Why I’m Not Upgrading My C100 To a MK II & Thoughts On Canon’s Current Path

The Canon C100 is one of my favorite run and gun cameras and I shoot with it more than any other camera that I own – it just works so well right out of the box. As you might imagine, being a C100 owner I was very eager to see what Canon had in store with the Mark II version of this camera which was just announced this week, but unfortunately was far from blown away by the announcement. 

Before I go on, here are the C100 MK II specs for those of you that haven’t seen them yet:

  • Same Super 35mm CMOS Sensor (24.6 x 13.8 mm) as previous C100
  • 1080p: 23.98, 25, 29.97, 50, 59.94
  • 720p: 23.98, 25, 29.97
  • 640 x 360: 23.98, 25, 29.97
  • ISO 320 to 80,000 in 1/3-step increments
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AutoFocus is Now Standard (Also includes Face Detection AF with STM Lenses)
  • Canon Log LUT Support on the HDMI Output (so you can see what the final image will look like while still recording log)
  • 4:2:0 to SD card, 4:2:2 via uncompressed HDMI out, Timecode over HDMI
  • Dual SDHC/SDXC Card Slots
  • AVCHD: 28, 24, 17, 7 Mb/s
  • MP4: 35, 24, 17, 4, 3, Mb/s
  • New 40% slow motion to 250% fast motion in MP4
  • AAC Audio Recording
  • Built-in 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi support
  • New internal mic built into the body, not just the top handle
  • New 1.23MP OLED Screen that can be tilted to the side of the camera (camera can now be controlled without side handle)
  • New 0.45″ 1.23 MP viewfinder
  • Availability: December 2014
  • Price: $5,500



Canon C100 MK II at B & H

The Original C100

When the C100 first came out, I didn’t even consider shooting with it based on the spec sheet. The bit rate was low, there were no variable frame rates, and the image was limited to HD resolution, which bugged me considering the price tag. About a year after the camera was released though, I had a chance to actually shoot with it and completely changed my mind on the camera. Like the C300, the C100 had such great ergonomics and delivered an image that far exceeded what you might expect based on the specs alone. I also started to understand what this camera was best used for after shooting with it for the first time. It was clearly a great event/documentary/low budget camera that would allow for very high quality recording in a package that worked without the need for additional rigging. No it didn’t do raw, high bit rate, variable frame rates, or lots of other things that many less expensive cameras offered, but it did deliver a great image every single time and could be used with an external recorder for narrative and more polished looking projects. Needless to say, it became my go-to camera for many of my smaller productions as it made my life easier on set and delivered a very reliable image.

Here’s a short that I shot with the C100 a few months back. Normally I don’t use the C100 for narrative, but in this case it was the best choice:

Based on all of this, you might be wondering why I’m not rushing to pre-order the C100 Mark II, since it is essentially a better version of the C100. The EVF has been hugely improved (which was my biggest issue with the original C100), 1080/60p is now available, and a handful of other design and functional changes have been made that improve the performance and usability of this camera. The reason that I don’t care to upgrade however, is simply because these changes are not significant enough. If I was in the market for a C100 today and I didn’t currently own one, of course I would go for the Mark II as it does offer some additional functionality that I would enjoy (namely the ability to shoot 1080/60p), but the bottom line is that for me as a current C100 owner, Canon have not done enough to make me want to upgrade. My current C100 still delivers a beautiful image and with the exception of the few new bells and whistles I listed above, this is the exact same camera.

Really, the issue that I have with the C100 MK II has less to do with the camera itself, and more to do with Canon’s approach to developing new products. There is no denying that the C100 MK II is going to be an excellent tool, but in my opinion I don’t think it’s going to make much of a splash in today’s camera market based on the competition alone. Current C100 owners will likely feel the same way that I do (in that this is not a necessary upgrade), and new potential C100 MK II buyers may very well be deterred by the camera specs, even more so than they would have with the initial C100… This is because although the MK II has better specs than the original C100, it’s specs relative to the average semi-professional camera today are further off than the original camera was to the competition. With an abundance of cameras shooting 4K, variable frame rates, and offering other amazing functionality – there isn’t that much (on paper at least) that will get new buyers to turn their heads. Once again though, I will re-iterate that I am not suggesting this will be a bad camera or that some people won’t find a use for it. In fact, I think the opposite is true. I also believe however that with a few more features this camera could have made a much bigger impact. The problem of course though, is the rest of Canon’s lineup –

Canon’s Pigeonhole

Over the past few years Canon have made what I believe to be some no so great choices with their video offerings, and ultimately have pushed away many of their video based users.

