(Attention: This article is based on testing a “beta stage camera”).
Due to the relatively short time we had we couldn’t answer all the questions we had, especially the more scientific ones. Those will be answered at a later stage when we get a production camera and evaluate it in our testing labs.
In anticipation of Canon’s updated line of “C” cameras, the C100 mkII landed on our desk. Indeed, it’s not a 4K camera, but for sure a it’s more refined and matured version of its predecessor. One that many filmmakers on a budget and freelances who are servicing TV broadcasters will be happy to adapt. I guess if you own the original model you won’t rush to replace it but if you are in the market for a solid working horse then the new Canon C100 mkII is a safe bet.
The list of improvements over the original Canon C100 is rather large. MP4 recording, 1080 50/60P in up to 35 Mbps data rate, an OLED screen, a new high resolution EVF and an overall new placement of buttons just to name a few.
I guess my biggest concern when working with the new camera is the way to achieve slow motion (50/60p) recording. Currently you have to check very carefully if you are in 25p/50p 35Mbps mode for fast motion or 50p/25p 24Mbps mode for slow motion. (BTW, why do we need “fast motion” recording? The way to do it in post is very easy and doesn’t involve any data/resolution loss).
I hope the photos below can explain how similar both modes are and how easy it is to confuse those when working under “real world working conditions”.
For fast motion:
Choosing “Special recording mode”
Choosing the “right data/frame rate for fast motion”
End result: “Fast motion recording”
For slow motion:
Choosing “Special recording mode”
Choosing the “right data/frame rate for slow motion”
End result: “Slow motion recording”
To summarise my experience with the camera, here are some of its highlights:
• Dual media recording for backup or continuous recording (in up to 35Mbps 60p mode).
• “In-body” microphone. No need to attach the top handle (for sound reference only. Microphone is always in automatic mode).
• Pre recording function
• Jog cursor is now placed on the foldable OLED screen for easier navigation
• Very good EVF and OLED screens assuring easy manual focusing
On the down side, here are things I would like to see addressed and maybe some of them can by fixed by firmware BEFORE shipping the production model:
• For fast & slow motion Canon’s “special recording” menu is confusing and may cause mistakes. Also being buried deep in the menu access is not very intuitive.
• In the pre-production camera I tested the side jog cursor placed on handle did not work. I assume the problem is related to this specific unit.
• The magnification button is still limited to “one step” enlargement making it harder to judge focus in wider shots.
• Moving the magnification box around is not smooth. The box placement seems pre-programmed and is the point I intend to focus is not in the middle of the box it’s a struggle.
• When the handle is attached, flipping up the EVF arm is limited.
Camera setting for this shoot:
1080/25p 35Mbps. 1080/50p 24Mbps for slow motion. CP8 (Wide DR Gamma). No sharpness applied in post. Look by Filmconvert (KD 5213 Vis3)
Music: Neighbors by Steven Gutheinz from www.musicbed.com
A special thank to Ebby Adham for contributing his precious time for this test.
Johnnie Behiri is a freelance documentary cameraman/editor/producer working mostly for the BBC and other respected broadcasters. He is also co-owner of cinema5d.com
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.