I’ve been testing and evaluating my new C300 today. Of course being the owner of a PMW-F3 I was more than a little curious to see how the two compared, so the obvious thing to do was some side by side shots. making use of one of my Hurricane Rig 3D rigs, I mounted the C300 and F3 side by side so I could grab the footage at almost exactly the same time, so the scene would be the same. In addition I used a Transvideo 3D monitor with both cameras fed into it so that I could use the 3D waveform monitor, which shows both inputs overlaid at the same time. I used this to match the exposure as accurately as possible. At the bottom of the post you’ll find a link to the raw clips, straight from the cameras.
Both cameras were fitted with matched Tokina 28-70mm AT-X Pro zooms. Doing 3D really helps for this kind of test as I have matched pairs of lenses etc. So exposure and focal lengths match. Notice how the C300 gives a slightly wider FoV compared to the F3. This means the C300′s sensor is bigger than the F3′s which makes it a fair bit bigger than the APS-C sensors used in the Canon 7D, 550D DSLR’s etc, so you are going to have to watch out for vignetting with cheaper EF-S fit lenses.
If you click on the images you will be able to see a full size, full resolution version, however these are jpegs so there may be additional compression artefacts.
C-Log and S-Log have similar, but different gamma curves, they are clearly not the same, the F3 has a bit more compression above 50% than the C300. Not sure what this will mean in reality yet, it may be that the F3 has a tiny bit of extra headroom. I deliberately overexposed both cameras by the same amount for one shot and the F3 just appears to hang on to the highlights just the tiniest bit better. This is NOT a very scientific test as I am not exploring the full dynamic range of either camera and you can’t really ignore shadow and low key performance when evaluating dynamic range, but initial indications are that the F3 does have marginally better DR.
Next I looked at the stock, out of the box images from both cameras. So no picture profiles or any other settings. This is how both cameras look straight from the factory:
The colorimetry is interesting. I prefer the Canon look, it just looks nicer than the Sony look. BUT, I think the reality is that the Sony look is more accurate and true to life. So which is better? I don’t think one is better than the other, it really depends on your own personal preference. Both cameras have highly tweak-able matrices so you can create your own look (which is something I will be doing). In this simple test the C300 appears to hold on to highlights a little better than the F3. I guess that Canon have optimised the knee a little better. Both images are sharp and crisp, showing good resolution. I think the C300 is a little over sharpened, but that will be easy to reduce through a custom profile.
Now with all the talk of noise and sensitivity I did do a quick comparison at 3200 ISO, which is the highest you can go with a stock F3 (S-Log F3 can go to 6400).
Now, you really need to look at these frames full size to appreciate the added noise or better still download the clips. Compare the 3200ISO images with the 400 ISO images and look at the concrete road. You can clearly see the extra noise from both cameras. My visual assessment is that the noise levels are similar, but that the C300 noise has a much finer structure than the F3. The finer noise looks more filmic to me, so I think I prefer the C300, but it’s not a deal breaker either way. I did take a peak at the noise at 20,000 ISO last night and there is a heck of a lot of it. It would have to be something pretty special to make me want to use more than 3200 ISO.
So, I’m liking the C300 a lot. It’s compact, well built and nice to hold. I find it hard to really distinguish the in camera recordings from the C300 and from the F3, but the C300 has that magic 50Mb/s codec that the BBC and others insist on. So for Grab and go the C300 makes a huge amount of sense. Indications are that the F3 may still have an edge in terms of ultimate latitude and I would expect the 10 bit output from the F3 to allowed harder and more intensive grading of the footage. But, that then means an external recorder with wires, batteries and other stuff. All that “stuff” is fine in a studio or drama shoot, but not so hot chasing tornadoes or similar. So far , this is exactly what I was expecting. The C300 will be a great grab and go camera, a very capable drama and documentary camera, but the F3 will still be my choice when I am doing high end drama or studio work. I’m fortunate enough to be able to afford both, I really like both, but for different reasons.
