by Kevin Alexander | 17th September 2015
With the recent announcements from Sony at IBC 2015, is the Canon C300 Mark II still competitive? We looked at the best large sensor cameras that are new to the market. It is more and more obvious that Canon has a different pace in terms of its product updates compared to Sony. While Sony introduces a new camera every few months, the folks at Canon usually take 2-3 years to “get things right”. At the end of the day these are two different approaches to camera development where the benefit for Sony customers is that they get a lot more options to choose from. The Sony FS5 just came out as a little brother for the Sony FS7 and the A7s was updated to the Sony A7SII last week. Yes, it’s safe to say that Sony’s announcements at IBC 2015 were stunning. Fans of Sony now have two cameras to consider for their toolbox: the Sony FS5 and the Sony A7SII. But how do these cameras, as well as the currently available FS7 and A7r II, compare to the C300 Mark II? Let’s take another look at the specs of each and consider the options. But first, here’s a video recap of the C300 Mark II features from Andy at AbelCine. Canon C300 Mark II Canon’s update to the popular C300 features a Super 35 sensor, records resolutions ranging from 1080p up to full 4K (4096 x 2160), uses the XF AVC codec, and uses dual CFast card slots (it can record on SD cards as well, but only up to 2K). It can also record a RAW signal over 3G-SDI to an external recorder. The bit rate ranges from 50 Mbps for Long GOP recording up to 410 Mbps for 4K. And color space? It can handle 10 bit 4:2:2 (YCC) (only up to 2K) and 10 or 12 bit 4:4:4 (RGB) signals. The frame rates top out at 30p in 4K and 59.94 in 1080p (also 120fps cropped). It also has built-in neutral density filters: Clear, 1/64, 1/16, and 1/4. It is expected to ship in late October at a price of $15,999 (LINK). Price: $15,999 Availability: Late October Sony PXW-FS7 Sony’s closest competitor to the C300 Mark II is still the popular FS7. It also features a Super 35 sensor capable of full 4K (4096 x 2160) recording and uses a XQD memory card. Like the C300 Mark II, the FS7 is capable to output a 12bit RAW signal in 4K and 2K using the optional V-mount extension unit. It’s also capable of recording using XAVC or MGPEG-2 codecs, with bit rates topping out at 600 Mbps, and can handle a 10 bit 4:2:2 signal. Like the C300 Mark II, the frame rate tops out at 59.94, but the camera can record 120fps internally. Unlike the C300 mark II the FS7 can output a 240 fps RAW stream that can be recorded in 2K. It also has built in neutral density filters: Clear, 1/64, 1/16, and 1/4 and is currently available at a price of $7,999 (LINK). Price: $7,999 Availability: Currently Available Sony PXW-FS5 The little brother to the FS7 also features a Super 35 sensor, but unlike the C300 Mark II it only records up to UHD (3840 x 2160). It uses the XAVC-L codec (check out yesterday’s video on XAVC-L) (AVCHD as well) and records to much cheaper SD cards. The bit rate tops out at 100 Mbps for UHD recording and it can handle 10-bit 4:2:2 signals. For UHD recording it can record up to 30p, but for HD the frame-rate increases to 60p. But its slow motion capabilities are impressive: It does internal bursts at 120, 240, 480, 960 for 60i and 100, 240, 400, 960 for 50i at different resolutions. The benefit of the Fs7 though is continuos slow motion. It has greater flexibility with neutral density filters, ranging from 1/4 to 1/128 due to the new digital ND design. It is expected to ship in November at a price of $5,599 (PRE-ORDER LINK). Price: $5,599 Availability: November Sony A7SII The update to the A7s features a Full-Frame sensor, and like the FS5 it records up to UHD. Like it’s predecessor, it uses the XAVC-S codec (AVCHD as well) and records to SD cards. But the new internal UHD recording capability (up to 30p), as well as 120 fps in 1080p, obviously set this camera apart from the first A7s. It can handle up to 100 Mbps for UHD, 100 Mbps for 120 fps 1080p, and 50 Mbps for 59.94 fps 1080p. XAVC-S is restricted to 4:2:0 recording, but a 4:2:2 signal can be recorded through the HDMI output. Two significant ergonomic limitations differentiate this from both the C300 Mark II and FS5: no internal neutral density filters and the recording limit of 29 min 59 sec. It is expected to start pre-orders tomorrow at a price of $2,999 (PRE-ORDER LINK). Price: $2,999 Availability: September 17 Sony A7rII The Sony A7rII (check out our review) features a Full-Frame sensor, and like the A7s and FS5 records up to UHD. It uses the XAVC-S codec (AVCHD as well) and records to SD cards. It was Sony’s first mirrorless camera to feature internal 4K recording. In fact, this camera is quite similar to the A7SII, albeit with some differences. For example, it does not feature the 120 fps 1080p recording capabilities of the A7SII, it has a different sensor that is less strong in lowlight and performs actually a little better when used in super35 mode. Also it is a better photo camera than the A7SII. Other than that both cameras are very similar. It is currently available at a price of $3,198 (LINK). Price: $3,198 Availability: Currently Available Final Verdict So, is the Canon C300 Mark II still a competitor? And which is the best large sensor camera at this time? As always, the answer depends on your needs. The Canon C300 Mark II certainly has features that the Sony FS7, Sony FS5 and the Sony A7SII do not have. If, for example, full 4K and higher internal bit rates are critical for your needs, then it certainly has a leg up on the FS5 and A7SII. But the Sony FS7 is a serious competitor to the C300 Mark II at nearly half the cost and with very similar features and even some advantages like external 240fps RAW. And if budget is a major concern, especially considering the cost of CFast cards for the C300 Mark II, then Sony’s offerings are certainly worthy opponents of the C300 Mark II. Here are some more articles from our archives for you to consider as you examine your options: 5 Things Hot & 5 Things Not on the Canon C300 Mark II A Talk with Canon About the Tech Inside the Canon C300 Mark II – NAB 2015 Canon announces EOS C300 Mark II – 4K Cinema Camera Sony announce PXW FS5. Smaller FS camera with S-log 4K 240fps and built in fader NDRead more
