The Canon C200 is probably the camera Canon should have released three years ago to compete against the Sony FS7. The FS7 is probably the best selling Super 35mm sensor camera of all time and swayed a lot of shooters to switch from Canon over to Sony.
Too little too late?
Well, yes and no. Any camera that can record in HD or UHD at this point in time is still going to be relevant for many years to come. The C200 is definitely late to the party, but its specifications and price point make it direct competition for a number of other cameras.
The sub $10k digital cinema camera market is not only flooded with options but it is also where manufacturers are targeting the greatest number of professional users. At $7,499 US the C200 sits right in the middle between the $5,750 US Sony FS5, and the $9,999 US Sony FS7 Mk II. It is also $1,000 cheaper than the $8,499 US FS7.
Its other direct competition comes in the form of the Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro which at $5,995 US undercuts the C200 by $1,504 US. Let’s also not forget Panasonic’s new camera which is going to be unveiled any day now, which will also probably be a direct competitor to the C200.
Does the C200 hold its own?
Specifications only tell a small part of the story and without having seen or used the C200 it would be pure speculation to comment on image quality. There is no definitive answer as to what camera creates the best pictures, it is all very subjective. Some people like the Canon look, others prefer Sony. In my opinion at this price point, all the cameras I have mentioned are more than capable of creating really nice pictures.
Just to give you a head-to-head comparison based solely on what each camera offers, let’s compare the C200 with its competition.
C200: Super 35 4096 x 2160 (effective pixels per sensor) sensor with Dual DIGIC DV6 image processors.
Sony FS5: Super 35 3840×2160 (effective pixels per sensor).
Sony FS7/FS7Mk II: Super 35 4096×2160 (effective pixels per sensor).
Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro: Super 35 4608 x 2592 (effective pixels per sensor).
Key Internal Recording options
C200: Cinema Raw Light 10bit or 12bit 4K DCI at up to 60P (1Gbps VBR). UHD MP4 150Mbps at up to 60P. HD 4:2:0 MP4 35Mbps at up to 120P (no sensor crop). UHD and HD in Canon XF-AVC (future firmware update).
Sony FS5: XAVC Long 8-bit, 4:2:0 max of 100Mbps in UHD up to 30P. XAVC Long 10-bit 4:2:2 50Mbps in HD at up to 60P. AVCHD at up to 28Mbps 60P in HD. 120,240, 480, 960fps buffered. Future paid firmware update will enable 120fps HD internal recording.
Sony FS7/FS7 MkII: XAVC-I 10-bit 4:2:2 max of 600Mbps in UHD up to 59.94P. XAVC-I 10-Bit 4:2:2 max of 222Mbps in HD. XAVC-L 10-bit 4:2:2 max 150Mbps in UHD up to 59.94P. XAVC-L 10-bit 4:2:2 max 50Mbps in UHD up to 59.94P. XAVC-L 10-bit 4:2:2 HD up to 180fps.
Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro: CinemaDNG Raw (Uncompressed or Lossless 3:1/4:1 Compressed) up to 60fps) 4608×2592 max 513MB/s. ProRes 4444XQ max 312.5MB/s in UHD. ProRes4444XQ max 62.5MB/s in HD. Bitrates based on 30P. Slow motion in HD (windowed sensor) up to 120P.
External recording options
C200: HDMI 2.0 max resolution of 3840×2160. SDI out HD 4:2:2 10-bit.
Sony FS5: HDMI 2.0 max resolution of 3840×2160. SDI out HD 4:2:2 10-bit. Paid RAW upgrade to record 12-bit 4K and 2K RAW to external recorders. Supports up to 4K 60P and 120P in 4 second bursts. 100/120/200 and 240fps in HD can be recorded to ProRes via a compatible third party external recorder.
Sony FS7: HDMI 2.0 max resolution of 3840×2160. SDI out HD 4:2:4 10-bit. ProRes 422 can also be recorded externally to the optional XDCA-FS7 extension unit. Paid RAW upgrade enables 12-bit 4K and 2K RAW to external recorders. 100/120/200 and 240fps in HD can be recorded to ProRes via a compatible third party external recorder.
Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro: 2x SDI HD/3G/6G/12G clean outputs. No HDMI output.
Weight (body only)
Canon C200: 1.43Kg (3.2lb), Camera Grip GR-V1: Approx.260 g (9.2 oz.), LCD Monitor LM-V1: Approx. 185 g (6.5 oz.)
LCD Attachment Unit LA-V1: Approx. 255 g (9.0 oz.), Mic holder unit: Approx. 50 g (1.8 oz.), Handle Unit HDU-2: Approx. 220 g (7.8 oz.), Hex Socket Head Bolt:Approx. 5 g (0.18oz.), BP-A30: Approx. 225 g (7.9 oz.), Unit Cable UN-5: Approx. 80 g (2.8 oz.), Thumb rest: Approx. 10 g (0.35 oz.), Eyecup: Approx. 25 g (0.88 oz.)
Sony FS5: 0.82kg (1.8lb), Body, Lens & Accessories: 4.9 lb / 2.23 kg (with 18 to 105mm lens, lens hood, large eyecup, LCD viewfinder, top handle, grip)
Sony FS7/FS7M2: 2kg (4.4lb), 9.9 lb / 4.4 kg: Body, Viewfinder, Eyepiece, Grip Remote Control, BP-U30 Battery, SELP28135G Lens, an XQD Memory card
Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro: 2.3kg (5.1lb)
Canon C200: 1x CFast 2.0, 2x SD card
Sony FS5: 1x SDXC. 1x MS/SD memory stick (for camera configuration only)
Sony FS7/FS7M2: 2x XQD, 1x SD (for camera configuration only)
Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro: 2x CFast 2.0, 2x SD UHS II
Canon C200: Canon EF mount. Can be swapped out to PL at a service centre.
