Canon’s New “Revolutionary” Cinema Camera Underwhelms

The media have been invited today in Hollywood to witness Canon’s game-changer cinema camera. Canon hyped the announcement last month by claiming that they will write Hollywood history. The C300 is a beautiful small-factor camera, but if we are to judge from the Twitter responses of many industry professionals, the camera seriously underwhelmed them.

The C300 has a 4k CMOS sensor, but it only records at 1080p (if 4k capture is available via HD-SDI is not known at this moment). The camera comes with a PL mount version and an EF one, to accompany Canon’s new 4k-resolving lenses. The price is considered high at $20k by many. An unnamed as-of-yet dSLR from the same C-line was also mentioned by Canon in the press release I received, saying that this new dSLR will be able to record at 4k, but by using the (archaic) MJPEG codec.

This really feels like a big joke today. Either Canon has lost the plot, or they don’t know how to put together specs for people to comprehend. They never made clear if the C300 can capture 4k or not, they mentioned nothing about the codec used, and they never mentioned the 4k dSLR at the event!

What really bothers me is that if the C300 does not do 4k for one reason or another, it should have had the ability to shoot 2k. I mean, come on. 2k is the resolution of most cinema projectors, and it’s so close to 1080p resolution-wise, that not a lot more RAM or processing would be required on board. Not pushing this camera for 2k, while they’re trying to get Hollywood on their side, shows how outside of the loop Canon is.

Finally, there’s not even over-cranking support in 1080p mode. Not to mention that I’m not too hot on the mpeg2 codec. In this day and age all video editors have OpenCL/CUDA support for h.264, and a good h.264 codec can deliver 2-3 times better video than mpeg2 at the same bitrate. Just use the right h.264 10bit 422 encoder at 50mbps, which should be leaps and bounds better than mpeg2. But no. We had to go back 10 years. (Continues below…)

In my opinion, Canon has two options with the C300, and two options alone:
1. With a firmware upgrade, allow RAW 4k capture via the HD-SDI port.
2. If this is not technically possible in the current design, drop the price by 50% at $10,000.

Failure to do any of the two will result in a big FAIL for Canon. This is my honest opinion on the matter, no matter how good a visual result this camera can deliver. It’s still 1080p, and Hollywood has moved to 4k. That’s the reality.

There are some who say that this Canon camera goes against the SONY F3, and not the RED. But this is bullshit. First of all, it’s much more expensive than the F3. Secondly, it doesn’t matter what the F3 can do. Canon was all about a HISTORIC moment, this was the camera some Canon execs last year were saying it will kill RED. But in reality, this is just a camera created by a company that rode the high horse without realizing it. All this shows that the video success of the 5D MkII, their first video dSLR, was a happy ACCIDENT, and not a planned visionary feature. Canon has no idea what it’s doing with their video cameras. Either they didn’t ask anyone for input, or they got input from the wrong people (wedding videographers?).

As for the unnamed dSLR, please don’t get me started at the MJPEG joke. Really Canon? MJPEG? In (expected) year 2012?

The Canon T3i remains the best-camera-for-the-buck ever released (at $800). Because let me be clear, the C300 is indeed better than the T3i, but not 25 times better. Not by a long shot.

In other news, RED changed a few specs around on the Scarlet (4k video and with great resolutions/frame-rates combos). Some say it will arrive by December. Price starts under $10k, but it’s realistically expected to go to $13k after adding LCD, lens mounts etc. If that’s true, RED won the battle today. As much I don’t like RED’s vaporware, at least they’re genuine dreamers. Canon seems to be comprised from corporate shills instead, who don’t understand the new market that has emerged in the last few years inside Hollywood and outside of it.

Update: Haha, this is getting better and better. So, there is no 4k recording via the SDI port on the C300, and the codec is actually just crappy 8 bit all the way (SDI & CF). Full specs here. In the meantime, RED is pissing off its EPIC users, since the Scarlet can do most of what the EPIC can, for a fraction of the price. And we should not be forgetting AVID, who also today announced an uninteresting (to me) editing solution. This has been a very interesting day indeed.


Dean H wrote on November 3rd, 2011 at 8:25 PM PST:

Really enjoyed your articulate, insiteful blog on the new
Canon, any thoughts on the Sony F65 soon to come out?
Please make sure I get your blogs, Thanks,

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Eugenia wrote on November 3rd, 2011 at 8:28 PM PST:

The Sony F65 is a different beast at $65,000. It mostly speaks to the older Hollywood professionals and studios.

Burk wrote on November 3rd, 2011 at 9:47 PM PST:

Great to hear your thoughts on the c300. I agree that RED stole a lot of Canons thunder today and the Scarlet looks like a great camera. The image out of the Canon is fantastic though in my opinion.

I’m wondering if you have any predictions for the future?

Like a lot of people I shoot a bunch of stuff on DSLRs and I’m trying to guess which way the camera wind is blowing. For my professional shoots Canon 5D and 7D is still the go to camera. The F3 is starting to make some inroads but it is still just a bit too expensive. I was hoping the c300 would “bridge the gap” between the 5D and the F3 but it looks like it’s more of an F3 competitor.

