3 Reasons I'm Loving the C100 Mark II

Having shot for years on a 5D MarkIII, than a year with a GH4, with several projects on a C100 (version 1), Sony A7s, and a Red Scarlet, I was in the market for a new camera and having a tough time making a decision.

I shoot a lot of corporate and documentary for work and an Alexa Amira would be well suited to what I do. Of course, I can't afford the $40,000 price tag. I loved the footage from the Red Scarlet on my 2015 TV pilot, CLAN, but again, I can't afford to buy my way into the Red ecosystem. After extensive research I bought the C100 Mark II, hoping it would allow me to work faster than my extensive DLSR and mirrorless rigs of the past. I was also hoping for a cinematic image from a camera whose own name has the word "cinema" in it.

3. Fast Set-Up and Great Ergonomics

I've complained about this in the past. It was a huge reason for ditching my GH4 and 5D. I have limited time on my shoots so wasting just 5 minutes to rig my camera for audio and all the other nonsense could set my day back. 

Photo credit Michelle Tilman

Photo credit Michelle Tilman

I'm really enjoying just taking the C100 Mark II out of my case, slapping on the top handle with a mic receiver and shooting. The camera is light and works well on a tripod, monopod, or handheld. I haven't thrown it on my shoulder yet, but I'm sure it would work well there too. The camera has a comfortable feel and more than enough assignable buttons to have everything you can need at your fingertips. I can quickly dial in my white balance, magnify my image for focus, turn on peaking and zebras, adjust my iso or shutter, and get my waveform monitors on the screen.

Photo credit Michelle Tilman

Photo credit Michelle Tilman

2. Great on a GIMBAL

I'm not sure how many gimbals this camera works with, but it balances easily on my DJI Ronin and is a lot to fun to use. I attach my Atomos Ninja Blade to the Ronin's top handle to monitor my image. 

The C100 Mark II is very light and pairs well with anything between 14-24mm on a gimbal.

1. Yes, You CAN produce cinematic images with this camera.

I'm not often provided the chance to work on narrative pieces, nor do I usually have the luxury of taking my time and lighting a scene to taste. When given the chance, however, the C100 Mark II can easily produce a cinematic image. In fact, if lit well, and treated carefully in post, a lot of cameras can. 

I had a few chances to work with the 5D Mark III and the GH4 on narrative pieces and neither can match the image my C100 Mark II can produce. My complaint with the GH4 was that it always had a "video" look to it, even when shooting wide open and with great light. The 5D Mark III always had a softness to the image. The C100 Mark II images are sharp, especially when paired with prime lenses, the color is beautiful (especially skin tones), and the noise in the image is manageable when shooting at higher ISO's. (Let me just reiterate that the skin tones are wonderful.)

I almost always shoot C-LOG and after coming from a DSLR background I can tell you that having a real LOG profile makes a huge difference for grading. The file sizes from the Mark II are surprisingly small but hold up very well in the grade if properly exposed in C-LOG. It's not RAW but there is a lot of latitude in the image. 

I often pair my camera with my Atomos NInja Blade for the ProRes but I have a hard time telling the difference between the AVCHD in camera and the ProRes footage besides the obvious increase in file size.

CONCLUSION

If you need a fast workflow from beginning to end, the C100 Mark II is a winner. No, it doesn't have the most dynamic range and it doesn't shoot 4K, but neither of those things have been a problem in my first 5 months using the camera.

It's a great camera if you need something you can simply pick up and shoot with on a documentary (built in ND's are great, btw). It's also a surprisingly good camera to shoot narrative with provided you are taking the time to light your scene well. 

Of course, all of this is built around what you are getting for what you are paying. For $4500 at BH as of this writing, this is a pretty complete package for a working professional who needs a mid-range workhorse.

AGREE? DISAGREE? Tell me why in the comment section.