Few people in the online camera realm speak with the voice and authority of Phillip Bloom. Like so many, I find Phillip’s work interesting. I also find his reviews of cameras to be spot on. Bloom takes them apart from a users perspective as a working professional, not as a camera reviewer. I like that. I can respect the views of someone who makes a living actually shooting the gear not just writing about it. My own subjects are different from Phillip’s. However, my needs for tough, reliable gear that gets the job done with the least time wasted are the same. Attaining the highest quality production values to satisfy – hopefully exceed – a clients needs is the goal, in the most economical way possible.
This Canon 1DC is probably the first DSLR to come along in the past couple of years that would tempt me to own a DSLR system again. I’m presently 100% mirrorless, but I would be lying if I said I’m not investigating this possibility. I love the light weight, small size of mirrorless camera bodies and lenses. Compact size, with little compromise in quality vs. the current full frame DSLR selections. But any hand-holdable 4K internal recording camera with these low light, high ISO capabilities would open up creative possibilities never before possible.
When you consider all the features and functions of the 1DX Canon body, you have a serious professional’s tool. There is very little I could even think of that I could not photograph using a 1DX. Having used earlier Canon 1D series bodies for many years, I already know their near legendary ability to not only get the shot but get it at the highest quality possible. At a price, of course. Canon DSLR based products are some of the most expensive options available in the marketplace. For the type of work I am doing now, Canon has not been a cost effective business consideration in the last five years, so I exited the system entirely.
When you take a top rated still camera, and combine it with features providing this level of video, Phillip rightly states the system is unique. To my mind, I see the Canon 1DC as a sort of a hybrid camera on steroids. It’s not a mirrorless, nor is it as small and light as my GH3. It doesn’t have the full feature set of the C300, but I can’t hand hold a C300, shoot stills in one moment then switch to video the next. In addition, from what my eyes see in this next piece from Johnnie Behiri, the quality from the 1DC seems to rival that from it’s larger C300 brother.
One of my key considerations, outside the considerable cash investment, is the physical characteristics. Not only the camera body, but the extensive list of lenses, tripods, heads, computer hardware, and software required today to run such a high end beast. This collection of related necessary “accessories” adds up to considerable weight and size. Having to add an assistant on all shoots would be mandatory, just to manage the collection of heavier gear. Most high end shoots requiring this level of gear are done with a staff of many people, rarely as a solo gig. The smaller jobs I do simply do not have the budget to support assistants, so this is a consideration also.
The computer demands alone working with 4K footage are an order of magnitude more complex than the 1080P and 720P footage I normally work with. So a retooling of not only the camera system would be required, I would need to purchase an entirely new computer and hard disk storage array at a minimum. Software upgrades would be required as well, since often the utilities to process 4K imagery are far more expensive than those required to do a professional level job with 1080P.
All of these are things to consider when looking at the 1DC for the first time. Once the 1DC becomes widely available, many of my present questions will be answered. All of them become a part of the calculations I have to make before deciding is this a camera that I too need to own, as Phillip Bloom has decided?
With any gear in this price range, my practice is to beg, borrow, or rent it before buying. If it doesn’t work as a short term loaner, it can’t work for me as a long term owner. Rental is also a solid option for many of my needs beyond my present kit of owned gear. I already own a collection of Zeiss primes. They are Canon mount as well, since I use the Canon mount as my mount choice on all of my bodies. I just adapt as necessary to my GH3, Fuji, Sony, or whatever I happen to be using on a particular job.
It is likely the 1DC will fall into that category for me, something I rent when I have a client job that requires it, not something I own. I no longer do the volume of work that Phillip Bloom puts out so it is harder for me to justify the cost. But then again, you just never know what tomorrow will bring, now do you?