Which Camera – Canon C300 or C100?

For many, the release of the Canon C100 has prompted one question: Which one do I get? Or, in other words, is the C300 really worth $9,500 more than the C100?

These cameras have the same sensor and very similar bodies, and Canon even includes C-Log on both, but there are a lot of differences. Perhaps the most notable:

  • C300 records internally 4:2:2 MPEG-2, while the C100 records 4:2:0 AVCHD
  • 60p recording (at 720p) is available on the C300 but not the C100
  • C300 has HD-SDI & Genlock, C100 just has HDMI
  • C100 is smaller

There are other differences: The C100 has a push-to-focus button, which the C300 currently lacks. The location of the LCD is different; it’s on the removable handle of the C300 and on the back of the C100. Several users have said they quite like the LCD location on the C100, but this seems a personal preference. The EVF on the C100 has been widely panned compared to the C300. In fact it is almost useless.

The 4:2:2/4:2:0 recording, as well as the lack of 60p, seem to be the two biggest issues for most people I’ve spoken to. But if you need 4:2:2 recording for green screen or heavy grading, the C100 does output 4:2:2 through the HDMI port. The solution may be to buy a Ninja recorder and attach that to the HDMI output. It does mean a second device, a second set of batteries, and more chances for problems in the field, but it comes at a significant discount compared to the C300.

Is 4:2:2 out of the C100 exactly the same as 4:2:2 from the C300? It’s very close.

Ultimately, the decision may be a personal one. If you’re shooting with DSLRs, the jump to the C100 can be more than enough; the image is noticeably sharper.

-by Michael Murie