camera-build

Canon C300 MKII Review: Part 1

Introduction

I’m very excited to share my thoughts of the new Canon C300 MK II with you. I was lucky enough to receive my camera early, so I hit the ground running! I’ve shot handheld verite, sit-down interviews, stylized recreations, and even some wooden sailboat restoration in Newport, RI over the last few weeks. There’s been a lot of excitement and criticism around this camera, so I wanted to lay out my first impressions and experiences. I want to add that I am not writing this on behalf of Canon or anyone else. I have been a devoted C300 user for the last three years, so yes, I tend to lean towards their cameras inherently, but I also realize there are a lot of other cameras out there to choose from. I hope this helps you in either deciding to run towards (or even away) from the C300 MK II, and be better informed before making costly investments.

 

prodstills_027Before diving in too deep under the hood, I first wanted to talk about some of the exterior features of the camera in this post. As we know, the C300 solidified itself into the world of documentary and reality TV cinematography, both for its image quality and its ability to adapt to large or small camera builds.  The working relationship with your camera is very similar to the relationship with your crew. If you get along with your crew, are able to communicate well with each other, and move past the minor troubles that always arise, the shoot is guaranteed to go smoothly (from an operations side at least!). If you are always misunderstanding each other, fighting and holding onto grudges, the film will suffer as a result.  While camera specs are of course important, so is knowing that you can pick up a camera and start shooting right away, without the camera fighting you back. I certainly fell into a groove with the original C300. All of its menus and buttons became an extension of my own body. I knew not only where something was out of muscle memory, but also because things were placed where they needed to be. This is I want to talk about these features first.

 

Size

For the most part, the camera is pretty close to its brother. It’s just a little bit fatter and a little bit heavier, but not as much as the C500 was in comparison. The C300 MK II is only 0.2″ taller, 0.7″ wider, and 0.9″ deeper than the C300. It weighs 0.8 lbs more than its baby brother. None of these things felt noticeable to me when shooting. With the addition of so many new recording options, I am happy with the design of the external monitoring port positions. When the C500 was released, it faced many of the same problems the MK II faces now. Fans, more ports, etc. But the way Canon designed them into the MK II, you don’t feel a difference. The ports are all positioned for easy access, without the added bulk we saw on the C500.

 

 Top Handle

top-handleThe old handle was always a point of contention with C300 users. If was flimsy and cheap, unable to take the weight of the camera, lenses and accessories all off the cold-shoe mount on the top of the camera. Many of us resorted to using third party solutions like the Movcam handle or various helmet solutions, like the ones from Zacuto or Wooden Camera. It was great to have a solution that had more than one attachment point to better distribute the weight and add rigidity to the camera. But of course this meant spending more money to have the camera do what it should natively. With the C300 MK II, Canon has completely re-designed the top handle. They addressed many of the concerns we had from before. Now, included with the camera, is a helmet that attaches to the camera in three places: directly into the cold-shoe, and into two threads on the side of the camera. Onto the helmet attaches the top handle. This is done via two hex screws. This is great in addressing the problem of rigidity. Unfortunately, this means it is a relatively permanent solution. Given the placement of the two hex screws, you cannot easily take off the top handle for packing. But with that said, the new top handle gives you a multitude of ¼-20 and ⅜-16 mounting points (11 in total), along with 3 cold-shoe mounts (as opposed to 2 on the previous version). Unfortunately, due to the slightly larger build of the camera, those old 3rd party solutions will not work on this camera, so you have to buy new. In conclusion, if you have a bag tall enough to encase the camera body with the top handle included, you will be pleasantly surprised with the added features of the new handle. If you are looking for a more streamlined solution, it may be back to ordering a 3rd party handle.

