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Canon C300 Mark II

Excited to have a C300 Mark II in the studio!

Canon C300 Mark II with a Wooden Camera Top Plate, NATO Rail, and NATO Handle. Princeton, NJ. February, 2017.

A bit of background – the C300 Mark II is the next generation of the Canon C300. The Mark II adds a significant upgrade to the C300’s feature set. In terms of codecs, the C300 was limited to 50 Mbps 8 bit 4:2:2 MXF files at frames rates of up 30p in 1080 and 60p in 720. The C300 Mark II can shoot 10 bit 1080, 2k, and 4k. 12 bit 1080p and 2K. All in 4:4:4 or 4:2:2 depending upon the settings chosen. It has data rates of up 410 Mbps and frame rates of up to 30p in 4k, 60p in 2K and 1080p, and 120p in a cropped sensor mode. The C300 Mark II can also output a 4K raw format. Add in a few flavors of Canon’s excellent dual-pixel autofocus technology and the C300 Mark II is not only an upgrade to the C300 but it easily supersedes Canon’s C500 as well.

What all the numbers mean is that the C300 Mark II is capable of producing much higher quality files with far more color information, accuracy, and depth than was possible with the C300.

I’ll have more footage to come but here are a few clips from yesterday evening.

A few quick clips playing with the C300 Mark II and a Canon CN-E 18-80 T4.4 Compact-Servo Cinema Zoom lens handheld while retaining a bit of movement.

In terms of kitting out the C300 Mark II I am proceeding with a build similar to what I used with the C300. It is relies on a Wooden Camera top plate and accessories in order to bypass Canon’s handle and to provide multiple methods for mounting the camera’s monitor unit.

Canon did redesign the camera’s handle with the release of the C300 Mark II. It is beefier and sturdier than the C300’s. It connects via a top plate much like Wooden Camera’s. But Canon’s handle is time consuming to attach and to remove. If used it will most likely be left on the camera the majority of the time. Great if that works for your style of shooting but much less convenient if you want the option of going handle-free.

Wooden Camera NATO Handle above, Canon’s C300 Mark II handle below. Princeton, NJ. February, 2017.

My preference is to have multiple mounting points for the camera’s monitor unit and the option of quickly removing the handle. The camera is much more compact in a camera bag without the handle and there are times when shooting, like when the camera is on a jib or slider, where saving a bit of weight can be helpful.

Here’s how I set up the C300 Mark II with a Wooden Camera top plate, NATO rail, NATO Handle, and extra cold shoes. Plus, some variations on how the monitor unit can be positioned.

Canon C300 Mark II with a Wooden Camera top plate and accessories. The NATO Rail provides a mounting point for a NATO compatible handle. The two cold shoes provide extra mounting points for the camera’s monitor unit. Princeton, NJ. February, 2017.
Canon C300 Mark II with its monitor mounted on a Wooden Camera NATO Handle and the monitor’s screen flipped down. Princeton, NJ. February, 2017.
Canon C300 Mark II with its monitor mounted to the front face of a Wooden Camera Top Plate and with the screen flipped down. This configuration can be a bit tight depending upon the diameter and length of the lens in use. Princeton, NJ. February, 2017.
Canon C300 Mark II with its monitor mounted to the side of a Wooden Camera Top Plate. Princeton, NJ. February, 2017.

No tools are needed to change the monitor unit’s position. The handle can be finessed left or right on the NATO rail to better balance the camera if handholding it. I find it often needs to be slightly to the right, off-center, to compensate for the weight of the camera’s hand grip. The handle can also be rotated to any position including forward if you are using a longer lens.

Canon C300 Mark II with its monitor mounted on the front face of a Wooden Camera Top Plate and with its the screen tilted back. The handle has been rotated 180 degrees to make for an easier handheld configuration. Princeton, NJ. February, 2017.

It should be noted that the monitor unit on the C300 Mark II, like the C300’s, has two cold feet. And like a person’s cold feet they are a bit shaky. They lock down but with the right amount of force they can be moved. This is true when mounting the monitor unit on Canon’s handle or in any generic cold shoe.

One oddity in the change from the C300 to the C300 Mark II is that Canon removed the locking pins in monitor unit’s feet. These prevented the monitor unit from completely sliding out of a pin-ready cold shoe. So even if you were to use Canon’s new handle the monitor unit itself will still have a bit of wobble and could potentially come loose. The C300 Mark II though does add one new feature to its monitor unit, a  ¼-20″ female thread in its base. So, that could be used as another mounting point.

The bottom of Canon’s C300 Mark II monitor unit. Showing its feet and its ¼-20″ thread. Princeton, NJ. February, 2017.

My recommendation if you are going my route with the Wooden Camera bits is to get Wooden Camera’s *Universal Hot Shoes. They are larger than most generic shoes and they fit the C300 Mark II monitor unit’s feet better.

If you want a handle which clamps down on the monitor unit’s feet then another option is Zacuto’s recoil handle. It can be attached to Wooden Camera’s NATO rail or it can use Zacuoto’s NATO equivalent, Z-rail. Overall though, I still prefer the flexibility of the Wooden Camera setup.

*Wooden Camera calls its shoe a “hot shoe” but it is a cold shoe. A hot shoe has an electrical contact. This shoe does not.

Update – 2017/06/04: Another post on the C300 Mark II: Mid-2017 Video Smackdown.


  1. Dan

    Nice setup. Thanks for sharing. Does the wooden camera handle interfere with using the viewfinder?

  2. Dan – Thanks. No – the handle does not interfere. You can finesse how far back it extends by where you place the NATO rail on the top plate. The handle can also rotate 360 deg. So, if you want the longer side can extend forward or the handle can be at 90 deg. to the lens axis of the camera. Lots of options and flexibility.

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