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The Eagle has Landed

Canon EOS C300.

After four months on order, my Canon C300 has arrived. The C300 is the first of Canon’s line of Cinema EOS cameras – inverting what was the standard with their DSLRs. In this case, creating a camera designed from the ground up to shoot video not stills.

Its form factor is reminiscent of medium format film camera, think Mamiya RZ or Hasselblad, and its chip has been optimized for video capture. Compared to a DSLR its image is sharper, it has more dynamic range, and it corrects or mitigates almost all of the video issues inherent to DSLRs (moire, aliasing, rolling shutter.) What it shares with DSLRs is the shallow, more filmic, depth of field and the ability to use any of Canon’s lenses.

I took the C300 for a quick spin Friday evening to make sure that everything was in working order.

You can run the video full-screen but clicking the icon on the bottom right, then on the upper right make sure “scaling is off” and you’ll see the video in all its 1080p glory.

This was shot in C-log, ISO 500~2500, though at ISO 850 for most of the clips. One lens was used, a Canon 24-105L. The clips are a mix of handheld and monopod. The video was edited and graded in FCP X. No sharpening was added in post. A vignette was applied to most clips and a few clips got a bit of stabilization.

Music is “She Said Nothing” by Big Blood via the Vimeo Music Store.

Getting the files into FCP X is a piece of cake once you have installed Canon’s plug-in. Simply, go to “import from camera.” It’s important to note that this can be done direct from the compact flash card or from the card copied to a hard drive but you must keep the card’s file structure intact. Creating a disk image or using Canon’s XF Utility to copy cards is the way to go.

Apple did mention at NAB that the MXF file format will become native to FCP X but they gave no time frame for doing so.

I also came across an interesting anomaly with Canon’s XF Utility. It can browse all of the C300 files, provide metadata, etc. In viewing my test clips it kept showing a glitch in one. What looked like a small section of the image where for a fraction of a second the image didn’t scan correctly. I was relieved to see this was not the case when the files were previewed and brought into FCP X.

Similarly, while some chromatic aberration (due to the 24-105 lens) is present in a few of the clips it looked far worse in XF Utility than in FCP X.

Update – 7/2/12: C Notes.