Canon’s initial domination of the DSLR video industry happened more or less by fluke. They didn’t expect the response that they would get to the initial 5D MK II (with regards to video), and have since attempted to capitalize on that success by launching more video based products – specifically their cinema line. Although some of their other cameras (including the C100/C300) have been used extensively and have been quite popular, they have not come out with a product as exciting as the 5D MK II since, well the 5D MK II, and that’s something that many of us have been disappointed with.

The big issue with their cinema camera lineup (most specifically the C100 and C300) has always been that these cameras all have a fairly limited feature set given their relatively high price point. The C300 for example is still $12,000, and while it is undeniably an excellent camera (based on ergonomics and reliability alone), it lacks many features that cameras a fraction of the cost have (such as 4K acquisition). There is an argument to be made that some of these lacking features (such as 4K) are not necessary for all shooters – and I would certainly agree with that point. The fact of the matter is though, even though not everyone needs to shoot 4K or record straight to ProRes, many shooters do. In fact, more and more need it every day, and Canon has reserved 4K and other more professional functionality for only their highest end products.

The fact that Canon have been late to the game with regards to high frame rates, 4K, and other important features on their higher end cameras is only half the problem. The other half is the fact that their lower end cameras (DSLR’s in particular) offer even less functionality in order to avoid cannabilizing their higher end products. I will re-iterate here that this is of course my opinion, but I believe many others would agree with me that Canon seems to be purposefully keeping features like 4K recording off of their lesser expensive cameras so there is still a place for their higher end products.

I can understand and respect that Canon needs to cover themselves and make sure they don’t make any of their own products obsolete by offering better functionality on lower cost products. However, I think the better solution to crippling their lower end cameras, would be to innovate more heavily on their higher end cameras. 4K and high frame rates shouldn’t be the only reason a customer is buying a $12,000+ camera, and I think there can be a best of both worlds situation for Canon. I believe that Canon must have the technology, man power, and infrastructure to allow them to create cinema cameras that truly rival some of the best out there today. If they were able to up their game significantly on the C-series cameras, then they could also offer 4K and plenty of other features on their less expensive cameras without risking losing sales on the higher end, as those would no longer need to be the big selling features.

Unlike many current or former Canon users, I am not as upset with the direction that Canon is taking even though I don’t agree with it. The fact is, today I can choose from literally dozens of amazing cameras that cost less than Canon’s offerings and can deliver superior results visually. There is no reason to be upset with Canon or any other manufacturer today, as the bottom line is we all have more choice than ever before in history. That said, the one thing that does frustrate me on the other end of the spectrum is that many of the other manufacturers that do offer better specs, don’t offer the ergonomics that Canon does. Hopefully this will change in the near future.

Many of my close friends and colleagues have been leaving the Canon brand and converting to cameras made by Panasonic, Sony, Blackmagic, and other brands. A couple of years ago it was rare to see anything but a 5D or 7D on a low budget shoot, and in practically no-time it feels like the tables have turned. I truly hope that Canon is able shift gears and up their game in the future, as I do think they make amazing products and know that they are capable of so much more. Unlike companies like Blackmagic that have to innovate to make a dent in this industry, Canon will remain comfortable no matter what. They still made some of the best stills cameras in the world, and that will always keep them afloat no matter how much or how little they innovate with their video lineup. But if they aren’t careful, they may just lose the rest of their video customers…

For my initial review of the C100 and comparison with the Blackmagic Cinema Camera – Click here!

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!


  • Jose

    Hello Noam,

    Your website is great! Thanks for all the info.

    I am shooting very soon a video art project/documentary to be shown in large projections.
    Do you see any advantages in an external recorder (for ProRes) with the C100 markII?
    Some say that the internal AVCHD codec is very solid, and even in color grading and correction. Others say that only ProResHQ will be good for post production.

    – Will AVCHD (transcoded to ProRes) hold well in post-production? (As I mentioned, not doing work for the Web).
    – Or should I instead rent the C300 for better codec?

    – Should I turn on noise reduction in-camera, or do it in post?
    – Should I use WDR instead of C-Log (shooting mainly inside, interviews in people’s houses)?

    Your input will be much appreciated.
    Thank you!

    • Hi Jose! To answer your questions:

      1. AVCHD is great, but if you plan on doing a lot of color correction (or low light work) go for the external recorder or a C300.
      2. Definitely do your noise reduction in post.
      3. I personally prefer WDR, but that’s just me!

      Hope this helps…

      • Jose

        Noam, it definitely helps. Thank you!
        We will be mainly shooting interviews indoors during the day, with existing light but also artificial lighting. That wouldn’t apply as low light, I guess. Would you agree?
        Any recommendation of lenses (will be using mostly the 24-105mm)?
        (And how does the WDR grade? Well?)
        Thanks again, J

        • You are correct Jose – it sounds like you aren’t really going to be shooting in low light, since you will have a kit and presumably some window light too. The 24-105 should work well, but if you need something faster the Canon 24-70 F2.8 is a great lens as well. I find WDR grades very well! Even off of the cards with no external recorder…

  • I have same thoughts about canon Lineup. I’m at the edge. Have been Canon user for 10 years. But is seems SONY will won me this time. Canon have nothing to offer (for what I like) anymoore.

