In many ways, the answer is surprisingly yes. It turns out that the C100 (that’s a third of the price of its big brother) can jump over the C300 when it comes to bit rate, colour sampling and compression. Basically, you can get better picture quality out of a C100 than a C300. What?… you’re probably asking. Well, here’s the deal.
First, here’s an overview of how the Canon EOS chain stacks up against each other when these cameras are “out of the box”.
C500 10bit / 4:4:4 / RAW
C300 8bit / 4:2:2 / MPEG-2
C100 8bit / 4:2:0 / AVCHD
DSLR 8bit / 4:2:0 / H.264
Colour Sampling Explained:
4:4:4 = Full Colour
4:2:2 = Half Colour
4:2:0 = Quarter Colour
Colour Depth Explained:
8bit = 256 Shades – 16 million Colours
10bit = 1024 Shades – 1 Billion Colours
How these codecs rank in terms of compression:
RAW (least amount of compression)
H.264 (most amount of compression)
Now, buy a $600 Ninja2 external recorder for your C100 and here’s what happens:
C100: 10bit / 4:2:2 / ProRes
C300: 8bit / 4:2:2 / MPEG-2
So, for a minor investment you can get a much cleaner image than the internal recording of a C300. Let’s add some other advantages of the C100:
Same image sensor as the C300 and C500
Same Processor as the C300 and C500
Now yes of course there are some features you sacrifice when buying a C100 compared to a C300 – such as:
No time-code outputs
No HD-SDI outputs (HDMI only)
Lack of high quality eyepiece
But, if you’re working in a production environment where you don’t absolutely need those features (particularly time-code out) then do you really need to spend the additional money? Even after purchasing a Ninja2 recorder and perhaps a Zacuto Z-Finder to turn the LCD screen into an excellent eyepiece, you’ll still be saving about $8,000.
Something to think about!