Canon C100 vs 1D X Mark II for video use

Canon C100 vs 1D X Mark II for video use

Let’s compare Canon C100 vs 1D X Mark II for video use. This is not going to be a comparison with 400% zoomed video of tree branches, or lifting dark shadows near a bright window. I will say straight away that Canon C100 will give better-looking video compared to 1D X Mark II. But that isn’t the whole picture. A good camera is much more than resolution or a nice picture. Many C100 users will consider 1D X Mark II as a 4K upgrade. Many C100 owners before used DSLR and they are missing some elements.

The price difference is huge, but it is reasonable for an upgrade. Canon 1D X Mark II also can be a new camera, not the replacement for C100 in someone’s workflow. Where 1D X Mark II will shoot 4K and slow motion and C100 will as traditional camera. Many good elements of 1D X Mark II in this article can be applied to other Canon DSLR. So we can treat this post as Canon Cinema line vs DSLR. Also, there is a huge difference in specs, resolution, and framerates. My point is that you cannot judge a camera by spec sheet. Because higher resolution doesn’t guarantee better video or that making a video is easier. These cameras cannot be further apart and I will explain you that.

To make things more interesting I will use NFL scoring system. Where 7 points (or touchdown with conversion) will receive a camera with really important advantage. While 3 points (field goal) will be given to camera with slight advantage or advantage in the not very important category.

Picture quality and….

Canon C100 is simply better. Do not be surprised. Yes, 1D X Mark II has 4x resolution, but resolution doesn’t mean a better picture. It just means more details and details are not what makes a good picture in high-end productions. Hollywood often uses lenses that are not that sharp and when the lens is too sharp they are putting mesh over the lens to make it less sharp. Even today’s movies are not all shot with the 4K camera, many of them are upscaled. Check on this link if you do not believe me.

Chasing details and resolutions only can make the picture worse. You shouldn’t forget to make good colors, skin tones, and pleasant dynamic range. Especially in highlights. Many mirrorless cameras today have 4K, with missed colors and too harsh highlights. This proves that resolution should be the last thing to make in a video camera, not the first (and only) one.


Canon C100 Wide DR footage almost ungraded. 50i slowed to 25p. Uploaded as 4K to YouTube just as an experiment.

And what picture does Canon 1D X Mark II have? I will say this camera gives a better picture than any Canon DSLR. Although, you can make miracles with 5D Mark III Magic Lantern RAW footage. If you can handle that workflow. That means 1D X Mark II gives more organic picture than cheaper Canon DSLRs. It has a less digital signature, less Canon pinkish tones. But you should know it still DSLR video picture. It is hardly compared to Canon C100 or any Canon Cinema camera. Over the years we learned to make an amazing video with Canon DSLR, but it is clear that C100 has a sensor made only for video. That means Canon was able to make a completely new picture. When you use DSLR for the video you are coping with look pulled out of sensor made for photographers. It is a noticeable difference.

…dynamic range

Technically Canon C100 doesn’t have more dynamic range than 1D X Mark II but C100 gives more pleasant tones. When you have to push or lose highlights, C100 will look a little bit better. Shadows will look much better. Near to dark shadows are always crushed on any DSLR while you have even spread on C100. Midtones are similar and while 1D X Mark II can handle highlights very good, the advantage is still on C100 side.

Both cameras have very nice colors. While 1D X Mark II more looks like modern digital YouTube monster, Canon C100 can give a more classic look if you use it properly. Canon C100 will mix better with film cameras. Don’t get me wrong, Canon 1D X Mark II will give noticeably better colors than any Sony or Panasonic camera. No S-log or V-log can change this. But C100 is better if you need a more filmish classic look.
Canon

Touchdown for Canon C100. Canon C100 vs 1D X Mark II (7:0)

Resolution

Canon 1D X Mark II obviously wins this category. It offers up to 60p for DCI 4k and up to 120p for 1080p. Compared to 60i/30p for C100 (60p for C100 Mark II) 1080p. But this is not a touchdown for 7 points. It is only a field goal. If you didn’t figure out so far, the resolution is not that important. It shouldn’t be the only reason to chose your camera. Resolution only won’t make your camera good without other elements. Besides, Canon C100 has amazing 1080p. This 1080p is made with a 4K sensor using RGB matrix, without debayering and that is why has so many details. Canon 1D X Mark II has crazy detailed 4K footage, but 1080p is weak.