    Istarted with SONY VX1000 – legend. Than I tried their HVR-Z1 – first HDV camcorder on market which my friend videographer bought; but I bought Canon XHA1 myself. I never regret it. For years we shot weddings with the two. Canon image won every time by its color and more noise but less blockiness. Let alone F mode and all in-camera customization. Later I expanded my set and still have XHA1, XHA1s and 2x HV40 for my current setup.

    I skipped XF300/305 – While better codec and IQ, too bulky for wedding, short for serious work. Than DSLR hype started. Canon ship C100… While I like 35mm look of video, but shallow DOF is not always welcome. And I hate the ergonomich of this DSLR/like products. I want camera that fits in hand like XHA1 and have all the dials and buttons on camera, not in menus.

    I waited that canon will eventually realese some next generation camcorder that will replace XF300/XHA1 and thoose like. No, they offer only upmarket consumer products like XA and some others that are too stripped down to be usefull; while still not that cheap. I ended up buying Atomos Nina for ancinet HV40, for a still competitive HD solution as fixed B-roll camera (better than XHA1 in good light with that setup).

    So Canon released C100/300 mkII. If skipped C100 when I bought Ninja to my HV40, why bother now. I was first adapter of HD (kinda HD), why I would buy HD now in 2017? SONY FS5 is not that much more than whaz XHA1 was back in 2005. And while SONY have full lineup of traditional camcorders to choose from, actually an abundance of models to choose easily, Canon have nothing.

    For the price of C300/C500, I have really broad selection of versatile, high quality camcorders.

    My only consideration about Canon would be buying 2 used C100’s, and record with my Ninja’s. But this kind of setup also add bulkiness; I believe C100+Ninja IQ stil cannot compare to FS5 internal codec when scaled down to HD… let alone low light performance. And I kinda need 4k… today every one demand HD alredy. In 2005+ HD camcorder(s) gave me incredible nice SD image and I had 100% digital zoom and software image stabilisation without degradation of IQ on SD timeline. Now 4K offers the same for my HD output.

    What Canon is thinking about?? Are they big enough to gamble? I also am not very happy with buying lenses for as system I will not have (long). So Canon… is this farewell ?

  • Jason

    I purchased a GH4 a few years back under the guidance and direction of some helpful members here. I have like the camera in many aspects and learned that I am probably more implicitly biased to video and photo look of FF cameras. I am a complete amateur/hobbyist but appreciate the technical side of the artwork and the discussions that go on here.

    I am going to sell my GH4 soon and want to replace it.

    What I do:

    1. Personal photography/video for myself/family/friends

    2. Mini video documentaries for my history and special education students where I may interview people etc.

    What I liked about the GH4:

    *Superior sharpness/clarity compared to my 5d MK iii I sold to purchase the GH4

    What I dislike about the GH4:

    *#1 is definitely ISO performance, I understand that I can purchase neat video or get LED lights but again this is not my profession although I’d like the ability to deliver as high quality content I can doing this by myself

    *I miss the FF look and bokeh


    A7R II (seems to be a better camera than a7S II for 50/50 video and stills) – I like the MP count since I’d like to print and frame photos but dislike Sony colors with a passion

    5D MK IV – I think the video is fairly comparable to the 1DX II but not as clear/sharp as I’d like even at 4K

    C100 MK II + 5D MK II (use ML raw at times for video) – I think I like this combo the best since it would provide great video/audio on the c100 II and good photos with the 5d

    I really love Canon colors and have yet to see too many images that do a good enough job. I like that the C100 II has built in ND filters and I can mount my Rode NTG 2 on it for good audio. I wish there was a hybrid DSLR that could be both photo/video but it seems like I am leaning toward separate tools for separate functions.

    I love the video look on this Netflix documentary:

    I believe this was mostly shot on a Canon C300 Mark II


    Which of the above choices do you think would fit my needs the best? Are there any other options/combos that may be better suited and I should look into?

    • Great question Jason. Right now, there aren’t many cameras that are equally strong at both stills and video. If you are going to choose a single camera to do both, I would definitely consider the 5D MK IV. It’s not the most popular choice right now – especially since there is a Super 35mm crop in 4K mode – but it is capable of capturing really great video and stills in the right hands. The C100 II/5D combo is a great alternative too!

