The average video camera is great … for filming your child’s 4th grade play or compiling those touristy vacation clips that your friends will loathe slogging through. If video and filmmaking is something you take seriously, however, you’ll want to mature into a more serious camera.

That doesn’t just apply to consumers; it applies to camera manufacturers. The EOS C300 is Canon’s arrival in the professional cinematography market. The company took the consumer electronics world by storm when it unveiled the high-end camera at Paramount Studios in Hollywood last fall. The location, and attendance by such icons as Martin Scorcese and Ron Howard, told the story as well as Canon’s words: This is a serious camera for serious footage.

While the EOS C300 is capable of professional grade cinematography, it’s not only for blockbuster-level production companies. Its modest price (for this type of equipment) makes it an option for everyone from the artsy newcomer shooting his first short to crews of full-blown Hollywood productions. The camera also lies on the opposite end of the spectrum from the shoulder behemoths that you see at news conferences and sports events –  it packs a lot of capability into a small, versatile package.

The powertrain driving the EOS C300 is a combination of Canon’s Super-35mm CMOS sensor and its DIGIC DV III image processor. Canon explains that the CMOS sensor is its first designed specifically for high frame rate motion pictures. When paired with the DIGIC DV III processor, that sensor enables filmmakers to cut through the noise and capture remarkable detail and dynamic range, even in low-light conditions.  The CMOS sensor also reduces some phenomena – like rolling shutter – that can hamper the look and realism of the footage.

In terms of nuts and bolts, the EOS C300 can record in 1080p HD. It supports MPEG-2 Full HD compression and employs 4:2:2 color sampling for high-resolution performance that Canon says “minimizes the appearance of ‘jaggies’ at chroma edges.” The camera’s maximum recording rate is 50 Mbps. It uses the Material eXchange Format (MXF) and records onto CF cards via two individual slots.

Since no two films or filmmakers are completely identical, the EOS C300 can be configured in a multitude of ways using Canon’s EF lenses (or PL lenses on the C300 PL)and all types of third-party accessories and components. With a little insight from you, the camera becomes a finely tuned instrument optimized for your filming needs. Combine accessories like a thumb rest, monitor, or external audio recording devices with the EOS 300’s maneuverable 5.2 x 7 x 6.7-inch size and four start/stop buttons, and you have a camera ready to climb, furrow, flip and zoom for whatever task and angle you need.

The EOS C300 hit the market earlier this year. The $20,000 price tag is certainly far north of the average consumer camcorder, but it compares favorably to other professional tools of its kind. The camera was used to create the recently detailed film “Departure Date,” the world’s first film ever shot completely on airplanes. The EOS C300’s small, versatile form factor was integral in making the film.

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Directed by Sébastien Devaud, the above video ‘Out of Tunes’ was the first official european short movie filmed with EOS C300.

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