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
Canon today announced the long-awaited successor to its popular C300 camera, the C300 Mark II. Canon EOS C300 Mark II After a long wait for a successor to the immensely popular C300 – which has been my main cameras for many years – telling from the specs it truly seems like Canon won’t disappoint with the C300 Mark II. Canon uses a new high-bitrate codec called XF-AVC (which sounds remarkably similar to XAVC, which is what Sony is using in all their new cameras), with up to 410 Mbps (Sony’s XAVC I codec records up to 600Mbps). They have switched recording from CF cards to CFast 2.0, which is also used by Arri in the new Alexa Mini. While still not exactly cheap, we have seen these cards come in price recently a lot (e.g. this Lexar 128GB CFast 2.0 card), and they compare favorably to Sony’s own XQD standard which is used in the FS7. High-speed recording, which is something where Canon was clearly lacking behind the competition in the past, has been significantly improved as well: The C300 Mark II records up to 120 fps in 2K / 1080p (and 30p in 4K). That’s not as impressive as Sony FS7’s up to 180 fps, however a huge step up from the C300’s original 60p in 720p only. Here is a rundown of the significant tech 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 The new C300 Mark II will be priced at $15,999, which is the original price bracket of the C300. It’s expected to be available in September, but B&H has started to take preorders today. Full press release: The EOS C300 Mark II – Stunning 4K quality, creativity and versatility City, Country, 8 April 2014 – Canon today unveils the EOS C300 Mark II, a new 4K video camera allowing filmmakers and broadcast producers to realise their creative vision in stunning cinematic detail. Building on the unprecedented success of the acclaimed EOS C300, the more rugged EOS C300 Mark II features an advanced imaging engine with dual DIGIC DV5 processors, new professional codecs and outstanding dynamic range, making it the most capable, flexible and accessible Cinema EOS video camera to date. Supreme 4K image quality and versatility With the ability to record 10-bit 4:2:2 files internally at up to 410Mbps in 4K, or 10/12-bit 4:4:4 files in 2K/Full HD, with up to 15 stops of dynamic range, the EOS C300 Mark II provides footage suitable for extensive post-production work, producing crisper images across the full colour spectrum with reduced “colour bleed”. The camera offers professional filmmakers and broadcasters alike the very best image quality, recording 4K in both broadcast (3840 x 2160) and DCI cinematic (4096 x 2160) resolutions. The EOS C300 Mark II can record high bitrate 4K files internally to dual CFast 2.0™[i] media, while simultaneously recording 4K RAW files to an external recorder, offering the flexibility and universal appeal for production at the highest quality available today. Additionally, the ability to record 2K/Full HD Proxy files to an internal SD card, at the same time, further streamlines the production workflow process. The new Canon-designed Super 35mm CMOS sensor and an increased ISO range up to ISO 102,400 deliver exceptional low light performance, allowing operators to capture low-noise footage across a variety of challenging environments without compromising on image quality. To meet the requirements of a diverse range of shooting applications, the EOS C300 Mark II offers both full manual control, ideal for cinematic environments, as well as automatic modes. These include, enhanced Dual Pixel CMOS AF (now covering approx. 80% of the frame vertically and 80% horizontally), auto white balance and Face Detection AF, all making it easier for independent news gatherers and documentary filmmakers to shoot on the go. Instant integration into professional workflows Canon’s new range of XF-AVC H.264 codecs, designed to be compatible with industry standard Non-Linear Edit systems, makes integrating both 4K and 2K/Full HD footage into workflows effortless, while maintaining the highest image quality. The range features XF-AVC intra for 4K, and XF-AVC Long GOP and Proxy options for 2K/Full HD recording, both of which utilise H.264 codec, offering post production flexibility and ease of use. Filmmakers can select the resolution and codec type that best suits their production, with the EOS C300 Mark II capable of shooting at up to 30P in 4K or up to 120P in 2K/Full HD. The EOS C300 Mark II offers support for a wide range of colour space options, including BT.2020, the Canon Cinema Gamut and DCI-P3. The camera is also the first Cinema EOS model to feature brand new Canon Log2 technology, which enables the 15-stops of dynamic range, significantly wider than previous Cinema EOS cameras. The camera offers new versatility for sound recording too, supporting 4-channel audio recording in 16 or 24 bit and 48 kHz. Designed for versatility The EOS C300 Mark II boasts the iconic Cinema EOS design DNA – a modular body that can be adapted to suit the needs of each shooter and filming situation, through the extensive range of compatible accessories. Internally, the EOS C300 Mark II also includes built-in electronically controlled glass ND (neutral density) filters, which reduces the amount of light reaching the sensor by up to 10 stops in expansion mode. Compatibility with the RC-V100 remote control and optional Wi-Fi control also enables ease of use in a wider range of locations. The camera’s sensor read-out speed is now twice as fast as the original EOS C300, and further reduces rolling shutter distortion, allowing for crisp image capture in a moving environment, making it perfectly suited for capturing action sequences. Leveraging Canon’s rich heritage in lens design, the EOS C300 Mark II is compatible with more than 90 current EF and EF Cinema lenses allowing operators to use their existing EF mount lenses. In addition, the EOS C300 Mark II comes equipped with Canon Cine servo zoom lens support, delivering one of the most comprehensive selections of lens possibilities for movie and broadcast production available in the market today. For further flexibility, shooters can opt to change the lens mount from the default EF Mount, to EF Mount with Cinema Lock, or to the industry standard PL mount, as a service option[ii]. EOS C300 Mark II key benefits: High bitrate internal 4K recording with external RAW High dynamic range files, ideal for post production Seamlessly integrate with professional workflows Automatic features make independent shooting easy Shoot with confidence in low light with low noise [i] Canon is an authorised licensee of the CFast 2.0™ trademark, which may be registered in various jurisdictions [ii] Available via chargeable serviceRead more
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