Canon C200 or RED Helium 8K
Is the Canon C200 or RED Helium 8K the better camera?

Both the C200 and Helium 8K are great cameras for video shooting. So is the $24,500 Helium 8K really better than the $7,500 C200?

Armando Ferreira tests the C200 alongside a RED Helium 8K to see if the C200 can come toe-to-toe with the RED heavyweight:

Sensor size

Probably the most obvious difference between the two cameras is the resolution. The RED’s 8K resolution will give you a lot more options to work with in post, like reframing the clip. You can even go from a wide shot to a medium to a close-up with just one camera because the resolution allows it.

When zoomed really close, the RED undoubtedly takes the cake. The C200’s image can’t be cropped as far without visible loss of image quality. But this, again, isn’t surprising. The RED should be the leader in this category.

Color science

Video shot on any RED camera always looks very contrasted. Ferreira says that about 80% of the films shot with REDs are very dramatic, making their shoots look very high in contrast. Ferreira tried to match the RED’s contrasted look with the Canon and he got fairly close. Interestingly, the C200 was able to capture some colors that were more accurate to real life than the RED. For instance, he had to manually adjust the color of the model’s shirt in post because the RED’s color science changed the look of it.

Canon C200 or RED Helium 8K color graded
The C200 the Helium 8K have pretty different color sciences, even when color graded similarly

In another video, Ferreira tried to match C200 to the Alexa Mini’s color science and he had great success in matching them almost exactly. While the the C200 and Helium 8K footage look similar, there are some blatant differences in some parts of the color.

While Ferreira says he isn’t an expert in color grading, he says that it is harder to match the C200 color to the Helium 8K’s color. It’s not that it can’t be done, but it looks like it would take more work than it would if you used an Alexa Mini.

Dynamic range

When looking back on footage, especially instances where the background is overexposed, Ferreira noticed the RED had better dynamic range than the C200. This makes sense since the RED has 16 and a half stops of dynamic range. The C200 has just 13.

RED does use a feature called HDRX, which basically takes two exposures and combines them into one.

C200’s Advantage: dual-pixel autofocus

Ferreira says that one of the greatest features the C200 has that no other camera really does outside of Canon’s C series is dual-pixel autofocus. Dual-pixel autofocus helps the subject you’ve focused on stay in focus, even when they move. That gives the C200 a huge advantage over the RED in Ferreira’s eyes.

Armando Ferreira tests C200's dual-pixel autofocus
C200’s big advantage is its dual-pixel autofocus

RED’s drawbacks

One negative thing about the RED is it set up time. It takes two minutes just to warm up. Also blackshading the sensor can take longer than five minutes to do. On the C200 that should take no longer than thirty seconds. So, the C200 is ready to shoot right away, while the RED takes a lot of time to prep before it’s ready to use.

Plus, the accessories you need to buy to accompany the RED will jack up the price. It can easily double the price.

Who wins?

The real takeaway here is that good cameras are available at all different price points. It may not be necessary to the success of your project that you go and spend a ton of money on a RED camera. Just like what Ferreira says at the end of his video, it’s best to pick the camera most suited to the job you are doing.

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