More tests will follow, in particular grading C-Log and S-log, 8 bit and 10 bit as well as low light performance. In addition I will be testing the C300 with a NanoFlash at higher bit rates to see how much of difference that can make. After that it will be time to create some picture profiles, in particular profiles to get the F3 and C300 closer together as I’m sure I will have projects that will use both.
Below is a link to download the original clips from the cameras. There are 4 clips from each, the total download size is about 400MB, so…….
Below is the link to download the original clips. IF YOU FIND THIS USEFUL IN ANY WAY please make a small donation to help cover my bandwidth and hosting costs. You are free to re-distribute the clips provided a link or acknowledgement of where they came from is included.
There are no big surprises in the results.
Download C300 and F3 Clips
Canon C300 and Sony F3 Raw Clips.
Here is a set of 3 clips in the native formats taken with a Sony VG10, Canon t2i (550D) and sony F3.
CLICK HERE for the zip file containing the native fies (canon .mov, sony .mts and Sony BPAV folder) or click here to watch on vimeo. If you are going to watch on vimeo I would strongly urge you to take a look at the full size frame grabs below before coming to any conclusions.
I used the same Nikon 50mm f1.8 lens on all 3 cameras (MTF F3 adapter, cheap E-Mount adapter and cheap Nikon to Canon adapter). I had the lens at f8-f11 for all three cameras and used the shutter to control exposure or in the case of the F3 the ND filters. All were set to preset white, 5600k, the sky was visually white with flat hazy cloud. The VG10 was at factory default, the t2i was default except for Highlight Tone Priority which was ON and the F3 default with the exception of Cinegamma 1 being chosen.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE Don’t link directly to the download file, instead link to this page. Feel free to host the clips, just remember they are my copyright so include a link back here or a note in any text of where they originated.
PLEASE make a donation of whatever amount you feel appropriate if you find these clips helpful, to help cover my hosting fees if you choose to take advantage of these otherwise free clips. It’s a 340Mb download. As of May 9th, 122 people have downloaded the clips, that’s 41Gb of web bandwidth, yet not one person has made a donation. Come on guys and gals, if you want me to make clips available to download, help me out.
I was lucky enough to get an FS100 to play with for an all to brief period in the week. So I went out shooting with the FS100, F3 and Den Lennie of F-Stop academy. Here is the end result:
UPDATE: You can download some frame grabs from the shoot-out by clicking here.
I just spent the day shooting the same scene with 6 different file based cameras. I am working with Visual Imapact to produce a series of DVD’s containing sample clips in their native format and file structure from a range of cameras. On the set today I had the following cameras: Sony PDW-700, Sony PMW-350, Sony EX3, Panasonic HPX3700, Panasonic HPX301 and a Panasonic HVX200. We also recorded the output from the PMW-350 on a NanoFlash and this footage will also be available within the DVD set. The idea is to provide people with a way to directly compare the image quality and workflow of all these cameras, in effect, side-by side.
In order to keep things fair each camera was set to it’s factory defaults. Now I know that with careful tweaking all the camera are capable of better pictures, but it was decided the fairest test was to present them in their default settings.
The scene used in the shoot comprised of a colorful Lego train on a small circle of track, some crumpled foil to give bright specular highlights, a chamois leather for natural texture along with a couple of rose blooms. A metal bodied torch and paint brush finished off the still life. In the background there is a sharpness chart and a color chart. All this was then placed on a chroma key green fabric covered table with a chroma key blue back drop.
The scene was shot at 3 different frame sizes in 1080P25, 1080i50 and where available 720P50 and SD. The scene was shot at 0db gain and also at +6db gain. It was exposed using a 50% grey card measured with a Hamlet Microflex scope to ensure matching exposures. A slate was used at the beginning of each shot to identify the camera, the frame rate, aperture and recording mode. The Panasonic P2 cameras were used in both AVC-I modes and DVCPROHD modes. All the 2/3? cameras used the same Canon HJ14x4.3 lens but I did in addition use the kit lens on the PMW-350 for comparison as well as an SD lens on the PDW-700. The HPX301 and EX3 used their standard lenses.
