Thursday 10 November 2011

My view on the Canon C300 and RED scarlet

Well 'it' is here.

Depending on your viewpoint 'it' could be the Canon C300 or the RED Scarlet

On the face of it the announcement of the long promised almost fabled Scarlet and has stolen Canon's thunder, not to mention some colourful and interesting views from the web.

Regarding the Canon XF codec and it's ability to shoot to CF cards ' what good is that to someone who wants to shoot something decent?'

'Canon C300 announced and already made obsolete'

'Scarlet X totally blows Canon out of the water'

'The Canon C300 is dead in the water'

I did not have to look very far for Strong and emotive quotes.

But let's have a closer look.

Now let me make one thing plain straight away, though I am a Canon user in the shape of the 5D Mk II and the XF305, I have massive respect for the crew at RED, who have been making game changing equipment for the movie industry for some years now, in fact one of the first relatively well priced alternatives to film. 

To me at least, RED was always a 'big boys' option, niche and rather out of my reach.

RED has snatched the limelight with an impressive feature set which at first glance Canon seemingly is outgunned by.

On further investigation though I believe what we are looking at is two different approaches.

RED uses its sensor, in many ways to do many things, using only a small portion, by the time you get to higher resolutions

Canon uses its 4k sensor in a completely different manner by effectively using the sensor as traditional sensor block.

DV info give a great explanation of how it works

'The 8.3 megapixel Super-35 sensor in the C300 is a new CMOS design by Canon. It is not borrowed or re-engineered from the still photography side of the company; instead it has been created “from the ground up” and dedicated specifically to digital cinema applications. The sensor has a resolution of 2,160 pixels tall by 3,840 pixels wide, which qualifies as native 4K. Canon claims that rolling shutter skew is greatly reduced in this sensor relative to current HD-DSLR camera models. Also, each frame can be scanned by the Digic DV III processor more quickly compared to an HD-DSLR, such as the 21 megapixel CMOS sensor in the Canon EOS 5D Mk. II, which has 2.5 times as many pixels as the C300.

Canon says that their Digic DV III processor reads this new sensor differently; it does not use the line-skipping method found in high-res HD-DSLR sensors. Instead, every four pixels (two green, one red, and one blue) are sampled for each final output pixel. In other words, color is assembled the same way as a traditional three-chip sensor block… two megapixels of red, two megapixels of blue and four megapixels of green (twice as much green as red or blue, since green carries the luminance info). Each primary color sampling off of the sensor is native 1920×1080, each color value alone is equal to the final output resolution. Canon claims that the processed signal has 1,000 lines of TV resolution, and the moire, diagonal line stair-stepping and other artifacts are greatly reduced in this chip compared to HD-DSLR cameras.
The benefits of using a large Super-35 sized sensor are high resolution output, high image sensitivity in low-light shooting situations and shallow depth of field for fine focus control.'

I use a Canon XF305 and that uses the same codec as the C300.

I have just produced a documentary on a pair of XF305's and this codec is truly made for the grade, lots of information in the files, really lovely.

In terms of files produced, this camera and its codec spelled the end of my love affair with HD DSLR's.

And then there is the pricing.

The RED costs half of the Canon C300.

Well not exactly.

The RED only costs $9900 if you buy the 'box' with not accessories included..if you buy the Canon Eos mount the price listed jumps to around $14,000.

Still a handy saving of $6000, right? Well perhaps, but I cannot help but think that the launch RED Scarlet will not have passed Canon by, and I would not be surprised if they responded accordingly in terms of pricing.

Speaking of which, one UK Canon stockist is already listing the C300 at £10,000 around $16,000

So not quite so half price anymore.....

Over at they make a similar point too, though they received a ton of Rabid comments.

RED also have done themselves very few favours by promising spectacular product and then not delivering.

The first Scarlet for instance was touted around 2 or more years ago and then never materialised.

These maybe one off occasions or perhaps the user was plain unlucky, either way I'm pleased it was not me, can you just imagine????? Guys I feel for you.

I always felt it was only a matter of time before one of the seemingly sleeping mainstream giants, in the shape of Canon, Panasonic or Sony, woke up to what RED had been doing, and came up with their very own alternatives.

I believe that is the scenario that is with us right now.

I do hope that RED continue to thrive though, as more choice for the end user, inevitably means more competition, and better product.

My disappointments with the C300? I would have to say the lack of 60fps at 1080p is the one glaring omission.

I too initially questioned why RED were able to offer EOS lens AF when Canon did not offer this function for their own lenses on their own camera. I'm willing to bet that they tried it and it may not have worked in an optimum fashion, so they left well alone.

I could well be wrong though.

But my views, nor the intemperate comments surrounding the C300 do not count.

All that counts is what use these Camera's are put to, and how happy those users are with them.

The proof in the pudding will be in the eating, not the ranting and raving on the net.

The last Canon I can recall which received such a rough ride on its debut was the Canon 5dMkII....and that did not work out so badly did it? 

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