 

Audio / Video Cables

The camera has exchanged its annoying cables that run from the monitor unit to the body for different annoying, yet much smarter, cables. Before, these cables were permanently attached to the monitor unit, making repair a bit of a chore. If you had to repair the connector end of these cables one time too many, you might have to rethink the placement of the monitor unit, since the cables are now too short. With the MK II, these cables are detachable at both ends. These cables are also interchangeable, with the audio and video terminals having identical pin configurations. While they still stick out and add an unnecessary amount of bulk to the camera body, they are easily repairable / replaceable. The word on the street is Canon will begin selling various lengths of these cables to give you more mounting options.

 monitor-cables

 

Power

powerWhen the camera was first announced, I was excited by the prospect of investing in a new camera body, while still being able to transition over all of my old accessories. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The C300 MKII takes entirely new batteries, due to the 14.4V DC power system on the camera, upgraded from 7.4V on the C300. These batteries are also pretty expensive for what they are. The smaller BP-A30 runs $299, and the larger BP-A60 runs a whopping $499! I desperately hope these comes down in price as they become more available. The batteries are almost identical in size, though, to the original C300 batteries. The smaller BP-A30 batteries will power the camera for just under 2.5 hours when fully charged, which means you can still get a lot of juice from your battery. The camera comes with one of these batteries, as well as a 2-position charger, which is great. Unfortunately, the charger is substantially bigger than before. If you are like me, and prefer to run the camera off a larger battery pack, like an Anton Bauer or Switronix battery, this has been improved greatly. The camera has been upgraded to a locking LEMO DC input port at 16.7V, that keeps your power supply cable solidly connected to the camera. I have been able to run the camera off one 90Wh battery for 6 hours. This means I only have to change batteries once per day.  With buying a couple Switronix XP-L90A batteries for only $248 a piece, this seems to be a more economical solution as well.

 

Assignable Buttons

The exterior layout of the camera is extremely similar to the previous version. All of the operator-side buttons are slightly recessed, making it harder to accidently pressing them when slinging the camera over your shoulder, or when sitting in a cramped car. These buttons can also be illuminated, making them easier to locate when shooting in dark environments. On the operator side of the camera, you have two ND buttons (as before), Magnify, Peaking, Zebras, and Waveform (as before), but in place of the Display, Status, and Custom Picture Buttons, you now have ISO/Gain, Shutter, and S&F Frame Rate. I find these changes great, since you are generally adjusting these settings more often. The headphone volume buttons have been re-labeled as White Balance buttons. But you can of course re-map any of these buttons using the Assignable Buttons menu layout. The REC button has been moved from the front of the camera to the operator side, giving you easier access. Two more assignable buttons have been added to the front of the camera under the lens mount. Theses are labeled as Auto Iris and One-Shot AF, but again can be re-assigned. On the back of the camera, an additional custom button has been added, as well as the original FUNC button from before. I find the familiarity of the camera hasn’t changed, making it easy to pick up and keep shooting the way you were before, but now with more features to keep you shooting quickly and smoothly.

Here is a list of all available Assignable Button options:

One-Shot AFBacklightMarkersHeadphone Volume + / -
AF LockSpotlightLCD SetupMonitor Channels
Focus GuideFunctionVF SetupAudio Level
Face AFShutterLUTPhoto
Face Detection & TrackingGain / ISOOnscreen Display OutputReview Recording
TrackingWhite BalanceDisplayS&F Frame Rate
Push Auto IrisPeakingAdd Shot Marker 1 & 2Status
Iris ModeZebraAdd OK MarkCustom Picture
Iris + / -WaveformAdd Check MarkMy Menu
ND + / -MagnifyTimecodeInitialize Media
AE Shift + / -Color BarsTimecode HoldIndex

 

Vents/Fan

Due to the fact that the C300 MKII is doing some pretty heavy computing, larger air intake and outtake vents added to the camera. Unlike the spinning fans of the C500, the vents seem to be considerably quieter than the C500 (see Problems Solved! blog post). The fan speeds can now be adjusted in the menu. With Automatic selected, you can separately control the speed in STBY and REC modes at Low, Middle, High, and Maximum depending on your shooting environment. With Always On selected, you have Low, Middle, and High options.

 

ND Filters

The camera has built-in Neutral Density filters like before, but now you can take it up a notch. In the standard setting, you have the option of 2, 4, and 6 stops of ND. Under an additional menu setting, you can increase that range to 8 or 10 stops. This greatly improves the ability to keep the camera at its native ISO setting of 800, without having to shoot a deep stop. The only caveat, is since the additional ND of 8 or 10 stops layers filtration, the camera gives you an indication that you may need to re-check focus. Not the end of the world in my mind.

