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    Buying new cameras - replacing two Panasonic HPX170s am thinking C100 Mark II?
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    Hello and thanks in advance - I am looking for advice to buy two new cameras.

    I am in the middle of shooting a doc (that will also be expanded to a website) that is single person interviews in peoples homes, businesses and outside. Ive shot 132 interviews with my pair of Panasonic HPX170s that each have a Letus Extreme DOF adapter. Ive used Canon FD lenses 28mm for most of the b-roll, and 50mm, 85mm and 100mm for the interviews. Ive shot everything at 720/24pn, 16x9, with scene file6: cineD.

    In about a month, Im going to travel for five months to get 68 more interviews (so 200 total) and lots of b-roll. I think its time to get 1080 cameras so that 1/3 of the interviews and 2/3 of the b-roll will be at 1080. I dont think 4K will mix well with the 720, but Id like to upgrade the look with 1080, and much better sensors for low light.

    I travel in a van and do everything myself. I set up both cameras on the interviewee and let the cameras run. The interviews usually last 25-40 minutes, sometimes an hour. I do get up at least once during the interview to check the cameras and Ill get up if I know the interviewees position in the frame has gotten too off. I let the cameras run and sit in front of the cameras to help the interviewee know that I care more about listening to them than getting the shot. Yes, sometimes this has meant Ive lost part of the interview, but the interview quality is worth it.

    With new cameras, Im looking for better sensors for low light situations. It will make it faster for me to get shooting with fewer lights and interviewees would be more comfortable with less lights. I also would like to simplify and lose the Letus DOF adapters.
    The HPX170 shoots 4:2:2 color depth, 24fps and has dual media card slots, all of which I want to duplicate.

    The cameras I have focused upon are the Canon C100 Mark I and Mark II. I also have looked at a used C300 Mark I. I started my search with the C100 Mark II because it has the dual-pixel auto focus, which got my attention because I am not behind the camera during the interviews. It would also really help with the b-roll as about a quarter of it will be on a gimball. My thought is to get a used C100 Mark I and a new (or slightly used) C100 Mark II or a used C300 Mark I and three used EF lenses.

    There are lots of positives BUT two issues
    (1) Ill need to get two Atomos Ninjas to get the 4:2:2 recorded out of the C100s (the C100 internal recording is 8-bit 4:2:0.
    (2) I just read that the C!00s dont actually shoot 24fps, they mathematically play with 60fps (multiply by 2 and only keep every fifth frame?). The C300s say true 24, but Ive read that it is also mathematically done.

    This is where Im looking for opinions
    How will the 720/24pn of the HPX170 look next to the 1080/24 of the C100 Mark I and II, and the C300 Mark I? Will they mix well?
    Is there another comparable camera that records 4:2:2 internally (save me from buying Atomos Ninjas)?
    C100 Mark II or C300 Mark I?
    Are my presumptions correct?
    Have I missed anything?


    Because Ive read other posts about buying new cameras, and readers are kind enough to want to make sure the original poster has good other gear, here is what I have

    My audio gear
    two Neumann KMR81 mics on mic stands. Because of the quiet nature on the interviews, I knew I needed sweet microphones. They are amazing microphones.
    one Zeppelin with furry cover.

    My lighting gear
    (1) KinoFlo 4 x 4 tubes
    (2) 1K Lowell Tota lights
    (1) 250 watt Lowell Pro
    (2) paper ball lanterns 12 and 18
    simple $9 clamp lights
    (1)C-stand
    (5) light stands

    I also have one 7 smallHD monitor and each camera is on rails to support the Letus DOF adapters and the one SmallHD monitor.

    Thank you for reading this and any advice is appreciated.
    And was this the right forum (Canon C-100) for this question?