The Scarlet sounds awesome but everybody in my market has a bit of a bad taste in their mouth from the earlier RED products. Unreliable, hard post workflows, etc.

The AF100 and FS100 have not made any real inroads because lensing is a pain and at that price point everybody seems to just want to stick with the 5D/7D. There is a bit of interest in the FS100 but it just doesn’t have that F3 magic .

I guess I’m hoping you could look into your crystal ball and see how all this is going to shake out 🙂

I’m debating getting an F3 but I really like that Canon. Iv’e also heard that the 20k price may not be quite accurate and it could be more in the 16 to 14k zone. The Scarlet looks awesome too but I’m worried that RED can deliver a reliable camera (and also that they can make a pile of em’ quick because at 10k a pop they are going to sell like hotcakes).

So….any thoughts?

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Eugenia wrote on November 3rd, 2011 at 10:26 PM PST:

The Canon 5D MkIII is coming early next year, so you might want to wait and see what features it has.

Glenn wrote on November 3rd, 2011 at 10:44 PM PST:

You can’t deny that the footage from this C300 does look very impressive, regardless of what extra features you get on the Scarlet, the 8bit codec or whatever. I thought footage from the F3 looked great, and so much better than anything I’d seen from any DSLR, or even most Red footage, but the movies I’ve seen from this C300 look even better. So much closer to the look of film. The dynamic range, colour and so on.

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Eugenia wrote on November 3rd, 2011 at 10:57 PM PST:

Glenn, as I explained on Twitter: for that price, 1080p is not enough.

If that camera was $8k or $10k, some indie drama could have used this camera. But at $20k is too expensive for such a production to afford it. On the other side of the coin, we have the expensive productions. The ones that can easily afford to pay $20k for such a camera. But for these productions, 1080p is too low, because they prefer 4k for future re-releases, or for IMAX or digital 4k projections.

So basically, Canon has burned BOTH sides of the stick: and the cheapos 99% indie filmmakers, and the rich 1%. That’s the real problem with this camera: it does not prove useful to anyone in filmmaking.

The only way this camera would be usable and affordable it’d be via *renting* for TV commercials (and more rarely for music videos). But for films, I don’t see it. It’s going to be ultra-rare to see a film shot with this camera.

As I wrote on the article, the price needs to go 50% OFF, or they have to find a way to offer 4k. They really messed up with this camera, Canon asked for consulting from the wrong people. The fact that it doesn’t even do 2k (the default digital cinema resolution), it just shows how Canon has no idea what it’s doing. Complete and utter ignorance.

Glenn wrote on November 4th, 2011 at 12:03 AM PST:

Yeah, but you’re not paying for resolution, you’re paying for the image quality. Clearly that’s what Canon were focusing on here. You can’t go judging gear based on specs alone. If you want to criticise it, get hold of one when they’re released, shoot a film with it and then you’ll be in a position to criticise it and decide whether or not it’s worth the money.

Besides, we’re not their target audience with this camera anyway, so it shouldn’t even concern you. This thing is designed for people shooting bigger budget films. Those who would normally be shooting on film, or something like a Panavision Genesis, Arri Alexa or whatever.

And why does it need to be 4k anyway? I can think of loads of movies that were shot at 1080p, but still look amazing. Imax compatibility is not a good enough reason. Not every film maker is trying to emulate James Cameron or Peter Jackson. Look at the popularity of the Alexa. It’s twice the price of an Epic, doesn’t shoot 4k, and yet film makers still prefer it. Judging by what I’ve seen from the C300, they’re the people Canon are trying to seduce. Not people like us who shoot music video on pocket sized cameras or your average amateur camera blogger with a T2i, GH2 or whatever.

Ivan wrote on November 4th, 2011 at 12:51 AM PST:

My 3 year old Panasonic LX3 is specs-wise totally unattractive, yet, when I take it with me, it is a joy to use, and for a compact camera, the still images are amazing. The LX3 has a ‘je-ne-sais-quoi’ that cannot be derived from the specs.
I guess people at Canon were exactly after that with the C300: let’s build a camera system which allows people to use their coveted EF lens collection, if they want, and for the rest, let us realise the best possible image quality currently available, without trapping ourselves in the megapixel hype.
The C300 has been tested in the harshes condition by professionals and proofs to be reliable. Martin Scorcese(!) is backing this camera… isn’t that proof enough? Let’s not get lost in fine print specs!

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Eugenia wrote on November 4th, 2011 at 12:55 AM PST:

Glenn, woken up on the wrong side of the bed much, eh?

>you’re paying for the image quality

Yes, it looks good, but its image quality IS NOT 25 times better than the T3i. Do the fucking math.

>If you want to criticise it, get hold of one

I don’t have to, because this camera does not do the things I need it to do. If I’m to give 20k for such a camera, I better damn be getting a camera that will be current in 5 years from now. 4k TVs are expected to be announced this January in Las Vegas expo. 4k is a must-have feature for many people right now. And even if it’s not, it is what it was EXPECTED from Canon.