ND-ext

 

Viewfinder Overlays

Viewing important information while shooting is neccesary, but often times, it conflicts with your ability to compose a shot. The MK II offers a new way of displaying that information. Like before, Pressing the Display button on the Monitor Unit will toggle through various options. Before, we had 3 options: All on-screen displays, Markers only, and Hide All on-screen displays. The MK II has added a fourth: Surrounding icons.  This options reduces the size of the image, and moves all pertinent information to the black border around the image. This is a huge improvement in my mind, because now you get the best of both worlds. Here is what they look like:

overlay

All on-screen displays

surround

Surrounding icons

marker

Markers only

clean

Hide all on-screen displays

Internal Functions

 

Slow Motion

This is probably one of the biggest topics people are annoyed about with the release of the camera. The options have grown substantially from what was available in the C300, but probably not as much as people would like when compared to other 4K cameras currently on the market. With the MKII, you can shoot up to 120fps in 2K/HD, but only up to 30fps in 4K/UHD. In 2K/HD, you can shoot up to 60fps at full resolution, but have to move into Slow & Fast Motion (crop) mode to shoot higher. This effectively punches into the sensor 100% to allow these higher speeds. Since the image is being enlarged 100%, I did notice a small amount of noise added to the image, as well as a bit of softening. In neither case I saw it as noticeable or problematic. What this may mean for some, though, is that any frame rates beyond 60fps become a novelty and used sparingly.

HD-60fps

1920×1080 @ 60fps (no crop)

HD-Crop-96fps

1920×1080 @ 96fps (crop)

Pre-Record

This is a function that is at times invaluable in documentary situations. As cinematographers and operators, we like to pride ourselves on having our eyes and ears open at all times, but sometimes the action happens when we least expect it. In comes Pre-Record. The camera gives you the ability to set this under the Recording Mode menu, the same place you will find Slow & Fast Motion and Interval Recording. Once activated, the camera will continually buffer the sensor, so when you press the record button, the camera will tack on 3 seconds of footage at the beginning of the clip. Just enough time to get the beginning of that “only happens once” shot. Might be worth considering leaving engaged at all times…

 

LUTs

Now that the world has shifted to taking advantage of the flatter Log profiles when shooting, LUTs have played a more prominent role in production. When shooting in Canon Log on the C300, you could incorporate the View Assist function, but this was pretty limiting. It would only display this on the LCD or VF screen, but not allow it to push through the external outputs. In addition, I feel this “look” was far too contrasty for what you would standardly grade to. You finally have the ability to load a true Rec709 LUT to the LCD/VF of the camera, as well as being able to push that LUT out through the Monitor & HDMI port, as well as the Record Out port. You can even assign a LUT feature to any of the assignable buttons to easily toggle your view on and off. We all wish the camera gave you the option of loading in your own LUTs, but for me, this camera is geared towards documentary shooting, so as long as I have a viewable image to expose and compose off of, I’m happy. Regardless, this is an important and long overdue feature. Glad it finally arrived.

color-space_luts

 

Magnify

As with the previous model, you have the ability to magnify the image for checking focus. You can do so via the pre-assigned buttons to the side of the camera, the handgrip, or the monitor unit. You can also re-assign this function to any button on the camera. You now have the ability to output the Magnify through the Monitor & HDMI outputs of the camera, if so desired.

There is one surprise with this feature that will leave us all scratching our heads. When recording, the Magnify function is disabled! How in the world was this overlooked, but hopefully this will be corrected in the next firmware update. As a workaround, check out some of the cool new Focus Guides discussed next.

 

Focus

The all-new Dual Pixel CMOS AF sensor greatly improves the camera’s ability to lock and hold focus on a subject, as well as smoothing out the change from one to another. Here are the focus features (no pun intended) of the camera:

One Shot AF – This function keeps your camera in full manual focus mode, but when engaged, it will lock focus until released. This is extremely useful when shooting in 4K where critical focus is a must, or when shooting interviews. Especially since the Magnify function doesn’t work when recording, this could prove useful to check focus on a subject during interviews.

AF-Boosted MF – This could be an ideal option for those not interested in turning over the focus controls to the camera, but still could use a little help. Here, you will always be in manual focus mode, but an indicator will appear telling you if you are in fact in focus or not. And beyond that, the camera will tell you if you need to roll closer or farther on the focus range. Sometimes it’s nice having someone watching your back, but letting you make the call.