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    Senior Member puredrifting's Avatar
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    I went from the HPX-170 to the 5D MKII/MKIII to the C100 MKI, then added a C300 MKI back in the day. The 170 and the Canons will not match looks at all, Panasonic and Canon color science are very different, my old reel had stuff cut between the 170 and the C100 MKI, huge difference. It's a shame all of your interviews are in 720p, it doesn't scale to 1080 that well. 720 is really just a little bit better SD. I know how it is, I shot a ton of 720 on my 170 back in the day before they had the big P2 cards and shooting 1080 became possible.
    The other cameras in the same price range that record 4:2:2 internally would be the GH5/GH5S, BMD Ursa Mini Pro, as well as a lot of others. The color science in the GH5 cameras is also radically different than the HPX-170 and the Ursa Mini Pro looks great but is really slow, so you have to use a lot more lighting, not what you want.
    Why are you obsessed with 4:2:2? Unless you're shooting green screen, you're not going to see the difference in your situation. I had the Ninja Blade and the C100 MKI and did a lot of tests between the two, the AVCHD codec in the C100 was excellent and difficult to "break", the two were indistinguishable, it's just the Blade footage was better for green screen. Other than that, I stopped using it because of extra weight, bulk and it eats batteries. You'll have to change batteries all of the time in the Blade, unless you power from a D-Tap with a big battery or go AC, which I never recommend.
    C100 MKII is arguably a better camera than the C300 MKI. It has 1080 60p and it has the Gen II DPAF not just the one-touch and so so continuous.

    Not sure with so many interviews if it will matter if your look changes? My current documentary has been shot on Canon C100 MKI, C300, C300 MKII, C200, 80D, Panasonic HPX-270, RED Epic Dragon, Go Pros, Drones and none of it matches, and we have only about 30-40 interviews. Who cares? If people are focusing on if the color palette of every shot matches, I have failed as a filmmaker. My advice would be to buy what you want and shoot what you want and not worry about if the look shifts around a bit in your project. Sounds like the C100 MKII would be your best bet and I would skip the Blade.
    Gear matters. But just a little. Story is everything.


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    Thank you. And thanks for telling me you had an HPX-170 and then listing your cameras (both times!).
    Your words were helpful and … sad too. Good wake-up call and I am okay with it. Okay, so my 720 interviews may all or mostly end up on the website and not the film, though I do appreciate your relaxation about mixing it all up. I agree with you about story and the interviews are captivating. Have you ever seen someone use 720 footage in a reduced frame inside the larger frame of a film?
    I thought having 4:2:2 made it easier to do color timing because of the increased information and pixels. Won’t I need it to help (as much as possible!) if I try to use some of the 720 footage? Yet, I am glad to hear of your tests with and without the Ninja, because the Ninja is heavy.
    Okay, so I get the C100 MKII (and thx re nixing the C300, I didn’t realize the 300’s AF was not continuos!). Any reason not to get a MKI for the second camera?
    Thanks.


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    Senior Member KarlSutton's Avatar
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    I had a mix of 720p Panasonic, Sony 1080, and Canon 1080 all in one documentary - the story is what matters (and good audio) don't sweat the mismatched footage too much in that genre.


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    In any of these camera threads I think it is best to start with - What is budget?

    You have been shooting in 2007 for all of these years, you have a lot of options in 2018 to chose from. What is most important to you? Ease of use? Yes, light sensitivity but most all have that covered these days. Give us a number for both cameras and lenses and then the suggestions will fit your needs.


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    If DPAF is what you really want, remember you can get an upgraded C300mk1 with DPAF as well. And having timecode and genlock is really useful for docos I reckon.