>it shouldn’t even concern you

Are you fucking kidding me? I spent 11 years as a hardware reviewer, reviewing SGI systems that were more expensive than this camera, and you will tell me that I should shut the fuck up? Analyzing products is what I do. It is partly why I have this blog now, after leaving OSNews (which is more computer-oriented). I didn’t bring OSNews from 700 pageviews per day to 250,000 per day just by reviewing products that only “concerned” me. Not that I’m trying to do the same for my personal blog (I’m not), but the point of the matter is, reviewing, previewing, or analyzing a product release, is what I did, do, and will do.

Besides, this is my blog, and I have opinions. You have your own blog, and you have your own opinions. And that’s cool. But don’t tell me that I should shut up just because you don’t agree with me.

>And why does it need to be 4k anyway?

Because this camera is coming out in 2012. People EXPECT their next camera to be 4k. If this is simply “a bit better than Alexa at 1080p”, then it’s NOT good enough for most existing owners. Canon is not a little kid that we can hurt its feelings. Canon is an international company with thousands of patents and engineers. Not releasing proper codecs, proper frame rates, or higher resolutions, IT IS going to attract criticism. It’s only natural.

And I suggest you read around on Twitter btw. I’m not some lone trouble-maker who bitches about this product for the fun of it. I take no pleasure for picking on Canon in this fashion, but they do deserve what they get. The whole filmmaking community wrote the exact same arguments I had here. Just do a search there.

Finally, I explained my train of thought on my previous reply to you. I explained why this product misses the mark. You don’t have to agree with me. But you certainly you have no right to tell me that I can’t blog about a product that was over-hyped, and cried for our attention, for over a month now. Canon did ask for our attention. They got it.

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Eugenia wrote on November 4th, 2011 at 1:00 AM PST:

Ivan, this camera has some features that are reminiscent of amateur cameras (e.g. 8 bit codec). But that’s not my problem with it. We can’t expect the best features out of each camera in the market. However, we CAN expect LOGICAL prices for the offered feature-set. I said it above, and for the last time: $20k for the specific C300 feature-set is TOO MUCH. No matter if it delivers the best 1080p video than any other camera! There will still be cases where 1080p will not be enough. 4k offers a tantalizing flexibility while editing for example, it’s not just about the final 4k image on an IMAX theater. Then there’s no over-cranking at 1080p, which kills most music video productions! Then the 8bit codec can not sustain a lot of grading either. No matter how you see it, no matter how good the sensor is and its 1080p, at the end, there are problems with this feature-set. Problems that wouldn’t be viewed as such if the price was lower (because you would get what you paid for. Right now, you get less).

Vadim Willard wrote on November 4th, 2011 at 2:14 AM PST:

You seriously don’t have a clue about Hollywood or imaging tech.

I will say this camera is a bit of hodgepodge of new and old. Is it a good mix? Not sure yet because no one outside of a select few have played with it.

$20k price tag is sticker shock for most, especially since Scarlet is half that for body and around 15k for a basic package.

Here is what does make sense.

4k imager outputting to 1920×1080 without debayering. Red and blue channels have resolution of 1920×1080 pixels . Green channel has resolution of 1920×2160 pixels.

Sony is using an 8k imager for 4k output for the same reasons.

No demosaicing for interpolated images like the current DSLRs do. So YES it is much much better than what the T3i outputs.

If you even know what cinema projectors out, you’d realize that it’s 2048×1080 and adding 64 pixels to the left and right isn’t going to make that much of a difference. SO when you say 2k do you even know what you are talking about or are you just spouting buzz words?

1920×1080 is still the broadcast standard, not 4k. So what if Sharp comes out with a 4k TV next year. Phillips came out with an 2.33:1 cinemascope-like extra widescreen TV. Did that change broadcast resolutions? no.

TV makers need to keep people interested especially since TVs are dropping in price fast. A 4k TV won’t show anything in true 4k from cable, broadcast, Blu-Ray, so what are you really paying for? Bragging rights.

Hollywood may be shooting 4k for a bunch of productions, but that doesn’t mean they are doing the post all in 4k. It’s still expensive, and that’s a fact. No reason to spend money if they don’t feel it’s needed. That’s up to the individual production to decide.

Yeah we’d all like this to be the Red killer and it isn’t. Oh well, it’s another camera. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. JVC has their 4k camcorder they been teasing at shows, maybe that’ll be what people use. Who knows. Maybe it’ll be Sony that brings something to the plate.

I don’t know what people you keep saying is looking for 4k that hasn’t already found it. There are tons of indies shooting with rented Red, and will probably get a Scarlet. It’s not like there isn’t a glut of affordable packages.

Is analyzing products really what you do? Because you’re not doing a good job at it.How about doing some homework about the professional side before you profess to know what they want or do.

I have no love for Avid, but pretty much most of Hollywood does and will stick with them for a while. They made serious improvements in the last few years, and it’s only uninteresting and overpriced to you because you’re just an amateur.

Nice touch bringing SGI, hardware that may have been useful a decade ago, but useless now.

