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The EOS C100 entry-level Cinema EOS camera explained

The EOS C100 entry-level Cinema EOS camera explained

October 2012

The EOS C100 is the entry-level camera in the expanded Cinema EOS range. It produces Super 35mm digital cinema footage from a body that is 15% smaller and 410g lighter than the EOS C300. The C100 has been designed with smooth and highly efficient workflow in mind and shares many features found in the EOS C300. CPN takes a closer look at the EOS C100 to explain its key technologies, features and benefits. To find out more about the EOS C100, please click on the section headings below.


The EOS C100 offers independent videographers a small, lightweight camera that is capable of speeding up workflow and maximising efficiency, yet still retains many of the key qualities and benefits of the larger Cinema EOS System cameras.

EOS C100 - Key features

  • Super 35mm-equivalent 8.3 Megapixel Canon CMOS sensor with Bayer pattern filter.
  • EF lens mount; over 70 EF lenses available for the EOS C100.
  • One–Shot Auto Focus/Push Auto Iris/Auto White Balance features; optimised for single operator use.
  • Compact, modular design; 15% smaller than EOS C300.
  • 24Mbps (Max) MPEG-4 AVCHD/H.264 recording, 4:2:0 colour sampling.
  • ISO range of 320-20,000 with wide dynamic range (12 stops achievable when shooting Canon Log Gamma or Wide DR Gamma).
  • Stereo microphones built in to detachable handle, Pro XLR connectors included on the handle.
  • New Wide Dynamic Range (Wide DR) Gamma setting.
  • Two SD memory card slots with relay record or simultaneous record options. SDHC/SDXC supported.
  • Three built-in, manually controlled glass ND filters; 2, 4 and 6 stops.
  • Long life from supplied BP-955 battery.
  • DIGIC DV III image processor.
  • Comprehensive NLE support; Data Import Utility software included.

The EOS C100 brings many of the technical advantages offered by the EOS C300 camera in a body that is 15% smaller and 410g lighter.

Modular system with compact body design

The EOS C100 extends the appeal of the Cinema EOS family and is perfect for a single operator thanks to its compact body design consisting of a solid magnesium alloy outer frame that is 15% smaller and 410g lighter than the EOS C300. The body accepts all the optics from Canon’s comprehensive EF range of lenses and comes with a removable handle unit which houses a stereo microphone plus connectors for two channels of XLR audio input.

New Auto features

The enhanced auto functions of the EOS C100 – One-Shot Auto Focus, Push Auto Iris and Auto White Balance – bring further speed and convenience to single operator shooting. Pushing the One-Shot AF button before recording starts ensures that the camera focuses on the subject at the centre of the screen. Push Auto Iris automatically adjusts the aperture to assist in obtaining the correct exposure for the scene. The Auto White Balance feature evaluates the scene and automatically sets the appropriate colour temperature setting.

* Note: One-Shot AF and Push Auto Iris functions are not available when you are shooting with Cinema EF lenses.

The Push Auto Iris and White Balance controls are on the left hand side of the EOS C100.

AVCHD format recording

The EOS C100 utilises the MPEG-4, 4:2:0, 24Mbps codec, recording in the AVCHD format. The format uses 4:2:0 colour sampling, and Canon has implemented the top 24Mbits/sec data rate which is used in standard, as well as native Full HD resolution. The AVCHD format has been widely adopted and is supported by most editing software. Canon's implementation of AVCHD maximises quality, whilst keeping storage requirements to a minimum.

Efficient heat dissipation

Providing a highly stable working platform, a simplified heat-dissipating structure has been incorporated into the EOS C100’s body. The heat produced by the main circuit board – a major heat source – is discharged from an exhaust duct located separately from the heat of the sensor circuit board. Ducting with a tunnel structure along with the use of a large slow rotation fan produces low noise but retains maximum cooling efficiency.

The One-Shot AF control is on the front of the EOS C100.

The benefits of the Cinema EOS System

At its announcement, in November 2011, the Cinema EOS System included the EOS C300 (EF mount) and EOS C300 PL (PL mount) Digital Cinema Cameras, a range of 4K-ready lenses in a mixture of EF and PL lens mounts. This system has since grown with the addition of the EOS-1D C DSLR, which is equipped with a 35mm full-frame CMOS sensor and supports the recording of 4K video, plus the launch of the EOS C500 and C500 PL 4K/2K Digital Cinema Cameras.

