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Canon C300 kit


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#1 Francesco Chiari

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 02:19 AM

Hi everybody,

I'm considering to buy a Canon C300 in about a month or two, but I'm still undecided about what I should include in the kit. The target is filmmaking (shorts and documentaries), and the budget I have is around $40,000, but I would rather not spend all of it since I need to take in consideration stuff like insurance for the entire kit. I hope to get some advice from you.

- Lenses: my first choice was to get a 4-lens Zeiss CP.2 kit (28mm, 35mm, 50mm and 85mm), but I could also go with the Zeiss ZE Distagon/Planar/Sonnar f1.4 (same focals) for a much cheaper price at the cost of lower image quality I presume;
- Rig: what brand would you recommend for a basic rig kit (baseplate, rods, follow focus and mattebox)? Arri provides unmatched quality, but it's quite expensive;
- What about an external recorder, like the ATOMOS Samurai? Is it really worth it?
- Tripod: would you recommend to get a heavy duty tripod (like a Sachtler system with 100mm bowl) rather than a smaller lightweight one?

What would you recommend?


Thanks,

Francesco.
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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 05:11 AM

The Zeiss CP lenses have the same glass as the stills lenses, it's the mechanical parts that are different. These make the lenses more suitable for operation as a cine style lens, with expanded focus scales and the option of PL mounts. I'd be surprised of you noticed much, if any difference, optically, although Zeiss restricted the max apertures on the CP2s because they said the quality wasn't acceptable for cine when shooting at the max possible aperture (f1.4 as per the stills lenses.

The C300 has a 8 bit HD SDI, so it's probably not worth while going for ATOMOS Samurai when you've got a broadcast acceptable on board codec. If you want to use 10 bit recorders etc the F3 may be a better option.

It depends on what you're filming, but going with the best quality tripod you can afford is always a good investment, so 100mm would be a good idea.
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#3 Francesco Chiari

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 10:04 AM

That's interesting, I didn't know the CP.2 lenses had the same glass of the still lenses. That actually helps a lot.

Any thought about a basic rig configuration? What about a Zacuto one?

Also, if I go for the Zeiss ZE can I just use any mattebox if it fits the lens diameter?
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#4 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 11:09 AM

Also, if I go for the Zeiss ZE can I just use any mattebox if it fits the lens diameter?


I don't know if you're based in the USA, but here is one option for these lenses:

http://www.ducloslen.../zeiss-zf-2-set

Either that or perhaps pick them up yourself. Alternately, you could get a common diameter front fitted to the lenses eg 80mm.
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#5 Jaron Berman

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 12:08 PM

[quote name='Francesco Chiari' timestamp='1331882349' post='367932']
Hi everybody,

I'm considering to buy a Canon C300 in about a month or two, but I'm still undecided about what I should include in the kit. The target is filmmaking (shorts and documentaries), and the budget I have is around $40,000, but I would rather not spend all of it since I need to take in consideration stuff like insurance for the entire kit. I hope to get some advice from you.

- Lenses: my first choice was to get a 4-lens Zeiss CP.2 kit (28mm, 35mm, 50mm and 85mm), but I could also go with the Zeiss ZE Distagon/Planar/Sonnar f1.4 (same focals) for a much cheaper price at the cost of lower image quality I presume;
- Rig: what brand would you recommend for a basic rig kit (baseplate, rods, follow focus and mattebox)? Arri provides unmatched quality, but it's quite expensive;
- What about an external recorder, like the ATOMOS Samurai? Is it really worth it?
- Tripod: would you recommend to get a heavy duty tripod (like a Sachtler system with 100mm bowl) rather than a smaller lightweight one?

What would you recommend?

After a lot of research and hands-on I went with a c300 - its really an excellent camera, especially for the types of projects you intend. The beauty of it is, like Brian said, that you can pull it out of the box and use it immediately and get stunning results. No add-ons necessary to get 95% of what it's capable of. Yes, and external recorder can completely eliminate compression artifacts, BUT in real-world usage the codec is quite clean, and short of intentionally trying to fool the codec, you'd be hard-pressed to find fault with the image.

