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Spec showdown: Red Scarlet-X versus Canon C300

red scarlet x versus canon c300Much ado has been made about the Canon EOS C300, the legacy brand’s first real go at movie quality digital imaging. Canon has long been associated with high-end DSLRs, and it’s recently announced 1D X has managed to blow critics away with its high-speed capabilities and revolutionized AF system.

But the world of prosumer and professional still photography is not enough, and Canon will make a play for moviemakers’ money. The announcement of the C300 just so happens to correspond with that of the Red Scarlet-X, a manufacturer more commonly linked to the film industry. So, of course, we just had to see how these two beasts line up.


In the interest of time, we’re not going to compile every single specification. Here are some of the more standout, comparable features of the two cameras. 


In Canon’s corner…

The C300 has a few things going for it with this launch, primarily its name. For newcomers to the film industry, the name Canon might mean a lot more than Red (we’re not saying that makes it right, but it’s certainly something a big name like Canon can probably count on).

Those transitioning from still photos probably have warm fuzzy feelings about the Canon 5D Mark II as well, which the C300 takes cues from.

The smaller form is another factor that could work in Canon’s favor.

But the Scarlet-X…

All that said, there is one big, glaring benefit to going with the Scarlet-X: The price tag. At a fraction of the cost, you can buy a camera that is more traditionally associated with digital cinema. Canon might be better-known the world over, but the filmmaking community knows that Red means huge resolutions and an impressive FPS range.

And if you know anything about the EPIC (which film buffs do), you know that its powerful sensor goes along way. The Scarlet-X uses the same size sensor, so it’s sort of being interpreted as the more basic, discount version of the EPIC.

One other feature that some might glaze over but could seal the deal for some is that the Scarlet-X will have AF capabilities with EF lenses, which the C300 won’t.

Are these cameras really competing?

A lot of to do is being made pitting these cameras against each other, which is fair given their simultaneous announcements and handful of comparable features. But it’s worth mentioning that the Scarlet-X is sort of like the starter version of Red’s lineup, while the C300 is Canon’s top of the line model.

The C300 is Canon’s biggest step into filmmaking, and is probably being leveraged toward big productions (which is what the Red EPIC is pitched for) and not smaller movies that don’t need such technical sophistication. The Scarlet-X is sort of “EPIC-lite,” so these two cameras might not necessarily be meant for the same demographic. 

Molly McHugh
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Before coming to Digital Trends, Molly worked as a freelance writer, occasional photographer, and general technical lackey…
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