    However I'd strongly recommend not using AF if you're not keeping a proper eye on the camera! Is a recipe for disaster otherwise.
    Am a Sound Recordist in New Zealand: http://ironfilm.co.nz/sound/
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    Quote Originally Posted by bryersen View Post
    Thank you. And thanks for telling me you had an HPX-170 and then listing your cameras (both times!).
    Your words were helpful and … sad too. Good wake-up call and I am okay with it. Okay, so my 720 interviews may all or mostly end up on the website and not the film, though I do appreciate your relaxation about mixing it all up. I agree with you about story and the interviews are captivating. Have you ever seen someone use 720 footage in a reduced frame inside the larger frame of a film?
    I thought having 4:2:2 made it easier to do color timing because of the increased information and pixels. Won’t I need it to help (as much as possible!) if I try to use some of the 720 footage? Yet, I am glad to hear of your tests with and without the Ninja, because the Ninja is heavy.
    Okay, so I get the C100 MKII (and thx re nixing the C300, I didn’t realize the 300’s AF was not continuos!). Any reason not to get a MKI for the second camera?
    Thanks.
    I can tell you that 720 can scale "okay" to 1080p but it's going to always look somewhat aliased and softer than native 1080. The reduced frame thing? We've all done it, personally I think it tends to look cheesy doing that unless you have a really cleverly designed, motivated graphic way to shrink it and have it still make sense why it is being viewed in a frame. I'm in the same boat, we are shooting our film in 4K, except for some Go Pros we are using that cannot shoot 4K 60p, so we are shooting them 2.7K 60p, which can look decent on a 4K timeline. But we accidentally had one Go Pro set to 1080 60p, we need to use the footage but not sure how we can with a UHD timeline without it falling apart and it will, it's Go Pro, which is generally pretty bad quality.

    4:2:2 gives you more color infomation to work with, true, but if the camera has good color and you know how to correctly white balance, do you really need to push your grade that much beyond lower the blacks a bit, up the saturation and contrast a bit? Why don't you put some of the your 720p footage on a 1080 timeline and compare it scaled with some native 1080 footage, then you'll have your example.

    C300 does have continuous AF when it has DPAF option, but it's center screen only and not nearly as good as the next (current generation) of DPAF. C100 MKI and MKII do not have the exact same color science and can be challenging to match. Not saying they cannot be matched, just that it takes extra time, work and money to do so.
    Last edited by puredrifting; Yesterday at 06:44 AM.
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    [QUOTE=puredrifting;1986754702]I can tell you that 720 can scale "okay" to 1080p but it's going to always look somewhat aliased and softer than native 1080.

    Thank you for the description, helped, and the "in the same boat.". And thank you also to Kari for chiming in about mixing footage. I thought about it more last night and today - I am okay with the softness. It is the reality of shooting over this time period, docs do it and the interviews are good. After working alone for so long, I appreciate the conversation.

    In deciding about cameras, the DPAF of the Canon C100mkII has my attention because I'm going to need a gimbal for 1/4 to 1/3 of the b-roll. The shots will be wide angle and focused on one person, but since I work alone, I want to attend to the framing and my footing and leave the focus to my secondary attention. The DPAF is supposed to be the best AF. Thanks PureDrifting for getting me clear on the C300's version.

    I'll also be using the AF when I interview kids under 10. They can move a lot and although it can look wonderful when they go out and back into focus, there is a limit to what looks cool and when it looks bad. I'll use the AF of the C100mkII and leave the second camera on a set focus with a wider lens.

    This is what I am currently thinking -
    new Canon C100MKII $3500
    used Canon C100 MKI $2000 w/o AF
    Is there any reason to not get the MKI for the second camera? I presume this way to make it faster/easier with similar cameras, batteries, media, lenses. I'm sorry to hear that the color science changed. Dang. Opinions?

    And am thinking of these lenses -
    EF 85mm. f1.8 USM $300 used
    EF 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS II $120 used, for the wide angle b-roll, esp w/ gimbal because of the IS
    And then one of these two zooms -
    EF 24-70mm f2.8L USM $900 used
    EF 24-105. f4L IS USM $570 used

    The kit of lenses need to cover a CU and MCU filmed in a small living room (and easier/bigger places) as well as wide angle b-roll that is not distorted and can be on a gimbal.
    I'm presuming the 85 will always be used as one of the interview lenses. The tight spots where I sometimes shoot are small living rooms where the cameras are only 6' from the interviewee to get as much distance behind as possible. What would the approximate mm of the second lens?
    I'm presuming anything shot on a gimbal needs an IS lens.
    I used a 28mm lens in the past with my old cameras. What range in mm would feel expansive and not distorted?

    Thanks once again.
    Last edited by bryersen; Yesterday at 02:38 AM.