I guess those who can’t do just rant about it.

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Eugenia wrote on November 4th, 2011 at 2:29 AM PST:

Vadim Willard, I can assure you I checked all the information about the new sensor, and of course and I know what resolution 2k is.

I maintain my opinion that this is an overhyped, overly expensive camera (for what it does) that does not live up to its hype. You obviously don’t agree, and that’s fine. But your comment was derogatory in the way it was written towards me. You’re only a guest here.

As for the SGI mention, of course and it was useful a decade ago, I tested it in 2002, nobody says SGI is useful today. Stop trying to strangulate everything I say just so you can appear on top.

>1920×1080 is still the broadcast standard, not 4k.

Are you kidding me? So Canon brought Scorsese on the podium so he can sell the camera to TELEVISION? Give me a break! Canon really did try to go for film, they call it a cinema camera, not an Oprah camera.

>So YES it is much much better than what the T3i outputs.

I never said that it wasn’t. It’s just NOT 25 times better, according to their prices. That’s my point. The C300 IS OVERPRICED FOR *WHAT IT DOES*. As I wrote in the post: either slash the price, or bring 4k. For $20k, for the life of me, I can not see this product as worthy of that price. How much more clear can I be? If you like the price, just go ahead and buy it (it’s your money), but I can’t honestly suggest it to anyone else! The Scarlet would be my first choice in that range, not the C300. And God knows I’m not with the best of relations with RED, and yet, their product today made more sense.

Maybe we are just looking for different things in products. We all have our opinions and likes, and dislikes. But one thing is for sure, I don’t take it well when someone is trying to insult me like this on my own blog.

I guess, all we have to do is wait a year or two to see who’s right. We will know then if any major projects have been shot with it, or the Scarlet (or the 5D for that matter).

Francis Coral Mellon wrote on November 4th, 2011 at 5:47 AM PST:

To everyone on Canon’s side in these comments!

Time to give you guys a little perspective since you are obviously not listening much to what Eugenia has to say!

You are blinded by your love of Canon. But Canon has screwed up big time.

The RED Scarlet has really blown completely out of the water what all their competitors have to offer.

I am shocked myself that Canon would announce their new camera in the world in such a huge way, when it is decent but nothing special, nothing revolutionary. And then they would price it at $20k which is completely out of reach of all but the richest filmmakers.

They are touting it as the Big Brother to the 5D mk II when it is 10x the price??

Yes I am impressed with the technology in their sensor. It is pretty cool. But if it was under $10k I may take a second look. RED Scarlet is.. And I did take more than a second look.

RED has revolutionized the industry with this camera, and pretty much made canon look like a complete amateur.

RED has so many problems, but I accept all of them because that are a company that is making camera’s for the right reasons. Not for huge amounts of profits, but to democratize the film industry.

No other company will ever really be able to compete with them because of that simple fact.

I very much doubt with all the years of R&D that they have put in, that they will even make that much money on the Scarlet. But by golly everyone will be buying one, and no one in their right mind would by a Canon with the Scarlet right there. For them, if everyone owns a scarlet and is making great films, then they have achieved their goal.

I came into both announcements open minded but came out horrified with Canon.

This proves to me that their success with DSLR video was nothing more than a happy accident, and had nothing to do with their money making or marketing strategy. I dont think they planned to progress dslr video much after releasing this camera because it would be counter intuitive. They plan to leave DSLR’s crippled camera’s for a long time in order to sell their more expensive offerings. Sadly it wont work. Maybe RED will spark you into action again, like they have already. And you will make the needed changes to the DSLR market to stay viable. Because your C300 is not going to sell that much. Kudos for paying a lot of big names to come out to your event Canon, but true filmmakers will not fall for any of it.

In the end the proof will be in who buys what camera and what camera is being used to make films the most! I predict RED SCARLET. But we shall see wont we.

Francis Coral Mellon wrote on November 4th, 2011 at 5:56 AM PST:

Oh and for Vadim..

You obviously have no clue about resolutions.

1920 x 1080 is not enough for $20k, we are moving into the future.

4k RAW edited and colored (in 4k) then downressed to 1080P HD looks a lot better than 1080P 8bit 4:2:2.. Colored and exported in 1080p.

Its the theory of having the largest base to start your work from. And your files are future proof.

For example 4k projectors will be implemented in Cinema’s everywhere. They are out and it is happening.

What will look better on a massive screen and a 4k projector in a cinema, 1080P 8bit video upressed? Or 4k.. coming straight out of camera.

Everything else aside. The Scarlet shoots 16 bit RAW image. The most maniputable image in post you can possibly have. That alone justifies the win and then the ton of other features which you can get for under $10k.. Even resolution aside. Half the price of canon.

It is a proper cinema camera. I also trust that they will continue to make sure I am getting the most out of the camera for years to come with many updates. RED is good to their customers and cares about their filmmaking. Canon just wants to make a buck. End of story.

Canon has failed.

