Canon EOS C100 vs C300

Today Canon have announced a smaller brother to it’s C300 and C500 cameras in the form of the EOS C100. With retail price of around $6500 or £4,600 in the UK it comes in at around half the price of the the C300 so where have those savings been made and how do the two cameras stack up against each other in terms of features?

I’m basing these initial thoughts on the specifications currently available on Canons website so this post is likely to be updated as more information becomes available.

 

Design

As you can see, design wise the C100 similar to it’s bigger brothers but with some very obvious layout changes, I’ll go through each notable difference.

EVF

The EVF looks to be a much less adjustable affair than on the C300. Unlike the C300′s extendable and movable EVF the C100‘s is fixed and the display inside measures around half the size of the one in the C300 (0.24″ vs 0.51″).

LCD Unit

The LCD / Monitor unit on the C300 has been replaced with a flip out LCD built on to the back of the camera, opening the LCD reveals the playback controls. Unlike the C300 the C100 doesn’t feature a secondary status LCD, instead the area underneath the EVF holds just the hinge mechanism for the LCD and the menu & cancel navigation buttons.

Specification wise the 3.8″ (0.92 Megapixel) LCD on the C100 is a little smaller then the 4″ (1.23Megapixel) LCD on the C300.

 

 

XLRs, Audio and Mics

So with all this now on the camera body itself the XLR inputs and audio controls have been integrated into the handle unit with a single connector cable connecting the handle to the body. The handle also features built in stereo microphones, very handy!

Card Slots

With the LCD and playback controls now taking up most of the space on the back of the camera the bulky Compact Flash slots on the C300 have been replaced by a pair of SD Card slots just above the battery slot (behind the LCD when closed).

Battery

The C100 looks to use the same batteries as the C300 and the XF range of cameras, although the C100 does not feature a door over the battery slot. The battery release mechanism has been changed from the C300 with the release button now found on the right side of the camera body.

Rear Connections

Moving right from the back of the camera the many connection options from the C300  have been much simplified on the C100. from the top the C100 features a headphone jack and a remote control connector. Interestingly the C100 does feature a USB port which the C300 lacks so direct offloading is probably possible from this camera. Below the USB port is a full size HDMI port and DC in.

So there’s no HD/SDI connectors, no Genlock, and no Timecode connectors here, this is going to be one of the biggest differentiators between the C100 and C300. Apparently the HDMI port does output a clean signal with some kind of embedded timecode but I’ve not seen any confirmation of the output specs.

Right side

Moving on the the right side of the C100 it appears to use the same removable / adjustable handgrip as the C300 with it’s mini joystick, magnify, aperture and record controls.

Also on this side are the connectors for the handle / XLR controls as well as a 3.5mm jack input for a mic. As mentioned earlier the right side now also holds the battery release button.

 

 

Left side

The left side of the C100 see’s some of the biggest departures from the C300 and some that will likely confuse any C300 user. Starting at the top we se the same power controls as the C300 including the lock position. The measuring tape attachments are also present on the C100.

The two  main input wheels on the left side of the C300 are not present on the C100 which relies more on button presses and menu based control. The first row of buttons on the C100 have similar functions to the C300 in the form of MAGN (Magnify), PEAKING, ZEBRA & WFM (Waveform). Moving back the single white balance button on the C300 has been replaced with a pair of buttons on the C100 as well as a STATUS and CUSTOM PICTURE buttons.

Below those are a set of three buttons that are unique to the C100. PUSH AUTO IRIS, ISO/GAIN & SHUTTER. The C100 introduces an a push auto exposure feature with this first button, something that the c300 does not include. The ISO and SHUTTER buttons will offer fast access to controlling those settings in the menu.

Unlike the C300′s electronically controlled ND mechanism the C100 looks to use a more mechanical solution with an ND filter wheel.

One final notable change is the position of the exhaust vent on the upper left side of the camera, makes a lot more sense than having vents down at the bottom where they are more likely to have problems with dust / dirt.

 

Front / Mount

The EOS C100 is available in EF Mount only, no PL option here. The mount looks to be similar to the C300′s EF mount. As well as the additional record button on the front (same as C300) there’s also a new button in the form of  ‘ONE SHOT AF’. This is a nice addition for the C100 allowing it to do one shot auto focussing in much the same way as Canon DSLR’s when shooting video.

C100 vs C300 Specifications

I’m not going to go through all the specs here, just those that are important. If you need to find out more then all the specs are listed on Canon’s website.

Recording Codec

The Canon C100 records to SD cards using MPEG-4 AVCHD 4:2:0 at bitrates up to 24Mbps. The following recording resolutions & frame rates are listed…

  • 24 Mbps LCPM – 1920 x 1080 - 60i/PF30/PF24/24p/50i/PF25
  • 24 Mbps – 1920 x 1080 - 60i/PF30/PF24/24p/50i/PF25
  • 17 Mbps – 1920 x 1080 - 60i/PF30/PF24/24p/50i/PF25
  • 7 Mbps – 144 x 1080 - 60i/PF30/PF24/24p/50i/PF25

Interestingly there’s no mention of either 1280×720 resolution or 50/60p  frame rates so going on the specs released so far it doesn’t seem as though the C100 will be capable of shooting slowmo at all.