  • Peter Price

    Hi Noam, This is a great article and awesome short! I’ve been heavily looking at the C100 MK1 or Mark II, and have discussed this topic on various forums, and of course on overload with opinions, tests, etc.
    One thing I’ve been consistently hearing is that the C100 Mark II with it’s slight increase in dynamic range now, doesn’t look as filmic as the original C100? Have you run into this, or seen this?
    The reason this matters to me, is that I would primarily shoot an upcoming series of short films, the way you did in your short, The Mechanic, but want to make sure I get the best filmic/cinematic look as I can, to Alexa style footage. I’d also be shooting music videos as well, from time to time. But no documentary shooting at all.
    This particular project is no budget, so a lot of it will be run and gun style, which is why the C100 appeals to me, however I have noticed on some example footage that the C100 and especially with the Mark II that footage seems a bit more video like.
    With this in mind, and how you pulled off this short, would you still recommend the C100 for the type of work I’d be doing ? I’m curious to hear what you think now with the current crop of cameras available in 2016. Thanks in advance!

  • Quincy

    Hey Noam Nice to see you are still responding to a 2 year old thread. Now that we are in 2016, do you still feel that the C100 mki is a good investment. I bought mine c100 mk1 with DAF and extra battery used for $2900 Canadian so that is like $25 dollars U.S

    I am coming from using 2 gh3s with rigs I was going to upgrade to gh4 but saw for what I do (corporate, small business ads, fun stuff.) unfortunately I will have more option getting hired because I have a respectable camera. I have seen some companies state clearly no DSLRS when looking for videographers etc anyway I rambling on.

    I am very happy with my canon c100 mk1 with the DAF in 2016. I’m a solo shooter, dual xlrs for factor is great! part of me thinks maybe I should of waited and got the mkii but this camera still produces such nice images. blows away my gh3s… I am pretty content at the end of the day. All my stuff is web work anyway 😉

    • Hi Quincy,

      Thanks for the note, and I definitely still think if you already own a C100, there isn’t a huge need to upgrade to the Mark II. I think for someone buying a C100 today (who doesn’t already own a MK I), there might be an argument made to get the MK II for some of the added features. That said, since you already own an original C100, I would stick with it as (in my opinion) it won’t prevent you from landing jobs or achieving visual results that are nearly identical to the MK II. Hope this helps, and good luck with everything!

  • Kyle

    You said you don’t normally use the c100 for narrative… What Would you normally use for narrative?

    • I often shoot on a mix of Arri, RED, and Blackmagic cameras for narrative – depending on the budget and the creative direction behind the project. That said, I have shot a couple of narrative projects on the C100, and it holds up quite well. It just needs a little more work in post to get it to look “filmic”, in my opinion at least.

  • Nicely done article and video short, Noam! I’m reading and watching a lot about the C100 because my shiny new C100 doesn’t arrive for a few more days! 😉 It was really more than I could afford but, at $3000 (I got it with the dual pixel upgrade) I couldn’t resist! I mainly do synthesizer demos and sort of “arty” music videos for myself. I’ve been mostly using a Sony HDR-CX700s for over 5 years and I really wanted to go for a big step up. I would have preferred the MKII but it was $1500 more and since the MKI at $3000 was already double my planned budget, the MKII wasn’t in the running! 😉

    • Sounds good John! The original is still a great camera and I think you’ll love it. Best of luck.

  • Reneir Taylor

    Hello Noam,

    Great reviews man and your spot on with everything. I recently purchased my c100 mkii for about $3850.. I consider that a decent deal but after seeing the FS5 within that range of prices, I’m thinking I should of stretched for it instead. 4k is like that uncle who invites himself over uninvited to eat all your food, but you don’t mind be he is the coolest person on earth! I’m not quite ready for a 4k work flow but it would be great to have it just in case needed. I mainly shoot weddings, promos, real estate videos, docs, and narrative shorts. Anything camera setups you would recommend for me? Also like the above person stated, I keep hearing about a possible 4k upgrade, is this just rumors. Probably someone trying to talk themselves off the ledge. Knowing Canon, i’m sure they would not go that route. Especially with the release the c300 mkii. It’s just funny seeing as the c100 mkii is already 4k ready, but down samples to a 1080 format. NAB will be interesting this year. Maybe the gh5 or c100 mkii 4k upgrade will surprise me… Thanks man and continue helping the film community.

    Reneir Taylor

    • Thanks Reneir! Appreciate the kind words… It’s always tough to decide what to invest in camera-wise, especially this time of year with NAB right around the corner. Personally I don’t shoot in 4K all the time, even though many of my cameras can shoot in that resolution. For the sake of simplicity, workflow, and speed I often still shoot in 1080p and have no issues whatsoever. That said, on larger projects I will shoot 4K for the added quality but it really is more of a luxury than a necessity in my opinion.

