Canon EOS Cinema line has transformed camera market

Magnanimous’ CD Jonah Rubash and the C500 (Photo by Kevin Larson)

Possibly the biggest game changer in the camera market in the past year is the release of Canon’s EOS Cinema line, which combines the sensors and lenses of DSLRs with the ergonomics and functionality of HD video cameras. 

Here three local vendors that carry the C300, C100, or C500 talk about how the cameras have performed for them.

ProGear acquired the C300 and C100 “as soon as they came on the market,” says partner Doug Sperling. “The cameras have been great to work with, simple in their use, and the quality has been superb. We cannot keep them on the shelves.   They are constantly requested and we will increase our inventory shortly.” 

Sperling says the cameras are popular for shorts, independent features, documentaries and commercials.

ProGear rents the C300 for $395/day or $1,185/week, including extra batteries and media storage.

Daufenbach Camera got their first C300 in July, and just added a second model, which rents for $450/day, including four batteries, two chargers, two 32gb CF cards, bridge plate and dovetail.  “Our rental price is based on industry standards. Prep the day before, shoot the next day, and return the following day,” says director of operations Lawrence Daufenbach.

“For rental price comparison it seems more popular then the Sony FS700 and Panasonic AF100,” says Stephen Wheeler, Daufenbach’s rental technician manager.  “When it first came out we didn’t get many calls for it, but as time has passed the C300 has really grown in popularity for everything from live events, to interviews, docs, spec shoots, and TV.  There are times where not just us, but the whole city is tapped out on them.”

“I took it out on a job I was on shooting a spot for a local charity and was very happy with it,” Wheeler says.  “We used a 5D as a handheld run and gun b-roll cam.  Getting the cameras to match was a breeze and the project looked great in the end.”

“I expected the DSLR cameras to be replaced by something that would give people all the functions of a typical production camera (time code, XLR audio inputs, etc.), but wasn’t sure which of the EOS Cinema Cameras it would be,” Wheeler says.  “After the last year, though, I feel confident that the C300 is that camera.”

Magnanimous Media acquired the C300 last May, and the C100, and C500 with Gemini 444 recorder, in December.  They rent the C500, Gemini, and four media drives for $700/day, the C300 for $350/day, and the C100 for $200/day.

Canon C100“The C100s sits in a price range with the Sony FS100 and FS700 and the Panasonic AF100,” says Jonah Rubash, Magnanimous creative director.

“All of these cameras are great in their own right, but the C100’s main advantage is the chip, which gives it better dynamic range and low-light performance. The C100 is being used for events, documentaries and music videos, which it’s great at.  DSLR shooters are definitely settling right into its benefits and ergonomics. 

“You get excellent recording times on cheap media (SD cards) and superb low-light performance with noise reduction, which makes it great for events that can have a more cinematic flair.”


C300 popular for docs, the C500 for features, commercials

“The C300 is most popular for documentaries, but I’ve used it for nearly everything,” Rubash says.  “Our renters use it on broadcast intended material, music videos, commercials, etc. The C300’s main price competitor is the RED Scarlet.

“Right out of the gate the C300 is easier to run and gun with, has much better low-light performance and is ergonomically superior without any additional support.”

“Mostly our renters are using the C500 for higher-end commercials.  The C500 is also being used on features and shorts, though, which is its primary intention.  The data expenditures can be a little much, but I would consider it a good option for high-end documentary with enough media. 

“The C500 competes with any number of high-end cinema cameras including the Epic and F55.  You get a slightly crisper image out of the C500 when compared to the Epic and the Epic just can’t beat the data rate and low-light performance of the C500.”

Contact Ed Koziarski at