The use of AVCHD is obviously one of the biggest differences between the C100 and the C300 which uses Canons 50Mbps 4:2:2 XF codec. The C100 does have the ability to shoot using Canons C-Log though, albeit to the more compressed AVCHD codec and apparently will output 4:2:2 via the HDMI port.

Audio

Using the C100′s 24Mbps mode audio is recorded in Linear PCM; 2 Channel; 16 bit at 48 hKz. All other modes record audio in Dolby digital AC3. The XLR’s have all the usual controls including phantom power supply.

Having the option to use built in mics in the handle is great, I wonder if it will work on the C300?

Image Sensor

24.6 x 13.8 (28.2 mm diagonal); 6.4 ?m cell pitch, RGB Primary Color Filter (Bayer Array)

The specification of the C100′s image sensor match the C300′s so it seems as if it shares the same Super 35mm CMOS sensor. Both cameras also use the Digic DV III processor.

Summary

Very interesting decisions by Canon I think and with a price of $6500 this is going to be a very attractive proposition to anybody currently looking at investing in higher end Canon DSLR’s. At that price the C100 isn’t going to be competing with options like the T4i / 650D but if you’re considering a 5D mkIII with a decent EVF, external monitor, audio recorder and a cage to hold it all together then the prices start to stack up.

The C100 is going to be much easier to work with than any DSLR based setup and with the same sensor as the C300 it’s likely to produce equally great images as well. If you’ve already invested in Canon glass and thinking about buying another high end body for video then the C100 should be on your radar too.

I do think it’s odd that Canon chose a 24Mbps AVCHD codec for this camera when they’ve standardised so many of their other video cameras using their excellent 50 Mbps XF codec.  Even the tiny XF100 uses the XF codec, a camera that costs less than $3000

The Canon EOS C100 is currently available to order at B&H for $6,499

 

Update: With the C100 now released I have purchased one and written about my thoughts.

29-11-2012: C100 Review – Initial thoughts

 

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  1. Very much a junior version of the C300.

    I’ve been using the C300 for around 4 months now and its been fascinating reading about this new camera. What I’m hoping is that some of the lens control features of this camera will be ported to the C300 through a firmware update. Auto Iris and one push autofocus would be really useful and even continuous auto focus using one of the new STM lenses would come in handy on the odd occasion.

    Apart from that I would still go for the C300 even though it’s twice the price of the C100. I would really miss the great viewfinder and very flexible LCD.

    I wonder if the new handle with built in microphone will be available for the C300? That could come in useful.

    • I too hope we’ll see one touch autofocus, it’s handy for getting a good starting point for focus control. Given that this camera seems to use the same processor etc it would certainly be nice to think that the functionality could be ported over to the C300.

      Interesting comment about the handle, I did wonder if it could be used on the C300 but I doubt the cable would reach the connectors if it it did run on one of the ports which is unlikely. I blogged recently that a handle with a built in mic would be great so it’s interesting to see this on the C100.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Mark.

  2. I blogged recently that a handle with a built in mic would be great so it’s interesting to see this on the C100.

    Yes, I remember that blog. Maybe there is a cheque on the way to you from Canon as they have taken up your suggestion!

    There is only one cable coming from the C100 handle and it’s hard to see how long it is from the photo but it does seem shorter.

    I’m surprised at the lack of third party accessories for the C300 but I guess it’s really a fairly small market place. Zacuto have a system for extending the handgrip to the bottom of an arm but apart from that I’ve not seen much else specific to the C300.

  3. As a DSLR user I was always wondering if camcoders is better in respect of rolling shutter problem?
    And if “yes”, why modern DSLRs still have this problem?

    • Both systems suffer the problem but certainly the C300 is less prone to the problem than my 5D2 or 7D. I’m no expert on sensor technology but I’d guess that the higher number of pixels on DSLR’s make reading out the image across the sensor a little slower and hence slightly more prone to skew.

  4. I’m agree. CCD for instance used the second array to download the data slowly.
    Some old cameras like Nikon D50 has both mechanic and electronic shutter. So in this case the controller could make the exposure, close the electronic shutter and then – download the data.
    AFAIK unfortunately no one now-days produce such sensors. Probably it is a CMOS technology limitation…
    But the problem is really serious. It’s weird that Canon and Sony do not solving one.

  5. My first movie shot with EOS C100:

    https://vimeo.com/58634961

    • Michael
    • February 18th, 2013 12:50am

    Paul,

    Have you had a chance to compare uncompressed HDMI out to an exturnal recarder from the C300 vs. C100. Everyone is talking about the sensors being the same, but are they? If they are, it would be a cheaper way to get that great low light image of the C300.

    Cheers,
    Michael

    • Not yet although Atomos are sending me a Ninja-2 to test so I should be looking at that soon.

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