Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Canon C300 Mk3 - Why this camera & what I have learned bulding out my kit.




The Canon C300 Mk3 - What I love, why I chose it and best working kit ive perfected.


The new baby with my Canon FD Cine lens on.

The perfect camera doesnt exist, but this one for me is scary close.




So the last year, or really the last 3 months have been super exciting for camera releases. It seemed like the last few years have just seen little steps here and there, and summer 2020 saw most of the big players really take a huge leap.

For the last few years I was using the Sony FS5/Inferno/Metabones combo which is a great setup. I got 5 years use out of that body which is great ROI wise and the images it produced at normal 24/25p frame rates where great and held up alongside the Red footage I often shoot with as well. When shot on the Inferno in Prores 422 HQ the image was great...b ut its time had come and the reasons I wanted to upgrade where: 

  • Shooting along side a Red on most jobs and holding its own.
  • Really solid 4K more important to me than higher resolutions that compromise 4K. 
  • Need for 4k Slow mo at 120fps min.
  • Internal raw and not needing the Inferno thus making kit smaller and lighter
  • Better low light than the FS5. Clean ISO 3200.
  • Better noise floor than the FS5.
  • Smallish, lightish, and pro level audio.


So with that list of wants I did a LOT of reading into all the options, which where: 

 

  1. Sony FX9 - Reason for not picking: 4k slow mo options not there, wrong shape.
  2. Second hand Red Scarlett W - Reason for not picking: Old tech, average audio, no NDs, not good low light.
  3. Red Komodo - Reason for not picking: No slow mo above 2k, No pro audio inputs, No nds etc
  4. Zcam F6 - Reason for not picking: Semi unknown brand, Not full 4k slow mo, No internal raw, No pro audio inputs, No NDs.
  5. Sony A7S3 - Reason for not picking: Too small, No NDs, No internal raw

So with all that said I landed on the C300 Mk3 and got a pre order in on the day of release and was one of the first people in the UK to get one. So I have already been shooting for a month with it, racking up some 20 shoot days already so feel like I am fully at home with the camera and ready to put a few thoughts down on paper.

Reasons why I chose it: 

  • Great Canon colours. Subjective I know but I have always liked them.
  • S35 sensor.
  • Dynamic range. Canon claimed 15+ stops and from shooting with the camera in all conditions and having the image graded professionally along side Red footage from the same shoot, its right up there alongside it. 
  • For a quote from Dan Moran, one of the UKs best colourists on the footage he has graded on a few of our projects recently see the end of this post. 
  • Great 4k slow mo. 4K internal raw at upto 120fps, with NO CROP! and with full AF is mad good!
  • Internal 12 bit raw. Not needing to worry about big, heavy, power hungry external monitors to get top level recording is a big plus.
  • Low noise floor and super clean images.
  • All in one style body with pro XLR audio ports on the small well shaped body, Built in NDs etc
  • Solid trusted brand and support network. 
  • Native Canon mount lens's
  • Dual Pixel AF. A feature I didnt think I would use given I didnt feel like it was lacking on my FS5 set up but after my first month, super useful.
  • Low light performance. Really good usable image upto ISO 3200 easy. 6400 if you push it and do some post work. 
  • Great screen. Good size, great and easy to view without hood in bright sun, touch screen for AF, thumb control on the screen along with programmable buttons and a flip function. 
  • Size and weight small enough to be easy to fly with, and get on a gimbal. I have the Movi M15 with extended vertical cage rods, only about 1 inch longer and it fits a dream. If I didnt have my little DIY bit it wouldnt need the extentions.
  • Battery life. With 2 small BPA 90WH batteries I have a full day of doc style shooting with long form interviews and lots of slow mo/AF work.
  • Turns on in 1 second flat. Means you can turn it on and off between shots thus saving loads of battery life, a huge plus over the Reds.

 

My set up, lessons learnt and what Ive bought for it:

 

So after buying, making some mistakes with third party batteries that the camera didnt recognise etc the things and kit I have landed on that just work, and have got me to a really comfortable, small shooting set up good for a full day of shooting lots both power and space wise are:


  • - Extra long screen cable for gimbal use. Twice as long as the one that comes with the camera, and while not cheap, its a must for gimbal work so as not to put too much un-needed pressure and strain on the motors. Lets the camera move more freely. - £260 CVP 

 

  • - Third party batteries. Hawkwood from CVP. The Canon offical batteries are great, but just a lot of money, so I was determinded to find a good third party option. I got some cheap ones off Amazon, and sent them right back as the camera nor charger would recognise them. So one rung up the ladder in price and I found the Hawkwoods which work great!
  • £102 for the small 50WH giving me 55 min run time.
  • £175 for the "large" 98WH giving me 184 min ( just over 3 hours run time! )
  • The Canon offical 90WH one is £306 for comparison.

