GEAR CANON C100 MARK II Below the swivelling, pivoting OLED monitor are ideally placed menu, display and cancel buttons.
Three years is a long time in digital technology terms, however, and both the C100 and C300 were due for a refresh; Canon employed its time-honoured manoeuvre of introducing Mark II versions. We can expect the C300 Mark II towards the autumn, but we’ve had a first look; turn to page 120. However, the C100 Mark II is already available, and we took a closer look to see exactly what the new camera has to offer. First impressions Having used the original C100 for the last two and a half years for sporting events, weddings, cooking demos, interviews, corporate productions and PR stunts, I’ve found it to be an extremely versatile and reliable bit of kit. However, it’s not without its faults and I was keen to see first-hand what improvements Canon has introduced to the Mark II. At first glance the C100 Mark II doesn’t look hugely different to the original C100, except for two key features, which will be music to the ears of C100 MkI users. Firstly, the electronic viewfinder (EVF) on the C100 MkI is so small that it was considered unusable by most filmmakers – why Canon ever signed off on its impractical design is a mystery. The lack of an eyepiece just compounded this problem. Thankfully there is no such frustration on the new version.
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BELOW As well as a good-sized EVF, as seen on the C300 and C500, the C100 Mark II sports a welcome eyepiece.
The glass plate on the viewfinder is approximately four times bigger than that of the original and you can actually use the viewfinder very effectively for critical focusing. In fact it’s not just usable, it’s actually really rather good, being the same EVF as that employed by the C300 and C500. It can be tilted upwards up to 68° to film subjects when the camera is positioned below the operator. However, it doesn’t pivot in the opposite direction, so when the camera is above you it provides no assistance. The dioptre (which you needed tweezers to adjust on the Mark I) is an easily accessible slider on this new model. The viewfinder even comes with an eyepiece hallelujah! And a button has been added just below the EVF, which toggles the viewfinder on or off to save power. The second stand-out design feature is the OLED screen, which swivels out to the left of the back of the camera and can be pivoted 180° to allow the subject to see the shot or for a self-shooting presenter to check their own composition. It can also be pulled in to the edge of the camera, enabling a self-shooter to maintain eye contact with their subject, since they only need to glance
“The second stand-out design feature is the OLED screen, which swivels out to the left of the back of the camera” subtly across at the OLED screen to monitor the image. The new screen has the same dimensions as the Mark I’s, but the image it produces is significantly superior. New positions Another positive can be found in Canon’s sensible decision to move the menu, display and cancel buttons from their former positions on the back of the camera; they’re now directly below the OLED screen. The well-placed small navigation joystick remains in the thumb position on the trigger grip to the right of the camera, but a second joystick on the bottom of the OLED screen now provides operators with a useful additional navigational tool. It also means that full control over the on-screen and menu settings can be maintained even when the grip handle is removed.
CANON C100 MARK II This is useful when, for example, shots need to be achieved in narrow spaces or if a filmmaker is on a shoot but the grip has been left back in the office. Also welcome is the repositioning of the often-used waveform monitor button to the back of the camera. This is a much more practical spot to reach for during filming than its former location tucked away at the bottom of the left-hand side. All the buttons have been reengineered to make them ‘silent’ when pushed, as opposed to the definite click of the buttons on the original C100. Additionally there are two more assignable buttons on the new version, with the display and a new autofocus lock button now customisable, and this takes the total number of customisable buttons up to 17. Other subtle but useful design changes include moving the battery release button to the back of the camera from the right-hand side and making the record button bright red as opposed to a black button with a small red dot, as we saw on the original. Neither of these alterations is earth shattering, but they show that Canon has clearly thought through how they can improve the design of the whole camera, as opposed to just adding a few major features. Another example of this is the small on-board microphone that has been placed on the front of the body, giving filmmakers the ability
“At the higher bit rates there is the much sought-after ability to record slow motion at up to 50p in either AVCHD or MP4”
LEFT TOP The unmissable red record button. LEFT BOTTOM Including the autofocus lock button the count of customisable buttons comes to a useful 17 – and they’re numbered.
to record reference audio when the detachable XLR handle has to be removed, for example where weight might be an issue. This could be very useful maybe when the camera is being used in tandem with a steadicam. Internally the camera features the same large Super 35mm CMOS sensor as its predecessor, but this harnesses the power of a brandnew DIGIC DV 4 processor. This results in improved quality with notably less noise at high ISO speeds when compared with the MkI. The C100 Mark II stretches the ISO limit to a staggering 102,400 – up from 80,000 – and although it’s hard to think of many occasions when it’d be necessary to push it this far, it’s useful to have the capacity should you find yourself filming in low-light situations.
The Mark II has the option to record at the higher bit rate of 35Mbps (in an MP4 format) as opposed to the 24Mbps which the Mark I throws out. At the higher bit rates there is the much soughtafter ability to record slow motion at up to 50p in either AVCHD or MP4. Meanwhile the colour space will remain the same as it was on the previous model at 4:2:0 to SD card, with the ability to record 4:2:2 direct to HDMI. Continuous autofocus For weddings and event shooters the continuous autofocus feature (which is available as an upgrade for the original C100) is a very welcome addition. And it’s pretty effective at keeping your moving subject in focus. Another plus point is that it also works fairly well on
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