Another advantage of the canon is the ability to natively use Canon lenses including zooms - this is a BIG money saver when you're trying to do doc work or run-n-gun, as film zooms are quite expensive even when used/old/beat-up. And the canon image stabilization REALLY DOES WORK!

But when making your lens choice, if possible consider the time you need to return on your investment - do you want the lenses for the life of the camera or longer, do you want to rent them out separately or be bale to use them on other cameras or just yours? One advantage to the CP.2 kit vs. the ZE/ZF is the interchangeable mount - my set paid itself off WAY faster because I was able to put them on RED shoots when I wasn't using them - just swapped mounts to PL and made them work. In general, if you expect someone to rent your gear it can't be too rickety - given a rental budget, would you pay for someone's cobbled-together lens set or a set of CP.2's with matched sizes, fronts, gears, etc??? In use, they are MUCH faster (as are all true cinema lenses) - and the matched fronts mean you can get a clip-on matte box and not need rails at all if you don't want (and are pulling your own focus).

But the flexibility is great, and if you don't need to rent in order to justify/pay off the set of lenses then you have lots of options, including using Leica R lenses - for the focal lengths you want the leica Summicron R or summilux R are fantastic glass, though much older designs than the Zeiss. Its brought up all the time as if it matters - but Panavision lenses start with leica glass....in case the romance matters??? haha.

I use the C300 for doc work now stripped as absolutely small as possible. With the 24-105L IS zoom, its plenty stable when handheld, the batteries last forever, and the lectro dual receiver fits nicely on top. I personally do not like any of the current rigs available as they're ridiculously large for what they do (Zacuto) or too slow in use (arri/denz). When something like the Shape shoulder rig comes out that fits the C300, that will be the ticket - arri rosettes, separate front and rear rails, shoulder mount, etc.... I'm going to machine something in the meantime because the real beauty of the camera is how small it can be when fully shootable - and I would like to be able to transition quickly between that and shoulder/built-up with Anton bricks and cam wave wireless video.

As for sticks - even FULLY kitted up this thing weighs nothing at all. If you are doing docs/etc I'd specifically recommend AGAINST going 100mm - way overkill. The new sachtler and vin ten small heads are excellent, with legs like the Miller Solo / Manfrotto equivalent it's a very flexible and compact package. I do use the C300 with Sachtler 20 II heads but its ridiculous - the body weighs lb WITH battery and about 5-7 with lens - not even enough to work against the lowest spring setting. I love the miller solo legs, and any small head of quality - sachtler/vinten will be a nice and compact match.
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#6 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 12:22 PM

As for sticks - even FULLY kitted up this thing weighs nothing at all. If you are doing docs/etc I'd specifically recommend AGAINST going 100mm - way overkill. The new sachtler and vin ten small heads are excellent, with legs like the Miller Solo / Manfrotto equivalent it's a very flexible and compact package. I do use the C300 with Sachtler 20 II heads but its ridiculous - the body weighs lb WITH battery and about 5-7 with lens - not even enough to work against the lowest spring setting. I love the miller solo legs, and any small head of quality - sachtler/vinten will be a nice and compact match.


I think it does depend on the counter balances how well the larger heads work with light cameras. If you can't get low enough spring balance, it'll work against you.

Surprisingly, I liked using my old Ronford F4 (150mm bowl)on Sachtler carbon fibre legs with the Z1 and 1/3" JVC cameras. It was brilliant and very quick to set up compared to the lighter tripods where you had to pull out the legs to length. The F4 doesn't have any springs, but a beefy fluid action.

Edited by Brian Drysdale, 16 March 2012 - 12:24 PM.

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#7 Francesco Chiari

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 12:54 AM

These are all great suggestions, thank you.

I will look further into the Leica lenses and give a little more thought about it. The focus will be about 80% shorts and 20% doco so I guess a heavier tripod would be best, and Sachtler is my first choice for the head.
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Visual Products

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Broadcast Solutions Inc