Man, is this thing ugly. But when it comes to cinema cameras, looks are the last thing on a cinematographer's mind -- performance is where it counts, and with the Canon C300, its compact size is an asset as well. We haven't had a chance to shoot with Canon's new flagship cinema cam, but we've heard from plenty of folks who have, including director Vincent Laforet. The C300's incredibly compact size allows cinematographers to work in environments that aren't typically accessible to big rigs -- you can shoot with this camera just as easily as you can with a DSLR, hand-holding it for quick shots, with a waist-mounted Steadicam system for walk-around shoots or even mounting it on a small remote-controlled helicopter, as Laforet did during his three-day Mobius shoot.

The C300 will be more familiar to cinematographers -- photojournalists may have access to the cam, thanks to its $20,000 price tag (that's a relative bargain, believe it or not), but you can't pick this up and fire away without taking some time to learn the interface. It has quite the solid feel, as you'd expect from a camera in this price range, though it's not as heavy as it looks -- you won't want to hold it in your hand for a full day of filming, but quick shots probably won't be an issue. The system is modular, so you can add and remove components as you wish -- industry standard connectors let you hook up cinema gear, which is something you could never do with the 5D Mark II. The small form factor and price tag to match should help Canon gain some ground in Hollywood, but we'll wait for a chance to shoot some footage before drawing any firm conclusions. In the meantime, we'll have to take Laforet at his word -- which you'll find just past the break.
Gallery | 54 Photos

Canon C300 hands-on