For years, I was a Canon loyalist. I loved their color science, DP auto-focus, and overall image quality. I could grab my C100, run to an event, and get great images right away, all without having to haul a ton of rigging and accessories.
But the Canon gear also has its drawbacks. The C100, in particular, has an old codec with a low bit rate that limits what you can do in post. It was this limitation that led me to sell my Canon gear and switch over to the Blackmagic lineup, which has - in my opinion - some of the best recording codecs available to small production houses today. CinemaDNG RAW is simply amazing, and at BMD's price point, it was just too good to pass up.
End of story, right? Not so fast...
I'm not sure that I was entirely prepared for the tradeoffs of my choice to switch. I love my Blackmagic Cameras, and at least one or two will remain in my lineup for the foreseeable future. However, there are some things that I miss about my Canon gear. Things that I miss so much that I'm welcoming some Canon cameras back into the fray.
The first is the aforementioned simplicity of the Canon C-Series. No external battery mounts. No external audio rigs. No bolt-on viewfinders or top handles. No need for external ND filters. You can literally put one in your bag and go, and since the batteries last forever, you won't need to haul extra power with you, either.
The second is Canon's dual-pixel auto focus. As a cinematographer, I like to rack focus myself whenever possible, so this wasn't something that I thought of a lot when I left Canon, but the first time I had to fly an Ursa Mini on a Glidecam rig, I instantly remembered why I loved having that AF switch at my fingertips.
I find that I'm not using the amazing Blackmagic codecs as often as I thought that I would. Shooting 4K RAW eats through disk space like an NFL linebacker eats through a buffet line. Most often, I'm shooting in 1080p, ProRes 422 to save disk space. I've yet to have a client request a 4K deliverable, and since 98% of what I do is for web broadcast, the final files get compressed down to an H/264 .mp4 file anyway.
So, I'm coming back. Mostly.
I'm adding a Canon C100 mkII and an XC-10 back into the lineup. If I need ProRes 422 from the C100, I have a Blackmagic Video Assist that can take the 4:2:2 output from the HDMI port and record externally. The XC-10 is a vastly underrated little camera that can record C-Log 4K at 305Mbps if you're going to broadcast and 1080p at 35/50Mbps if you're going to web.
It's all about compromises. There is no silver bullet, perfect be-all, end-all camera. I'm still keeping at least one Blackmagic 4K camera in the mix (probably my 4K production camera, and maybe my Ursa Mini) for the rare instance where I need it, but with today's market still using 1080p deliverables for the vast majority of work, form factor, built in features, and manageable file sizes go a long way to keeping me sane.