      It sounds like for your needs the C100 II is probably a fantastic option, but if your clients start demanding 4K then the FS5 is always a great alternative. Either way, I would wait a couple of months and see what happens at NAB 2016…

  • Min

    Great review, I just watched your video about the C100 vs BMCC as well and I’m still in a pickle.

    I was looking at the BMCC but as you said, the accessories the BMCC would require is much more than the OG C100. I guess my question is now… Is it worth getting the Original C100 at 2,500 vs the C100 Mkii which going for about 4,500 (USD) these days?

    • That’s a great question – it all really depends on what you need from the camera. Personally, I think the original C100 is still an amazing option and a lot of bang for your buck at $2500. But if you are making your living with the camera, and want a bit more longevity out of it, the Mark II version might be the way to go.

  • Jelliel

    If the rumours are true that a 4K paid firmware upgrade are coming I will jump on board for C100mk2 over FS5. I really wish I could stay with cinema eos because I like colours over Sony even if latter specs are better. After C300ii is out for 3 months they can roll out C100 new firmware. Or its BS? I will wait until December/January then go Sony if nothing comes of this.

    • Interesting… I haven’t heard that rumor but will need to keep an eye out for any news on that front.

  • serge

    great insight really produces great image. we were hoping that the c100 mk ii would match their competitors specs. we’ve been using the c100 and canon 5d mk iii and are very happy with the results. but now we’re planning to add another camera. we’re looking at the c100 mk ii since we’re heavily invested on canon lenses. but the Ursa mini came out, and then the fs5 which on paper are better than c100 mk ii. add to that, sony announced A7s ii. just like to ask your opinion on which camera to choose. we shoot primarily corporate events that are held on not so ideal lighting condition, and corporate videos that are played during events.

    your inputs will be much appreciated. mabuhay!

    • If you already own two Canon cameras, I would say the C100 MK II might be the way to go… Especially for the type of run and gun work you do. Hope this helps clear things up a bit!

  • Albert

    what is the average life of canon c100 i just bought one and the guy said he used it for 8 events. when i checked the status it shows it was used 108 hours, i am concern about its life, can anyone tell me how long usually this camera last. thanks

    • Hi Albert – I can tell you I used mine extensively for 2 years and it had no problems operation whatsoever. Not sure what the exact life span is quoted at, but 108 hours isn’t bad at all.

  • Just a terrific write up and particularly, a great discussion. Thanks. When using my MKIII, I’m tired of the zoom or JuicedLink. And I’ve heard too many logistical issues as cited by another poster surrounding the FS7. Looks like the MKII might be my way to go. For me, personally. Just dreaming about the 4:2:2. Am only getting that on my Sony PMW-200. Great for certain situations, not so great for others.

    • Thanks Evan! Glad you enjoyed it. I have recently shot with the MK II and am very impressed, and like it’s predecessors it delivers quality that far exceeds what you would expect based on the specs.

  • Thanks for the great article. I agree with your summing up of the upgrade path. I’ve been using the C100 for micro doc work for the last year and a half. As you say it’s a great camera to shoot with and I absolutly love the form factor. The image is just beautiful and with the an external recorder you can really push it further. The sort of shooting I do really doesn’t require highter shutter speeds and I’m more interested in the abiltiy to use canon glass.

    Recently I had a the pleasure of using the C300 on a documentary shoot in India. This matched with a Zies t1.5 made images that brought the 2nd unti DSLR crew almost to tears. They really were superb. Shooting in very low light inside tiny rooms full of silk weaving looms. Could’nt ask for a better environment for these camera’s to shine.

    Now with the C300 Mk2 in the mix and the price of the C300 mark1 coming down to be around the price of the C100 Mk2. This older model C300 can be put in the mix as a contender. At least till stocks run out. Also there should be some second hand C300’s about.

    Just in passing there were several features of the C100 I missed not least of which is the positioning of several buttons that made it necessary to move to the back of the camera to change setting. And I’ve kind of got used to not looking through the view finder so still didn’t use it.

    The indian crew that I was working with use a black cloth over the head and camera to veiw the screen. Very 1900’s. It was very useful. Keeps the sun off your kneck as well. Have one with me at all times now back in Australia.

    Anyway still love the C100 and if I didn’t have one already I would certainly buy this new version or a MK1 C300. Glad I don’t have to make that choice.

    • Hey Jary! So glad to hear the C100 is working out for you. It really is an amazing camera, and I still think the Mark I is just as capable as ever. There couldn’t be a better time to buy one either now that the price is only $3000.

  • Nano

    Hi Noam,
    thanks for all your helpful posts!

    Actually I was just going to do what you’re not advising. Sob…
    I have a C100, I don’t have so much money right now and I can’t afford higher price camera, but I’m thinking about to upgrade to mk II. This is cause I’m a run and gun shooter and I’m very happy they put a new viewfinder and a slow motion. I know this is not enough, but I’m thinking that my mk I is still sellable at half the price, won’t be in a few years. And I find an offer to financing my purchase without interests.