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    Center frame DPAF is just great if you have your hands on the camera and a strategy. For example, on can have continuous AF and use the AF button to stop it while you pan between subjects or you can just use one shot AF. This give you a level of control over just relying on the camera. On a gimbal or with active subjects like kids, this is not as useful as the nearly full screen DPAF (for example on the C200) where object and face tracking become important. As an aside, face tracking on the C100mkII is NOT DPAF. It is reasonably good but definately not up to the standard of the C200.

    On your lens choices; DO cross check the lens against the list of lenses that support camera features. The C100mkII has a much shorter list. This is fine if you are happy with the supported lenses but broader support is definately part of the buying decision. For example, the EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM are the ONLY lenses that support push auto iris, automatic aperture and Face AF on the C100mkII. I bought the first two with the camera as they cover the focal lengths I needed. They provide adequate image quality. The C200 supports all current EF lenses for all AF modes and a larger list for auto iris.

    - I don't find that IS is necessary for gimbal use (in fact it can be an issue if the particular IS does not support tracking shots)
    - 85mm is a bit tight for interviews on a super35 format (I have the 35F1.4mkII and the 50F1.2 for that, but your choices may well differ)
    - 35mm is approximately a normal lens (equiv to mid 40s on FF).

    I'm only discussing the 100/200 because I own them (and don't own a 300). Since I bought the CNE18-80, it is the most used lens on the C200 althought I use the Ef11-24 to go wider, fast L Primes for low light, and the 70-200F2.8 if I need longer


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    Senior Member puredrifting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikemilton View Post
    Center frame DPAF is just great if you have your hands on the camera and a strategy. For example, on can have continuous AF and use the AF button to stop it while you pan between subjects or you can just use one shot AF. This give you a level of control over just relying on the camera. On a gimbal or with active subjects like kids, this is not as useful as the nearly full screen DPAF (for example on the C200) where object and face tracking become important. As an aside, face tracking on the C100mkII is NOT DPAF. It is reasonably good but definately not up to the standard of the C200.

    On your lens choices; DO cross check the lens against the list of lenses that support camera features. The C100mkII has a much shorter list. This is fine if you are happy with the supported lenses but broader support is definately part of the buying decision. For example, the EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM are the ONLY lenses that support push auto iris, automatic aperture and Face AF on the C100mkII. I bought the first two with the camera as they cover the focal lengths I needed. They provide adequate image quality. The C200 supports all current EF lenses for all AF modes and a larger list for auto iris.

    - I don't find that IS is necessary for gimbal use (in fact it can be an issue if the particular IS does not support tracking shots)
    - 85mm is a bit tight for interviews on a super35 format (I have the 35F1.4mkII and the 50F1.2 for that, but your choices may well differ)
    - 35mm is approximately a normal lens (equiv to mid 40s on FF).

    I'm only discussing the 100/200 because I own them (and don't own a 300). Since I bought the CNE18-80, it is the most used lens on the C200 althought I use the Ef11-24 to go wider, fast L Primes for low light, and the 70-200F2.8 if I need longer
    Thanks for the education on the specifics of the C100 MKII, I've only rented and shot with them a couple of times and definitely don't know it was well as the C100 MKI.

    To the OP, why buy a new C100 MKII when you can score a killer deal on a used one? I've seen them as low as $2k. Because they are a 1080 camera, the market has largely considered them outdated so the prices have plummeted.

    With some careful testing and setup, you can get the colors from the C100 MKI and the MKII in the same neighborhood, then you have to try to match them with CC. It can be done, it's a PITA.

    As far as your 720 scaling issue, you have no choice, I would not do the chessy shrunken image in a 1080 frame thing, that just looks cheap. The STM lenses are usable, if not the best. I have the 10-18 4.5-5.6 STM IS and the 18-135 3.5-5.6 STM IS. As long as I have light and run them at their prime aperture (5.6-8), they look decent. Both kind of suck for low light interiors though. I agree with Mike, the 85mm focal length in S35, to me, is becoming a dated look for interviews, tight framing with a soft, mush BG. I find interviews with the person in some context of their environment to be much more interesting to look at. I've been shooting most of the interviews for our documentary at 35-40mm focal length, much more interesting to look at.
    Gear matters. But just a little. Story is everything.


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