Don't get me wrong, I love the 5d3 and think the ISO and aliasing improvements were video upgrades enough. As a still camera you'd have to pry it away from me. Here's to hoping the 5d4 will do true 1080p come three years fromb now
We'll get real 1080p, focus peaking, and everything else we all want three years from now, but then we'll all want 4k or HDR or something, which the high end cameras will have. When we had the dvx we wanted HD, when we had the EX1 we wanted DoF adapters, when we had those we wanted speed…it won't stop, and filmmakers should stop waiting and start shooting. (Not that I wouldn't love a little more resolution and focus peaking, myself.)
The issue is that there's a huge market comprised of amateur, student, and casual filmmakers and all of them would like to be shooting on $3,000 Alexas instead of dSLRs--but manufacturers of high end gear have to differentiate it somehow so rental houses will buy high end instead of cheaper cameras. There are two ways in which they differentiate expensive gear--adding features only "pros" really need on expensive equipment and actual legitimate crippling of low end gear. I feel like the 5D Mark III isn't nearly as crippled as everyone claims and that if those people who criticize it turned around and tried to shoot an actual narrative film on red (or particularly on film) they'd have a new perspective on the process and what expenses and priorities matter when you're not shooting brick walls. Sure, the red is king of test shoots, but under time constraints, its advantages diminish for no budget work. Relative to 35mm film, which is even more difficult to shoot, the Epic and Alexa are pretty awesome to work with, but they're still not point-and-shoot. And of course 35mm shot properly (for instance, Tree of Life) still looks better than anything other than 65mm shot properly. So money and effort do buy you something.
But still: working with high end gear is a pain for what are increasingly diminishing returns. Even if a red epic cost $5000, I'd be wary about using it on a no-budget set. Batteries last 30 minutes. File sizes are huge. Transcoding takes forever. You need to meter since it's got enough latitude that the monitor will lie to you. You need external monitors in the first place. You need to conform and grade properly. Way harder to hit critical focus in 4k. Art design has to be better to hold up to that resolution. It's not a one-operator camera, let alone a one-man crew camera. That's why so much red footage on the internet is just glorified tech demos and test shoots, it's too hard to make a cheap project on it or an Alexa without money or at least a good crew. The c300 does seem to hit a nice middle ground, so does the f3/fs100, but even then you've got more work cut out for you. If you can afford the high end gear, and a full crew and post house to support it, yes…there are benefits over a dSLR, obviously. If you can't, consider your priorities; is your story so good it needs 4k and HDR for you to tell it, or is it so lacking you need 4k and HDR to hide its weaknesses in technical perfection?
I'd like a little more resolution (or even better in-camera sharpening would be enough) in the 5D Mark III, but all these bells and whistles (high speed, 4k, log modes, etc.) are just more trouble than they're worth to me on smaller sets that can't rent better. And, fwiw, the fs100 already does it all at under $5,000 but no one is terribly interested in it because it doesn't give great spec. The two+ stop improvement in low light performance with the 5D Mark III is a revolution in terms of real production needs (say goodbye to the genny truck and those 12k HMIs for night exteriors, we can make do with M18s and residential power now), but it's not on a spec sheet so no one cares. And of course, M18s are still $10,000, and actors and crew members are priceless... The 1D C seems reasonably priced to me, and will sell well to its intended market, which I'm unfortunately too poor to be part of, but if I had that money I'd invest it elsewhere, anyway, because I'm not a test shoot kind of guy.