Canon updates C100 camcorder

Canon’s popular and well-liked DSLR/camcorder hybrid, the C100 has had a makeover. The new C100 MkII is said to have inherited technology from its much bigger brother, the C500, plus other design tweaks to make it a better camera for the modern shooter.

Canon C100 Mark II

Canon C100 Mark II

New features

It boasts a Super 35mm 8.3 megapixel CMOS sensor with an extended ISO range from 320 to 102,400. New image processing is said to reduce moiré and aliasing effects, resulting in sharper images.

A previous feature that was available as a paid upgrade, the “dual pixel autofocus” now comes as standard, which is reputed to provide fast and accurate auto-focus with the option of face recognition autofocus if required (depending on the lens used) though this uses contrast detection only.

Like its camcorder brethren, the C100MkII now offers simultaneous recording in two formats, AVCHD (up to 28Mbps, 50p) and mp4 (35Mbps, 50p), both 4:2:0 colour, onto dual SD cards (inc SDHC and SDXC). There’s also the option of saving to HD on one card with SD on another. WiFi has been added too, to enable quick transfer of files “in the field” plus remote control from a web browser.

The reason the C100 is so popular is threefold: first its relatively low-price (for this kind of tech); secondly its ergonomics – those of a camcorder rather than the awkwardness found when using a DSLR stills camera for video; and its DSLR-like image quality.

It’s got lots of buttons (better than fiddling with menus) for controls such as white balance, dual zebra levels, peaking etc. There’s real ND filters, with a real switch to pop them in place. A waveform monitor is listed in the spec sheet too.

The new model retains those features but is enhanced by a better flip-out 3.5″ 1.23 megapixel OLED screen that now comes out sideways so that solo pieces to camera (video selfies, yay!) are much easier to shoot.

Canon C100 MkII with OLED screen on side

Canon C100 MkII with OLED screen flipped to the side

The EVF (also 1.23 megapixels) is said to be improved and whilst it retains the XLR audio handle of the original model, the MkII now also includes a built-in mic which can be used as a last resort if the handle absolutely has to be removed such as in tight locations. The MkII accepts EF-mount lenses (including EF-S and EF cinema) of which there are plenty.

Canon C100 MkII with XLR audio handle

Canon C100 MkII with XLR audio handle

Wot no 4K?

Interestingly, Canon specifically mentions it taking “4K EF lenses” but hold on – the camera doesn’t, on the face of it, support 4K recording. Yet as has already been pointed out on the forums, that 8 megapixel sensor is just about right for 4K. Hints perhaps of a future (paid?!) upgrade path from Canon? It would be ludicrous in this day and age if the camera were not to be future-proofed in this way. Despite little demand in the corporate world for such high resolution (dammit, we’re still asked for most stuff on DVD here at Tubeshooter towers), the world is heading UHDwards. If Canon don’t offer such an update, we’ll eat our hat. Or some biscuits. Probably the latter.

Also a little quaint that the maximum recording option is 35Mbps H.264 (mp4) given the current craze for new formats and monumentally high bitrates of at least 50Mbps and often above that. As with 4K, perhaps there is more to come than the camera would appear to let on?

Wot else?

Hmmm … no timelapse (shame). It does have a 3 second cache mode which is great for event videography. A few more seconds worth wouldn’t have gone amiss mind you. There’s no genlock or HD-SDI sadly but HDMI with optional superimposed timecode is provided.

Canon C100 MkII rear connectors

Canon C100 MkII rear connectors

17 buttons are assignable from any of 52 functions – always a good feature. There are lots of customisable picture functions such as gamma curves, knee points, sharpness and suchlike, which can be saved into 9 presets.

Conclusions

We’ve rather fancied buying one of these for a while and the upgrades certainly look nice. It’ll definitely need the 4K option though unless this cam wants to be considered outdated out of the starting blocks. Meanwhile, there are some superb deals going on the original C100 such as a free Atomos Ninja Star, with CFast Card and a copy of Edius Pro editing software for just £4,000 GBP (excluding a lens) so if autofocus, WiFi and 4K isn’t a big deal for you, the old model might actually be a bit of a bargain to get right now…

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