Revealing new Canon EOS C300 ‘test’ video from Jon Yi

by planetMitch17 Comments

Jon Yi just posted this new video and an article he wrote for Canon on the Canon EOS C300 (tho it seems Canon isn't overly thrilled with the video – watch and you'll see why). After I saw the amazing video, I contacted Jon to ask Jon his thoughts on things like workflow and ISO and dynamic range of the Canon EOS C300… you'll find those answers down below!


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Canon EOS C300 prototype Jon Yi was shooting with

Jon's Canon EOS C300 ‘camera test' video

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Jon's description

In early Fall 2011, I shot some footage with a pre-production model of the Canon EOS C300 for one week in NYC. I created an article and a video for Canon based on my experiences with the camera. The video is meant to poke fun at most camera test videos I've seen over the years. Canon, not thrilled with my sense of humor, does not credit or condone this video, but I think it shows a lot of the camera's strengths.

I believe that Canon made a beautiful camera that is sensible, reliable and portable in a way that I've always dreamed a camera could be. It prioritizes great skin tone and has higher ISO sensitivity than any other camera out there.

I know there's nothing I can say to change the minds of the RED fan club. For the rest of the skeptics, I think once you get your hands on it you'll understand how great this camera really is. Please buy this camera in January and go film some good skin tones in the dark. You'll love it.

Thanks go out to all my friends for helping me with this.

Jon's thoughts on workflow, ISO, noise and more

When I asked Jon about some specifics as to why he liked the Canon EOS C300 as compared to the RED and FS100 and F3 etc., and if 1080 is really good enough (so many are complaining that the Canon EOS C300 doesn't deliver 4k or more) he replied with these answers:

Workflow — for the C300, workflow is identical to the XF Cameras that Canon introduced earlier this year (XF305/XF300) so all major NLEs already support it without problems. Fits seamlessly into any fast paced production workflow (which cannot be said for Red). This is especially useful for broadcast and web work. I think Canon targeted Hollywood mistakenly when their biggest users will be broadcasters and documentarians. Documentary filmmakers are the ones who benefit most from small size, high ISO performance, long battery life, long record times on CF cards, and robust/weatherproof construction.

Noise — no contest. This camera defeats everything out there. Not only in the signal-to-noise ratio, but the “look” of the noise is similar to film grain. It looks GOOD. The noise is pleasing, which is the first time I've ever seen in a video camera.

Dynamic Range — 12 stops of dynamic range. And Log Gamma allows a smooth rolloff which looks like how film deals with highlight detail. Sony products clip highlights in a very unique and identifiably Sony way (F3 and FS100 as well). This is much more pleasing and looks to me similar to Alexa. This is a great B-Camera for Alexa.

Right now, a great 1080p camera is what most working people need more than anything. Alexa hit it big for that very reason. If Alexa is good enough to shoot Hugo, people should shut up about what they really need because they don't know what they're talking about.

One more thing to clarify — the high ISO performance on this camera is truly something to behold, and it's hard to show to someone unless they are there with you, seeing how dark the environment is. When I was filming, it was so dark sometimes that I was running into a new problem where the light sources were just “bad” light sources since it was a mix of sodium vapor, headlights, neon signs, etc all bleeding together — just looking bad as a source. Gross colors, etc. But that's crazy that a new problem came up with this new sensitivity.

Also, as for market target for this camera — Hollywood has big lights and a staff to carry and set up those lights. Hollywood also has a staff to carry around a heavy camera. So being light sensitive and also lightweight (the biggest strengths) don't matter as much to the Hollywood set in my mind (except for specialty shots). The C300 is going to be HUGE for people who don't have those things. Also, since Hollywood has a long post schedule, they can handle 4K more easily than people pumping out broadcast/tv/web. The C300 is going to be big for the many, many productions who want to stick 1080 (which is most all that I do – since I do tv and doc). For the documentaries I do for HBO, for instance, being in dark clubs, etc. and seeing what this camera sees is going to be amazing.

By the way, NOTHING comparable out there goes up to 20,000 ISO. And 20,000 ISO on this camera looks acceptable, which is crazy. That justifies the price right there.

Oh – and I asked if the actors were really naked (you know, “revealing” haha?) Jon replied:

Canon wanted a skin tone test, but when I came back with this they were like “uh….”

More skin = more better, right?

Jon's article

Don't forget to jump over to Canon's page where Jon's very long article “EOS C300 for Cinematographers” exists and give it a read for more info!

Canon C300 test shoot

Canon C300 test shoot by Jon Yi

(cover photo credit: snap from Jon)


  1. Brilliant! Thanks for the insightful look at this camera. It’s great to see someone talking about the ACTUAL performance of this camera as opposed to all those who simply bagged it based on pricepoint and comparative feature-sets with other cameras that cannot achieve the same results as the C300.

