Canon EOS C300 MkII Camera Review


Andy McKenzie TV-Bay Magazine
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Canon described the EOS C300 Mark II at its launch as 'a game-changer for creative film-making'. What interested me was whether the camera's impressive feature set, compact size and very aggressive price point matched the needs of the video production market.

Key features

At the front end of the camera is a Super 35mm CMOS sensor capturing Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels resolution) right up to 4K DCI (4096 x 2160). In between, it also operates in 2K DCI (2048 x 1080), 4K UHD (3840 x 2160). The sensor is designed to enhance the camera's sensitivity, minimising noise and supporting ISOs up to 102,400. It is also capable of twice the readout speed compared to the Mark I, reducing rolling shutter distortion.

Recording is to dual CFast 2.0 card slots for XF-AVC compressed MXF and to an SD card slot for 8-bit 4:2:0 Full HD proxy recordings. Producers aiming for the highest possible quality can feed full uncompressed video via built-in 3G-SDI ports to an external recorder. The live output also makes the camera idea for video streaming.

Like any self-respecting new-generation video camera, the EOS C300 Mark II supports high dynamic range. Canon's Log Gamma 2 gives users greater creative freedom in post-production without substantially degrading the image quality.

The camera comes with either a standard EF or PL lens mount but can be modified for users who prefer either locking EF mount or PL mount. Face detection autofocus is possible with EF lenses in addition to existing Canon stepping motor (STM) lenses.

Among additional features are a removable hand grip, an improved low angle camera handle extension with additional attachment points, plus a removable LCD monitor and control panel.

Operation

Once in camera mode, you can set the power switch switch to lock all the physical controls except for the start/stop button. This prevents settings from being changed inadvertently.

Many of the camera’s functions can be adjusted quickly and easily via the menu button. Frequently used menu settings can be stored in a customised submenu for fast and easy access.

The viewfinder has an OLED screen which turns on automatically when you look through the viewfinder. The screen also turns off automatically shortly after you stop using the viewfinder. The brightness, contrast, colour, sharpness, and luminance level of the viewfinder and LCD screen can be adjusted independently of each other.

In Camera mode, the display on the upper left of the screen shows the recording media icons and the remaining recording time in minutes on each card. The information for the currently selected CFast card is also displayed on the rear panel.

When the face detection function is activated, the camera will detect people’s faces. If there are a number of people in the picture, 1 person will be determined to be the main subject but you have the option to select a different person as the main subject. The camera will keep tracking the main subject even when she or he moves. Onscreen markers allow you to make sure your subject is correctly framed and within the appropriate safe area. A zebra pattern function can be activated to display black and white diagonal stripes in the viewfinder over areas that are overexposed.

The EOS C300 Mark II can be genlocked to an incoming video stream or synchronised to external timecode. Using the external time code signal with multiple cameras allows you to set up a multi-camera recording. You can also output the timecode signal from this camera to achieve the same result. If you output the timecode from the record output terminal or monitor terminal to an editing device, the editor can create video with the same time code.

Special modes

Slow & fast motion recording mode allows you to change the shooting frame rate to achieve a slow motion or fast motion effect during playback.

In Pre-recording mode, the camera will start recording a few seconds before you press the start/stop button. This is especially useful when it is difficult to predict when to start recording.

Frame recording: In this mode, the camera will record a pre-defined number of frames every time you press the start/stop button which is useful for recording stop motion animation.

Interval recording: The camera will automatically record a pre-defined number of frames at a pre-defined interval. This mode is suitable for recording subjects with little movement, such as natural surroundings or plants.

Wireless control

An optional WFT-E6 wireless file transmitter can be attached to the camera’s system extension terminal. This allows the camera to be operated remotely via using a web browser on any device compatible with wireless IP networks. You can check the camera’s live view image, control various recording settings, set and change metadata and add marks to the clip. You can also check the remaining recording time on the recording media, remaining battery time and the camera’s timecode.

Summary

Very sturdily built and highly versatile, the EOS C300 Mark II is an easy camera to master. It is ideal for use both in traditional programme production roles and for very high quality live video streaming with easily accessible simultaneous on-site recording.


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Contributing Author Andy McKenzie

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