Canon C300 Mark II: (No) comparison with the C300Tuesday, September 15, 2015 5:30 PM
WTS's production specialist and freeleance cameraman Patrick van Weeren looks at what's new in the Canon C300 Mark II, compared to the much-loved original C300, in the latest edition of our C300 Mark II blog series.
Many people will be tempted to compare the Canon C300 Mark II with its immensely popular fore-runner and namesake, the original Canon C300.
It's an understandable tendency as there seems to be a logical evolution, but really the two cameras are similar in name and form factor only, such is the extent of new features included in the C300 Mark II.
The C300 Mark II is a completely new camera concept, sitting neatly between the C300 and C500, and bringing certain benefits to cameramen that neither of those cameras can match.
So let's try to highlight some of the great innovations that the C300 Mark II boasts.
New XF-AVC codec and 10- and 12-bit recording
The biggest difference – apart from the C300 Mark II being a 4K camera, of course – is the new XF-AVC Intra 410Mb/s codec (versus the original C300's MPEG-2 50 Mb/s), and 10- and 12-bit recording versus the 8-bit recording of the 'old' C300. The faster read-out and 10-and 12-bit recording are complemented by YCbCr 4:2:2 colour sampling. There are also C-FAST 2.0 cards to handle all the extra data.
For more information, see our XF-AVC codec blog.
REC.2020 colour gamut and slow motion
The wider REC.2020 colour space is a winner, as is the high dynamic range (HDR), especially with the advent of Canon-Log2 (C-Log2) to help optimise the performance of the sensor. There are some important considerations when using log, so it's worth checking out our blog explaining C-Log2.
And for the first time in a Canon camera, we have slow-motion features available, up to 120fps in HD, and up to 30fps in 4K. There are competitors, though, with higher slow-motion options.
Creative auto-focus system
The highly impressive C300 Mark II auto-focus support system, including the ability to adjust focus speeds, and a versatile and easy-to-use joystick, is an important new creative tool in the cameraman's armoury.
C300 Mark II rejuvenates Canon L-series lenses
Canon has not only introduced what is in essence a brand new camera with the C300 Mark II. It has also opened up a whole window of opportunity for its L-Series photography lenses - the C300 Mark II offers the best integration with these Canon L-series lenses in a film environment that we’ve ever seen. These lenses can now be taken a lot more seriously by professional cameramen.
Improved ND filters and higher ISO values for C300 Mark II
ND filters have been improved. Cameramen are able to expand the ND filters with two more options, which can be really handy when you want to take advantage of the C300 Mark II's higher ISO values (up to 102,400, compared to 80,000 in the C300) but don’t necessarily want to work with shallow depth of field. Or the ND filters are equally useful on a bright daylight set, of course.
Rolling shutter test
The C300 Mark II's faster read-out and processor also benefits the rolling shutter, which is an improvement on the C300.
The C300 Mark II had to be really pushed to show its origin as a rolling-shutter camera. This whip pan above was made at approximately 1.3 metres distance at 1/50th of a second, in 4K recorded on the internal XF-AVC codec. That's about the fastest whip pan I could manage without simply pushing the tripod over!
Other improvements in the C300 Mark II
- Extra-robust housing, including stronger attachement points for top handles and gimbal use
- New professional power plugs
- New battery design
- HD proxies at up to 35Mb/s on SD memory card
- Four audio channels (2x XLR, 1 x 3.5mm jack on body without handle, 1 x scratch mic on body)
- Improved viewfinder and monitor
- Improved, replacable cables for monitor unit
- Buttons light up in the dark
C300 Mark II part of a new generation of 4K acquisition tools
The higher resolutions, the faster processing and the first truly creative, multi-tasking AF functionality on the market are only a few of the new features that make this camera stand on its own feet, and make the C300 Mark II camera part of a new generation of 4K acquisition tools.
It is also a great HD camera, with the option of 4:4:4 RGB 2K in 12 bit being an absolute winner. But if your clients already find themselves caught up in the resolution rat race, then the C300 Mark II offers you a great mid- to high-end internal 4K codec and the option of extending the system to RAW recording, via an external recorder, for only a little bit more.
Don't forget to check out the other blogs in this Canon C300 Mark II blog series.