Canon C300 Mark II announced!

Date : 2015-04-08
Comments :

The wait is over! Canon announced the succesor of the Canon C300, the C300 Mark II. These are my inital thoughts of the new camera.

CanonC300MkII

 

The most obvious which was rumored and requested from a lot of cinematographers was 4K, which has been fullfilled by Canon, of course.

But I think what is much more important than resolution is color and that is one section that Canon seems to greatly improved with this new iteration of the C300.

C300MkII_Gammut

The color is set in 3 sections: Color Space, Gamma and Color Matrix, this allows for much broader and accurate image adjustments.

Color Space settings

  • Cine Gamut (new)
  • BT.2020 Gamut (new)
  • DCI-P3 Gamut (new)
  • BT.709 Gamut

Gamma settings

  • Canon Log2 (new)
  • Canon Log
  • WideDR
  • EOS Std.
  • Normal 1 (standard)
  • Normal 2 (4.0x)
  • Normal 3 (BT.709)
  • Normal 4 (5.0x)

Color Matrix settings

  • Neutral
  • Production Camera (new)
  • Cinema EOS Original
  • Video
  • EOS Std.
  • OFF

This much broader selection allows for a much wider combination of color style and gradiation settings which is very welcome, especially if the production needs high-end color reproduction. How this settings can be combined is subject to a review we well conduct as soon as we get hands on the camera.

The camera’s new resolutions are very welcome and range from FullHD to real 4K sizes.

Recording Resolutions

  • 4096×2160 (up to 30fps)
  • 3840×2160 (up to 30fps)
  • 2048×1080 (up to 120fps)
  • 1920×1080 (up to 120fps)

There are limits with frame rates and resolutions. While 4K and UHD uses the whole Super35 sensor, the higher framerates at 2K crops the frame at a factor of two. But Canon’s image processing normaly does a very good job.

That brings us to a very interesting section, the codecs.

Codec flavors

Canon intruduced a new codec. The XF-AVC.

It sounds like this is not really a completely new codec, but a licensed XAVC codec which Sony intrudced in 2012.
But that is a great step Canon does here because it should work with most commond NLE’s like Adobe Premiere and Final Cut X.

The codec is wrapped in a MXF container and there are many choices from h.264 YCC422 10bit LongGOP 24/35/50mbit to the maxed out quality with Intra-Frame recording with YCC422 10bit / RGB 10/12bit.

Bitrates are for Intraframe 410/225/220/110 and LongGOP-50mbit (only for CFast card) and LongGOP 35/24mbit (on SDCard).

As always, there are limits with resolutions and bit-depths, but these these are really great possibilities to come!

Possible Codec Configurations

Most interesting settings:

  • RGB444 (Intra-Frame) 12bit/10bit 2048×1080/1920×1080 @ 29.97P/23.98P/25P/24P (CFast only)
  • YCC422 (Intra-Frame) 10bit 4096×2160/3840×2160/2048×2160/1920×1080 @ 29.97P/23.98P/25P/24P (CFast only)
  • YCC422 (LongGOP) 10bit 2048×2160/1920×1080 @ 29.97P/23.98P/25P/24P (CFast)
  • YCC420 (LongGOP) 8bit 2048×2160/1920×1080 @ 29.97P/23.98P/25P/24P (SD Card)

All codec combinations:

C300_MkII_RecordingFormats

Most codec settings requires a CFast card to record, the SDCard can only be used for the Proxy bitrates at 35mbit/24mbit, but fortunately even in 2K. It would be great if the LongGOP 50mbit codec could be recorded to the SDCard.

The C300 Hardware

The ergonimics of the C300 Mark II remains the same like the older C300 camera. Body, Handgrip, Top-handle are pretty much the same.

The Top-Handle has some new additions for sound and has better mount options for accessories on the side, the monitor on the top handle has an 1024×576 pixel OLED screen. The EVF has an LCD with a resolution of 854x480px.

Introduction Video by Canon

Button layout is pretty much the same, but some functions are mapped differently. The record button on the front side is now on the left side, there is a new button which illuminates the buttons on the side of the camera, but the Custom Picture Profile Button is now the S&F Frame Rate Button and the white balance is beeing moved down near the side record button.

CanonC300MkII_Side

C300 Mark II Walkaround Video by Canon

There is a Focus Guide button on the front and the Push Auto Focus button is moved the the front-right, where the record button was before which is kind of like on the C100, but many of the buttons can be configured to the users needs.

Mentioning the Focus Guide. This is a “Autofocus” or focus help even for Cine Lenses without an autofocus. The are two angled lines in the center of the screen wich are rotating towards a center line and when they are aligned, the selected subject is in focus, very nice if you film in 4K.

The handgrip and it’s functionality seems to be unchanged.

CanonC300MkII_Front

The ND Filter has be greatly improved. There are now 6 glass filters with 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 stops available from with the ND8 & ND10 are enabled via Expansion Option menu settings.

The image sensor is a 9.84MP 4K CMOS with 8.85MP usable pixels with Bayer Pattern. Which means there could be some resolution artifacts due to the Bayer Pattern, unlike the C300 which had a similar sensor, but downscaled the 4K resolution to an ultrasharp prestine FullHD image. Only tests with a production camera will reveal it’s realworld quality. But it is said that the readout of the sensor is faster than on the older C300 model, which should decrease rolling-shutter.

Canon claims that the new sensor is capable of 15-stops dynamic range wich is a great improovment over the 12-stops from the C300 Mk1.

RAW output is also available on the C300 mkII. It can output 4K 4:4:4 to an external recorder like the Convergent Design Odyssey 7Q or Atomos Shogun.

Soundwise the camera is able to record 4 channel 48khz/24bit sound.

Available lens mounts are EF and PL, but it’s not clear if the mounts are user exchangable.

The body alone weigths 1880g, slightly more than the original’s 1430g. With LCD jackpack, grip and handle it weighs 3.37kg compared to the C300 Mk1 at 2.7kg.

Canon says the body is stronger and more durable. The stock handgrip has been upgraded and is more robust than the original C300 grip. There are rubber seals on the buttons and more die cast components, but the body still seems not weather proof.

Even though they look similar there have been several big improvements. The handle is much more sturdy, with a useful 15mm rod clamp added, along with several 1/4″ mounting points. Three hex screws hold the helmet in place on top of the camera, then a further two hex screws attach the handle to the helmet. Cables to the top handle are interchangable, which is great when they are broken.

Recording media are CFast cards, which are starting at $599 USD for 128GB, which is a stiff price, but hopefully they are going down soon.

CanonC300MkII_CFast

The cameras price is set around $16.000. We have to wait until the retailers set their price.

Conclusion

My inital conclusion is that this can be a real workhorse like it’s predecessor before, with great color possibilities good resolution with the downsize very expensice recording media, which surely decreases with time, the same ergonomics in a relatively small form factor and a Canon Professional Quality Image for sure.

Looking forward to test the camera!

Get all the specs from Canon Australia.


By PJZ

Filmmaker and Electronics Gadget Specialist with background in 3D-Animation and Compositing based in Vienna, Austria.

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