External hard disk recorders like the new Atomos Ninja Star have been very popular. They offer an easy way to record to high quality easy to edit codecs on cameras that would only offer highly compressed quality. cinema5D reader Björn Kurtenbach shared a comparison he shot on a Canon C100 that shows off the difference between highly compressed internal AVCHD recording (which is a 4:2:0 signal) and external ProRes 422 and 422 HQ recording to an Atomos Ninja Star external recorder via the uncompressed HDMI output. Check out the great video comparison below. Which solution do you like better? Please let us know in the comments. Make sure you watch this in HD!!! What we see up here is surprising to say the least. In some moments it seems as though internal AVCHD recording is on par or actually better than ProRes. External on a Sony A7S? I just returned from a shoot with 3 Sony A7S cameras where I also tried to record the feed on an Atomos Ninja Star. Unfortunately at this time the ProRes signal on the Ninja cuts off some highlights and blacks on an A7S so it is not recommended. Sony needs to work on an update on numerous issues with the A7S firmware. Generally I would say the internal Sony A7S encoding is absolutely sufficient for most if not any application. The C100 codec is a lot weaker though.Read more
After the depressing review of the Sony A77 earlier today, here’s another camera worth a good look. The Sony NEX VG20, successor of the VG10 So what does this camera do? And why is it better than the VG-10? First of all it is said to have a highly improved image sensor which should get rid of the noise issues and overall bad low light performance it’s predecessor had. Of course it also has that high compression AVCHD 2.0 codec Sony is so proud about that it has implemented it in all the new cameras we’ve seen which allows it to record 50 or 60p (and 24p by the way) in “full HD”. That’s great, but remember that our Canon EOS babies still have a H.264 codec that does 38 Mbit/s at 25p/30p while the AVCHD 2.0 is also a H.264 and does only 28 Mbit/s at 50p/60p. That fact put aside there could still be great potential in this camera that is yet to be evaluated. It is an unfortunately fact that there is no usable footage of the camera at this time. The only “review” about it comes from the same people that did the A77 “review” and I will not burden you with more of that unspeakable stuff. So until Sony provides that camera for testing, or someone else does a good evaluation on the device we have no chance to see if moiré and aliasing issues as seen on the VG10 have been corrected. Notice that the Sony NEX-VG20 is available as “body only” which the VG10 was not. The camera is $1599.99 and said to arrive by November. Here’s the official promo video by Sony:Read more
And here we go again. The A77 is coming in hard. How long will this camera be haunting us before we finally know if it really is any good at all? Let us calm our expectations so we don’t have to fall too high. A77 rumored specs: 24.3 MP Exmor HD CMOS sensor 19 points AF sensor with 11 cross sensors ISO 100-16000, with expandeable ISO 50 option 1920 x 1080 60p/24p AVCHD 2.0 P/A/S/M manual controls while recording video 1200 zone metering Completely new developed Bionz processor 12 fps 1/8000 shutter speed 50ms minimum release time lag electronic first shutter curtain TrueBlack 921k 3-way tilt LCD 3 million dot OLED viewfinder Smart teleconverter function with 1.4x and 2.0x option Built-in flash Built-in GPS Battery life with over over 500 shots Magnesium alloy body Dust and Moisture proof Multi Frame NR SD card (no CF!) A77 weights 680g and A65 weights 543g Body only will be priced at $1000 Body + 16-50mm f/2.8 SSM Kit will be priced between $1600 and $1800. The A77 and the A65 will be available in Europe and US around the 17th-20th of October. The announcement is said to happen on August 24th, that’s Wednesday. We’ll keep you posted. Also don’t forget that there’s another Sony announcement rumored to come this week, a camera that is actually dedicated to video: The VG-20, successor of the not good enough to beat HDSLR Sony VG-10: VG-20 rumored specs: 16 MPX Exmor sensor 1920×1080 60p/60i/24p AVCHD 2.0 video recording Can record stills in RAW 3 inch touchscreen (swifel) audio level control IR AVR remote via sonyalpharumorsRead more
A little more than a year ago Panasonics video dslr the GH1 was hacked. It was an amazing breakthrough that made a barely useful hdslr a real 5D competitor. Many people claimed the hacked GH1 would even outmatch the 5D mark ii in terms of picture quality. The GH2 was released in October 2010 as a successor to the GH1 and has some very convincing advantages in terms of image quality over Canon’s lineup. Compared to the 60D and 7D, the GH2 has virtually no moire, less rolling shutter and even delivers a sharper picture in some occasions.Read more
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