Kendal Miller wrote on November 4th, 2011 at 6:26 AM PST:

I think this very well written. The problem with this camera is not one of image quality. No one is contending the fact that it makes pretty images. But so what!? The fact remains that this is also about business. Five years ago this camera would be phenomenal. That ship has sailed, it’s a different market. There are a number of single chip S35 remove able lens solutions on the market at both ends of the spectrum. It’s not enough camera for the hard core ASC guys to move them away from the F65 and Alexa market for numerous reasons. No overcranking, and a very crippling codec among them. And it’s priced out of competition with the F3, FS-100, AF100, 7D, 5D not to mention scarlet. The problem here is that even at 14-16k it does not offer a broad enough feature set to warrant the price tag. Yes it will make pretty images but with the codec and feature set their ate other options that are way more affordable. Heck, you could get an FS-100 and record off board to an atmos Ninja at 4:2:2 8bit ProRes and purchase and entire set of CP2 primes with change left. To be competitive in this market today you have to either place your product as a value item were the price drives the purchase decision. Or sell a feature set that warrants the premium price. The fact is Canon missed on both these fronts. Will it sell? Sure. People don’t trust Red, myself included, do deliver what they announce. And Im sure the C300 will carve a niche in the production community. But I would never purchase one based on the current market the ROI just isn’t there.

CRFilms wrote on November 4th, 2011 at 7:20 AM PST:

This is a test of a 35mb hacked GH2 vs a Red Epic.

That’s a mild hack and they just hacked the GH2 codec to all intra frame at about 170mb. I have 2 GH1s right now maxed out at 100mb hack, but when it comes time to buy a new cam…the GH2 at $720 can’t be beat, imho. I bought my GH1s for under $400 body only. Canon officially lost any potential business from me, granted I can’t afford even the 7D right now, but if I could afford it, for the price of one 7D, I could get 2 GH2s.

You’re right….Canon just don’t get it.

Steve wrote on November 4th, 2011 at 9:27 AM PST:

You comments on AVID are way off the mark as this is a big leap forward to for Media Composer. Necessary to make it into a more modern application. What did you expect? A Final Cut Pro X remake? I think you use Vegas so let’s leave the NLE commentary to someone who’s a real editor.

Vadim Willard wrote on November 4th, 2011 at 1:14 PM PST:

Oh Francis,

You assume too much.

Of all the weak points on the 300c, the worst is the codec.

That being said, it’s still a 4k sensor. It’s outputting true 1920×1080 pixels.

Red makes debayered 4k images. It’s sampling the red, green, blue pixels to build the image. The quality of the image depends on the algorithms used. It’s really nice except for those who are critical about image quality.

4k distribution isn’t the standard even with 4k projection. Most productions work and distribute in 2k, even if they shoot 4k.

It seems Francis, you’re stuck only on resolution. Yet I doubt you even understand the workflows and computing needs for 4k.

I don’t see a lot of indies doing 4k distribution. Most will be lucky for to get any distribution.

1920×1080 isn’t going away on the acquisition side. Sorry if you feel different, but you don’t work in the real world then.

The pricing of the camera is high, but it’s not a camcorder. I don’t know what the package is. What the lens quality and accessories come with it.

Its the hype thats the disappointment.

Glenn wrote on November 4th, 2011 at 7:54 PM PST:

Eugenia, I’m surprised how aggressive you can be at times. You might need to go easy on the red meat portion of your paleo diet me thinks 🙂

The C300’s image might not be 20x better than a 550D, but there’s a bunch of other additional features that make up for it. Built in ND filters, dual CF cards for backup, a better codec, genlock for those who require it, a PL mount, all the important buttons you need rather than having to navigate a menu, and so on.

I also suggest listening to Vadim here. He knows what he’s talking about. The sensor on the C300 is similar to a Foveon sensor. I remember seeing a comparison a few years ago of photos shot on a Sigma DP1 with a Foveon sensor compared with photos shot on the original 5D, which I believe was a 12mp. When uprezzed 3x to match the resolution of the 5D photos, there wasn’t much difference. I remember one shot of a tree branch where the DP1 maintained more detail than the 5D.

As for the Scarlet, it’s ok, but don’t assume $10,000 will get you all you need. I’d estimate somewhere in the range of $15k to $20k. Red accessories are expensive, CF cards don’t hold much, and if the batteries are anything like those the Red One uses, they don’t last very long. I’ve been on a few Red shoots, and when shooting continuously there would always need to be an additional two batteries charging.

Lets not forget the crop factor. Shooting 60p on the Scarlet at 2K will mean your 50mm lens will now be 100mm. If you’re using photographic lenses, multiply that again by 1.6 and you’ll find that you’ll be shooting at 160mm from a standard 50mm photo lens. Want to try shooting at 120fps from the same lens? Well, you’ll need a very steady tripod for that!

60P from the C300? Well, my preference there would be to shoot in 60i and interpolate the fields. With the additional colour depth from the sensor I can’t imagine the end result looking that bad. Even 720P on the C300 uprezzed to 1080P should look better than 1080P from the current range of Canon DSLRs. It most probably wouldn’t match the resolution of the GH2 though.

Red Raw I don’t think is a big deal either. With Cineform Neo you get the same Raw workflow via First Light, but without the addition power requirements.

