Cinema EOS C200: Canon’s Inbetweener

Camera tests

Canon C200 camera close up
In between days: the Canon C200 sits between the HD-only C100 and broadcast-ready C300. Photos: Lee Durant.

Canon’s cinematic cameras have won plenty of friends over the last few years. Image quality, compatibility with EF-mount stills lenses, innovations such as dual-pixel CMOS AF and Canon’s renowned colour science have all made the Cinema EOS a strong choice for documentary, lower-end feature work and commercials, and even news.

The company has, though, set the entry level for 4K, Super35mm filming quite high. The C300 mkII has come down in price since launch, but it still costs around £7,500 before VAT. The C100 mkII, for its part, lacks any form of 4K recording, internal or external.


Ergonomics and build quality

The C200 sets out to bridge the gap. Physically, as well as financially, the C200 sits between the C100 models and the C300 series. It’s more compact than the C300 mkII, but keeps much of the higher-end camera’s modularity.

Film makers can remove the entire top handle assembly, with mic mounts and screens, from the C200 and just use the rear EVF. This makes it good for shooting in tight spaces, or for gimbal use. But leave the handle on, and everything a self-shooter or small crew is at hand. It’s worth noting, though, that the assembly needs tools. The manufacturer supplies Allen keys for set up.

Ergonomically, the C200 is very much part of the Cinema EOS line. The EVF is at the rear. It is perfectly useable, and very valuable for handheld shooting or in bright light. Mounting a separate EVF and LCD monitor is far more versatile than Sony’s “screen plus loupe” approach.

The main buttons are to the left of the camera and on the rear, with card slots below the EVF and the recessed battery compartment below that. XLR inputs are on the top handle, and the monitor – actually a touch screen – swings out to the left (but it can be moved across a wide range of angles, by adjusting the mounting arm).

As with all the Cinema EOS cameras apart from the C700, the C200 can feel slightly front-heavy with a heavy cine or L-series lens attached. Although not possible during our review, even a basic rig should improve handling quite easily. The short body does, however, make it easier to focus and zoom the lens.

Build quality – no surprises here – is good. The C200 feels solid and professional, and it weighs, body only, just over 1.4kg. A BP-A30 battery comes with the camera, and this is good for a couple of hours’ shooting. The camera will take larger, BP-A60 powerpacks.

As well as the two XLR inputs, Canon has fitted a 3.5mm mic jack, an Ethernet socket, headphones, HDMI and 3G SDI out. There is, though, no timecode or genlock connection. Users can fit an optional OLED EVF-V70 in place of the monitor, but the connection is proprietary to Canon. There’s also an internal neutral density filter with from 2 to 10 stops.

Next: Filming functions and recording formats