Cinema Cameras: Are They Too Complicated to Use?

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

Canon’s higher end cinema cameras like the new C700 can do a heck of a lot. From 4K Raw to high frame rates to incredible dynamic range, the image they can create are amazing. But are they too complicated to use? On filmmaker thinks so.

“I’m a Canon man. Alway s have been. For me, they just has the most of everything I like using, for cinematography and photography. I like their lenses, I think their professional L series gives me a look I can’t find comparable.”

Professional photographer Peter McKinnon is a superstar on YouTube.  While some call him Casey Neistat’s best friend on the platform, he has his own street cred, having garnered over 1,000,000 subscribers to his channel in less than 9 months.  His videos have a stunning cinematic look to them, and it’s all been done on his Canon DSLR.

A self-described die hard Canon man, McKinnon recently took a Canon C700 on a shoot to Iceland for some great high performance cinematic video. He never once used it, and ended up returning it. Why would you forsake such a high end tool? McKinnon says he took one look at it and decided it was simply too complicated.

“I’m sure it’s incredible,” McKinnon said on his recent YouTube video. “I know it does 4K at 120fps, and has the best dynamic range. But sometimes you look at a camera that has so buttons, options, and accessories and you go “nah, not interested.” McKinnon says it’s so heavy, that it “feels like he’s pulling a truck around” when he’s carrying it. So he ended up driving to his nearest Canon dealership (about an hour away) and returning it.

Now to be fair, McKinnon makes his living with the still image, but his second career is shooting video for his ever popular YouTube Channel. In essence, he shoots vlogs in his own version of the Neistat style, so a Canon C700 would be a bit of overkill for what he uses it for. He’s even shot on the C100 for several years, so he’s used to the higher end, serious cinematography. But even then, the real problem for McKinnon with using these cinema cameras  is that they run up against his run and gun style.

He’s a master at getting the most cinematic shots out of his current favorite DSLR … the Canon 1DX Mk.II.  “For me, DSLRs are the way to go,” McKinnon surmises, “you can get excellent video, great bokeh, and workable audio. The 1DX is a beast of a camera. It does 4K video, 120 fps at 1080p, 60p at 4k. Mist, rain, it’ll take a beating. But it’s heavy as shit.”

So that leads me to thinking … are digital cinema cameras getting too complicated?  Maybe when you’re shooting a feature, you want to have the options that all that extra features and gear provide, but when you’re out in the field in a one man crew situation, is a DSLR a better option? McKinnon seems to think so.

One of the things I like to do with posts like these is start a conversation. I come across stories like this and it makes me wonder if the shooter in question is onto something, or am I merely reading too much into it. Sometimes I get it completely wrong. But what I’m trying to do is get a conversation going. So, with that in mind, what do you guys think? Is McKinnon onto something?

About doddle 16414 Articles
Doddle is a leading online resource for filmmakers, covering news, reviews and tutorials for the video and film industry, along with movie and TV news.

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