November 04, 2011

Canon EOS C300 digital film camera

Canon has entered the digital cinematography market with a $20,000 HD camera, the EOS C300, which is the first part of the new Canon Cinema EOS system, including lenses, and digital SLR cameras.

The C300 will expand Canon's XF range, as it records the 50Mbps, 4:2:2 MPEG-2 MXF format to its dual Compact Flash card slots. It also has an HD-SDI port for uncompressed recording. Christina has the full details on the Canon XF Notebook.

In price and sensor size, it most obviously competes with Sony's PMW-F3, although it has the advantage of internal recording at 50Mbps rather than the F3's 35Mbps – although both help sell a lot of external recorders.

Of course, in resolution and sensor size, it also competes with Arri's Alexa, although the filmic qualities of the Alexa, such as better dynamic range, its easy workflow, and the reputation for quality, will probably help it retain its place for mainstream TV and film work. Where budgets are even more constrained, it already loses out to the F3, so the C300, which will probably find favour first with existing DSLR shooters (especially those with an investment in Canon EF lenses – as the PL-mount C300 will arrive a couple of months after the EF version).

The results Vincent Laforet produced in the short film he shot with the C300 will certainly encourage any low-budget filmmakers as it does seem a very capable camera, and its form factor lends itself to use by a single user (have a look at the Zacuto video in Christina's piece to see just how compact it can be).

However, with Red launching Scarlet-X at about half the price of the C300 (albeit with Red's more convoluted workflow), there is a lot of competition in the large-sensor market.

By David Fox

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