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Canon EOS C300 Review

The Canon EOS C300 is a professional video camera that falls in the $13,999 price range and represents the company’s intermediate offering.

Because of its position as the middle child in the EOS Cinema family, it struggles to find its place, and ultimately, we believe that it is difficult to market. If you don’t need the broadcast features, the C100 Mark II is an attractive alternative that costs less than half as much. If, on the other hand, you do need to go extremely high-end, you might as well future-proof your investment by choosing the C500, which has the capability to record in 4K.

Structure and Specifications

The Canon C300 possesses all of the hallmarks of a professional-grade video camera, including a modular design with a detachable handgrip, an external LCD that can mount on the chassis or be relocated off-camera, two CompactFlash memory card ports, and more buttons than you can shake a stick at.

The body has dimensions of 7 inches in height, 5.2 inches in width, and 6.7 inches in depth (HDW), and it weighs around 3.2 pounds. When it is completely loaded, however, the dimensions and weight of the C300 increase significantly; with the handle, monitor, and handgrip all attached, the C300 has dimensions of 11.2 by 7.3 by 11.9 inches and weighs close to 6 pounds.

When examining any region of the body, it is nearly impossible not to notice the presence of controls. The left-hand side of the device contains the majority of the controls, including dials and buttons. These feature buttons to modify the camera’s multi-step neutral density filter, enlarge the view to confirm critical focus and alter the lens aperture. Additionally, these buttons allow you to adjust the camera’s critical focus magnifier.

You are able to exercise direct control over the exposure thanks to the camera’s direct controls for the shutter speed, ISO, and aperture. Additionally, it provides an on-screen waveform as well as zebra highlights, allowing you to ensure that the material you are working with is not underexposed or overexposed.

Because there is no autoexposure mode, it will be up to you to determine whether or not the scene has the appropriate amount of light. People who make documentaries and who sometimes need to acquire a shot quickly may be dissatisfied by this news.

There are some extra features on the back of the camera, including a monochrome information screen and a button labeled “Func.” that allows the user to choose between the shutter speed, ISO, and aperture settings. Additionally, both of the CF card slots as well as the majority of the I/O ports are located in this area.

These include Sync Out, Genlock, Time Code, and HD/SD SDI for use in broadcast applications; a clean HDMI output for connecting to an external recorder; a remote control port; connectors for the external modular LCD; an SD slot for updating the firmware; a headphone socket; and the DC power input.

It is possible to detach the handgrip from the right side of the device, as it is attached to that side. When you do so, the interface jack that the handgrip is connected to will become visible.

There is a handle that may be detached from the top of the body and carried separately. Through the use of a cold shoe interface, the external LCD, which has a size of 4 inches and a resolution of 1.23 megapixels, may be mounted to either the front or the top of the handle. In addition, the LCD features a mount for a shotgun mic as well as two XLR inputs; however, Canon does not offer a mic with the camera.

A shotgun microphone is incorporated into the design of the Sony VG900, giving it an advantage in this regard. However, due to the fact that it lacks the broadcast functions that are included in the C300 and is not built to the same robust criteria as the C300, it is better suited for work related to events and documentaries.

Even if you decide to utilize the large eye-level EVF to frame your photos, you will still need to keep the LCD installed because an external mic is absolutely necessary in order to obtain high-quality sound. The image through the viewfinder, which has a diameter of 0.52 inches and a resolution of 1,555 thousand dots, is exceptionally crisp.

The external LCD display can be folded down to make it less intrusive; however, doing so prevents the user from accessing the controls for playing, audio volume, and shooting that it incorporates. The C100 Mark II has an LCD that is integrated into the body, which reduces the amount of space it takes up. Additionally, the C100 Mark II’s removable handle has dual XLR inputs as well as a microphone mount built into it. However, the C100 Mark II’s LCD is not quite as versatile as its predecessor’s.

Video Quality

The C300 is capable of recording video at a resolution of up to 1080p30. That falls short of the 1080p60 footage that the C100 Mark II is capable of recording. The color sample rate of the C300 is superior, and it can record MPEG-2 film to CF cards at a quality of 8 bits 4:2:2 with a bitrate of 50 Mbps.

That is plenty for transmission, and it preserves sufficient data for color grading as well as use with a green screen. When recording to a card, the C100 Mark II only provides the option to record either AVCHD at 28Mbps or MP4 at 35Mbps.