These imaging products fuse together Canon’s proven proprietary technologies in the fields of video, lenses, CMOS sensors and image processing to produce the high-quality, versatile Cinema EOS System for the filmmaking, broadcast and independent production industries. The EOS C100 inherits many of the key features found in the EOS C300 camera – such as the Super 35mm-equivalent CMOS sensor for Full HD capture and excellent low light performance – and brings all the benefits of this high-end system to independent videographers.

With full compatibility with over 70 Canon EF lenses, the EOS C100 offers a world of shooting possibilities.

Full EF lens compatibility

Canon’s EF lens mount was launched at the same time as the 1987 introduction of the original EOS series of SLRs and the EF lens mount compatibility opens up many creative possibilities. Currently the Canon EF lens range has over 70 different lenses for a total focal length range that stretches from 8mm up to 800mm, and also includes the EF1.4x III and EF2x III extenders.

The introduction of the EOS C100 gives filmmakers who are already shooting Full HD video with Canon EOS DSLRs, EF and EF-S lenses the opportunity to upgrade their systems to take advantage of the range of benefits in the Cinema EOS System and incorporate it into their workflow.


Canon’s state-of-the-art CMOS sensor technology coupled with advanced signal processing makes high-quality Full HD video easily achievable even in low light, allowing the single operator to shoot with the EOS C100 in all conditions.

8.3 Megapixel Super 35mm CMOS Sensor

The ‘imaging heart’ of the EOS C100 is the same large, 8.3 Megapixel Super 35mm Canon CMOS sensor that was first seen in the EOS C300 and C300 PL cameras. Allowing near motion-picture quality, this sensor has a pixel size that is larger than that seen in conventional professional camcorders.

The much greater light-gathering capability of the new Cinema EOS System dramatically reduces noise in low light situations, delivering clean, high-resolution images in natural light setups where filmmakers would need extra lighting when shooting with a conventional camcorder. The enhanced sensitivity of the CMOS sensor used in the Cinema EOS range allows the C100 to capture images with lower noise levels, evident at high ISO settings, up to a maximum ISO of 20,000.

The CMOS sensor reads 1920x1080 Full HD video signals for each of the three RGB primary colours to deliver signal processing that is equivalent to the processing of 3-chip RGB systems. CMOS sensors cannot distinguish colours, so light must pass through a colour filter for separation into the three primary colours of red, green, and blue. The most common filter array used for this purpose is the Bayer array; within the Bayer array filtering, each pixel has data for only one colour.

The 8.3 Megapixel Super 35mm Canon CMOS sensor in the C100 is optimised for high-quality Full HD imaging.

Three values for red (R), green (G), and blue (B) are interpolated from average values that are determined using the colour data of other, surrounding pixels. Because interpolation algorithms vary by manufacturer and device, discrepancies can occur in colour reproduction. In the EOS C100 twice as many green pixels as red or blue pixels are used because the human eye is more sensitive to greens, so a higher green resolution translates into a higher apparent resolution.

A typical 2 Megapixel Bayer array uses a narrow optical low-pass filter to reduce moiré. Moiré is also known as ‘interference fringes’ and refers to the same kinds of stripes or false colours that appear when photographing a regular pattern when the pixel resolution and pattern frequency do not match. The same phenomenon occurs in printing when images are converted to dots using halftone screens. The 8.3 Megapixel system in the C100 Digital Cinema Camera means no pixel interpolation is needed, which results in a decreased incidence of moiré while realising high resolution with 1,000 horizontal TV lines.

Thanks to a new photodiode structure the larger CMOS sensor has a faster readout and increased capacity to provide a wider dynamic range. Unlike CCDs, which read all pixels at once, CMOS sensors scan one line at a time. For this reason, when fast-moving subjects are shot, the portion most noticeably in motion may be diagonally distorted – an inherent shortcoming of CMOS sensors called ‘rolling shutter skews’. The High-speed data readout developed by Canon reduces the skew effects caused by rolling shutter, thus resulting in the realistic reproduction of moving subjects.

DIGIC DV III processor

The DIGIC DV III processor is the latest generation in the DIGIC DV family. Greater processing power provides enhanced colour gradation, wide dynamic range and beautiful reproduction of skin tones, in addition to supporting features such as extensive image customisation.

The combination of the large CMOS sensor with Canon’s high-performance DIGIC DV III image processor facilitates high-precision gamma processing and smooth gradation expression.

The DIGIC DV III processor in the C100 offers greater processing power for enhanced colour gradation, wide dynamic range and beautiful reproduction of skin tones.