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Eugenia wrote on November 4th, 2011 at 8:22 PM PST:

>my preference there would be to shoot in 60i and interpolate the fields.

Please, what you suggest here is utterly ridiculous. Why would you want to go in all this PAIN when this $20k camera should have given you 1080/60p to begin with?

>I also suggest listening to Vadim here. He knows what he’s talking about.

Oh, and the rest of us are complete idiots, right? Good grief. Just because the sensor is good does not make the overall packaged deal good. There are a lot more factors than just the quality of the sensor (which I never doubted). Re-framing is so common when editing for example, that 1080p doesn’t cut it. I’ve seen TV shows re-framing from 1080p sources, and it looked like shit.

>The C300′s image might not be 20x better than a 550D, but there’s a bunch of other additional features that make up for it.

No, it doesn’t. The visual quality is possible 3x-5x better, and I’d give another 5x-7x for the rest of the features. Overall, this is an $8k-$10k camera in my book, compared to the T3i price-to-features ratio.

>I’d estimate somewhere in the range of $15k to $20k.

A usable Scarlet is $13k to $14k. Not $20k. And it’s got better features. Video can have variable resolutions (albeit windowed) and variable frame-rates. RED gives me that, Canon doesn’t. Canon is giving me a cinematic wedding camera instead.

>Red Raw I don’t think is a big deal either.

HUH? Red Raw is RAW, not freaking 8bit mpeg2. You can over-expose or under-expose with RED and still manage to get a good picture in post. With 8bit mpeg2 you’re screwed. Re-encoding to Cineform won’t do shit in that situation.

Glenn wrote on November 4th, 2011 at 9:07 PM PST:

Ok, well, get back to us about it once you’ve shot a film with either of these cameras. You may have tried out a few SGI machines back in the day, but until you’ve actually used both of these cameras and completed a movie with either, your arguments mean nothing to me.

I’ve seen 4 movies & behind the scenes docos shot on the C300. Although one was a bit dodgy, overall they all looked quite impressive. That’s what matters to me, the end result. I’m yet to see anything from the Scarlet, so I don’t really have anything much to say in favour of it yet.

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Eugenia wrote on November 4th, 2011 at 9:20 PM PST:

By your logic, people who discuss video editors must have finished editing a movie with them, and people who discuss any camera must own it. Obviously this is not possible. Even when we buy a product (any product), we buy it after we have read about its features and *matched them* to our needs, not after we actually used it full-time (think that you would have to use a refrigerator for a month before you actually decide to buy or not). You’re free for my “arguments to mean nothing” to you, but I’m also free to HAVE arguments. Obviously I can’t convince you that this camera is overpriced for what it offers, and surely you can’t convince me for the opposite either. So please cut down a bit of this passive aggressiveness that sounds a bit like “you know nothing”, because I simply have different expectations than you do for this product. The kind of feature-set I need from a $20k camera, differs from yours. It’s that simple.

Ivan wrote on November 4th, 2011 at 11:08 PM PST:

“I accost an American sailor, and I inquire why the ships of his country are built so as to last but for a short time; he answers without hesitation that the art of navigation is every day making such rapid progress, that the finest vessel would become almost useless if it lasted beyond a certain number of years.”

(In Democracy in America (1840), Alexis de Tocqueville noted the rise of planned obsolescence in the United States.)

The 4k hype is such a fine example of ‘planned obsolescence’ at work in front of our very eyes.

“Planned obsolescence requires fooling the consumers on the actual cost per use of the item in comparison to the competition.”

… I don’t like being treated as a fool! How about you?

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Eugenia wrote on November 4th, 2011 at 11:15 PM PST:

Ivan, just 10 years ago people would go on about “how useless HD” is too. They’d say that buying an HD camera was stupid and a waste of time (“people have no HDTVs, and 480p DVDs only now start to pick up”). Just because something is a bit ahead of its time does not make it obsolete. Not when you pay for it anyway at that price. 4k has real advantages over HD, it’s not hype. It might be hype for a dSLR user who’s happy with his current quality, but it’s not hype for someone who might want to shoot an impressive feature film, or for an editor who might need to re-frame, or for a colorist who needs RAW to fix the DoP’s mistakes. This camera was meant for Hollywood, but it doesn’t deliver!

All I have to tell to you is to go 10 years back in forums, and see the reactions of people about HD cameras. Same reaction as many people’s today about 4k. Ultimately, you can’t stop progress though. It’s just that C300 does not contribute to this progress. And that’s burning me, because I expected Canon to go with the current. Instead, the resolutions, frame rates and codec on this camera, is from the last decade. At that selling price, it’s too thin.

Glenn wrote on November 5th, 2011 at 12:11 AM PST:

For me, the only advantage of shooting in 4k woud be the ability to crop to a close up from a mid shot or pan around a frame. But in doing so, I’d still be working to 1080P.