However, you can save a significant amount of money by connecting an Atomos Ninja 2 recorder (which costs $695) to the camera. This will let you record 10-bit footage in the PRORES 422 format while still gaining the advantage of a 60 fps frame rate.

A Super35 image sensor with 8.3 megapixels is utilized by the C300. It measures 24.6 by 13.8 millimeters, which is roughly the same dimensions as an APS-C sensor used in a still camera. The low pixel density makes it possible to photograph at a high ISO; the standard ISO is 320, but the camera’s sensitivity can be increased all the way up to 80,000.

However, in terms of actual use, you are not going to be able to push it that far and still get quality footage; the highest level that I would recommend is ISO 5000. Another area in which the Sony VG900 excels is in its use of a full-frame 35mm (24 by 36mm) picture sensor. This gives the user more control over the depth of focus and also enables them to take wide-angle photographs.

On the VG900, a 24mm lens can capture an angle that is more than wide, but on the C300, it can only capture an angle that is moderately wide. The VG900, on the other hand, is more constrained in terms of frame rates; it can only record footage at 1080p24.

Even when shooting with a wide aperture lens like Canon’s superb EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM, it is feasible to really nail focus because of the abundance of manual focus aids that are available. These aids include peaking and magnification, and they make it possible to really nail focus. However, the autofocus system has a lot of potentials as well.

The AF system in the C300 is identical to that found in the EOS 70D digital single-lens reflex camera. It focuses seamlessly as the scene around it changes, and the region that will be in focus is highlighted on the Live View feed so that you can make sure your subject is within that area. However, as we found out with the 70D, dual-pixel AF can suffer in environments with very low light levels. When photographing in such difficult lighting, you should use manual focus to get the best results.

The Canon EOS C300 is a very powerful video camera; nevertheless, the price may be a barrier to entry depending on how you intend to put it to use.

It is obvious that it is designed for broadcast and film production given its price tag of almost to $14,000; but, unless your finances are extremely limited, you will probably want to move on to the C500 for those purposes. It has support for 4K video capture, which is a format that simply cannot be ignored in the present market as it has become increasingly prevalent.

If you don’t need the broadcast abilities and you just want to shoot the best video possible for your documentary or event filmmaking, the EOS C100 Mark II is just an all-around superior option for you to consider. It is quite inexpensive, and if you want the video quality to be on par with that of the C300, all you need to do is add an inexpensive external recorder.

In this particular scenario, selecting a model that falls somewhere in the middle will not result in a bowl of porridge that is just right; rather, you will end up with either an excessive or insufficient amount of camera.

