C300, the good the bad and the ugly!
I was out shooting some pickup shots with the C300 today. I needed some wide opening shots of Norwich city along with some general lifestyle type material. After finding a good location for the wide shot of the city I set about trying a few different lenses on the camera an then headed in to the city and on to the UEA Campus.
The following examples are screen grabs from the ungraded MXF files which were all shot using Canon Log (CP8 profile). As a result they will all look a little washed out in their ungraded state.
Open the images in a new window or right click them and save them to see them at full size. If you just click them they will open in this window and will be scaled so will not represent the full image quality.
The resolution and image quality that the C300 produces is simply stunning! There’s no two ways about it, compared to my DSLR shots the images from the C300 are in another league, just amazing!
One of the things that struck me was how little Moire there is in those opening shots of the city. There’s layer after layer of brick patterns and roof textures yet the image isn’t displaying any noticeable moire. These shots would have been a DSLR’s worst nightmare!
Because I was shooting in Cinema mode using C-Log Gamma the images looked quite lacklustre from the camera but they take on colour grading so well, it’s a real pleasure to apply a grade to these clips in Premiere Pro. Plus they are very easy to handle in Premiere too, there’s no lagginess or pauses during playback or scrubbing at full res using the source MXF files.
I also want to add what a pleasure the C300 is to use handheld, even though it’s bigger than a 5D and closer in weight to my EX1 it’s easier to handle than both, I enjoyed removing the monitor unit and walking around with just the top handle attached using the tillable EVF. There is however one down side to this approach which I’ll move on to next.
Saying it’s bad may not really be fair, it’s more of an annoyance really but not being able to view the waveform monitor or a histogram in the EVF makes it really difficult to judge latitude and exposure with the monitor removed. This camera really needs the waveform monitor to be displayed in the EVF.
Yes there’s zebras, but these only allow you to highlight things in the IRE range from 70 – 100 so they don’t do the same job as a waveform monitor or a histogram which also show whats happening with the darker parts of the shot. Even though Zebras do help with seeing whats clipping at and above 100IRE it’s still very difficult to see them on small highlights which takes me on to the ugly!
When I got to the last shot shown above though I was disappointed to again see some aliased colour fringing on specular highlights. It doesn’t look too bad in the still but if you look at the hand rail in the distance you’ll see the artefact, this looks worse in the video clip because the effect appears to move down the rail and draws your attention away from the subject.
Here’s a closeup of it.
As you can see the issue appears as alternating green and red pixels. I’ve done a lot of testing with this issue now and it happens with any lens, at any aperture and with or without ND engaged. It happens regardless of any picture profiles or gammas too. The only way to reduce it is to under expose the image and stop the highlights from clipping. That’s quite tricky with no waveform in the EVF!
I’m updating this post almost a year after reporting this as a problem and Canon have finally made available a fix for the issue in the form of a publicly available 184.108.40.206.00 firmware for the Canon C300. It took them a while but they acknowledged and fixed it in the end!
It’s still awesome though!
Regardless of some teething problems the C300 footage I captured today is in a different league to anything I’ve shot on the Sony EX cameras or DSLR’s in the past, at least in terms of resolution and overall image quality. I can’t wait to get out with it again!
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