Continuous AF – You can change the size and position of of AF reference box, depending on your needs. With Selectable, you can move the box around with the joystick on either the camera, monitor unit, or handgrip. Center Frame places the box directly in the middle of the frame, while Large (standard AF size) or Small (1/3 the size of standard) you can move the position of the box with the joystick.

Face AF – With Face AF selected, you can tell the camera to lock onto a subject, or if there is more than one in the frame, toggle the joystick to select the person of choice. The camera then does a wonderful job keeping them in focus. While you may not find yourself using this function when shooting handheld, it could prove to be extremely useful on a stabilizer rig, such as a Ronin or Movi.

Tracking – This feature is similar to Face AF, but here you don’t need a face to keep the camera on point. You can drop the focus crosshairs onto any object you want to track, and as long as the crosshairs turn green, you’re good to go. Since the camera relies on color, contrast, and pattern characteristics, if there is anything else in the frame with similar values, you may have some trouble. Very useful in slider moves or hard-to-nail tracking focus shots.

Focus Guide – Within the Assistance Functions, you have Focus Guides. Basically the same thing as AF-Boosted MF, these are screen overlays that give you an indication of whether you need to focus further or closer, or if you are in focus. But since its an Assistance Function, you can program this to a Assignable Button to easily toggle on and off. This is a good option to combine with manual focus to give you an idea if you are in the ballpark.

far-good

Good focus

far-far

Focus farther (large adjustment)

cant-find

Cannot determine focus range

focus-guide

Media, Outputs & Audio

 

Recording Media

The C300 MK II utilizes all new media. Instead of CF cards, the camera now shoots to C-Fast 2.0 cards. With data rates of up to 515Mb/s, these cards are able to handle the internal 4K record. While the camera doesn’t require the fastest cards like the Amira, I would at least recommend going with the Lexar 3400x cards. Of course, these cards are expensive. It reminds me of going back to buying P2 cards! A 128GB card runs $300-$550, while the 256GB cards can run $600-$700. Record times are listed below.

Clip Naming

A brilliant (and long overdue) new feature is the ability to create filenames based on Camera Number, Reel Number, and Clip Number. Before, we were forced to let the camera create its own unique file-naming convention, which always left us wondering where that clip came from. Now you can ID a camera (for example: A, B, C), the Reel in which it came from (001-999) and the Clip Number (either starting over at 001, or letting it advance continually). The clip name appears in the lower left corner of the On-Screen Display, so both you and the rest of the crew have something to reference. The clip name appears like this in the on-screen display: A001C001

But the clip is recorded to the card with a little more information to help us all out organizing media and later on in post.

A001C001_151031WV_CANON.MXF

A(Camera ID)001(Reel#)C001(Clip#)_151031(Date)WV(Arbitrary letters assigned by camera)_CANON(Customizable suffix, i.e.: Job Name).MXF

As you insert a new card, or roll over to another, the Reel # will auto advance. The Clip # will continue counting up, but you can go into the menu and reset that if you so desire.

If you are recording Proxy Files at the same time (more on that below), these file names will match precisely, with only the addition of the letter P at the end. This denotes the fact that it is a proxy clip.

 

Terminal Outputs

This is where the camera really starts to have some issues. While the external output capabilities of the camera may seem robust when looking at its terminal options, you are in fact pretty limited in what you can use all at once. The camera does have multiple outputs for both monitoring and external recording. There are 2 SDI terminals, MON and REC out, and 1 HDMI. Both SDI terminals can output 4K RAW data when using an external recorder.

Unfortunately, the REC terminal will only output the signal in which you are recording internally. So that means I can only get a signal on my SmallHD DP7 monitor (input resolution up to 1920×1080) when recording in 1920×1080. And even then, only when recording 422 10 bit, since the monitor cannot handle 444. In addition, the HDMI port does not simultaneously output with the MON out. It has to be one or the other. This is a bit of a problem, effectively leaving one video out (either HDMI or MON) when shooting 4K/UHD/2K internally, unless you are using an Atoms Shogun / Odyssey 7Q / etc that can accept a 4K signal via REC out.

