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April 2012

Canon’s motion film camcorder C300 is being seen as a game changer

TVBEurope 25

News & Analysis Acquisition Focus

any of the current range of DSLRs regardless of manufacturer. Lens choice, however, is critical, says Milner- Smyth: “PL lenses end up being the major part of the cost of a camera package, so it makes little sense if you have the budget for them to be crippling yourself with highly compressed DSLRs.” “As a cinematographer I am

attracted to the glass and Canon lenses are second to none,” adds Irving. “Consequently, I would always drift toward Canon. I also like the colour science. This is subjective and similar to how people would choose film stock. Canon’s colour science has more of a Kodak feel to it.” Panasonic’s AG-AF101 and

the Sony PMW-F3 and Red Scarlet present other options for those wanting the shallow depth of field without the issues that come with DSLRs. “There is a substantial price gap between the AF101/F3 and DSLR so both have their place in the industry,” suggests Wesley. However, Canon’s C300 motion film camcorder is being seen as a game changer. “Canon has taken all the positive and negative feedback from their DSLR range and created their first motion 35mm digital camera,” says Olly Wiggins, who runs rental firm S+O Media. “They have worked hard at the ergonomics so it still feels like a small camera that is easy to handhold without a handheld rig.” There’s an improved dynamic

range too, up to 12.5 stops using Log and its superior compression ratio records 50Mbps wrapped in an MXF file containing metadata. The C300 is compatible with Canon’s EF or DSLR lenses, while the 300 PL supports the industry- standard PL mount for use with PL lenses. There are seven new 4K EF Cinema lenses — four zoom lenses and three single- focal-length models. The models cost $20,000 and include direct XLR audio input. “The resolution is full HD but

the image starts life on the sensor almost 4K because of its 8.3 Megapixel sensor,” says Irving. “Instead of starting off at HD resolution and getting colour information by debayering from the red, green and blue pixels, recording on the C300 begins with full HD in each of the colours (1920 x 1080 red and green and blue pixels). So by the time you get to the final image there is no aliasing or chromatic distortions. “Even though the colour space is 4:2:2 it is a little better than

that because of Canon’s colour science,” he suggests. “You will for example get excellent green screen keys because of the way the colour science is applied.” The range will be augmented with a DSLR camera featuring a

35mm full-frame CMOS sensor that supports 4K video. The early reviews are very

positive. “Within the broadcast and film sectors the DSLR will be resigned to those with the smaller budgets, while

the vast improvements offered by the C300 will mean many of those who already own a DSLR will try and sell their camera body and keep their lenses for a C300,” says Wiggins.

DSLRs will continue to play an important role as a stylistic B camera, but the future lies in cameras designed to operate as motion picture cameras rather than DSLRs with shoulder rigs to improve their functionality.

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