  2. Pingback: Video: Tes Kamera Video Canon EOS C300 « Kamera Kamera

  3. great stuff – the anti-moiré is of most interest to me as a doco shooter 🙂 the moiré i keep finding back in edit is a real PITA !.. should I pay $20k for that ?.. thinking.. the amount of time spent in edits to fix my mistakes when coming up against moiré which you don’t see on the back of the camera while your shooting is a grr big time.. builtin ND ? mmmm

  4. Informative and VERY entertaining. A story within a story that is funny and poignantly irreverent. Thank you Jon.

  5. How robust is the shoe mount set-up that holds the monitor. It looks like it might not be sturdy enough for some doc, outdoor work.

  6. This is what Canon should have debuted with more of: FOOTAGE. Vincent Laforet could make any camera look good; more people should have been seeded those cameras (Mitch?, Philip Bloom, etc.) for proper comparisons. Compelling test. It’s love, less love for Canon: great products, but they do what THEY want.

  7. This video review is the best sales tool ever.

    A well thought out demo, it really shows you the camera’s strengths on a practical level….. and it’s very funny.

    Clearly made by a real film maker not some pompous twit with a pole up his ass.

    Thank You Jon Yi and planet5D. And thank you Canon, I now like your camera a whole lot better.

  8. You Are AS AWESOME AS the Camera!
    Now i just need to sell my car so I can get one! 🙂
    This is actually the first entertaining “test” video I have seen.
    I only have one question….
    How did you know I was saying
    THANK YOU” lol
    Because you’re “You’re Welcome!” was perfectly timed!

  9. First of all, thanks for the article- great stuff and spot on.Please let me add my two cents about one thing though… As a working cinematographer that has access to the “Hollywood” working environment that you described so well, the sensitivity issue is actual a huge, huge, huge thing. Creatively speaking, sensitivity is the biggest deal for me personally as it allows me to capture the nuances of life and beauty and all the “happy accidents” along the way. And also that equals speed and speed is a cameramans best friend no matter how big you are or how many sparks you have on set with you…that by the way is why I know actually prefer to shoot with the Alexa over film. Anyhow, enough rambling….thanks again for a great (and helpful) review.

  10. Oh my freaking goodness. Canon may not be into this video, but that just goes to show they still don’t understand the vast majority of their market! This video is the best piece of marketing material so far on the camera. Hands down this has brought me back over to camp CANON from camp RED. The hidden costs of Scarlet are ridiculous. To make it useful in a real world shooting environments gonna cost you upwards of 25k…this bit of gear is exactly what the doctor ordered as far as an extremely versatile money making tool.
    Thank you thank you thank you for your review that went through ALL the tests we want to see.

  11. I suspect Canon loves this video. It’s much more credible and much more likely to go viral by not having a big Canon logo splashed across the front, but if you look past the occasional irreverent gag, it’s a puff-piece.

    By disowning it, Canon gets to have its cake and eat it.

  12. Fantastic camera test! But, if we don”t need 4k,why is canon working on a 4k dslr? Is this camera going to obsolete in a year?

  13. Spent a day at the Paramount event in Hollywood watching the short films with the glitterati in November. The films are undoubtedly impressive and the form factor is much more interesting once one gets hands on. Although I may eventually buy one, the C300 did not stand out as a to die for camera. Just another option in a crowded field in the second wave of large sensor cameras.

    An award winning Producer once said to me, “To evaluate a cameraman’s work I’d rather see raw footage than a finished edit.” As a cameraman with 20 years experience I say, “show me the good, bad and ugly and I’ll show you a camera.” Of course manufacturer’s never go for this. But I am impressed with Jon’s video.

    Truth be told we’ll have to wait for many users to put the C300 to use in the real world to find out how this camera performs in relation to other tools out there.

    We’ll know what the real world pricing is once Canon sees the pre-orders by the end of Jan and we’ll all know if this is a winner at the close of business on the first day of NAB. Game over if NAB 2012 is all about 4K (but I doubt it).

    Thank you Canon for putting another tool out there. I am sure every manufacturer will almost immediately react and cameramen will benefit from this.

    Yea I’ve got a few statues on my bookshelf and I’ve even judged a few competitions. No one has ever asked “what camera was this shot with.” Award winning work always transcends technology. May we all get this good.

    Thanks for the post, Mitch!

  14. Canon may not “officially” endorse Jon’s review but they must be laughing out the back door from the amount of publicity it has generated (if indeed it’s not all done on purpose like that) as it’s definitely a glowing review!

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