rig

Congratulations! That's a fabulous set up you've got there Scott.

The lens looks truly amazing, what's it like to use?

The focal range seems well designed for most day-to-day filming activities and both wider and longer than the 24-105 which most people seem to use as the 'go to' zoom on the C300 / Mk2.

We are about to lease purchase a car of about the same value as your new set up and I'd much rather it was this camera package. Maybe we should switch our priorities?
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Old January 25th, 2016, 12:37 PM   #5
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Re: Canon C300 Mark II - 17-120mm Cine Zoom - Zacuto rig

The Arri Amira is the only camera I've come across designed to balance those lenses.
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Old January 26th, 2016, 01:50 AM   #6
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Re: Canon C300 Mark II - 17-120mm Cine Zoom - Zacuto rig

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Dobson View Post
Congratulations! That's a fabulous set up you've got there Scott.

The lens looks truly amazing, what's it like to use?

The focal range seems well designed for most day-to-day filming activities and both wider and longer than the 24-105 which most people seem to use as the 'go to' zoom on the C300 / Mk2.

We are about to lease purchase a car of about the same value as your new set up and I'd much rather it was this camera package. Maybe we should switch our priorities?
The lens is really great. It is heavy and it breathes one f-stop from 90-120mm, which are the two downfalls, in my opinion. Both are, while I have been using it, manageable.

Focal length is great, although I have wanted a longer lens on occasion. I am hoping Canon will deliver a digital zoom of some sort for 1080 or 2k recording, using the 4k resolution.

I am still getting used to the long focus throw of the lens. It can feel like a lot of work rolling focus to near and far. It is smooth as butter, though.

It is really nice to have one good lens, a la the betacam days. I miss all the work I had with real ENG cameras...
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Old January 26th, 2016, 01:52 AM   #7
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Re: Canon C300 Mark II - 17-120mm Cine Zoom - Zacuto rig

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Drysdale View Post
The Arri Amira is the only camera I've come across designed to balance those lenses.
The counterweight is the key to balance.... and Zacuto is happy to load up the rig with lots of weight! Whether the weight is from the camera or from accessories... it is still a lot of weight. This camera setup will make you tired at the end of the day. It is a really good candidate for an EasyRig.
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Old January 26th, 2016, 02:33 AM   #8
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Re: Canon C300 Mark II - 17-120mm Cine Zoom - Zacuto rig

I suspect a f2.8, 3 to 1 zoom is about the limit on a Super 35 sensor if you don't want weight and size to become a factor.

EDIT 18lbs isn't too bad if it's well balanced camera with good form for fitting on your shoulder. A loaded Aaton 16mm film camera with a Zeiss zoom lens is around that weight. The problem starts when they're front heavy and you're supporting weight on your arm.

Last edited by Brian Drysdale; January 26th, 2016 at 01:07 PM.
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Old February 1st, 2016, 01:00 PM   #9
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Re: Canon C300 Mark II - 17-120mm Cine Zoom - Zacuto rig

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Stoneback View Post
I went all in and picked up the kit. I wanted both the lens and the camera for all of the C300 work I have been doing and the bonus is that the Zacuto stuff basically gets thrown in for free. This includes a Gratical HD, a customized VCT PRO rig for the cine lens and customized power supply.

Here is a timelapse unboxing and setup of the unit: Timelapse C300 Mark II, Cine Servo 17-120, Zacuto Gratical HD unboxing - YouTube

The kit is nice, Zacuto does a lot of video tutorial online of the whole rig, for reference on what they've assembled: Canon C300 MkII ENG Recoil Product Update on Vimeo

They have customized a lot of this VCT Pro base to work specifically with the C300 Mark II, namely the v-mount power option. Also they customized a support arm for the lens that swings up and onto the Cine Zoom. The rest of it seems like plug and play parts from their Recoil series. It all feels like the rig I bought for my original C300.

So far, pretty good. The unit works well. There are some little things that I am getting used to... the weight of the lens for one. Zacuto includes literally about 10lbs of counter weight, which is needed for perfect balance but is crazy heavy. I will deal with a little front heavy rather than add 10lbs.

The VCT PRO baseplate rig does not have 15mm rod mounts like my original VCT universal baseplate. I purchased a bolt-on adapter from Zacuto, but it does not fit (even though they told me it would). It interferes with the cine lens arm support and the sliding baseplate. You can remove the arm support piece, but I think the sliding baseplate would be useless with the 15mm rod adapter in place. Not including the 15mm rod support is a bad design and makes switching lenses, and using follow focus or a front handle, a major complication. I might ditch the VCT Pro and try out my original baseplate. I will lose the custom support arm but will gain rod support.

I am trying to sort out a missing screw from Zacuto, and they have been helpful with customer service. I get the feeling that this custom unit throws them for a loop when it comes to finding non-standard parts, but they are trying. It is very new.

On the whole, it is a nice solution for this particular camera setup and it works great with the Cine lens attached. I have used Shape and Arri baseplate rigs... and they are too heavy and overbuilt, with not enough, or poorly designed, padding. For all day ENG shoots, mixed with tripod and shoulder work, this is the rig to get.
Hi Scott- Thanks for the in depth video and write up. You can use the rod adapter with the VCT Pro. There are a couple options that I'd be happy to walk you through if you send me an email at mandy at zacuto.com. Also, wanted to make sure you know that the weight in the back is adjustable. You can choose 3lbs, 6lbs or 9lbs. We find the 6lbs works best. Thanks again and please reach out so I can assist with the rod adapter.
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