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Here’s Why The Rumored 4K C300 Mark II Might Keep Canon In The Game

I make a point not to post about rumors often on this site, however in the past few weeks many credible sources have pre-emptively stated that Canon will be releasing their C300 Mark II before NAB in April of this year. Although there has been no official announcement or statement from Canon, where there’s smoke there is usually fire – and I think it’s safe to say that the C300 has been long overdue for an upgrade, meaning that the Mark II version is likely just around the corner.

The new C300 Mark II will allegedly feature a 4K recording option, which is certainly no surprise as any camera in the $10,000 range in 2015 has no excuse not to offer 4K/UHD resolution. The camera will be priced “aggressively” according to many reports, which is also no big shock as that falls in line with where Canon’s price points have been after the numerous price drops on the cinema line. Take the original C100 for instance, which now is priced at only $3999.00:

Canon C100

Canon C100 – $3999.00 at B & H

There haven’t been any other specs or details on the C300 Mark II leaked at this point, but if I were to speculate I would say that there’s a good chance higher frame rates are in the cards, as well as higher bitrate recording. Let’s start with the frame rates…

Right now, it seems that the biggest competitor to the rumored C300 Mark II is Sony’s FS7, which will offer similar functionality and will definitely appeal to the same type of shooter. That said, the edge that Sony has always had with their FS cameras has been the high frame rates. Canon has been widely criticized for not offering higher frame rate recording (for slow motion shots) on their C100 or C300, but that seems to be changing. The C100 Mark II upgrade included a much needed 1080/60p mode (while it’s predecessor topped out at 30p), and the original C300 was only able to shoot 60 frames per second in 720p mode. I think it’s quite obvious that the C300 Mark II will need to match or exceed the C100 Mark II’s frame rate capabilities, so it is certainly possible that 96fps or even 120fps may be in the cards for Canon’s new C300.

As far as higher bitrates go, that is kind of a given as well. The C100 Mark II upped their max bit rate to 35mbps (from 24mbps on the original), and the C100 still only shoots 1080p. If there C300 Mark II is going to record at 4K resolution, it will mean that higher bitrates will absolutely need to be implemented in order to maintain an acceptable level of detail and quality with the increased resolution. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see higher bitrates on the 1080 and 720 modes of the C300 Mark II too.

Can The C300 Mark II Save Canon?

C300 Mark II

Canon has lost a lot of users over the last year or two – mainly thanks to the Lumix GH4 and Sony A7S stealing a lot of their market share. It’s hard to justify spending several times the cost of either of those cameras to purchase a Canon DSLR or cinema camera, when the image quality isn’t necessarily any better and the specs in many cases are worse. That said though, there are still a few things that Canon does really well – namely their color science.

I love my GH4 and shoot with it constantly. I also enjoy shooting on the A7s, the Samsung NX1 and many other highly capable DSLRs… However, the one area where I still feel that Canon has everyone else beat is with their color science. The colors that are captured off of a Canon sensor in my opinion are often more natural looking and accurate when compared to it’s competitors. This is a huge consideration, especially when taking into account the fact that all of these cameras are recording to fairly highly compressed formats – which means nailing the look in camera is ideal so that heavy color grading isn’t required.

If Canon is able to deliver a C300 Mark II that is priced within reasonable range of the Sony FS7, and it offers 4K recording and higher frame rates (which I definitely think it will), Canon might just be able to get themselves back in the game. The form factor of their cameras is still fantastic, and the color science and overall ‘look’ of the images off of Canon’s cinema cameras is still top notch for many types of productions. They have certainly trailed behind, but these potential improvements might just be enough to keep filmmakers coming back for more.

Many of us have already jumped ship and have moved on to cameras from other brands… But for those that are hanging on to Canon, there may just be some hope in sight.

About Author

Noam Kroll is an award-winning Los Angeles based filmmaker, and the founder of the boutique production house, Creative Rebellion. His work can be seen at international film festivals, on network television, and in various publications across the globe. Follow Noam on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more content like this!

19 Comments

  • Chad Isaacs
    August 26, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    I’ve read a lot of your information on the GH4 and it has been very helpful, but I am still not loving the skin tones and how inconsistent my results are depending on exposure and white balance. My goal is to have a great run and gun camera that requires very little post work and allows quick turn arounds. Do you think the c100 mark ii would be a better option for this and would allow me to get great skin tones with little effort and more consistency?

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      August 28, 2015 at 2:12 am

      Glad to hear Chad! I agree that the skin tones seem to be problematic. Certain instances (with the exact same settings) give me better results than others, and I really haven’t figured out why.

