Review: Canon Cinema EOS C100 with DAF

Broadcast options

The C100 ready for run-and-gun filming
The C100 ready for run-and-gun filming

The only reason not to choose the Canon C100, as a day-to-day camera, is if clients need broadcast-ready footage. As an AVCHD camcorder, the C100 cannot produce this.

The work-round is to connect the camera up to an external recorder such as the Atomos Ninja or the new, CFast based, Atomos Star.

The debate about external recorders is ongoing. But for us at least, hooking up an external recorder to the C100, rather than say a DSLR, defeats the point of Canon’s “everything in the box” approach. The fact that the C100 only offers an HDMI out rather than HD-SDI (something featured on the AF101 and the FS700) is a further obstacle for pro use.

We would not, then, recommend the C100, even with DAF, to film makers whose main work is for network broadcast, simply because of its internal AVCHD codec.

Instead, a better option could be the Sony PMW-300. For around the price of the C100 with two pro zoom lenses, the Sony comes with a 16x interchangeable zoom, and has 50mbps 422 recording built in, as well as timecode, genlock and HD-SDI.

For a more compact, cheaper alternative, the Sony PMW-200 is also worth considering. Both these cameras have ½-inch sensors, which work well in low light and give a fair degree of control over depth of field – even if it lacks the immediate image appeal of Super35mm.

The other option for broadcasters wanting the Super35mm is to opt for Canon’s own C300. Now the C300 is available with DAF, it is a much more viable option for self-shooters and for quick turnaround news work. It is, of course, the more expensive option. But in return for the higher price tag, Canon delivers 50mbps 4:2:2 recording in camera as well as pro connectivity.

But if you are not shooting for broadcast use, or do so only some of the time, then the C100 is the best Super35mm camcorders available today, certainly until you reach the price bracket of the Sony FS700 – which is quite a different type of camera – or indeed the Canon C300.

The C100 produces great images and is a pleasure to use. And dual pixel AF, despite some limitations, gives it the edge.

See the Canon Professional Network site for a detailed explanation of how DAF works, and Philip Bloom’s video.

  • Thanks to Danka Hraskova for the stills and video for the hands-on review.