C100 Review after six months

My previous set-up fro video & cinema was this: 5D Mark III (and 7D back up) as my ‘artsy’ camera and a Sony EX1 as my ‘real’ camera.

The Sony PMW-EX1 is a fantastic camera that I have loved for a long time. I’ve used it for creative projects and even more so for run-and-gun ENG style. But, for a few reasons it was time to start shopping around: 1. it was getting a bit long in the tooth and more importantly 2. It’s (generous) 3x half-inch sensors, while great in low-light, couldn’t be paired up to the ridiculously awesome performance of the 5D Mark III.

I happen to go to NAB this year and got to get my hands on the two cameras I was considering. In the end I chose the Canon EOS C100.

This camera is NOT for run and gun. The zoom range is extremely limited (to the lenses). While I have a bag full of nice glass, the EX1 is like having a 18mm to … oh dunno 700mm. My longest lens is a 70-200mm… which is very heavy and never ‘wide enough’ and seldom long enough. *I got the kit with the 24-105 f/4 IS and use it 90% of the time as that is the most convenient range. It does leave a lot to be desired for reach though.

The camera fails as a ‘replacement’ to my EX1 for the run/gun ENG shooting… but succeeds for cinema productions.

Things I cannot stand:

  • It’s difficult to pull focus while zooming and panning (more so than the EX1)
  • Lack of zoom. (If considering this camera for cinematic purposes, disregard this)
  • The LCD screen is HORRID. I mean REALLY bad. It’s hard for me to trust peaking. External monitor is highly recommended.
  • No slow motion… I mean ZERO. Highest frame rate is 30. Blah.
  • Lack of a gradual iris. While dialing the ISO up/down is only slightly noticeable while recording, the aperture is VERY noticeable.

Things I LOVE:

  • SD Cards! W00t. I’ve been using the (insanely) overpriced SxS cards for half a decade.
  • Built in ND filters! Using Canon glass and having a up to 9stops! YES.
  • Two slots (just like the EX1) but because they are SD cards, I’ve not had to use the second slot, one SanDisk Extreme 64 GB and I’m good to go. 😀
  • Three memory bit selections; 24 MB/s, 17 MB/s or a slightly smaller resolution (1440 x 1080) at 7MB/s. << I uses this a LOT for straight to web projects.
  • Compact size & weight.
  • With the C100 I have double the reason to invest in good glass.
  • This thing can see in pitch black. It’s low light performance is sort of scary good. While it has a super 35 sensor, you would never know it. (messing around: YouTube example)
  • Battery life is quite good and knock off brand batteries are cheap! (Canons are over priced)
  • Not having to take my laptop to dump footage (ALWAYS had to with the EX1).
  • This isn’t a ‘LOVE’ but the price seems more than fair for this camera.

Things that I expected on this:

  • XLR hook ups! Having it on the EX1 I’ve grown use to having them. *IF* you are primarily a DSLR shooter, you will love this.
  • Being able to run continuously for hours without having start/stop every x minutes.
  • Have not used, but love the idea of shooting to two cards at the same time, and pre-record for 2 seconds.

Recommend picking up the $400ish Ikan VH8-E6 8-Inch HDMI Monitor. This thing is pretty awesome for the price.

If you shoot video purely on a DSLR and are tired of the limited record time, are a Canon fan, need a better audio solution then this is the camera I would recommend. If you already have a video camera and shoot a lot of low light situations multicam pairing up with DSLRs… this is a great camera.

Hope this helps!




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