      I think the C100 MK II would likely be a better option given what you are looking to do. It will be faster to use both on set and in post (depending on how you like to work) and the image quality is superb.

      Reply
  • Marko
    April 9, 2015 at 10:05 am

    Hi Noam,

    Thx, for you reply.
    So, what do you think about the new Canon C300 Mark II, that was announced yesterday?

    Greetings,
    Marko

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      April 10, 2015 at 12:49 am

      Hey Marko! i actually just posted about it if you check the homepage. Thanks for visiting…

      Reply
  • Marko Koks
    April 2, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    Hi Noam,

    Great post,

    I have alot of thoughts about this subject and alot of offtopic thoughts as well and
    I needed to write them down somewhere in order to clear mind and I just couldnt stop,
    so grab a coffe or something 🙂

    I agree that its a confusing time to buy new cameras right now
    and the specs battle between the fs7 and the upcoming c300 II will be interesting indeed.
    I also think like some of the readers here, that it actually doesnt matter which tools you are using if you have a great story in your hands.

    But still, I think when looking for a new camera it’s actually not about the specs or the actual picture quality, but firstly its more about understanding who you are and what kind of projects you are mostly working on.

    Ive made some huge mistakes in the past by buying cameras, that had the specs and picture quality, that i wanted, but the ergonomics or form factors or lack of features just didnt cut it.
    I see alot of people asking guys like you, weather they should buy one camera or the other, but the best bet is to get a hands-on experience of the desired cameras and choose yourself which camera for your projects, will make your shootings and post production as smooth as possible.

    In general there are 2 types of projects that i can think of:

    1. Projects where we have control over people, time, subjects, lighting and sound – like film sets, commercial shootings, corporate videos, interview setups, shooting lanscape or architecture…
    This is where people can use all the blank raw cinema type cameras bodies and add features and accessories by rigging the hell out of them and it will probobly take place in a controlled enviroment and we can take all the time in the world to make our shots happen as they were planned.

    2. Projects where you dont have that much control like events, wildlife, public places, weddings,
    fast moving subjects, changing locations, sound and lighting conditions…
    This is where you need a camera that has all the features built into the camera, so you dont miss important moments like the first kiss in the wedding, because the Monster rig is just too crowded with accessories that were not designed to work together 🙂

    So there are not many cameras that can handle both of these project types, but i think that the fs7 and the c300 have the best from both worlds. You can successfully use them with accessories in a controlled shooting enviroment and you can do “run and gun” style work as well, without the need of any external accessories.

    But lets have a spec talk anyway, cause its alot of fun to predict,
    what the upcoming c300 will be like 🙂
    I think that Canon wont be able to beat Sony in the specs battle and it will have internal UHD onto Cfast 2.0 cards @ 30p-60p and 1080p @ 60p-120p. It will have a 4K raw output to any external device with different frame rates up to 60p.
    I wouldnt be so sure about the internal 10bit, but lets keep our fingers crossed, cause sometimes the banding issues of the 8bit codecs is just terrible and the color space is usually better.

    But nevertheless even if c300 II wont beat all the specs, the color science and the ergonomics will still save the day for Canon. Im using Sony fs700 and the colors are just so bad and it is a akward camera. I know alot of the issues are solved in the new fs7. But you absolutely have to nail the white balance in the cameras with Sony sensors in order to have correct colors, cause otherwise you will have the legendary green or magenta cast to your images and its a nightmare in post, but Canon cameras are much more forgiving in that sense and the colours look more natural and the mistakes made while shooting are much easier to fix in post. I bought a Lastolite 18% gray card and i would like to basically duck tape it to a stick in front of my fs700 🙂

    Lens wise there is no competiotion between these two, cause Canon has a huge lineup of EF and Cine lenses that will fit with the help of Metabones adapters to Sony e-mount cameras as well.

    I understand the concept behind raw and log and luts, but I think that getting the best possible footage straight out of the camera is not gonna die any time soon, cause i still think that most of us are working in a tight budget and timeframe all the time and we really need a versatile camera that has a strong internal codec so we can shoot, edit and deliver on time.
    Lets hope that Canon will surprise us with the upcoming C300 Mark II,
    as much as they did with the Canon 5D Mark II, back in 2008.

