I’m stuck without a vehicle today (my trucks getting new tires) and the weathers been pretty rotten with 60 mile an hour gusts, so i’ve spent the morning playing around with the Canon c100 inside. A number of you have offered up suggestions to make my c100 shooting experience more enjoyable. So this morning, I went through the Canon c100’s menus and made a number of changes based on your recommendations, after that I shot this little bit of test footage with the c100 and the Canon 6d.

This isn’t very scientific, I just grabbed the c100 and the 6d, set them to the same kelvin, dialed them up to ISO 3200 at f2.8 and shot this cup of tea. After a little bit I punched in to 200% so you can see the grain. Cinema lock was turned off on the c100 and the 6d was set to standard picture style.

Youtube adds a lot of compression, so here’s a 1080p screen grab to get a better look at the noise. While the c100 might retain more detail in the image, the noise looks worse to my eye when compared to the Canon 6d at 3200 iso. I don’t have any problems shooting with a 6d or 5d mark III at 3200 or even 6400 iso if needed, however the c100’s noise pattern starts to crawl above 3200 and gets really ugly at 6400 iso in the examples below.

Canon c100 (1 of 1)

With the setting changes made, you can see that the Canon c100 is starting to produce an image that’s a little closer to what I would expect out of my DSLR cameras, though it’s still noisier to my eye. In an effort to clean up the noise, I ran the c100 test footage through Neat Video’s noise reduction plugin, here’s a screen grab, and here’s the same screen grab without the filter applied.

Noise filter testing

It’s easy to see that the noise filter is doing it’s job, most if not all of the crawling noise is eliminated by Neat Video’s noise reduction plugin. But once you apply the filter, any resolution advantage the c100 has disappears and you’re left with an image that looks about the same as the Canon 6d’s pixel binning method of video capture.

Girl at 6400 iso

Here’s another example of the noise level of the Canon c100. This was shot at ISO 6400 and you can see that the noise is pretty ugly on the unfiltered shot. Here’s full size screen grabs with the filter and without.

ISO 20000 with and without

This shot is my own fault and I can’t blame the c100. This was pushed all the way up to 20,000 ISO and that’s asking a lot from the sensor. While the filter does a pretty decent job of covering up this poor settings choice, you can still see that the image is starting to fall apart around the eyes. This wasn’t a critical shot, just something I was playing around with while the actors worked on their lines. I don’t think I’d risk going above 12,800 unless I was shooting reality tv or a documentary. Anyway here are the screen grabs with the filter and without.

If you have to apply heavy noise reduction at high ISO what’s the advantage? Are we spending $5,500 for better ergonomics and more pro features? Is that enough to justify an upgrade for you? I know that not everyone needs to shoot at such high ISO’s and if you don’t there are a large number of cameras that will give you excellent full sensor resolution at ISO settings 800 and below for far less than the c100. The big selling point on the c100 for me was lens compatibility, audio controls, resolution, and low light performance.

Noise reduction requirements knock out resolution improvements and the images I’ve captured at high ISO, as you can see above, need some work. At double the price of a 5d mark III, is form factor and ergonomics enough of a benefit for you to upgrade? Seems like a hard sell to me.

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