The MON or HDMI outs do have the ability to push onscreen displays and assistance functions, such as aspect markers, waveform, peaking, zebras, magnification, and focus guides. Both the SDI and HDMI terminals support time code triggering for external recorders.

output-terminals

 

Audio

I know, you were all thinking I was like every other camera person and didn’t care about audio. But I do! See, its not even last on the list!

Finally, after so many frustrating situations of wanting some kind of reference audio on my C300, Canon has added an internal microphone. Not good quality, as to be expected, but useful nonetheless. Like with the C100, the levels of the camera microphone cannot be adjusted. So this means with the 2 XLR inputs on the monitor unit, plus the 2 channels of the camera microphone, the camera will always record 4 tracks of audio internally. When recording to an external device, you are limited to 2-channel 16bit audio, but with the option of choosing which 2 of the 4 channels you want to send.

When recording internally, you can now select either 16bit or 24bit depths. The sound department will be happy to hear that one! Here are the audio specs of the camera:

audio

 

Proxies

The camera has introduced a new feature that allows you to record either 2K or HD YCbCr 4:2:0 8 bit Proxy files at either 24 or 35 Mbps Long-GOP onto an SD card. On a 16GB SD card, you get 131 min of proxy record time. These files carry the same file naming convention, audio, and time code as the native clips. To really keep things in line, if you span a clip over two C-Fast cards, a new proxy clip will be created as well, ensuring all files match precisely. You also have the option of activating a Rec709 LUT on the proxy files, giving your editor and colorist a reference of how you imagined the shot to ultimately look like, while still retaining the Log profile on the native images. Unfortunately, proxies will not be recorded when either shooting in Interval or Slow & Fast Motion.

proxy-settings

 

Card Record Times

While the quality options are significant with the new camera, be mindful of how much more media you will be shooting. At the lowest Intra-frame quality setting on the camera (1920×1080 YCC422 10 bit), you are still shooting 3x the data per minute as you were on the C300. And that ratio skyrockets as the resolution/bit depth increases. With hard drives becoming cheaper by the day, this isn’t a deal breaker, but it is definitely something to make your post-production team aware of.

ResolutionData RateMin. @ 128GB C-Fast 2.0
4096x2160 YCC422 10 bit410 Mbps Intra-frame42 min
3840x2160 YCC422 10 bit410 Mbps Intra-frame42 min
2048x1080 YCC422 10 bit160 Mbps Intra-frame113 min
1920x1080 YCC422 10 bit160 Mbps Intra-frame113 min
2048x1080 RGB444 12 bit225 Mbps Intra-frame78 min
1920x1080 RGB444 12 bit225 Mbps Intra-frame78 min
2048x1080 RGB444 10 bit210 Mbps Intra-frame84 min
1920x1080 RGB444 10 bit210 Mbps Intra-frame84 min

But if storage is a worry, you do have the option of recording in the original C300’s codec of 50Mbps Long-GOP in 2K and HD YCC422 10 bit, giving you the same record times as before.

ResolutionDate RateMin. @ 128GB C-Fast 2.0
2048x1080 YCC422 10 bit50 Mbps Long-GOP404 min
1920x1080 YCC422 10 bit50 Mbps Long-GOP404 min

 

In Conclusion

There is a lot to this camera. It may seem a bit overwhelming, but when I picked up the camera for the first time, I still felt a high level of familiarity with its layout and menus. Yes, there is a lot more inside , but you will be surprised how easy it is to adapt.

In the next post, Canon C300 MK II Review: Part 2, I will take a look at some more of the more intensive parts of the camera:

-Dynamic Range

-Gamma settings, including Canon’s new Log2

-Over & Under exposure tests

-Noise across the ISO range for each Gamma type and resolution

-Working with Canon’s new XF Utility for XF-AVC

I hope this breakdown has been informative and helpful. Feel free to comment with any questions or concerns.

23 Comments

  • eric / October 28, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    hey matt, thanks for the article. I’m looking for more info on supplying the camera with external power. i’d love to hear about the entire signal flow regarding power, but my biggest question is around distribution and providing the camera with proper voltage. I want something like this: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/839207-REG/Movecam_MOV_306_0209_BATTERY_BRACKET_FOR_V_MOUNT.html

    but the output voltages only go up to 14.4v and the DC-in on the camera is 16.7v. obviously the camera can operate with 14.4v based on what the included battery supplies, but want to make sure that goes for dc-in as well. any help here would be awesome!

