This year more camera manufacturers than ever are opting to announce new cameras right before NAB, as opposed to at the show itself. The latest camera to fall in this category would be the C300 Mark II which was officially announced today and has some impressive (but predictable) specs.
In the near future I will be sure to do a more detailed writeup on this camera, but for now I wanted to quickly share some highlights and initial thoughts with you.
In a nutshell, the new C300 Mark II is a 4K version of it’s predecessor with some much needed functionality including: 15 stops of dynamic range, RAW ability (to an external recorder), a better codec, 120fps slow motion, and much more. It will retail for $15,999.
Here are the specs:
- 10-bit 4:2:2 in 4K recording (UHD 3840 x 2160 & DCI cinematic (4096 x 2160 pixels)
- up to 410Mbps (in 4K)
- 10/12-bit 4:4:4 in 2K & Full HD
- up to 30p in 4K, 120p in 2K/Full HD
- 4K RAW files to external recorder
- dual DIGIC DV5 processors
- dual CFast 2.0 slots
- 15 stops of dynamic range with new Canon Log2
- Dual Pixel CMOS AF
- New XF-AVC Intra, Long GOP and Proxy H.265 codecs in 4K, UHD, 2K and 1080p
- 4-channel audio in 16 or 24 bit and 48 kHz
- sensor-read out 2x faster than C300, less rolling shutter
Overall I think the specs look great on paper, but there are no huge surprises here. With a price tag of around $16k, you would assume that the camera should be able to shoot 4K, have decent slow motion functionality, and a better codec. If it didn’t offer any of those capabilities – no one would be happy. So thankfully Canon has gone ahead and added some much needed usability to their latest iteration of the C300, and for many users that will be enough.
In the last year or two Canon lost a lot of users. The GH4 and A7s are mostly responsible for this, and lots of filmmakers have even questioned Canon’s status in the independent film world in general. Despite all this, many people have stuck with the brand and I do think Canon still has a chance to redeem themselves and hold onto much of their user base, mainly thanks to this camera. A lot of documentary shooters, television programs, rental houses, and owner/operators swore by the original C300 from the beginning, and I see many of those same types of users considering the C300 Mark II.
Are there cameras that offer better specs than the C300 MK II for less money? Absolutely. But for the segments of the film/television/digital industries that have been loving the C300 for years, that won’t matter. Specs aren’t the only thing to consider when buying a camera, and for certain types of shooters the Mark II is going to be exactly what they want: a C300 brought up to 2015 standards.
So that’s about it for now. Once I have a chance to shoot and test with the C300, I’ll be sure to do a video review…
What are your thoughts on the announcement? Comment below!
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!