Canon Log

Canon Log was a brand new gamma setting developed for the EOS C300 which retained the maximum amount of information, making it ideal for colour correction in post-production.

Canon Log works over a 12-stop dynamic range, enabling 5.3 stops of exposure latitude from the optimal exposure at ISO 850 or higher. It also allows detailed adjustment for highlight and shadow and broadens the range of colour grading.

Canon Log Gamma has been designed with post-processing in mind and when View Assist function is selected on the C100 users can preview on the monitor how Custom Pictures will look once colour grading has been carried out. Canon Log Gamma also allows for seamless conversion to the industry-standard 10-bit Cineon format for colour grading. The C100 comes supplied with Data Import Utility software to rejoin scenes that may have been split when new files are created, assisting in the importing of files into editing software.

Wide DR Gamma

The EOS C100 sees the introduction of Canon Wide DR (Dynamic Range) Gamma, which helps to produce smooth changes in brightness, seamless gradations, and reproduces clear skin tones with uniform colours; thus eliminating the need for post-production processes. Like Canon Log Gamma, Wide DR Gamma uses gamma-ray curve data in order to achieve a wide dynamic range (12 stops) equivalent to Canon Log. Since Wide DR Gamma is based on the gamma setting included in a conventional camcorder, it enables video production with high timeliness by assuming a TV monitor output.


The EOS C100 offers extensive creative control over image capture including 20 recorded Custom Picture settings, built-in filters, and a wide variety of lens options.

Custom Pictures

On the EOS C100 up to 20 different Custom Picture profiles can be stored. For each profile 90 variables can be set including Gamma, Black, Black Gamma, Low Key SAT, Knee, Sharpness, Noise Reduction, Skin Detail, Selective NR, Colour Matrix adjustment, White Balance, and Colour Correction. With the Custom Picture system users can freely adjust image quality for greater control over how content looks. User created Custom Pictures profiles can be saved to SD cards to enable profile sharing on multiple cameras.

The Custom Picture control is on the left hand side of the EOS C100’s compact body.

Built-in ND filters for shallow depth-of-field

Three manually selectable ND filters are built-in to the EOS C100, the same as in the EOS C300. The system consists of three densities – 0.6 (2-stop), 1.2 (4-stop) and 1.8 (6-stop) – with ND0 being clear and are made from glass to prevent damage from sunlight and allow for shooting with shallow depth-of-field, even with the iris open in daytime scenes. The ND filters can be switched by rotating the ND selector dial on the front left hand side of the camera.

The C100 is equipped with a dial switching type built-in ND filter system that is dustproof and allows for shooting with shallow depth-of-field.

EF lenses for a wealth of creative options

Highly trusted by photographers and boasting a solid track record, Canon has earned an unmatched reputation and status in the stills camera market with a range of EF lenses for every occasion. The Cinema EOS System is fully enabled to accept the huge EF lens range – with focal lengths from 8mm up to 800mm – and automatically corrects characteristics such as vignetting from wide-angles. With its compact body design the C100 is ideally suited to work with the lightweight and compact lenses within the EF range, from the EF8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM up to lightweight super telephoto lenses.

The creative possibilities of the EOS C100 are greatly increased by its compatibility to Canon’s wide range of EF lenses, with focal lengths from 8mm up to 800mm.

Video function & frame rates

Content can be recorded on the EOS C100 in two modes over three different bit rates. At 1920x1080 two bit rate options are available: 24Mbps and 17Mbps. For smaller files at lower resolution, 1440x1080 is available at 7Mbps. The C100 is able to record in PAL or NTSC modes. and at 24Mbps lpcm records audio in linear pcm format at 16bits 48khz. Audio recording in all other bit rates is in Dolby Digital AC3 at 24, 17 or 7 Mbps.

Audio quality

At 24Mbps lpcm records audio in linear pcm format in 16bits at 48khz. Audio recording in all other bit rates is in Dolby Digital AC3 at 24Mbps, 17Mbps or 7Mbps.


The EOS C100’s lightweight, compact body has a modular design, superb handling, customisable controls, and a durable build to ensure that you get the shot in every situation. Innovative features such as the pre-record function, as found on the C300, captures three seconds of footage and saves it in buffer memory giving you even more scope for footage when working post-production.

The EOS 100 is just part of a modular system that allows for the addition of grips, handles and lenses.

Compact body design

The EOS C100’s compact body is 15% smaller than the EOS C300 and weighs 410g less at 1020g (body only) for easy handling and straightforward single operator shooting. Removable grip, handle and multi-angle control panel components ensure maximum manoeuvrability, whilst the robust body features magnesium alloy components for additional rigidity and toughness.