And 4k television, why? Some of us are still watchng DVDs on 76cm widescreen tube televisions. Television manafacturers need to first get the image quality on their current 1080p range looking good before even thinking about higher resolutions. I remember watching a film I did the sound design for that was shot on a Panasonic HVX200 in a proper theatre (and a larger one too) on the big screen. I thought it would look like rubbish, but it looked fine.

It will be a sad materialistic world we’ll be living in the day 4k television ever becomes the norm.

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Eugenia wrote on November 5th, 2011 at 12:29 AM PST:

Materialistic or not, they’re coming sooner than you think. The first 4k consumer TVs are to be announced this coming January, at Las Vegas’ CES, to be sold later in the year. By 2014-2015 they’ll be the norm, the same way there are more 3D TV models released today by major TV manufacturers than 2D models (no matter if they don’t sell enough). Action movies shot today would want to be 4k future-proof. Dramas, I agree, they don’t need more than 1080p.

Youtube already supports 4k btw, Vimeo’s is in the works, more digital cinemas install 4k projectors every week in the US, and the Blu-Ray standard will be updated too within 2 years time. 4k is coming, and it’s coming faster than HD did. In the US it took HD 10-15 years to just get off the floor, and another 8 years to go from that low percentage of usage to almost universal usage. 4k will be in the homes of most people within 3-5 years instead. And it might just be the trick AppleTV/Roku/GoogleTV need to pull to go over cable operators (which will be much slower in changing their millions of cable boxes to support 4k).

Funny you mentioned the HVX200 btw. I was JUST watching on Netflix a film shot on the HVX200 (indie, just $50k budget); it looked really bad. Sure, they used a 35mm adapter which stole away lots of the original quality, but I thought its 720p HD upload looked worse than my P&S HD digicam… Anyway, that was just one case, it doesn’t represent the HVX200 as a whole.

CRFilms wrote on November 5th, 2011 at 4:01 AM PST:

What was that flick, I’d like to take a look…., but yeah, so many manufacturers are missing the boat. As much as I tout the GH1/2, it’s only good because the user community hacked it and made a flawed piece of hardware twice as good as it came from the factory. I have ZERO brand loyalty to Panasonic because of how they’ve handled their brand and the AF100 is another prime example of compromised hardware.

I seriously almost bought those Canon A1200 you talked about but then I started thinking, “wow, for that cheap I can get a DOF adapter and this and that, etc…” so my $100 cam would eventually cost $400+ so when I saw the GH1 on sale i jumped at it, since even in it’s early unhackable flawed form, it was a great value for the money.

It’s so frustrating seeing so many missed opportunities. Nikon released a mirrorless cam with no 24p. The Canon ELPH’s have no manual controls…..I bought my parents a A1200, but I’ll never buy canon for myself now.

Why can’t we have a cam that has GH2 or Sony Nex type hardware that does clean hdmi or sdi out? How much is that? $1k hardware for the cam, another $1k to get the cam to output clean hdmi or sdi. Hyperdeck $400 or Ninja, $1k, $1k more for a few SSDs…boom, $4-5000, you own the market. Own it.

Luis wrote on November 5th, 2011 at 1:07 PM PST:

I agree with Eugenia. The Canon C300 is a very good camera, but when you look at the price it just doesn’t make a lot of sense,

As for it’s wonderful sensor, I think it’s also over hyped. It’s just an 8MP sensor what outputs sharp 2MP images because it has the processing power to downsize them with high quality. That’s all. Forget about non-bayer silliness: when you are reducing the image to 1/4th of it’s size, bayer doesn’t count anymore (that’s why canon talks about no debayering, they only need to downscale the original bayer-filtered 8K image). The GH2 for less than $1000 has a 16MP sensor that could output the highest possible quality 1080p if it had enough power to downscale each frame with high quality. It doesn’t, but the GH3 next year will likely have that power. And the Canon 1D X has an 18MP sensor that will probably output equally sharp 1080p as the C300 (if DIGIC V can really do the job as they said). There is nothing revolutionary in the C300 sensor, it just have a powerful enough processor (no that big deal in 2012).

CRFilms wrote on November 5th, 2011 at 8:03 PM PST:

Here’s the problem Louis…..I have ZERO faith in Panasonic or any other camera maker now. Panasonic didn’t do right by us with the GH1…didn’t do right by us with the GH2…the new GX1 doesn’t look that good, the GF2/3s aren’t that good, they DELIBERATELY made new GH1s unhackable(for a while:) then made GH2s harder to hack, I’m sure GH3s will be even harder to hack IF they could be hacked at all….

The Problem is, we want more hardware and capabilities than they have in $5000 cameras…something they could do, but why should they do that? They won’t.

Luis wrote on November 6th, 2011 at 5:17 AM PST:

Well, my comment was not about Panasonic specifically. I just meant that this kind of myth that I’m hearing about the Canon C300’s sensor being something special because it will provide the best 1080p, with great resolution, colors, etc… is not accurate. The only special thing it has is that it uses 8MP to provide a final 2MP image (unlike the Sony F3 that only has a 2MP sensor). But this is nothing new in the sensor side. Potentially, any DSLR could provide equally good (if not better) 1080p if it had the right processor to downscale each frame with high quality. And next year some will probably have this processing power. For less than $1000.

