canon_C300 film camera

I purchased a Canon C300 camera in November of last year after having rented it for almost a year I haven’t looked back once.

I shoot with it at least once a week and often more regularly than that. It is a workhorse. There isn’t a single sign of wear, and I literally have not had a single fault with it.

C300 Camera Sensor

The camera has a CMOS sensor that is the same size as Super35mm. However it is by no means the same sensor you’ll find in a DSLR. It has been redesigned from the ground up, and actually has a pixel resolution of 8.3 million pixels (3840×2160). The camera then combines information from four pixels on the sensor (two green, one red, one blue) to create one full HD RGB pixel, which enhances the quality and colour of the image. This is why the camera�s image looks astounding when put next to a DSLR, and is one of the reasons why it is a fantastic camera for shooting on greenscreen. More colour information means better keying in postproduction.

The C300 also shoots with 4:2:2 colour sampling. This maintains a great deal of colour information and is another reason why the C300 is great for supporting greenscreen. Many DSLR cameras have 4:2:0 colour sampling which is not good enough for keying and compositing (or any kind of postproduction such as colour grading, etc.).

Exposure Control

One of the most incredible features of the C300 is its amazing ability in low light. The native ISO is 850. If you go below this, you start to lose sharpness on the lens, and above of course you gain digital noise on the image. However, on the C300 the digital noise is barely noticeable before around 5,000 on the ISO, and you can even push it to 20,000 and still get away with it.

Picture Profiles

The camera has several in built picture profiles, the most useful and most often used by most being the Cinema Locked C-Log mode. This produces a flat image with little to no contrast, but enables the best results in post production. It means that all the information in the frame will be stored and, although it looks less beautiful through the camera lens, you have more options when grading in terms of how you want to manipulate the footage. This is a particularly useful feature for greenscreen, but I use this for every shoot I do.

The only reason to not use it if you have a quick turnaround project and don’t have time for a grade, but flicking back to the default contrast-y setting is always hard after seeing the C-Log picture!

I have a SmallHD AC7 OLED field monitor, which applied a LUT (look-up table) to give you an idea of how the image will look when graded, which is great to know that you are lighting something correctly, and also good for directors to get a better impression of the end result.

I genuinely cannot complain about any features of the C300, and this is just touching the surface of what the camera can achieve. It is a perfect camera for corporates, events, documentaries, green screen or lower-end music videos, and with the right set of lenses it could be used very effectively on drama. I love to shoot with it and there’s no going back to DSLR for me!

Written by Simon Waldock

C300 cameraman


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