In terms of specs, the C200 is certainly Canon’s most interesting camera since their entry into the cinema market. A week after the announcement of this affordable 4K RAW camera, we had a chance to put it to the test, shoot a lot of RAW and MP4 footage and create this Canon C200 Review for you. If you’re interested in cinema cameras, or have questions about the performance of the C200, what we found will probably be for you.
Canon C200 Review – A Day With Canon’s New Baby
Canon kindly invited me to attend a press event surrounding their new Canon C200 cinema camera. Fortunately for you, I was also given the chance to record a lot of footage with it and draw my own conclusions for this C200 review. At this point I must admit that after having spent time with the camera and seeing the footage, there are a lot of good arguments that speak in favour of it! Nevertheless, I’ll run you through all the pros and cons I found.
Disclaimer: At cinema5D we have tested almost every cinema camera on the market. This gives us a pretty good idea about a camera’s strengths and weaknesses in order to recommend the best tool for the job. Still, keep in mind that this C200 review reflects my subjective opinion, derived from my own experience and shooting style. I hope it will help you make an informed decision for your own work.
The Features at a Glance
Here’s what the Canon C200 promises on paper:
- Internal 12-bit 4K RAW
- Smaller file size with “Cinema RAW Light”
- Records RAW to CFast 2.0
- Up to 59.94 fps in 4K 10-bit
- Internal UHD MP4 recording – 150 Mbps
- Records MP4 to SD card (>U3)
- Up to 59.94 fps in UHD 8-bit (4:2:0)
- Up to 120fps in HD with full sensor readout
Additional Features of Interest
- Super35 CMOS sensor & active EF mount
- Advanced Dual Pixel CMOS Auto Focus with touch screen and face detect
- 5 Internal ND filters (up to ND 10!)
- Good low-light performance and low noise
- HDMI and SDI outputs
- XLR inputs on the body
- Proxy Recording onto SD card
“So what does this mean?” some might ask. Well, 4K RAW in a camera that costs $6,000 sounds great, and the fact that it can shoot up 60p RAW and up to 120fps in HD is very useful. A package offering the features, ergonomics, service and quality that Canon is known for are all very convincing arguments that make this camera a no-brainer for many filmmakers.
On the other hand, not everyone needs to shoot RAW – in fact I talked to a lot of people who actually really prefer not to. It offers the highest quality and can give you the most organic, cinematic and expensive-looking footage, but it also involves a process of transcoding and requires a lot of storage space. As such, if RAW is not used to its full potential, it may not be beneficial to many users like documentary and event shooters, for whom RAW alone may not be a good selling point.
The Canon C200 also offers MP4 with a compression of 150 Mbps, a standard h.264 compression that most entry level prosumer cameras get these days. But for many professionals, this doesn’t provide high-enough quality and, as a result, this camera seems to offer something that suits high-end shoots as well as the low end, but there remains a gap in the middle. At the moment, one would have to use the higher-priced C300 mark II to fill this gap.
BUT before we draw our final conclusions just based on spec sheets (suggestion: don’t do that), let’s put the camera through its paces and see how RAW and MP4 actually work in the field.
Canon C200 RAW Footage
The first thing most people will be interested to see is the RAW footage out of the Canon C200. For this C200 review I spent a couple of hours putting the new camera through the elements, ranging from harsh sunlight, to strong wind and eventually pouring rain. I love to be in the weather when it comes to shooting cinematic images, so the shoot was very enjoyable too. Check out my footage below:
I strongly urge you to either download the source file from Vimeo and watch this on a good 4K screen. It’s worth it.
To see how the RAW footage performs, I created a very strong grading look that would heavily play with colors and contrast. First, I converted the Canon C200 CRM files (which are single files by the way, not photo sequences) into Apple ProRes 4444, so I had a format I could easily work with. The reason is that CRM is currently only compatible with a limited number of software applications, so I converted inside DaVinci Resolve 14 Beta and then went on to edit my footage in Adobe Premiere Pro. Canon recommends to use their own conversion tool, which allows you to select one of their log gamma profiles. I was told that Adobe apps will support CRM natively in the near future too.
The conversion in both DaVinci Resolve 14 Beta and the Canon Cinema RAW Development tool took a little under 30 minutes for 16 minutes of footage on an 8-core Mac Pro.