Why we love the Canon C100: a review/re-evaluation

The Canon Cinema EOS C100 camcorder has been around for nearly a year now, and in that time we’ve seen some fantastic cameras join it on the market (Blackmagic Cinema Camera, take a bow). But still the C100 remains the best in class camera for what you get at that price point – unparalleled image quality and functionality.

So I thought it was about time I did, not a review, but a reevaluation of where the C100 stands next to its competitors. These are just some of the reasons why we recommend it so highly to customers…

Incredible image quality

People buy the Canon C100 because they know they’re getting incredible image quality. It only shoots in 25fps and not 50fps, but it’s the way that it handles noise that makes it a cut above competition like the Sony FS100 and AF101 – we’re even verging on Sony FS700 territory here.

With the same chip and sensor as its bigger brother the C300 (which comes in at around the £9k price mark), the C100 is a truly aspirational, broadcast quality camera. You get a shallow depth of field and really nice, sharp images with a very crisp focus, as well as the ability to set the colour temperature on the camera.

C100 and Ninja bundles on Jigsaw24

Pairing with a Ninja

Where the C100 really excels though, is when you pair it up with an Atomos Ninja recorder. This means you can bypass the 24Mbps limit  to get pristine 8-bit uncompressed footage and really make that excellent sensor produce some incredible results. It’s a union that’s made the Canon C100 and Atomos Ninja an industry standard, and we always recommend bundling the two together for an affordable shooting kit that gives professional quality footage. With the new Ninja Blade, you can even use the display as a critical monitor too!

Customisable camera controls

Another thing you get with the C100 that you don’t with the BMCC is fully customisable manual controls on the camera body. Under My Menus, you can map strings of commands to a single button to suit your particular preferences and workflow. This makes it a lot easier to get to a particular function, eg turning zebra effects to 50% using just one button press, rather than having to tap through all the menus like you have to on the BMCC.

This is especially useful for setting up your Ninja, which requires certain settings to be mapped to make it work properly. You can turn functions on and off without having to navigate menus, which is great if you need to change settings throughout a shoot or over the course of a day. In a school, for example, students don’t need to remember different places in the menu, but can instead go through the list of buttons the teacher has already assigned.

Easy transition from DSLR

Anyone who’s buying a production camera after coming from a DSLR background (the Canon 5D MkIII, say) will have no problems transitioning to the Canon C100. An EOS setting means you can shoots shots that match up with your DSLR footage without losing anything between the two. As it comes with an EF mount, you can easily continue using your Canon EF lens systems too.

Canon C100 on Jigsaw24

Flexible applications

The beauty of the C100 is in the wide range of applications it can handle. Whether you want to shoot cinematic-looking stuff, run and gun, or need a camera that will do the whole lot and deliver everything your clients are after, the C100 is up to the job. The new Autofocus upgrade is absolutely essential for event filming, for example, as there’s no need to pull focus yourself, so far less chance of messing up that perfect shot.

But really any corporate, ENG, gig, event or promo filming will benefit from the fast, stable workflow of the C100. It’s also comfortable with any jobs that need a shallow depth of field like interviews, and now even situations where pro-handheld cameras like the XF300 would normally be more suited.

The C100 is also great for education, letting students learn professional skills applicable to cinema or ENG which will set them up for going out into the industry. The manual buttons teach them shooting processes, they’ll learn how to work with a shallow depth of field, which is very fashionable at the moment, and the LOG codec means they can also learn how to grade. Whereas with the BMCC you might need to add a camera like the XF305 to your lessons if you wanted to teach broadcast production techniques, the C100 really does everything and means you only need to teach with one camera, and then all those skills can be applied across most cameras.

Canon also have the future in mind with the C100, and it’s already being developed to be better in ways that other cameras like it aren’t. A dual pixel autofocus paid firmware upgrade makes your DSLR lenses feel like a proper fixed lens focusing system. We’ve upgraded a lot of our cameras with this firmware already, and it’s the first stock in the UK to be available. Check out the firmware upgraded Canon Cinema EOS C100 here.

In summary…

So a year on, I still rate the Canon C100 as the best camera on the market at its price point. A complete package, it can be customised if you need to (like with separate audio), but it’s not a necessity like with the BMCC, which is essentially a sensor and codec which you’re required to add to for a full professional setup. With the C100, you can take it straight out of the box and start shooting with it straight away.

Canon C100 on Jigsaw24

Want to know more about the Canon Cinema EOS C100 camcorder? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and tips, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

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