I have done plenty of big shoot days now, 14 hours etc, and the 3 batteries I have, Canon one that came with it and the 2 Hawkwood onces last all day. The fact you can turn it off between shots and know it will boot up again almost instantly is amazing. No big heavy Vlocks. 

Fully reccomended for extra power instead of the pricey Canon ones.


The 50 and 98 WH for size comparison.

The 50 WH sits nice and flush with the body making for a great tiny, light package but still giving you an hour run time.

Stick the 98WH in and you have 3 hours!
 


  • Cards again third parties as well as more solid Sandisk:
  1. Sandisk 512gb £690. Not cheap but I figured I would get my main card as a really high quality solid option. Gives me just over an hour of internal raw.
  2. Integral 256gb £280. A lot cheaper, but I have used it more than once and it seems solid as a rock. If your on a budget Integral seem good. 
If you have the money the Sandisk is probs a safer bet, but so far the Integral has been every bit as good, so...



  • Extra bit to allow it to go on gimbals faster. Custom made by friend. 

This extra DIY bit means that I can have the Movi rail mounted on the camera permanantly and I dont need to take it on and off with tools every time I swap between gimbal and top handle. Saves loads of time. I tried mounting it direct to the camera, but there wasnt room to get the top handle in. So I just needed a way of shifting the Movi rail a cm over to the side. Cheers to good pal Joe from Starling Cycles.

Super simple, steel with 2 counter sunk holes, and 2 threaded holes, smoothed and rounded off and sprayed black.

Makes swapping between setups super fast and easy.

Small touch, big difference.


Mic holder bodge to make it smaller. The arm that camer with the camera just stook up and out loads and made it hard to get into my bag fully built up. 

Looks semi ghetto up close, but nothing a client will spot and makes getting in the bag built up much easier.


Screen mounted with Ram mounts. Same issues as the mic holder. Keeps the kit small, easy to get in and out of the bag fully built and you can still move the screen about with it semi done up and it not flop about. Also means I can quickly swap the screen onto gimbals super fast.

Screen folds in flush with the body, not hitting anything all good to slot into the bag.

Ram mounts are on all my set ups for super easy fast swapping between.
 

  • A shot of it, and a load of other kit in my Lowepro Whister 350AW for a sense of size and with my mods how easy it is to work with quickly in a high action enviroment.

 

C300 Mk3 built up and ready to shoot, a 70-200 2.8, 24-105 F4, 17-40 F4 and 2 spare batteries, and this is just the main compartment. 

  • Shot of it all built up on the Movi M15. Light, strong, super stable and amazingly a lot lighter than my old FS5 on the Movi M5. The lack of need for huge heavy Inferno recorder, with big batteries on it etc makes all the diference. The Canon screen with touch AF is also super useful for quickly checking focus without leaning down and touching the lens, or doing simple focus pulls, or shooting from the back of a moving car and tracking a rider etc. Mega combo.


Movi M15 with 1 inch longer vertical cage poles. 98WH battery, Extra long cable to screen.
 

So there you go. I am super stoked with it, the camera is solid, produces great images and will like most Canon cine cameras be built to last and be a real workhorse. 

Thoughts from Dan Moran the colour grading wizard:

 

Dan Moran ( https://www.danmorancolour.com/ ) who has graded a few of the projects I have shot on it in the last month has this to say:

"The new C300 is far better than I ever expected, the DGO sensor gives a huge dynamic range and great highlight roll off. That paired with the Canon raw light internally recorded, not to mention everything else it can do and you have a seriously good camera that in my opinion competes with red and alexa easily."

 

Dan hard at work on a soon come edit. Baselight and full HDR set up, dreamy! Studio based in Bristol too which is always good for giving notes in person. Much faster than remote.

 

Lastly a screen grab of a shot showing just how mad the image is. Impressive! 

Canon Raw light - Clog2

Graded


The first video I shot with the camera, and only thing I have shot with it currently online. Keep an eye on our socials at the start of Sept for more work from the C300/Red combo. 

 

Nice to see Canon actually trying to make cameras again and not just smashing everything they make with the cripple hammer. 


If you have any other questions, or things you want me to test or check just ask.


Thanks, 


Jacob


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