Note: This is in no way a review of the camera. I had it for two days and only shot one. That’s nowhere near enough time to have a definitive opinion on the camera, but first impressions are worth sharing.
There are a bunch of tools you can use to help you expose and focus properly: Zebras, focus peaking, waveform, etc. As a Magic Lantern user, these aren’t new to me, but having dedicated buttons for them allow you to work so much quicker, and they’re also a lot more responsive than in ML.
Having only one dial initially felt problematic when you’re used to be able to quickly change aperture and shutter speed. But with ND filters, you only ever need to change the shutter as a conscious artistic decision.
Speaking of which, internal ND filters are all sorts of awesome, so much more practical than screw-on variable ND. But they take some getting used to. On many occasions I found myself raising the ISO in interior scenes when what I really needed to do was to drop the NDs. Not the camera’s fault, though. I do wish it was possible to see which filter is engaged by simply looking at the dial, but you have to look at the monitor to get that information.
Another neat feature is the ability to fine tune the aperture even on clicked lenses. You get a couple of steps between the traditional 1/3rd of a stop increments, so you can dial in the exposure to your exact needs. Not entirely sure how this works, but it’s a very welcome feature.
The monitor is really good, and in combination with the focus peaking, I felt quite confident about achieving focus without zooming in. The joystick on the monitor also allows you to navigate the menus without having to use the grip.
The EVF is okay but doesn’t rock my world either. I did use it a fair bit, but I felt it lacked a bit of contrast, and more importantly wasn’t big enough compared to, for instance, my X-T1 (I know, different category, but an EVF is an EVF). When you have a lot of information displayed on screen, that’s quite important.
Selecting framerates, formats and bitrates is quite awkward though, and you’ll want to set up a custom menu to access them a bit more quickly. I’m a bit annoyed that some framerates are limited to NTSC and that some bitrates are only available in some framerates.
I’d shoot with the C100 over a DSLR any day, but I don’t think this is the camera for me. It’s really really good at what it does, but the feature set is limited, which doesn’t make it the best camera to experiment with, and more importantly it’s not very future proof.
It’s in my opinion the best “usable out of the box” video camera for the money, but I would feel constrained if that was my main working camera.
My gut feeling is that the Sony FS5 is well worth the extra grand (it’s definitely the case on paper) but I won’t know for sure until I give that one a spin.