Sony FS5: Sony E-mount. The most versatile mount available gives you options to use adapters to mount just about any type of lens to your camera. You can also use speed boosters which is a big deal for a lot of shooters.
Sony FS7: Same as Sony FS5.
Sony FS7M2: Locking E mount which provides a lot more robust connection between the camera and lens.
Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro: Available in Canon EF. User swappable mounts include PL, B4 and Nikon.
What’s included in base package
Canon C200: LCD Monitor LM-V1, LCD Attachment Unit LA-V1, Handle Unit HDU-2, Mic holder unit, thumb rest, eyecup, shoulder strap, battery charger, compact power adapter, AC adapter, AC cable x 2, BP-A3 0 battery pack, Unit cables UN-5, allen wrench bolts.
Sony FS5: Sony PXW-FS5 XDCAM Super 35 Camera System, large eye cup, LCD viewfinder, LCD viewfinder protector, top handle, grip remote, accessory shoe kit, 2x power cord, AC adapter, BP-U30 battery, BC-U1 battery charger, CD-Rom with manuals, wireless remote commander.
Sony FS7/FS7 Mk II: Sony PXW-FS7 Mk II XDCAM Super 35 Camera System, body cap, viewfinder, eyepiece, grip remote control, wireless adapter bracket, BC-U1 battery charger, BP-U30 battery, 2x power cord, USB cable, LCD viewfinder lens hood
Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro: Blackmagic Design URSA Mini Pro 4.6K Digital Cinema Camera, turret dust cap, side handle, LANC cable, power supply, DaVinci Resolve full version license dongle.
The hidden costs
Buying a camera is one thing, but how much does it actually cost to get a basic kit up and running? The items I have listed here are just suggestions, but they should give you a ballpark price that you need to consider.
Canon shoulder support unit SU-15- 230,000JPY ($2079US). 2x 128GB Cfast 2.0 cards – around $680-700 US, 2x BP-A30 batteries- $539.90 US, Rode NTG2 shotgun microphone $269 US. CFast 2.0 Card reader- $30 US, short XLR cable- $30 US.
TOTAL COST: $11,136US (please note Canon’s expensive SU-15 could be swapped out for something a lot cheaper)
Shoulder mount kit- $500-600US, 2x BP-U60 batteries- $530 US, 2x 64GB SDXC SD cards- $70 US, Sony ECM-VG1 shotgun microphone- $219US, short XLR cable $30 US. External recorder for recording RAW- Atomos Shogun Inferno $1495 US, SSD drive 512GB- $250 US, CBKZ-FS5RIF RAW license $499 US.
TOTAL COST BASIC: $7,148 US approx.
TOTAL COST TO ALSO RECORD RAW: $9,392 US approx.
Shoulder mount kit- $500-600 US, 2x BP-U60 batteries- $530 US, 2x Sony 128GB XQD G series memory cards- $330 US, Sony XQD.SD card reader- $55.58 US, Rode NTG2 shotgun microphone- $296 US, XLR cable $30 US, Sony XDCA-FS7 Extension Unit- $1,999US, Atomos Shogun Inferno $1,499 US, SSD drive 512GB- $250 US,
TOTAL COST BASIC: $10,263 US approx.
TOTAL COST TO ALSO RECORD RAW: $14,011 US approx.
Sony FS7Mk II
Shoulder mount kit- $500-600 US, 2x BP-U60 batteries- $530 US, 2x Sony 128GB XQD G series memory cards- $330 US, Sony XQD.SD card reader- $55.58 US, Rode NTG2 shotgun microphone- $296 US, XLR cable $30 US, Sony XDCA-FS7 Extension Unit- $1,999 US, Atomos Shogun Inferno $1,499 US, SSD drive 512GB- $250US,
TOTAL COST BASIC: $11,763 US approx.
TOTAL COST TO ALSO RECORD RAW: $15,511 US approx.
Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro
Blackmagic Design shoulder mount kit- $395 US, 2x 128GB CFast 2.0 cards- $680 US, CFast 2.0 Card reader- $30 US, 3x V-mount or Anton Bauer 95Wh batteries- around $700 US, V-mount or Anton battery charger dual battery charger- $200 US, Rode NTG2 shotgun microphone- $269 US, short XLR cable $30 US. V-mount adapter plate for URSA- $175 US
TOTAL COST: $8,475 US
I don’t think it is a coincidence Canon have placed the C200 in a position where it falls almost directly between the price of the Sony FS5 and FS7 Mk II. The C200 finally gives Canon a camera that can compete for sales with the FS5, FS7, FS7 Mk II and Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro.
The real head scratcher for me about the C200 is why on earth did they limit the internal HD and UHD recording to 8-bit 4:2:0 at 35Mbps and 150Mbps respectively at launch. This is very strange given they have put the ability to record Canon Raw light in 12-bit or 10-bit internally in full 4K DCI. I might be wrong, but I think the majority of shooters interested in the C200 would much prefer to have decent HD and UHD recording than Canon Raw light. Yes Canon plans on putting the XF-AVC codec into the camera via a firmware update, but that’s not happening till February next year. Why Canon hasn’t included this at launch in the C200 boggles the mind.
My only fear is that it has come too late and its not offering anything significant over its competitors who have already been on the market for quite some time. With the C200 not shipping until later this year, there is always the chance that competitors like Sony will announce a new camera before you can actually get one in your hands.
The C200 may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for shooters who like the Canon look and form factor it may just be enough to entice them away from looking at solutions from Sony, Panasonic and Blackmagic.
What do you think about the new Canon C200? How do you think it fares against the competition? Let us know in the comments below.