I’ll be spending the next couple of days checking the footage and compiling the DVD’s, but hope to have the full set of disks available for purchase very soon.
I’m doing a multi camera shoot out at Visual Impact tomorrow in order to put together a DVD of native clips from many of the currently available HD cameras. So far we have the following cameras lined up for the test:
PDW-700, PMW-350, EX3, HPX-301 and HPX3700. Hopefully we will be able to include some JVC’s cameras in a future session. The idea is to compile a DVD of raw footage from all of these cameras under identical lighting situations to enable potential buyers to see for themselves the differences (or not) between the cameras and workflows. It is not going to be a “which is best” review or comparison as all the cameras have strengths and weaknesses. I’ll post details of how to get a copy of the DVD in due course.
OK, not very scientific I know, but for those that want to see how close the pictures from theses two cameras are I have shot a quick clip with each and put them in a 54mb zip file for download. The PMW-350 clip is a 35Mb/s MP4 and the PDW-700 clip is a 50Mb/s XDCAM MXF.
The cameras were both set up with similar paint settings using Hypergamma 4. The detail is backed off a bit from the factory settings on both and I used the same lens on both cameras which was the Fujinon 16×8 lens that comes with the PMW-350. The clips have not been adjusted in any way other than trimed in length, this is how they look out of the camera.
Both are remarkably similar. I can see that the 350 is more highly saturated and that you can just about make out the difference between 4:2:0 and 4:2:2. The interesting area is how the 350 handles the overexposed sky behind the trees, or rather the way the trees don’t appear to blur into the overexposure as with the PDW-700.
Most Recent Posts
- Super Slow Motion 480fps Lightning.
- The Grand Canyon, shot with an FS700.
- Canon Launches new C100 AVCHD s35mm camcorder.
- Arizona Storm Shoot Update
- Convergent Design Gemini to Support 4K with the Canon C500.
- What not to pack!
- New Sony NEX-EA50EH shoulder mount 35mm camcorder. Power Zoom lens for FS100 and FS700
- SHort Film/Documentary Workshop in Arizona.
- A to Z Index
- Alister's Bio and Info
- Alister's Blog
- Alister’s Bio and Info
- Alister’s Blog
- Camera Setup
- Contact Me
- Documentary Production Workshops
- Example Video Clips
- How To Videos
- Northern Lights Live 2012
- Once in a Lifetime Northern lights Expeditions to Norway.
- Picture Profile Guide.
- Adaptimax Lens Adapters for PMW-F3
- Alister’s Equipment Reviews A to Z.
- Alphatron EVF-035W Viewfinder Video Review.
- Atomos Samurai
- Camrade cb-single-iii camera bag.
- CamRade WS PMW F3 Rain Cover Review.
- Cineroid HDSDI EVF (EVF-4MSS) review.
- Juice Designs EX1R Baseplate.
- Manfrotto 509 Tripod Head
- NEX-FS700 In Depth Review.
- Review of the Sony PMW-200
- Sonnet QIO Review. Very, Very, Fast Offloads.
- Sonnet SDHC to SxS Camera Adapter.
- Sony FS100 and F3 Video Review
- Sony PVM-740 OLED monitor
- Tilta BS-TS03 Shoulder Mount Review
- Today3D FIZ controller. Focus, Zoom, Iris, Interaxial.
- Transvideo PMW-F3 replacement base assembly.
- Triad PL to E-Mount adapter.
- TVLogic WFM-056WP Monitor/Viewfinder
- Vinten 100 Tripod Review
- Shooting Tips
- Short Film Workshop
- Tech Notes.
- Training and Expeditions
- Ultimate Documentary Production Workshop
- Video Reviews
- Workshops and Training
- alisterchapman on 50 Megabits for the masses, the new Sony PMW-200.
- alisterchapman on The Grand Canyon, shot with an FS700.
- alisterchapman on Alphatron EVF-035W Video Review.
- alisterchapman on Uncompressed 240 fps possible with FS700 and Convergent Design Gemini. Tested!
- alisterchapman on Adaptimax Lens Mount Adapters for PMW-F3, Canon and Nikon.