Canon 1D X Mark II 4K 50p slowed down to 24p.

Field goal for Canon 1D X Mark II. Canon C100 vs 1D X Mark II (7:3)

Handling

This is going to be close. But I will give an advantage to Canon 1D X Mark II. You can use Canon C100 in the way projected by Canon. And that is a good way. Very straightforward. The problem is you have only one customizable button on the right hand and one non-customizable wheel. This can be a problem for handheld use. 1D X Mark II is more customizable, with many buttons and two wheels. I used both cameras mostly handheld and I am missing DSLR controls on Canon C100.

Field goal for Canon 1D X Mark II. Canon C100 vs 1D X Mark II (7:6)

Sound

You have Auto or Manual controls, hot shoe, 3.5mm input for microphone and 3.5mm output for headphones on Canon 1D X Mark II. It is a standard setup for video-oriented DSLR or mirrorless. But Canon C100 is much better. It is professional setup. And while I personally can live with DSLR audio setup, I am very aware how audio should look on video camera. With a top handle, you have XLRs and better controls of audio on Canon C100. Without the top handle, you have cold shoe and 3.5mm input, like DSLR setup. C100 offers uncompressed audio and unless you record audio too loud, you can adjust levels in post easy without losing quality.

The problem with C100 is the absence of internal microphone in the body. Which means you have to use a handle or 3.5mm microphone even if you simply need reference sound. This is fixed on C100 Mark II. I wish C100 have one XLR on the body, so you can use this connection without a top handle. But you have to use XLR on 1D X Mark II over 3.5mm adapter, which is never an ideal solution. Audio is very important and often more important than the picture itself. That is why I give whole 7 points to Canon C100.

Touchdown for Canon C100. Canon C100 vs 1D X Mark II (14:6)

Memory cards, bitrate, file size

Canon C100 uses cheap SD cards. It has two slots and you can record simultaneously or start the second card after finishing the first one. It makes very small files and you can record about 6 hours on a 64GB card. And you can use very slow SD cards, too. Canon 1D X Mark II uses CF or CFast 2.0 cards. For 1080p video, you can use slow to average fast CF cards depending on settings. For 4K you need very fast CF cards or CFast 2.0 cards, and for 4K 60p you need to use CFast 2.0 for continuous recording. The biggest problem is the size of 4K files. There are huge. You need a lot of expensive CFast cards.

transcend cfx600 cfast 1dx mark Ii

The second problem for Canon 1D X Mark II is the absence of simultaneous recording on both cards for video use. You can manually copy files from one card to the other, but this makes sense only for 1080p. Because you will never have huge enough CF to act as backup for CFast 4K video. And even if you have, this will take time. With 1080p this workaround is doable. Canon C100 is a huge winner if we compare 1080p vs 4K, but it is much closer if we look only 1080p. Too bad 1D X Mark II 1080p doesn’t look good as 4K or C100 1080p. Field goal for C100.

Field goal for Canon C100. Canon C100 vs 1D X Mark II (17:6)

Display

Canon C100 has a larger display, but Canon 1D X Mark II has better, modern display. Although C100 Mark II has much better OLED display, I will still give an advantage to the 1D X Mark II. Larger display on C100 is not advantaged for me, it is a slight disadvantage actually. Because 3.5″ 16:9 display makes finding viewfinder very hard. There is only a few of them. For 3.2″ 3:2 display on Canon 1D X Mark II is a much bigger market. C100 has a rotating display, while the fixed display on 1D X Mark II is a hassle for gimbal use and low slider movements. You can use the display to focus on 1D X Mark II and you cannot that on C100. It is a tie, no score.

No score. It is a punt. Canon C100 vs 1D X Mark II (17:6)

Lenses

Canon C100 has EF-S mount, which means you can mount both EF and EF-S lenses. Canon 1D X Mark II has only EF mount. This is a bit stupid from Canon. While you need full frame EF lenses for 1080p video, because there is no crop, you can use cropped EF-S lenses for 4K. But you cannot mount EF-S lenses on 1D X Mark II. You have two solutions if you want to use crop lenses for 4K. You can use third-party lenses or you can chop off plastic out of the back of EF-S lenses. I will explain this in a future blog post.