    What do you think about that?

    • Thanks Nano! You actually might be in a great position to get a MK II. For me, I own a few other cameras so I didn’t feel I needed one, but if it’s your main workhorse and you could use the new features than definitely go for it! Another good option might be the URSA Mini when it’s released in July.

  • Crump

    loved your review… i have a quick question… i have a 7D mark 1 and wanna upgrade to either a c100 mk2 or c300 mk 1 because the mark 1 is now 6500… instead of the 13k it was b4… which one is better in your opinion… the c300 mk 1 or c100 mk2?

    • Hey there! I think I may have answered you on twitter as well (not sure if this is the same person!), but either way… I would go for a C100 MK II over an original C300.

  • jim

    Hi noam,

    Great jon with the footage. I am planning to start a wedding filming business. What matters is reliability, cinema quality footage and great filming in low light. I am not hugely clued up technically though. I have been considering the fs7 but it is hugely expensive and I have read many complaining that produces a ‘video’ look which puts me off. It seems a complicated camera to operate too. Would you recommend the c100 mark2 for my purposes (if I have 4k requirement I can rent a c300 mark2). Also, which lens would you recommend for general purpose, 18-135mm or 23-105mm?



    • I think the C100 MK II sounds amazing for what you are looking to do. The FS7 is great as well, but truthfully I like the Canon colors better and am not a huge fan of the FS7 image. It’s a bit clinical for my taste… In terms of the lenses I really like the 24 – 105 on the C100, although for low light you might need something faster like the 24 – 70 F 2.8.

  • Jon

    Loved the short film. Would be interested to know what lenses you used?


  • John James

    Interesting take. I agree with Canon’s slow response to the market. I would argue, that the C100/300 is the worst ergonomically designed camera in history. Nothing about it is convenient. I have over 2000 hours with this top heavy, awkward shaped pig on my shoulder. It’s not a DLSR and it’s not a video camera. It doesn’t know what it is. But boy does it make good images. Maybe the C300 MKii will fix ergonomics?

  • Dave

    Well said Noam. Indeed a thought provoking article for existing C100 owners. However, I don’t own anything and I am urged to buy MK2. But, after reading your article, my prediction is Canon might launch MK3 with 4k. In that case, MK2 price will go below 5k. Then, is it worth to wait? I would still buy C100 MK2 but this is not a good time. Look at the how price of C100 MK1 came down! Compare to other cameras and features, Canon is 2 year behind. They have to address limitations sooner or later. I am an indie filmmaker. My opinion would be to wait for next C100 model and buy current C100 MK2 with its real intrinsic value. If something comes with 4K demand, just rent it out.


    • Hey Dave, thanks for the feedback. As for the C100, I don’t think a Mark III will come out any time soon since the Mark II had come out so recently. If 4K is important to you, you might want to consider the C300 Mark II as it supposedly will be 4K capable, or if that is out of your price range than a GH4 might work well too… Depending on whether or not you are okay with using the DSLR style form factor. Also, I have to agree with your point that you could always just rent a 4K camera for the rare instances that you need it, as HD should be able to get you by for at least another year or two in my opinion. Hope this helps!

      • Dave

        Agree with you Noam. C100 Mark 3 won’t come easily. I am aware about GH4 but not opting with DSLR look. I would like in-build XLR for Audio. C100 MK2 is good value for money with having in-build mic for scratch audio, new EVF, 60 fps/ 1080 and rotating LCD. Let me see how long I can hold myself from buying? 🙂

        4k is not a priority. The only drawback is codec but Atomos Ninja is the answer. However, I checked-out your short film “The Mechanic” and not sure whether you’ve used Ninja or other external recorder. But, the look was crispy and cinematic.

        On a side note, I have shared your article from my production company twitter handle “red box films”. Hoping to read great stuff from you. Cheers!

  • Well, I’m now sitting with my new C100mk2 and my advice for anyone who wants to do what they do better is to get the camera that will facilitate that.

    The mk1 was a great camera and is my go to camera. The mk2 will now become that reliable workhorse and the mk1 will be second camera for projects that need more than one camera. I’ve shot one day with the mk2 and the slight improvements are worth it and have a larger impact on my client deliverable than you would expect. The upgrade gets my vote!!

  • Mark

    Great short story! I was drawn in from the very first frame. Sound mix, music, shot selection was spot on. The female actor was especially good.

    Thanks for your thoughts on the C100!

    I use a 70D and while it can record great images, I have to say that it heats up too much and I lose some controls on the camera, including ISO and auto focus. It works fine in the auto mode, but that’s not obviously the best choice. There’s also too much grain over 800 ISO. Cobbling audio can be a mess, no headset jack, etc… then I discovered the C100.

