Canon C300 and Red Scarlet X

There were two big announcements in the world of prosumer cameras.  Canon announced their Cinema EOS C300 and RED announced the new specs on the Scarlet-X yesterday.  The Canon faithful were disappointed in Canon’s new cinema camera.

The C300 records a 4k image but it only puts out a 1080p image.  4k is slowly becoming an industry standard, particularly if you intend to show your footage on the big screen.  Why not start with a bigger, better quality image before output.

Slow motion is only available in 720p.  Shooting 720p is like shooting standard def.  Slow motion just looks better and should be done in camera not as a speed ramp in post.

The 10 bit color depth and 4:22 color compression are a huge improvement but we are talking about something that should be industry standard and a minimum requirement if you are doing any animation or green screen work.

The camera has an expended ISO and does well in low light but Mitch at Planet 5D and a few others commented on noise in the blacks during the live presentation.  Just because you can shoot at ISO 1600 with no lighting doesn’t mean you should.

The camera comes with either a Canon mount or a PL mount.  I would love to get my hands on the new Canon Cine lenses but it also limits the number of high quality lenses the camera can use.  This camera should have the option to use a PL mount as well.  Any good cinematographer knows that it’s more about the lenses than the camera and not shooting PL is a sever handicap.

The mpeg2 .mxf codec is nonproprietary making it easy to use in any post-production suite and shooting on CF cards is cheap; but this is little comfort with a $20,000 price tag.  I’ve already seen rumors that the price will come down.  It has to if Canon is not offering a lens at this price point.  (See the Sony F3).

Scarlet-X offered by RED impressed everyone and angered a few EPIC owners.

It records a 4k image at 24fps and up to 120 fps at 1k.  The camera accepts both Canon lenses and for an additional $2k an interchangeable PL mount.  The same camera can use both cine and still lenses.  And the still lenses come in handy because the camera shoots 5k stills.  The color depth is 16 bit with RAW color making things like ISO and color temp metadata. The image compression is 3:1 and the body starts at $9750.  The full package without lens is $14k.  Again, overall better specs than the Sony F3 with a comparable price.