In short, EF-S lenses have enough circle to cover 4K video, but you cannot mount them because of plastic at the back. Third party lenses are without this plastic. Nikon or Sony are much better in this case. There are no physical limitations. You can combine full frame bodies and crop lenses if you want or need to use center part of the sensor for photo or video. This is a small win for C100. 3 points.

Field goal for Canon C100. Canon C100 vs 1D X Mark II (20:6)

Battery

Canon C100 has amazing battery life. Batteries are not that expensive compared to autonomy you receive. Canon 1D X Mark II has good battery life, too. But not as good as C100. And the price of batteries is not that good compared to minutes you get. Field goal for Canon C100.

Field goal for Canon C100. Canon C100 vs 1D X Mark II (23:6)

Editing

This is going to be surprising for someone, but for me, 1D X Mark II is the clear winner here. I am using macOS and Final Cut Pro X and everything works fine with 1D X Mark II. You just need a lot of storage for 4K, but you don’t need a super fast computer for 4K editing. I am good with 2012 mid-range iMac. If you import files properly, you will have good performance with C100 files. But you can make mistake and import MTS files out of AVCHD container. This will cause terrible performance. You will need to make proxy files even on very fast machines if you just load MTS files.

Also, it is impossible to recognize 25p or 50i files (same with 30p and 60i). This is a problem made by Apple at one point I believe and never corrected. Workflow is much easier on 1D X Mark II. C100 Mark II doesn’t have this problem if you use MP4, but AVCHD on C100 is a mess.

Field goal for 1D X Mark II. Canon C100 vs 1D X Mark II (23:9)

Speed and performance

A clear victory for 1D X Mark II. Canon C100 starts very slow and generally every action is slower than DSLR. Canon C100 startup time becomes even longer if you have more footage on the memory card. 1D X Mark II is Formula 1 of cameras and you feel that for the photo, video or every other operation.

Field goal for 1D X Mark II. Canon C100 vs 1D X Mark II (23:12)

Playback

Playback is even worse on C100 then general performance. You have to switch the camera off, enter in playback mode and control everything like a 90s camera. Nonintuitive and slow. You can forget quickly erasing clip when you made mistake. When I work with DSLRs I am erasing bad clips during free time. With C100 I am bringing all of those files back to home. Don’t forget slow startup times. If you have something important even minutes away, don’t touch anything on C100. Leave camera on. On 1D X Mark II you can preview or delete 10GB 4K video file like it is 5MB JPEG picture, and it is one click from live view where you record. Easy win for 1D X Mark II.

Field goal for 1D X Mark II. Canon C100 vs 1D X Mark II (23:15)

Autofocus

You have Dual Pixel Autofocus with C100 Mark II and you can have with the first C100. Sadly, it primitive version of DPAF compared to 1D X Mark II. On C100 you can use only center part of the frame. No zones, touchscreen or face detection. It is identical to C100 Mark II with one difference. You have face detection if you use plastic EF-S STM lenses. Not even 50mm f1.8 EF STM lens will give you face detection. Canon 1D X Mark II has much more versatile Dual Pixel Autofocus. With fantastically integrated face detection and touchscreen. And you will get this with 95% autofocus lenses. Even with third-party lenses.

Field goal for 1D X Mark II. Canon C100 vs 1D X Mark II (23:18)

Automatic modes

Do not think automatic modes are not important on video cameras. For gimbal use or documentary one-man-band video shooting, automatic modes are very important. Especially when Canon offers so good auto white balance and exposure. C100 has auto white balance. But the only way to get auto exposure is to use EF-S STM lenses, set Iris (aperture) to auto and guess ISO and Shutter value. On 1D X Mark II you can use every photo auto and semi-auto mode depending on your needs. Canon C100 needs more automatic modes.

Field goal for 1D X Mark II. Canon C100 vs 1D X Mark II (23:21)

Crop factor

Canon C100 has a 1.46x crop factor. 1D X Mark II has no crop for full frame 1080p video and 1.34x crop for DCI 4K. If you want to use UHD resolution without letterbox, that crop (in the post) goes up to 1.43x. This is a win for 1D X Mark II and now DSLR is in the lead.