Canon EOS C300 Specifications

Image Sensor 1x CMOS sensor, equivalent to 3-perf Super 35mm – 24.6 x 13.8mm effective size (6.4 x 6.4µm pixel pitch) 
Effective Pixels Approx. 8.29 Mp (3840 x 2160) 
Total Pixels Approx. 9.84 Mp (4206 x 2340) 
Scanning System Progressive 
Filter RGB primary color filter (Bayer array) 
Lens Mount EF or PL, depending on model
LCD Screen 4″ diagonal, 1.23-megapixel color 16:9 rotatable LCD, 100% field of view
Viewfinder 0.52″ diagonal, color 16:9 LCD, 1,555,000 dots, +2.0 to -5.5 diopter eye adjustment, 100% field of view
Signal System NTSC/PAL 
Compression 8-bit MPEG-2 Long GOP (Canon XF codec) 
Color Space 4:2:2 at 50 Mb/s recording 
File Format MXF (OP-1a) 
Recording Formats – 50 MBPS(CBR) 4:2:2 422P@HL – 1920 x 1080 59.94i / 29.97p / 23.98p 50i / 25p True 24 (24.00) – 1280 x 720 59.94p / 29.97p / 23.98p 50p / 25p True 24 (24.00)
Recording Formats – 35 MBPS(VBR) 4:2:0 MP@HL 1920 x 1080 59.94i / 29.97 p /23.98p
50i/25p – 1280 x 720 59.94p / 29.97p / 23.98p 50p / 25p)
Recording Formats – 25MBPS(CBR) 4:2:0 MP@H14 – 1440 x 1080 59.94i / 29.97p / 23.98p
50i / 25p
Recording Media CF & SD
Recording Time With (1) 64 GB CompactFlash (CF) card: 310 min @ 25 mbps; 225 min @ 35 mbps; 160 min @ 50 mbps
Audio Recording Linear PCM; 2-channel; 16-bit; 48 kHz 
Built-In Microphone None 
Audio Inputs 2x XLR inputs, switchable between mic/line, -12, -6, 0, or +12 dB XLR trimming 
Channel Selection 2-channel recording 
Recording Levels -∞ to +18dB 
Phantom Power Available: +48V 
Headphone Output Level 16 settings; volume is muted at the lowest setting 
Tone 1 kHz tone available; -12, -18, or -20 dB 
Focusing System Manual; autofocus system not available 
Iris Control Iris dial located on the camera body for use with EOS EF lenses with electronic iris control 
Exposure Modes Manual 
Gain Manual: Normal setting -6 dB to 30 dB 
Shutter Modes OFF, Speed, Angle, Slow Shutter, Clear Scan 
Shutter Speed Max 1/2000
ISO Range 320 to 20,000, 1-stop or 1/3-stop 
Built-in ND Filter Mechanical ND filter system with the option of clear or 2, 4, or 6 stops 
White Balance Auto, manual, 2 custom (2000-15,000K in 100K increments), daylight (5400K), tungsten (3200K) 
Frame Rates – 50 Mbps1920 x 1080 – Record Rate: 1-30 fps (Playback Rate: 29.97p/23.98p/24.00p) – Record Rate: 1-25 fps (Playback Rate: 50i/25p); 1280 x 720 – Record Rate: 1-60 fps (Playback Rate: 59.94p/29.97p/23.98p/24.00p) – Record Rate: 1-50 fps (Playback Rate: 50p/25p)
Frame Rates – 35 Mbps1920 x 1080 – Record Rate: 1-30 fps (Playback Rate: 29.97p/23.98p/24.00p) – Record Rate: 1-25 fps (Playback Rate: 50i/25p); 1280 x 720 – Record Rate: 1-60 fps (Playback Rate: 59.94p/29.97p/23.98p/24.00p) – Record Rate: 1-50 fps (Playback Rate: 50p/25p)
Frame Rates – 25 Mbps1440 x 1080 – Record Rate: 1-30 fps (Playback Rate: 29.97p/23.98p) 
Interval Recording Interval can be set in 25 levels ranging from 1 second to 10 minutes
Frame Record NTSC 59.94i/23.98p/24.00p: Selectable between 1, 3, 6, 9 frames; NTSC 59.94p: Selectable between 2, 6, 12 frames; PAL 50i/25p/50p: Selectable between 2, 6, 12 frames 
Pre-Record Buffer 3 sec. cache (video & audio) 
Still, Capture 1920 x 1080 images captured to SD card 
Custom Function 9 total functions available 
Assignable Buttons 15; can be assigned from among 30 functions 
Color Bars Color bars compliant with SMPTE, EBU or ARIB standards can be selected 
Dynamic Range Up to 800% with Canon Log Gamma and ISO 850 (+2.5 dB) and above 
Video Outputs HD/SD-SDI: 1x BNC (output only) – Composite: 1x BNC – HDMI: 1x Type A 
Headphone Connector 3.5mm stereo mini-jack 
Genlock BNC (input only)
TimecodeBNC (input/output)
Sync BNC connector (output)
Remote LANC-compatible terminal 
Wi-Fi WFT terminal for compatible Wi-Fi accessory 
Power Supply 7.4V DC (battery pack), 8.4V DC (DC input) 
Dimensions (WxHxD)EOS C300 + Thumb Rest: 5.2 x 7.0 x 6.7″ (133 x 179 x 171mm)
EOS C300 PL + Thumb Rest: 5.2 x 7.0 x 7.0″ (133 x 179 x 179mm)
Camera + Handle + Monitor: 7.3 x 11.2 x 11.9″ (185 x 284 x 301mm) 
Weight (without Lens)EOS C300: 3.2 lb (1.43 kg)
EOS C300 PL: 3.6 lb (1.63 kg)
EOS C300 with Grip, Monitor, Handle, BP-955 & 2x CF Cards: 6.0 lb (2.70 kg) 
EOS C300 PL with Grip, Monitor, Handle, BP-955 & 2x CF Cards: 6.4 lb (2.90 kg)

Canon EOS C300 Price

Pros & Cons

Good For
  • Modular design.
  • Supports Canon lens system.
  • Superior video quality even at high ISO settings.
Need Improvements
  • The maximum quality for the video is 1080p/30.
  • Expensive.
  • The image sensor is not a full-frame.

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