So again I agree with Eugenia. This camera is nothing revolutionary (it might had been 5-6 years ago, but not now). It still is a very good camera that would sell well at $6k-$8k. At $20k… we will see.

Michel wrote on November 6th, 2011 at 6:35 AM PST:

Eugenia is right on. It’s the first reaction to Canon’s “Historic” event that express the disappointment for a lot of us. Canon CAN do MUCH better.

This is not about technology limits more than it is politics. Look at what Trammell Hudson accomplished with his Magic Lantern hack of the Canon 5Dmk2 years ago. He made it into a professional tool, even though Canon tried all they could to block him with firmware updates. It’s not that Canon didn’t have the technology to improve on the 5Dmk2, they just wouldn’t. 5Dmk2 was a product of the Canon Stills Department, and nobody in Canon expected it to become such a success within the film producing segment. You can only imagine how furious Canon’s Video Department has been the last couple of years since the 5dmk2 hit the shelves, and that same department probably had a say on stalling further development of the 5dmk2.

While Trammell Hudson was working on improvements of the 5Dmk2, my only thought was “Canon should hire this guy right away”, and acknowledge his creative and technical skills. Instead Canon made him their enemy, while the 5Dmk2 community made him their hero. That certainly left a lot the Canon lovers heartbroken. And that’s why many are disappointed today with the C300, because Canon showed us they are holding back on potential capability, especially when outsiders are telling them what should/can be done.

This defensive attitude might be a typical Japanese corporate behavior, being too proud to receive any advise they didn’t ask for. When Fuji made their fabulous professional still camera GX680 back in 1989, I had a chance to meet with their developing team at the IBC Tradeshow in Amsterdam after owning a GX680 system for a couple of months. When I praised their product they were all smiles, but when I started to suggest improvements, their faces turned to stone and our conversation quickly ended! I was really shocked by their reaction, and had no clue why they refused input. The GX680 has the best lenses I have ever come across, and with the tilt/shift capability I still keep the system should a 6×8 cm digital movie back somehow be produced. I know, I am a dreamer.

My point is, Canon’s Stills Department probably could deliver many of the improvements the 5Dmk2 community has hoped for during the last couple of years, but are simply not allowed to for the benefit of Canon’s Video Department, who has now been giving a chance by their CEO to show what they are capable of. Now that the world has seen nothing more than a nice upgrade in image quality, I think the Stills Department will be taking over anytime soon, to go ahead and make that long awaited 5Dmk3/6D. After all, the potential market and profit for Canon is probably a LOT bigger with a 4K, 60/120P, 10+bit, full-frame 5Dmk3/6D at $3-4000, than the C300 at $20000.

Michael C. wrote on November 6th, 2011 at 7:29 PM PST:

> Just use the right h.264 10bit 422 encoder at 50mbps

Isn’t it coincidental that I was whining about something in between AVCHD and AVC-Intra for more than a year, and now behold, AVC-Ultra, spec’d exactly how you spelled it above. Everyone send me a $10 check, please. Now if only Panasonic enabled it for SD-card based cams.

8-bit MPEG-2 is not a breakthrough, this is not a historic event. Not by any chance. This camera may sell, but this is not a camera that will be remembered as a game-changer in 10 years.

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Eugenia wrote on November 6th, 2011 at 7:33 PM PST:

Michael, exactly. This is what I proposed in another discussion earlier today too: AVC-Ultra was the answer (short of buying Cineform).

Rob wrote on November 7th, 2011 at 2:51 PM PST:

You are right, the Canon T3i remains the best-camera-for-the-buck. I have a Canon T2i with Magic Lantern and this little camera is amazing and in some ways I like it more than my EX1.

I wanted to move up and dump my Letus Extreme on the EX1 but everytime a camera comes out, it is a deception for me.

The F3 is overpriced and has a useless viewfinder which should of never been there in the first place. The FS100 doesn’t have ND filters built-in, no way I will use a variable ND on that camera. The C300 is greatly overpriced.

Now I was looking at the AF100 but I would end up with less control than I have with my Ex1 and Letus since most of these cameras don’t have zoom controls while the Letus gives me the ability to zoom on the ground glass, not perfect but better than no zoom and more creative possibilities.

So in the meantime, I am sticking to my EX1 and Letus for my commercial work but would love to see a camera with a fixed motorized zoom lens with 35mm or 4/3 sensor, pretty much like an EX1 but with a bigger sensor, not that I want super DOF, but more creative control than my bare EX1. That would be great for field work.

Also, why can they make cameras that are shoulder mounted?

We can just never get what we want!

Philip wrote on November 11th, 2011 at 6:41 AM PST:

@Eugenia -“4k will be in the homes of most people within 3-5 years instead”

I think not. The only figures I can find suggest Europe, for instance, doesn’t have great HD penetration. The UK (highest HD viewership in Europe?) only had 25% of viewers watching TV in HD back in 2010.

The world has only just started watching HDTV they aren’t going to spend even more money for 4k equipment, in large numbers, in such a short timescale.

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