Up to 15 Custom Buttons are available for the user to store specific camera functions on the EOS 100 – all of the assignable buttons are numbered.

Custom Buttons

On the EOS C100 up to 15 numbered Custom Buttons can be assigned by users to take care of a variety of their most frequently used camera functions, allowing videographers to refine their efficiency during shooting. Users can customise the C100 by assigning buttons to take care of a variety of functions including Magnification, Peaking, Zebra, WFM, Push Auto Iris, ISO/Gain, Shutter and One-Shot AF.

The EOS C100 features a 3.5-inch (8.8cm) 920,000-dot LCD panel and a 0.24-inch EVF with the equivalent of 1,560,000 dots.

High resolution LCD and EVF

The 3.5-inch (8.8cm) LCD found on the EOS C100 is large and bright, allowing easy composing and playback. At 920,000 dots it offers incredible sharpness and clarity and can be tilted upwards to a maximum of 100 degrees to make ground level shooting and viewing easily possible from a low-angle positions. Additionally, a 0.24-inch EVF with the equivalent of 1,560,000 dots allows the camera to be used in the DSLR position for eye-level shooting.


The EOS C100 records to Dual SD card slots for up to 11 hours 50 mins of continuous recording at 24Mbps on two 64GB SD cards set to relay recording and includes new importing software for seamlessly joining together video files. Approximately 2 hours and 55 mins of footage can be recorded to a 32GB SD card at 24Mbps.

Data Import Utility software

The new Data Import Utility software supplied with the EOS C100 automatically recognises divided files as a single long file and seamlessly joins together the divided video files when they exceed 2GB or when they are created during relay recording, thus helping to reduce the work during editing.

AVCHD format to SD cards

AVCHD is a form of video compression that allows the large data files created by HD video recording to be captured and saved on digital media such as hard disk drives and flash memory cards.

Using the relay record function with a 64GB SD card in both of the SD card slots, up to 11 hours 50mins of recording is made possible by crossing from one card to the other. As one card becomes full, recording continues seamlessly onto the next.

The EOS C100 records MPEG-4 AVCHD files at 24Mbps (4:2:0) to two SD memory cards with relay and double slot simultaneous HD recording options available (a valuable feature, that’s especially useful where an instant backup is required).

In-camera HD to SD conversion, an ideal feature when transferring recorded files to DVD and web uploads, is also possible with the C100 after recording. The AVDHC files generated by the EOS C100 are easily moveable between systems and can be stored on the SD card or transferred via USB.

The HDMI output terminal is amongst the input and output terminals on the EOS C100.


Timecode is recorded when recording to SD card. An HDMI signal output function also enables a timecode and 2:3 pulldown marker to be superimposed on the HDMI signal output. The non-compressed signals can be processed as SDI video signals (comparable to HD-SDI) depending on the external recorder and converter connected to the EOS C100. Footage is then compatible with NLE editing software from companies such as Apple, Adobe, AVID and Grass Valley.


Post-production is where the filmmaker’s vision becomes reality. The 8.3Mb CMOS sensor rivals 3-chip performance, breaking out clean HD bandwidth RGB signals in either 24, 17 or 7 Mbps bit-rates without any of the distortions associated with a de-bayering process.

Workflow integration

The Cinema EOS System seamlessly integrates into NLE workflows using industry-standard file formats to make the post-production process as smooth as possible. It produces digitally robust files that are easy to transfer and preview, and hold up extremely well to multiple changes and multiple saves, multiple times.

File based recording to SD cards

The EOS C100 uses two card slots to record to SD Cards. Recording functions include pre-recording, relay recording and double-slot recording.

The use of SD cards facilitates workflow-reducing transfer times when moving files to NLE systems. For documentaries, news gathering or reality TV, one card can be kept local, or backed up to a storage device, while the other card can be shuttled back to an editing crew in a distant location. Additionally, there's no need for special hardware or transcoding when remotely editing or editing ‘on-the-fly’.


Sometimes the most surprising and useful footage is captured before the director calls "Action" or before the cinematographer sees the subject enter the frame. The EOS C100 features the same Pre-Record function as on the EOS C300 camera and continually captures three seconds of footage and saves it in buffer memory. This buffer is then written into the start of a clip once the record button is pressed. Pre-Record gives DOPs, directors and editors some latitude in editing, adding critical seconds of content that can make a scene or avoid a reshoot.