    Reply
    • mattporwoll / October 28, 2015 at 9:13 pm

      Hi Eric,

      Thanks so much for your interest in the blog. While the DC input on the camera is noted as 16.7V, it can handle a variable input. The AC power supply sends a 16.7V input, while an Anton Bauer battery for instance, sends 14.4V.

      If you are looking for an option like the one you mentioned, you can try this cable, which will power the camera via D-Tap off the Movcam unit you linked: http://woodencamera.com/Canon/Power-Canon/D-Tap-to-Canon-C300mkII-24.html

      Alternatively, if you don’t need all the power port options of the Movcam unit, you can try this: http://woodencamera.com/Canon/Power-Canon/WC-V-Mount-C300mkII.html

      Hope this helps.

      Reply
      • eric / October 28, 2015 at 10:33 pm

        extremely helpful, thanks again matt! i’ve had a surprisingly hard time finding info on the topic, probably because its still such a new camera and there aren’t a lot of companies making accessories for it just yet.

        one point to clarify if you can- you say its a variable dc input- do you know what the min and max are? the movcam for example only provides 12v via dtap and the only 14.4v output is 3-pin LEMO, yet I have not been able to find a 3-pin male to 4-pin female LEMO connector to get that 14.4v juice to the camera.

        thanks again!

        Reply
        • mattporwoll / October 29, 2015 at 2:36 pm

          Unfortunately, I don’t have any other data that specifies the minimum and maximum voltage. I know that when used directly, the camera takes the power fed to it, whether from the 14.4V Gold Mount plate or the 12V D-Tap cable. But where it gets fishy is running it through another power regulator, like the Movcam unit you mentioned, and if this would create any problems. What I would suggest, is since companies like Wooden Camera are designing these cables specifically for the C300 MKII, reach out to them and find out if there are any limitations using their cables with a unit like the Movcam power distribution box. They would have a better idea on the specifics. Also, I know they sell cables that allow you to wire your own connector, such as a 3-pin LEMO like what you’d need with the Movcam. http://woodencamera.com/Canon/Power-Canon/Canon-C300mkII-Power-Flying-Leads-Straight-24.html Hopefully they can direct you to the answer you’re looking for. Let me know what you find out.

          Reply
          • eric / October 29, 2015 at 6:46 pm

            thanks matt. we’re leaving for africa in a week so though i’d prefer to tinker and make a more versatile system work, we’re going with a proven system. we’re returning the movcam & related junk we got for that, and we got this: http://idxtek.com/products/at-e2cmkii/ which i’m pretty sure is the exact same product WC sells that you recommended. Its less flexible, but still has 2 open d-taps which will convert to whatever else we choose to run off it in the future. we have a WC shoulder rig and got their “battery slide” and necessary doodads to mount the battery plate to the rail system. using this battery system, and the still brand new camera, for a month in another country will no doubt result in many lessons by-fire and probably provide enough content for an article of some kind going over our experiences. I’ll let you know how it all turns out!

            thanks again for the great article and additional info re: power

  • chris / October 31, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    Hey Matt, thanks for your excellent site, I shot some footage in 2k12bit444 with the Canon C300 and can’t get the footage into any editing program.

    I see your new article will cover Working with Canon’s new XF Utility for XF-AVC which I have downloaded, but right now I can only view my footage in the program, any ideas on how to transcode it into something a program like FCPX will ingest? Cheers

    Reply
    • mattporwoll / November 8, 2015 at 9:30 pm

      HI Chris, thanks for your comment. Canon’s XF Utility only serves as a viewing and downloading solution for your footage. At this point, I know that Adobe Premiere CC and Avid Media Composer 8 will read the native XF-AVC codec, but FCP 7 & X will not. Hopefully this will be included in a future update. You will need to transcode your footage to work with these NLEs. To do so, you can use Adobe Media Encoder or a 3rd party converter solution, like HD Video Converter. Hope this helps, and best of luck!

      Reply
      • mattporwoll / April 8, 2016 at 5:40 pm

        Abel Cine posted a great article here on how to import C300 MKII footage into a variety of applications, including Final Cut X, Adobe Premiere, Avid Media Encoder, and DaVinci Resolve. Hope you find this helpful!

