For the better part of 20 years – ever since digital cameras made my film gear obsolete – I’ve been using Canon gear. In 2008, when the Canon 5D Mark II opened up big-sensor digital cinematography to the masses, I was on the forefront of early adopters. I’ve shot TV commercials, short films, and countless corporate projects on Canon.
I owned a Blackmagic camera for a while, and I currenly own a Panasonic GH5, but I always thought of myself as a Canon shooter.
Canon has an incredible lineup of products … All of which the company intentionally cripple.
The $2,800 Canon 5D Mark IV takes great still images, and records 4K video … With a sensor crop, and in the archaic and memory-gobbling MJPG format. At every step of the Canon lineup, each product is hobbled by deliberate choices intended to encourage customers to buy the next best product. You want real 4K video? You’ll need the $7,500 C200, which is more than twice the price of the 5D IV. But that only records slow-motion at HD resolution. If you want slo-mo 4K, you’ll need the C300 Mk II, which is $9,999.
And so on, and so on. Canon is so terrified of cannibalizing its higher-end items that it limits the functionality of everything below them. Unfortunately, this is forcing Canon loyalists like me to simply go elsewhere.
I’ve been doing more documentary work recently, and I need something more versatile than a DSLR-based dual-system sound rig. After carefully considering all the available options, I settled on the Sony FS5 Mk II. It doesn’t have the industry-leading autofocus of a Canon cine camera, but otherwise it has all the important features of the C200, for almost $3,000 less. Granted, it also doesn’t record 4K slo-mo, but that’s a lot easier to swallow at the FS5’s sub-$5,000 level than the C200’s $7,500 level. It also has some nice features like variable ND, raw output over SDI, and S-Log that aren’t available with Canon.
It’s tough to admit, but I can get the Sony WITH a nice Sony lens (yay, no need to struggle with adapters!) for less than the price of a C200 body, and enjoy super-35mm CMOS imagery. Canon has been good to me, but unless they unleash the full potential of their products, I’m not coming back.