Field goal for 1D X Mark II. Canon C100 vs 1D X Mark II (23:24)

ND filter

This is huge and I almost forget it. That is why this low on the list. ND filters are very important for video use. You have integrated ND filters inside C100 camera. For 1D X Mark II you have to screw ND filter on each lens. I never notice any cast or quality lose with C100 integrated ND filters. But I have to use very expensive ND filter with DSLR. And while I am not losing any details, the cast is something that you will always have with added ND filters. And I even use ND with little cast compared to other expensive filters. This is clear 7 points for C100. ND filters are very important. Do not be the guy with 1/250 shutter for video. If you are not Tom Hanks looking for only survived brother in France during WWII, it looks horrible.

Touchdown for Canon C100. Canon C100 vs 1D X Mark II (30:24)

Photo mode

We are talking about the video in this article. Couple years ago photo feature would not be mentioned at all. But times are different now and clients are not fair anymore. If you are doing photography, they will ask if you can do a little video. If you do videography, they will ask if you can make a couple of photos. Canon C100 can actually make JPEG photo. That is actually framed grabbed out of the 1920×1080 video. And Canon 1D X Mark II is most capable photo camera ever.

Touchdown for 1D X Mark II. Canon C100 vs 1D X Mark II (30:31)

Reliability and repair

Both cameras are super reliable. I bought used C100 with many hours and used a couple of years. A number of times I left C100 turned on in the camera bag. By the way, C100 stupidly doesn’t have an option to automatically goes to sleep after some time. With a full battery, the camera can work whole night in a closed bag. Remember, camera bags have no ventilation to prevent water entering. This means no cooling with the camera turned on. C100 survived this at least five times in my case. So there is no question about the reliability of this camera.

I never had a chance to put 1D X Mark II to a similar test, but it is one of the toughest electronic devices on the planet. So I wouldn’t expect any reliability problems. On the other hand, I had a problem trying to repair my C100. It is treated as Cinema camera and there are much more bureaucracy and costs. Because 1D X Mark II is DSLR I am sure it can be repaired by much more official and unofficial places. So it is a small but noticeable advantage for 1D X Mark II.

Field goal for 1D X Mark II. Canon C100 vs 1D X Mark II (30:34)

Flat and log profiles

C100 has great C-Log and amazing WideDR profile. You have this in-camera, ready to use. With 1D X Mark II you have to use third-party solutions, which is always a kind of DIY and results are never as good as an in-house solution.

Field goal for C100. Canon C100 vs 1D X Mark II (33:34)

Gimbal and Steadicam use

Both cameras are tall and heavy. Which is bad for any gimbal use. Autofocus is plus for 1D X Mark II. Rotating display is plus for C100. C100 has a little bit lower center of gravity, which helps. Canon 1D X Mark II can be controlled with an Android phone and DSLRController App. You can see a live view, too. C100 Mark II can be controlled over WiFi in any browser. Phone, tablet or computer. But it is a bit basic, slow and low resolution. It is a tie.

No score. It is a punt. Canon C100 vs 1D X Mark II (33:34)

Weather resistance

C100 doesn’t have weather sealing. Actually, it has holes for ventilation and fan is inside. 1D X Mark II is probably the best weather sealed camera ever. But you have to use the similar sealed lens in combination. It is a small win for 1D X Mark because this is not that important for video use, from my experience.

Field goal for 1D X Mark II. Canon C100 vs 1D X Mark II (33:37)

Conclusion: Canon C100 vs 1D X Mark II for video use

canon 1dx mark ii 4k 60p video

If you look only spec sheet, Canon 1D X Mark II will be much better camera than C100. But that is the problem. There is so much YouTube reviews based on if the camera has 4K or not. As we can see there are a lot different important things. And when C100 has something good, it cannot be matched in DSLR and mirrorless world. These advantages are very important in real life. Canon 1D X Mark II ticking all boxes for good camera, while C100 is amazing for many things, but not so good in some others.

Canon C100 advantages
– more traditional camera
– excellent sound handling
– amazing battery life
– more pleasant classic film look
– cards, backup and file sizes
– more lenses

Canon 1D X Mark II advantages
– slow motion
– 4k
– autofocus
– automatic modes
– professional photo camera
– better controls and customization
– full-frame in (a little bit soft, must be said) 1080p mode
– weather resistance


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