        Reply
  • Lynn / February 17, 2016 at 2:00 am

    I’m running two c300 mkIIs on a doc. We’re recording 4K prores 23.98 (rec out) to Odysseys. I’m experiencing two different data rates and file sizes when recording the same footage from A and B cameras even though they are set up exactly the same on both the Canon and Odyssey menus. Any thoughts on this?

    Reply
  • Andy / February 21, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    Hi Matt, your article (Part I & II) reinforced many of our positive feelings toward the MarkII. We have rigged it up with the Zacuto recoil, it is a bit on the heavy side now, around 9-10 kilos, but the rig is rock steady. We moved the audio/video interface from the top to the back with a small magic arm attached to a cheese plate, to make the balance point lower to achieve a more stabile sit on the shoulder. Using this set-up, we also could tuck away better the audio/video cables, so they are never in the way. Here you can have a look at the kit: http://www.stillsandfilms.com It is right on the top of the page.

    Reply
  • Matt Williams / April 26, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    Hi Matt, thank you so much for your detailed review, it was a deciding factor when I purchased my C300 MkII. One quick question I can’t find an answer to so wondering if you might know in your experience of using the camera – is there a way to add a LUT to my HDMI monitor when reviewing a clip? I always have the LUT showing on my HDMI monitor when recording so I have an idea of what it will look like, but when I play back the clip for the director it is without the LUT – which is obviously less than ideal as I want him to see it as I see it. Any thoughts? Thanks,

    Reply
    • mattporwoll / April 29, 2016 at 3:00 am

      Hi Matt, I’m glad to hear the review has been helpful for you. Unfortunately, you cannot apply a LUT to Log footage as it plays back. One option would be to use a monitor with LUT capabilities, and apply the same LUT at the monitor stage of the image. The other option would be to record proxy files with a baked-in LUT to the SD card within the camera and use that for video playback. Since the LUT is baked in, the camera would have no problem reviewing clips with the look you were using to shoot. I hope those work-arounds will help you out in the future.

      Reply
  • Matt Porwoll | Cinematography » Canon C300 MKII: First Look at the new Canon Log 3 Gamma / July 28, 2016 at 6:37 am

    […] It’s been nine months to the day since I posted my initial reviews of the Canon C300 MKII: Part I and Part II. I’ve gotten so much great feedback from people as they started playing around […]

    Reply
    • Austin / July 29, 2016 at 3:05 am

      Hi Matt, Have a quick question. I’m using FCP 7. I had c-300 mark II footage converted in Adobe media encoder to apple pro res 422 HQ so I could edit in FCP 7. My problem is the clips that were shot in slow motion still play at normal speed. I tried using cinema tools to convert the slow motion clips like I would do with c-300 mark I clips but it didn’t work. Is there another way? Thanks so much.

      Reply
      • mattporwoll / July 29, 2016 at 3:51 am

        Are you shooting slow motion in 59.94 and converting back to 23.98, or are you using the slow motion function to shoot 60/23.98? If using the slow motion function, the clips should convert straight forward already slowed down, since they were recorded with a 23.98 time base. It sounds like you are trying to use Cinema Tools to conform the clips to 23.98 and that shouldn’t be necessary, regardless of the C300 MKI or MKII. Let me know your workflow and I’ll se if I can help more.

        Reply
  • Dylan Trivette / August 11, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    Hey Matt, Beautiful work! Great site! I recently purchased a C300 Mark II and was wondering how to configure my monitoring solution. Calls to SmallHD and Canon have yielded no help, so I thought you might be the best to ask! I have a Zacuto Gratical Eye attached via SDI (Mon) and am trying to connect a Paralinx to a SmallHD AC7 OLED via the HDMI port. Sadly, I’m not able to get an image on either at the same time. ( MON terminal for the Gratical is set to 1920×1080 and MON terminal for the AC7 only works set at off). In your article above I read about the difficulties with the C300 II’s SDI/HDMI outputs and was wondering what your wireless solution/EVF configuration is? Thanks for any and all help!

