The Canon C300 Mark II Just Landed at Visual Impact

The British Summer and IBC 2015 may be over, but that is not necessarily a bad thing, on the contrary - it's good because now we all know what to expect in the next few months in terms of cameras, lenses and other new kit, so we can plan our productions accordingly. The weather may not be as nice, but at least we'll have new kit to play around with.

IBC 2015 was a blast we spent the weekend roaming the halls of the RAI Amsterdam convention centre in search of cool kit that our customers will need for their upcoming productions.

Those of us who didn't make it NAB this year, got a chance to see the Canon C300 Mark II in the flesh, which was one of the highlights for us at this year's IBC. Even though the camera wasn't in the spotlight like the new Sony PXW-FS5 was, it is on the rader of a lot of our customers. It's quite the beast now, with a hulking new body (very much like the original, but different, beefier) massive horsepower and innovative new features like improved Dual-Pixel Autofocus and, of course, on board 4K and 2K recording plus finally Full HD Slow motion up to 120fps.

As a matter of fact, earlier today we just received our first Canon C300 Mark II, which you can see below, and we expect more to be arriving shortly. We've taken quite a few pre-orders from customers and we think they'll love the new C300 Mk II - it is slightly bigger, but way more beefier than the predecessor, almost every single feature and function on this camera has been improved.


The Canon C300 mark II has been completely overhauled starting from the brand new Super 35 sensor and new dual DIGIC DV5, 4K on board up to 30 onto Canon's brand new XF-AVC codec based on the latest MPEG-4/H.264 compression plus so much more. Now there is super slow motion on the Mark II - the C300 topped out at 720/60p, but this time around it's Full HD 1080p at up to 120fps. Expect a crop factor when you shoot at those rates though.

The brand new 4K Super 35 sensor allows for some incredible images in the new Canon Log 2 gamma - enabling the incredible 15 stops dynamic range - 3 stops more than the predecessor. Base ISO is 800, which has become somewhat of an industry standard. The Canon C300 II is now a full 10bit camera with support for 12bit 444 internal recording. This is a major departure and upgrade from the 8bit recording found on the C300 Mark I.

The recording media has now changed to CFast 2.0 so as to accommodate the 410Mb/s XF-AVC codec which uses 8x more data than the legacy MPEG-2 50Mb/s 8bit 422 MXF codec found on the original Canon EOS C300 Mark I.

We've been told that the move to CFast 2.0 media was necessary to sustain the high data rates between 225Mb/s (in 2K/444) and 410Mb/s (in 4K/10bit 422). Despite the fact that it certainly isn't cheap, Cfast 2.0 is the most reliable form of media for these types of cameras, which generate high data rates at both normal speed and slow motion.


The ARRI AMIRA, ALEXA MINI, the Blackmagic URSA and the new URSA Mini all use CFast 2.0 media to sustain their ProRes and raw formats internally - a testament to the robustness capability of the Cfast 2.0 media format, which is primed as the next standard in cameras recording onto high data rate codecs, high resolution 4K recordings, and raw formats.

However, there is so much more than the internals that have been upgraded. The camera can now shoot in 2K (2048 x 1080) up to RGB444 in 12bit, which will be greatly appreciated by VFX Supervisors who need as much bit depth as possible for CGI intense work. Not just that, slow motion up to 120fps at 10bit 422 in Full HD is also an option. Even though the 4K is limited to 30p it is in the XF-AVC 10 bit 422 codec at the massive 410Mb/s, more than enough for high end broadcast or cinema work. Raw is an option externally via SDI - to recorders like the Odyssey7Q+ from Convergent Design.

We had a bit of play with the freshly unboxed C300 Mark II, and found the body to be much beefier than the original. The top handle has been completely redesigned and now is much more sturdy. The audio/video cables are now available in two sizes 50cm and 100cm. The viewfinder has been improved too -  the C300 II now has a 0.46 Inch 1.77 Megapixel color OLED EVF (Organic Light Emitting Diode Electronic ViewFinder). OLED technology increases the color reproducibility, contrast and response of the viewfinder, making camera operation and the judging of image characteristics seen in the viewfinder much easier.  The EVF also offers 60º of tilt for more comfortable operation in a variety of positions.


The Canon C300 also supports ACES and BT.2020 - which is the new Ultra HD colour space replacing the aging REC.709 for which are TV's and monitors are currently optimised for, so definitely Canon is thinking towards the future with the C300 mark II.

The Mark II is so much more than the sum if its parts and features. Just like a DP would expect a user-friendly experience through the menu structure and flawless operation combined with stellar images out of the box - the C300 mark II can do all that. The C300 Mark II offers a familiar button layout, and that lovely Canon colour we all love.

What is different here again, is the the camera has a ton of new features such as LUT support, new Canon LOG 2 gamma, BT.2020 support, greatly improved Dual Pixel Autofocus - making it ready for the world of 4K and high-end broadcast capture. We are super excited to be able to offer the Canon C300 Mark II to all our customers who are looking for the next broadcast industry workhorse - whether you need to shoot 4K or not, the Canon C300 II ticks all the necessary boxes for high-level professional video production.

You can hire our C300 mark II from our VI Rental outlet here, and also place your pre-order for your own C300 mark II here or by giving us a call on 0208 977 1222.