Canon C300 News – Dual Pixel Coming and More

Canon announced this morning that its innovative dual-pixel auto-focus capability will be coming to the C300 in May. It’s exciting to see this an option – it will be a $500 service-center based upgrade, similar to the C100.

For a sense of how it will work Canon & Joe Simon recently published a video showing its implementation on the Canon C100:

The above is clearly not a real wedding but a shoot set up for the video so keep that in mind. That said, dual pixel AF was first introduced in a dslr, the Canon 70D, and users have been very happy with it.

Note – 02/10/15: I’ve got a short film made with a dual-pixel AF upgraded C300 here, Snow Falling on Caesar.

Also of note in Canon’s press release is the announcement of a new remote control for the C series cameras and pro camcorders, the RC-V100. It is wired via a 15 foot cable and it offers full access to practically all of the functions of the cameras. It’s expensive ($3k list price) but it’ll be interesting to see how responsive it is, e.g. if one can pull-focus with it without the need for anything else (though the dials may be way to small?) I have not used the C300’s wireless controller but this will provide another option for controlling the camera should it be inaccessible, up on a jib, etc.

Canon’s RC-V100 Remote Controller for C series cameras. Due June, 2014.

While speaking C300 – I have been using the new firmware, for a couple of months now and it is a big improvement. The two features I use the most are the focus shift and the lens exchange function. The former allows you to place the focus point in different areas of the frame once you have hit the magnify button. The latter I assigned to button #5 and it provides some peace of mind when switching lenses, putting the camera in a temporary sleep mode.

Let sleeping dogs lie. Focus shift turned on and moved to the top of the frame. Note the reminder - lenses must be set to MF to enable focus shift.
Let sleeping dogs lie. Magnify engaged and the focus point shifted to the top of the frame. Note the reminder – lenses must be set to MF to enable focus shift.

The focus shift is very helpful when racking focus from one point to another. You can focus on point A, keep the screen or viewfinder in magnify mode, move the focus point to your point B, start filming and then shift your focus as needed.

Rounding out today’s C300 news, Zacuto recently announced a new Z-finder for the C300 and C500. Similar in concept to the Deity Mira, it also turns the camera’s screen into an EVF. Zacuto says its finder will be lighter, easier to mount, and they have built a system around it to adapt it to a shoulder rig.

Zacuto’s new C300/500 helmet and handle look promising. It has always irked me that the C300’s handle never locks down 100%. There is always a bit of play to it. I have looked at other cheese plate type caps for the C300 but none have a quick release handle. Zacuto’s does.

Zacuto C300/500 helmet and quick release handle.

Update – 05/20/14: Dan Chung of Newsshooter.com has a review of  the new C300/C500 Recoil system.

Update – 02/10/15: I’ve got a short film made with my dual-pixel AF upgraded C300 here, Snow Falling on Caesar.