    Reply
    • mattporwoll / August 11, 2016 at 7:20 pm

      Hey Dylan,
      The issues you’re having with monitoring unfortunately has nothing to do with either the Gratical or the Paralinx/SmallHD. The way the camera is set up only allows for either HDMI or MON ports to work, but not both simultaneously. The work-around for this is to use the REC port instead of MON. With the MON OUT setting turned off, you will get a signal flowing through HDMI. You can then use the REC OUT port to send a signal to your Gratical. The only issue here is the recording format you use. I just tested this configuration with HDMI going to a SmallHD DP7 PRO and the REC OUT going to a Zacuto Gratical. Via HDMI, I was able to set the camera to any recording format, regardless of 4K, UHD, 2K or HD, 422 or 444. With REC OUT, I am only able to get a 422 UHD or HD signal through the port when the REC OUT 4K RAW Mode menu setting is set to 2K. Choosing either 4K RAW or OFF would not give me a signal to the Gratical. This was tested with both the Gratical and the DP7 PRO, so its not a limitation of the monitors. Unfortunately, due to the fact that you are limited to only SDI on the Gratical Eye and only HDMI on the Paralinx, I don’t see a useable 4K/2K/444 workflow without the use of a Distribution Amp, or some other device to daisy-chain your signals. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I will certainly let you know if anything else comes to mind while shooting with the camera.

      Reply
      • Dylan Trivette / August 11, 2016 at 7:54 pm

        Thanks for the fast reply and an answer – even though it was bad news. I’m wondering if an SDI to HDMI converter to the Paralinx from the REC OUT would work? ( I’m not a fan of losing the camera’s OSD’s when using the Gratical in REC OUT). I’m also assuming if I had an SDI Paralinx this wouldn’t be an issue, because my 17″ TV Logic works great from the REC OUT with the Gratical in MON OUT. Hmm… Anyway, I can’t tell you how invaluable you are as a resource to us, C300 users.

        Reply
  • Felipe Marrou / January 22, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    Hi Matt,
    Got the camera in December and having used the 5D Mk3 for many years this one was a nice upgrade. Still getting learn about all its features. Do you prefer shooting Canon Log or Canon Log 2. I heard Canon log give you much less noise with higher iso’s than the native 800 you have to shoot with Canon Log 2. Any truth to that statement? Thanks

    Reply
  • Reel Girl / February 4, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    Hello Matt,

    I want to thank you for all the information you share. I am a Director, but want and need to understand the ins and outs of cameras.

    What do you recommend I do to learn, just pick up a camera and shoot or take classes, If classes, where? I live in Atlanta.

    Secondly, I like the quality of the RED, but I am considering purchasing a Canon C300 ii (4k). What lenses do you recommend for a starter package. I will be shooting indie films. Do you think I should get a different camera? I considered the Sony Fs7, but RAW and other files are external and extra.

    Reel Girl

    Reply
  • Matt Williams / February 10, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    On the C300 MkII LCD and on my SmallHD 501 monitor it looks like there is a lot of banding – very very apparent. This banding does not show up in the recorded footage so I’m assuming it must be down to the camera recording in 10 bit and the onboard LCD monitor being 8 bit and my SmallHD 501 being 8 bit? The banding is so bad it’s quite offputting when filming and gives a poor indication of what’s being recorded – I’m just wondering why the cam can’t output 8 bit to monitor video, or convert to 8 bit monitors better? Is there any way to improve the monitoring? I looked at my 1DXII which is 8 bit and outputs an 8 bit signal to the same 501 monitor and there is very little banding visible, so it does seem to be entirely a result of the monitor having to convert a 10 bit signal to 8 bit?

    Thanks,
    Matt

    Reply
    • mattporwoll / March 13, 2017 at 4:12 pm

      Hi Matt,
      This is a difficult question to answer, but the best I can say is its probably the monitor and how it handles the information from the camera. Are you shooting in 4K or UHD? Some monitors have a harder time downsizing a 4K signal to HD. Are you outputting a LUT from the camera? This may also cause the banding, since you are internally adding a contrast curve in conjunction with the resolution and 12/10bit conversion to 8bit. I would be curious to hear if you have better results outputting the image with no LUT and see if it yields better results. If so, try adding a LUT from the monitor and not from the camera to see if that helps. Keep me posted on what you find. Thanks!

      Reply

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