    I have an opportunity to pick up a like new used rental on a C100 for $3,500. I fell in love with it the other day as it did everything the 70D was not doing. THEN, I learned that for 2 grand more I could pick up the MKII C100. So, i’m contemplating as to what to do. Your article helped.

    Quick question regarding your film, why did you use an audio recorder when you can record audio directly into the camera? This is a huge selling feature for me coming from the 70D. I love the idea of not syncing in post.

    Thanks again and terrific job with your film!


    • Thanks so much for the feedback. It’s definitely a tough choice between the C100 and the MK II, especially with that price difference! If you really need the extra features, then go for it – but even the original C100 will be a big step up from the 70D.

      As far as the audio goes, we were only using wireless lavs and didn’t have a sound mixer or boom operator. Since I was hand holding the camera the whole time, it was easier to record to the zoom to keep the cables/receives off of the camera body and to allow me to move around freely. Also, I like that the zoom has a backup record option in case one of the actors gets too loud, it records about 20db lower I believe.

  • Steve

    I have it on good authority that Canon will get some new wow factor at NAB this year

  • Brian B

    There’s a lot of great information here and a ton of knowledge from canon shooters. I’ve done event and commercial videography for about 3 years with dslr cameras (notably the Mark III). I agree with the emence amount of issues and work arounds videographers have dealt with and it’s frustrating! However never owned a c100, the Mark ii seems extremely appealing to me. I need something with more dynamic range and better quality audio. The h6 and Mark iii is great but annoying to keep setting up and isn’t as run and gun as I’d like to be. I was thinking of selling my mark iii to get the c100 c100 mark ii but may end up keeping it and using it as a B camera. I am however on the fence with the 4k issue. It’s extremely frustrating how expense this 4k movement is costing everyone. It’s literary making people start from scratch when it has no real use unless you’re producing feature length films. Cable barely broadcasts in 1080p and blurays are rare to find mastered in 4k. With a majority of businesses showcasing products online, I don’t see the need for 4k. However Im still uneasy spending a ton of money on the mark ii knowing it’s going to be outdated soon. I’m a bit of a videophile and even when it comes to buying a TV recently, I went with a Panasonic plasma due it’s cinematic value.

    • Hey Brian – I think the C100 MKII would be an amazing choice for you. If I didn’t already have one, I would probably be getting one myself, however I just don’t feel the need to upgrade based on the specs. For your needs though, I bet it would be the ideal camera for you.

      As for 4K, you are completely right. That said, I would presume that we won’t see as dramatic of a shift from 1080 to 4K in the consumer market as we saw from SD to HD. Sure, over time everyone will be shooting and viewing 4K content, and then it will be 8K and so on… But at the moment, I wouldn’t worry too much about 4K as I think the transition is going to be a slow one. Any time you are on a project that is demanding 4K, chances are you can use some budget to rent the gear you need as well… Just food for thought!

  • VdW Eric

    Hello to all,

    Let’s be clear: I am not a professional, just an amateur who loves video.
    My comments are written with my needs in mind…
    Please keep this in mind in your answers. Thanks.

    I did not buy the C100 first version, because it was very expensive with a bad viewfinder, which was a shame for such a high price camera. So I waited and prayed Canon would release an improved version. Indeed, I have numerous L lenses, so I intend to buy Canon cameras.

    Today I am shooting with a Canon 60D and a Sony HDR SR12. I love the video captured with L Lenses on my Canon 60D. However, shooting with an SLR can be very limiting (max time of recording, bad sound = need of Zoom H4N etc)

    However, all the video I have been able to see who were shooted with C100, showed INCREDIBLE high quality in low light. I am living in Paris, France, and this city is magic at the end of the day. I had been looking for a very good quality image at low light. On this type of video, my Canon 60D has found his limits…

    I don’t care about the 4K quality. Honestly, I do not understand why everybody is so excited about it… Let’s face it: almost nobody has today (Xmas 2014) a 4K TV or Computer Screen. In Paris, which is not the smallest city in the world and maybe with the highest density of cinemas in the world, only very limited Cinemas are capable of showing movies shooted in 4K. Everyone acts as the 4K was the standard BUT it is not !

    The standard today is HD 1900*1080. The given codec AVCHD gives a very good compromise on HD quality videos. OKAY the AVCHD is only 4:2:0… However, the Canon Log or Wide DR seems to offer already a good color space. Maybe this is pure amateur perspective, but seems good enough for me.

    Furhtermore, once you have a 4K camera, you need to change your whole production chain: better computer, top quality CPUs, IMMENSE memory capacity…, updated softwares etc. I have built my own computer in order to mount my videos and I can tell you all this makes a BIG difference at the end.

