A few years back when everyone was shooting video on 5D’s, the mighty little Canon C100 was almost the ‘gateway drug’ to bigger, more feature-rich budget cinema cameras. It has proper mic preamps (and XLR inputs), internal ND filters, and the camera was actually built for video recording, which is always nice. Nowadays we are in the midst of a mirrorless revolution. Cameras are getting smaller and 4K capture is now the norm and not the exception, so what makes the C100 still relevant in today’s production world?
- A camera built for video
- Yes this may sound obvious, but you would be surprised about how many basic features (some might say necessities) that this camera has that many of its contemporaries do not. For example, did you know the Sony A6300 doesn’t have a headphone jack? That’s right, you can’t monitor audio straight from the body. These little things add up, so it’s nice to know that Canon thought of just about everything needed on low-budget production when designing the C100.
- You can say what you want about the bitrate of this camera, it’s a valid concern. With that said, I would stack the internal footage you can get out of this camera up against many current offerings with half or even a quarter of the compression. When viewing images from this camera, I’m constantly astounded that they are able to get fantastic dynamic range and color rendition out of those tiny file sizes. If you expose correctly and shoot in C-log, you shouldn’t be disappointed in the quality of image you’re able to get from this camera.
- This camera has never failed us, period. It just works, and there’s something to be said about knowing that your camera is not going to let you down at a critical moment. It also looks like a proper cinema camera, so when your clients see you busting this out of the bag, in their minds you’ve already earned a little more respect than when you break out that micro-sized mirrorless. Does this count for a lot? Not really, but to some people, this matters.
Honestly I can’t say enough great things about this camera. Does it shoot 4K? No. High frame rate? I guess if you count 60p… But to those questions I say so what? If you need a clean, HD image that is super gradeable and pleasing to your clients, this is a fantastic, low budget option that won’t let you down. We shot 90% of our feature length documentary JELENA on this camera paired with a Blackmagic video assist, and I get asked all the time ‘was that shot on a RED?’ Seriously, I do. With a competent colorist, you can get amazing images from this camera. So yes, it is still relevant and will be for some time.