After completing another two camera project using the relatively new C300 Mark 2’s, this new Canon has become my ‘go-to’ for projects requiring substantial handheld work because of its ‘best in class’ ergonomics. (not to be confused with best ergonomics ever) But as good as the camera is in this regard, I’ve become too familiar with a couple of design flaws regarding video output, which at the moment has no suitable work around.
The first quirk is the inability to output picture to both the onboard LCD and the viewfinder at the same time, AND output signal to an external monitor. Basically, you have to pick any combination of two, but can never have all three at the same time. In practical terms, this means that if I want producers, directors, agency to see what I’m shooting, I have to decide HOW I want to see and pick between either the LCD or the viewfinder, but not both! Most times, I require both. If I’m on a dolly or slider, I use the LCD and if I’m shooting exteriors in bright light or doing handheld of any sort, I use the viewfinder exclusively. Changing between the two viewing options means I have to go menu diving, so not having all three at the same time just doesn’t make much sense.
What makes even less sense is when you switch to the ‘fast or slow’ recording, the camera automatically disables ALL video OUTPUT entirely! This means anybody looking at a monitor can’t see the action which is absolutely ridiculous considering the fact that every other camera out there allows video output while in slow motion recording including Sony’s FS7, which competes directly with this camera at half the price! This is such an outrageous omission that I was convinced I must have been doing something wrong, but camera assistants and rental shop techs confirmed my suspicion. Was this really a technical limitation for a 16K US camera? I decided I had to call Canon for an official explanation.
This is what they said…
“With regards to the output of the C300 Mark II being disabled when fast or slow motion is enabled, I have confirmed that ours (C300 Mark II) behaves the same way. While I do not have the engineering level explanation for this I suggest that the reason may be that there is not enough processing power required to generate the slow or fast motion, all the while converting to an appropriate frame rate for monitoring. While there is no firmware that will add this ability, I have passed your feedback up the chain in the hopes that a feature such as the one you suggest can be somehow added in the future. Please let me know if you have any followup questions or if I have misunderstood your question and I will be happy to assist.
— Technical Support Representative, Customer Information Centre, Canon Canada Inc.”
Unbelievable. No firmware update can fix this? If this ends up being the case, I obviously can’t recommend this camera to anyone needing to record high frame rates without mentioning this design flaw. I plan on finding out more from Canon and why they decided to make it the way they did and hope an actual can be solved by a firmware upgrade.