    So Noam, sry that my reply went out of hand, but if you have time to reply on any of my thoughts,
    i would be glad to read them 🙂

    Greetings from Estonia,
    Marko

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      April 6, 2015 at 5:44 am

      Wow! Lots of great insight here, and I have to agree with a lot of your points. Specifically, all cameras do in fact have their place and the best cameras for one type of shooting (let’s say narrative) are often ill suited for other types of work (reality). It’s really always been that way, even going back to the film days. 8mm, 16mm and 35mm all had their respective uses from home videos to theatrical features. And then of course there was 65mm… It’s the same today with digital technology, although things are slightly more confusing now.

      I also do agree that the Canon C300 and FS7 both fall in this middle ground in which they can be used well in either type of shooting situation. With that in mind though, I still think they would fall slightly more on the side of the run and gun style production. Not that they can’t be used for narrative (Blue is the warmest color was even shot on the C300), but they wouldn’t always be the first choice. I think if you need a camera that can do it all, one of those two options is great right now. But if all you’re shooting is narrative, you might be better off with a different camera entirely – especially at that price point. On the other hand though, if all you’re shooting is documentary work, events, corporate spots, etc. then the FS7 and C300 would be perfect.

      Reply
  • Robert
    March 29, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    Hey Noam, I completely agree with you when it comes to Canon’s color. In my opinion, canon is much more accurate when it comes to skin tone and that’s extremely important for me. I recently bought the GH4 and I’m ultimately not happy with it. It’s functionality is great, 96 fps at 1080p is amazing and shooting 4k definitely has it’s advantages but getting used to the small sensor and the picture profiles has been a challenge. Now that I have been spoiled by the specs of the GH4, I want to keep it and purchase an a7s… But after reading your article it may make more sense to wait and see what Canon does.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      April 1, 2015 at 2:52 am

      Thanks for the note Robert. It’s a confusing time to buy cameras right now, that’s for sure! I would definitely suggest waiting a couple of weeks, because on April 13th (first day of NAB) a ton of new announcements will be made.

      Reply
  • Stephen Whitehead
    March 28, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    Miss the cold in Toronto yet Noam? 🙂

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      April 1, 2015 at 2:50 am

      Hey Stephen! Good to hear from you. And no! I don’t miss it. I was in a few weeks ago at the peak of the winter, so I still get to enjoy it from time to time – haha. Hope you are well.

      Reply
  • Danny
    March 12, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    Hey Noam,

    Do you know why many filmmakers say that the c300 or c100 don’t have good specs or codecs?? I’ve seen some documentaries, and pics of some movies filmed on the C series, they look really nice. Are they worth the buy? I just saw a movie yesterday. “BLUE RUIN” which was filmed on a C300 and canon L primes. I’ve been thinking of getting a c100 mark ii, but waiting for NAB 2015 to see if a c300 mark ii will appear. Well I’m hoping to make a purchase on the C series but I read a lot of complaints on it.

    Check out the movie ” blue ruins” it’s on Netflix.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      March 13, 2015 at 3:31 pm

      Hey Danny – people are funny when it comes to cameras. A lot of filmmakers are overly focused on the specs on paper, but don’t really trust themselves to just look at an image from a camera like the c100/c300 and ask if it is up to their standards. Granted, there are some limitations when shooting on these cameras (for instance they obviously don’t do raw), but as I have mentioned on various blogs the specs really don’t always tell the full story. Blue Is The Warmest Color (which won the Palm d’Or) was also shot on the c300, so it goes to show that it really doesn’t matter all that much!

      Reply
  • Liam
    February 20, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    Yeah Glenn you’re basically right! Ha. I use the bmpcc about 80% of the time unrigged, but then you get a bit addicted to how nice the image is, being able to shoot in ProRes, and then you try and use it for everything. Well I do sometimes anyway.

    It’s funny but I’ve seen much better stuff shot out of that camera than much bigger/pricier cameras, whether rigged or unrigged. It’s not all that utilitarian though, it can be a pain in the arse!! Zero battery life, unusable screen outdoors, tricky white balance. Sheesh…

    Reply
    • Glenn
      February 20, 2015 at 5:34 pm

      Liam, I hear you. My point being is that it is actually called a pocket camera and is not much bigger than a cell phone. Think about all the wasted opportunities because a lot of no budget, first time directors feel they are suppose to have professional camera rigs with any and every camera. It’s just a shame. I understand the idea that we are attempting to make the most professional film we can but the fact is… Most of us are not pros and it is kind of offensive to the actual professionals who have spent years honing their craft. I am not a professional, why would I half ass the way they do things. Point being, no matter how professional we attempt to make our movies, the final product will not look like a Hollywood movie and most no budget, indie films that did break through, didn’t break through due to the professional rigs or professional sound of their productions. They broke through due to their story concept or their writing.

      Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      February 23, 2015 at 4:48 pm

      Good point too… The pocket cam does deliver incredible images. And when compared to the BMCC (which you still need to rig up), you do still have a smaller and cheaper camera with nearly an identical image quality – with the exception of the depth of field. Glad to hear it’s working out so well for you.

      Reply
  • Glenn
    February 20, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    Hey Noam, thanks for all of the recent updates. I look forward to the future updates and plans on your site. I visit a handful of sites and I read all about the new and hopeful cameras and gear that is on the horizon or recently released. Most of which, I cannot afford. But I still enjoy reading about them. Since I am in no financial position to purchase most of this equipment and I do realize I do need tools for the toolbox, I have decided to purchase cameras and lenses from the lower, consumer tier of products. Just like your article states, each camera I own… Be it my Canon EOS-M, my Canon S100, Sony NEX 3n or my Pentax Q7, each has a different look and different visual feel. It is exciting to hear about the new, top of the line camera, but I wish, in this digital revolution and the freedom these tiny, user friendly cameras afford us, that more emphasis would be placed on story and the ease of guerrilla filmmaking. To read about no budget aspiring filmmakers spending their last dollar on a RED or BMCC 4K, and then say they’re making “just some horror movie” is sad to me. But what really cracks me up is seeing people buying a BMPCC, a tiny utilitarian camera, if there ever was one, and then rigging the shit out of it?! It just doesn’t make sense. Especially with the recent firmware updates. Just throw a mic on the top of it. Put it on a tripod or slider and tell a visual story. Okay, that is all.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      February 23, 2015 at 4:47 pm

      Hi Glenn! Thanks for the note… I agree with you on all fronts, especially with regards to the pocket camera. The whole point of the pocket camera was that it was intended to be small… Unfortunately to get it working properly it needed to get rigged up to the point that it was almost as big as any other camera which defeats the purpose. I assume the reason many people stuck with it was simply because the price was so low, but when you factor in the cost of the accessories it is fairly pricey!

      Reply
  • Liam
    February 20, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    Hi Noam,

    I’m curious to know how much you use your GH4 vs the C100. I am a GH3 and BMPCC user and there are still many times that I wish I’d put my hand deeper into my pocket in the first place and bought a C100. I still find the image very pleasing, and one of the production houses I freelance for has one that i use and it’s such a relief to have everything in one camera, and for the image to come out nicely.

    I really love the image from the blackmagic but have since bought a loupe, Tascam DR-70d and more recently an Atomos Ninja Blade (mainly for backup as I’ve had a few jobs that I’d have a heart attack should they fail) to get everything as I want it for that camera. I now find the image from the GH3 kind of ugly and boring in comparison. And with either of these cameras, I have to arrive at a location and build up a tower of different bits to have everything I want.

    So yeah… I suppose with a larger sensor, great ergonomics and built in audio etc, I wish I went that way. So then I’m thinking…. Mk2? But then it isn’t 4k so future wise….? Who knows. Seems a lot of money to spend on a camera that may be considered obsolete by people with super duper eyes that can actually see in 4k (or want things cropped in etc).

    Also… Sony? Everything I’ve seen from the a7s and the FS7 I dislike. I really can’t get used to the fact that everyone looks like a walking corpse. In spite of all the great specs.

    Gah! Cameras…

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      February 20, 2015 at 2:57 pm

      Choosing between cameras is one of the most frustrating things… No camera has it all, and just when you think you know what is best for your needs you realize that there is another feature or consideration that you need to take into account. Truthfully, I think the GH4 and C100 are right in the same ballpark as far as straight up image quality goes… That said, I do end up using the C100 more often simply because it’s easier to use without spending time rigging it up. Usually when I’m on a shoot that allows for time to rig up the camera, I am shooting with a RED or similar cinema camera… So the GH4 has become a great camera for guerrilla shoots, traveling, b-roll, and other specific situations. Could you shoot an entire feature on it and make it look amazing? Absolutely… But it might not be as easy to get there as it would be with another camera.

      And I have to agree with you on the Sony lineup. They are doing some great things but none of their cameras really have me sold at this point – except for the F55 which is obviously very expensive. The C300 MK II might be the best option for your needs (assuming it is released at a reasonable price), and I’m sure in April at NAB there will be many more new cameras released to confuse us even more!

      Reply

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