Thursday, 4 April 2013
Canon C100 with Atomos Ninja 2
Last year Canon released a smaller watered down version of their popular cinema camera the C300. The C100 although similar, differed in a variety of ways to the bigger and more expensive C300, mainly being the codec it used. The Canon C300 records internally to dual CF card slots using an MPEG 2 MXF 50 Mbps 4:2:2 compression scheme. This is considered to be entry level broadcast for television. The C100 on the other hand uses a 24 Mbps 4:2:0 AVCHD codec to dual SD card slots. This codec is the main difference between the two cameras. Although AVCHD is a popular codec in the video world for professional and not professional cameras it is still not considered to be a true broadcast codec.
Like the bigger C300 the C100 also used the C-Log gamma curve. This gives back a little more flexibility to the AVCHD codec when it comes to the ability to grade in post. Although it is not RAW it does maintain some of those charistics for color correcting in post. C-Log gives a higher dynamic range with flat image quality and contrast. Working in post, this will provide you with more ability to adjust luminescence levels as well as color saturation and contrast. Better Chroma-Key capability and over all a more robust image when it comes to working in post.
Shooting in C-Log on the C100 is a great way to get a little bit more about of the AVCHD codec on the C100. It will not take you as far as using C-Log with the C300 codec but it gives you a bit more room in post to work with.
The price difference between the C100 and the C300 is substantial. With the Canon coming in at $14,700.00 Canadian and the C100 coming in currently at $5,669.00. Like I said before the main difference between these two camera's is the codec. The sensor and the processor are both the same. There are a few features lacking on the C100 such as an inferior viewfinder and smaller LCD screen as well as less dials on the on the body of the C100 to access the menu. All menu access is done through the grip on the C100. If you remove the grip then you lose access to the menu. The C100 also does not have any off speed frame rates. So no 60p at 1280x720 unlike on the C300.
If you can live with the lack of off speed shooting capability and the limited features discussed above than C100 still offers a great image for a much cheaper price. There is another way however to take this camera to the next level and unlock it's true potential.
By adding an external recorder like the Atomos Ninja 2 pictured above it is possible to get a broadcast quality signal off of the C100 in a codec that actually exceeds the internal codec of the C300. The Ninja 2 can receive an uncompressed signal via the HDMI output. The Atomos Ninja records to a 2.5 SSD drive in a couple of different codecs and bit rates:
The Ninja 2 supports the following:
HQ - 220 Mbps
422 - 150 Mbps
LT - 100Mbps
Avid DNxHD 220x -220Mbps (10-bit)
Avid DNxHD-220 - 36 Mbps (8-bit)
Avid DNxHD-145 - 36 Mbps (8-bit)
By using the Atomos Ninja in conjunction with the Canon C100 it is possible achieve a better codec then internally in the C300.
The Canadian retail price on the Ninja is currently: $1079.00
The C100 with Ninja is a good option that doesn't break the bank but yet delivers as good or even better compression for post editing and grading when pared with external recorder. Depending what you do with the footage in post the results may not be night & day compared to the internal AVCHD codec.
Check out these videos to see the results of the C100 pared with an Atomos Ninja 2 and you be the judge if it is worth spending the extra cash getting the Ninja for use with this camera:
Canon EOS C100 feats Atomos Ninja 2 engl. from Stefan Czech on Vimeo.
Canon C100 + Atomos Ninja 2 from reflejos|digitales on Vimeo.
Canon EOS C100 Test : Broadwater in Low Light (Atomos Ninja 2, Wide DR) from Matt Turner
C100 AVCHD vs Ninja 2 from Jason Silzle on Vimeo.
IBC 2012 - Canon EOS C100 is in love with the Ninja from cinema5D on Vimeo.
Canon C100 Test AVCHD vs ProRes from Adam Stevenson on Vimeo.
Canon EOS C100 AVCHD and ProRes 4:2:2 HQ Comparison from Rusty Auto Productions
Reedy River Falls Park / C 100 / Ninja 2 from Valdas Kotovas on Vimeo.
C100 Test AVCHD vs PRORES HQ from Francesco Corsini on Vimeo.
Links for more information on the Ninja 2 and the Canon C100/C300
Atomos Ninja 2