    For me this camera C100 Mark ii, looks perfect. The CMOS sensor is showing a fantastic image quality in low light. The Mark ii version seems to have improved the noise through their Digic 4 internal software. The size of the sensor is only 8 Megas, meaning files that are not that big. Thererfore I do not need to again buy a new Hard Disk to keep my rushes ( I already have 6 of them…).

    With this AVCHD codec and enough batteries, you can shoot 6 hours of videos on two Memory Cards. For an amateur this is covering more than my needs. I never shoot 6 hours of movie in one day.

    All the other options that are available from Sony, Magic Lantern etc are not (to my knowledge) offering the same quality of image and easiness to work with.

    I have seen several videos produced with Sony cameras, the latest versions do manage very well the low light but the skin color are in my opinion not nice, they look very cold to my feeling.

    The Magic Lantern offers fantastic color space, but ridiculous short time of recording and the files size are so ridiculously BIG. Not possible for me.

    The Canon 5D Mark iii in low light is very bad versus the C100 first version. Here the size of the pixel is very important and the 8 Megas sensor is offering the perfect pixel size for such type of videos.

    Last but not least, the price is still very high for an amateur.

    However, outside the price this C100 Mark ii does cover all the needs I do have!

  • Franco Guerri

    I so totally agree with your assessment of Canon. I’m an old school Hollywood 35mm guy, just now getting into digital. I loved mt 6d for 6 years then got a 6d which I also love(d) for stills.
    Sadly it’s not adequate for video due to moray and other problems. Why they stripped video features off the 6d is a refrain from the same song you depict above. I agree with you and it makes me mad.

    But help me out. Here I am about to spend $6000 on a camera, and I really can’t find a better contender. I’m almost sold on the BMPC but something says no. I read chatter that tells me there are quality problems along with horrible noise if one were to underexpose. The new Sony FS7 sounds good, but by the time you add the external trans-coder or what have you, a rig for hand held, etc, you’re pushing big bucks (for my starting budget anyway). And it’s a clunky thing compared with the C100 mk2 with a Ninja for 4:2:2. What camera do you see for the money? And yes, I think that not having 4k now is limiting the life of the camera, even though I don;t see a use for it just now.

    Re. sound, what caused the muffled boomy sound in the car? Was it just mike getting moved around? How did the Zoom H6 work out? I don’t see much of an alternative except the Tascam DR-60Dmk2 which I read has better cleaner preamps. Would much appreciate your help.

    To clarify, I envision a sting in wedding and corporate, advertising stuff, and some shorts, then purchasing a more professional camera and using this first camera as a B camera. Still, by the 4k will probably make it obsolete.?

    • Hey Franco,

      It sounds like for your needs the C100 MK II might actually be the best choice. Truthfully, if I didn’t own one already I would be very tempted to buy one, but since I do already have one I don’t see much point in upgrading since it would be a lot of money spent on a very similar camera. The BMPC is a great camera, but for what you are shooting (a very diverse set of productions) I wouldn’t recommend it as it will work well for some projects and not as well for others. The C100 is a great run and gun tool, and offers a more cost effective solution than going the FS7 route. I wouldn’t worry too much about 4K for now – in fact 95% of my projects are still shot in 1080p.

      As for the 6D, I have one too (just for stills) and love it, but never use it for video as the Moire is a big issue.

      In terms of the Zoom H6, I really love it. Haven’t used the Tascam MK II, but have heard good things about it… Never had an issue with the Zoom though, and really love the interface and overall functionality.

  • Moe

    Love the short film, it would be awesome to know how you went about grading it.

    Did you use Cinema C log?

    Also how do you custom white balance this thing? I find it inaccurate when custom balancing it.

    • Thanks a lot Moe! I shot mainly with Wide DR I believe… I agree that the WB seems to shift here and there on it, so I usually just eyeball it and plan to do some more in depth color work!

  • I guess I’m the only one excited about this camera. Obviously I haven’t seen the C100 Mark ii yet, but the EVF fix is the selling point for me. I already own one C100 and was about to buy another until the mark ii popped up. This camera is perfect for web, which is 90% of my work these days. I’ll start looking into 4K when cable companies can actually broadcast true HD.

    • I agree that the C100 MKII will be an excellent camera… For me (as a current C100 owner) I don’t need to upgrade since my MK I will do just about everything the MK II would do. That said, if I didn’t already own one I would certainly jump on board as it’s going to produce very nice images.

  • Hugo

    Hi Noam, the image of the original c100 version is incredible, but when I saw your proyect I see something else great, and that was the sound, can you tell me what equipment did you use for? Thank you

    • Thank you Hugo! This was done with a couple of sennheiser wireless Lav mics, running into a Zoom H6. It actually wasn’t a great audio setup, but was the best we could do without a dedicated sound recordist. Glad you enjoyed it.


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