Canon's weird camera

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, September 4, 2012, 2:14 PM | comments: 0

Last week, Canon released the C100 video camera, a sort of "light" version of the C300, allegedly for a price of around $8,000. That's half the price of the C300, but with a lot of bizarre compromises that still put it kind of high.

Ignoring image quality for a moment, let's think about the use case that I suspect a lot of people are after: using Canon EF lenses with their video camera. That was certainly my desire, given the nice lenses I already had for still photography, and I ended up buying Panasonic's AF100 with a lens adapter from Redrock Micro. Even with that adapter, the cost was a little less than $4,100, about half of what the C100 is going for. The compromises I have to live with are that the camera doesn't control the lenses, and with a smaller sensor it doesn't "see" as much, but I haven't found either to be that big of a deal.

Then there are the weird things, like recording with AVCHD, same as my AF100. A lot of people don't think you can do "serious" recording with AVCHD, and admittedly you can run into some noise issues, but it's not horrible. That said, the strength of the C300 was the use of Canon's own codec that uses twice the bit rate. The C100 also has a strange and tiny little stubby viewfinder. Most strange, it can't shoot variable frame rates, so no slo-mo for you. I love how that looks.

The C300 strikes me as an amazing camera, on the expensive side, but clearly delivering on what you pay for. The C100 doesn't quite make sense to me, at double the cost but lacking some of the features to be as good as a camera at half the cost. Mind you, good is relative, and the larger sensor and native lens control are wins, but it's a really weird camera.


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