Canon 5D Mark-II: 50% there

Canon announced today it will release a firmware update for the EOS 5D Mark II allowing users to manually control exposure when shooting video. The firmware update will include the following manual controls when shooting video:

* Full aperture selection
* ISO speed: Auto, 100 – 6400 and H1
* Shutter speed: 1/30th – 1/4000th second

This, in addition to its exposure compensation, exposure locking abilities, and gamma/color/picture settings that can be modified via templates generated with Canon’s PC/Mac accompanied 5D application.

This new firmware makes the 5D MII the best video camera out there for DV Rebels, and by far the best DSLR video camera out there. Of course, there are a slew of video-specific hardware features missing (e.g. XLRs), but in terms of actual visual quality obtained with its 38 mbps h.264 files, and with its new basic control options, it beats anything in that price range. Especially if you have some good lenses for it.

The only other feature that matters for us DV Rebels and that’s _really_ missing is frame rate support. 24p (=23.976) is still not there, and its 30p is 30.00 fps instead of 29.97. Additionally, 720p at 60p would have been nice too (for slow-motion usage). If Canon fix these two small problems (easy to implement), it has a real winner in its hands. There was a rumor a few weeks ago where someone said that Canon doesn’t want to implement 24p in its 5D in order to not cannibalize its prosumer cameras, but truth is, people are asking for it — a lot. They will have to comply.

In our home, we are 60% ready to buy the new 5D. Before today’s announcement, we were 10% ready. So we are close. But still not there. Add some frame rates that make sense, and then we will buy it with closed eyes. Promise.

20 Comments »

Dustin wrote on May 26th, 2009 at 11:21 PM PST:

how would you compare the 5D to Panasonic GH1


guyk wrote on May 26th, 2009 at 11:30 PM PST:

sorry but why keep on insisting for 23.976 and 29.97fps ?

this was only required by analog TVs because of the notorious NTSC color hack

Blurays are mostly 24.000fps, any didital TV (or beamer) that supports 24p takes 24.000hz+/-1% (tolerance mandatory because there’s no clock sync via hdmi) so really, what’s the point ?

this is one of the good points of HD : we can finally get rid of those clock hacks, nothing mandates them any longer, so why keep on insisting ?

ps this is not a troll, i’m totally serious there. analog TVs are already obsolete here, and there will all be dead in a year or two when HD becomes definitely mainstream


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Eugenia wrote on May 26th, 2009 at 11:39 PM PST:

Dustin, the GH1 records in just 17 mbps bitrate and the artifacts are very evident when viewing the video 1:1. The 5D records at 38 mbps, which is much higher even than 24mbps AVCHD. The video quality of the 5D is unsurpassed. This reason alone does not justify the GH1 to me. Plus, it doesn’t have enough manual controls compared to the new 5D (after the firmware upgrade). The only thing it has for it is the easier-to-edit AVCHD-Lite format, and lower price. It doesn’t even record in true 24p (it still requires pulldown removal like the HV20/30).

Guyk, you will be surprised, but not all HDTVs are “intelligent”. Many will just resample from 24p/30p to 23.976/29.97, and this will create ghosting. So it’s important to follow the standards no matter if we think that digital takes the pain away. It don’t always do so.


risiho wrote on May 27th, 2009 at 1:39 AM PST:

Hey Eugenia,

I have a 5d II. Bought it for photography but am getting into video as well. Can you elaborate on 29.97 frames/sec. Is it just tv that require 29.97 fps? What about computers – do they handle 30fps fine?

What’s the advantage of 24fps over 30fps? I don’t get this. I would think the higher the fps the better.

Thanks if you can help me understand this a bit better..

Rishi O.


Boz wrote on May 27th, 2009 at 9:47 AM PST:

Yes, people have been asking for 24P since LaForet’s video came out.

Posters broke the comments section with their requests for 24P… and here we are with no 24P update. It’s not coming. Canon is saving that for their video department.

Unfortunately, it’s one of the things I must have in my next camera. So as cool as this update is, it is incomplete.


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Eugenia wrote on May 27th, 2009 at 10:22 AM PST:

>Is it just tv that require 29.97 fps?

Yes. Most TVs require it, otherwise they will show ghosting. Although some few LCD monitors are also configured as 59.94 Hz instead of 60 Hz. Basically, anything that’s not sharp 60Hz, would do better with 29.97 fps.

>What’s the advantage of 24fps over 30fps?

It’s needed for short movies, music video clips and art projects. Not for family, everyday, or journalist stuff.


kboy wrote on May 27th, 2009 at 11:22 AM PST:

Does this unit have equal stabilization ability like HV series, for handheld interviews and footage?

Isn’t there memory problems? Can you have this on video the entire time during event and take great still photos at the same time??

That might change the videography industry.


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Eugenia wrote on May 27th, 2009 at 11:36 AM PST:

It has much better image stabilization than the HV series, as the lenses are stabilized properly. You can’t shoot more than 12 minutes at a time though, because of FAT32 limitations.


Michael J. wrote on May 27th, 2009 at 10:54 PM PST:

Eugenia, do you have statistics on 29.97 and 23.98? Digital TV/video includes proper 24.00, 30.00 and 60.00 fps rates, they are in the ATSC3 table, you can take a look. I assume that 720p broadcast is straight 60p, hence 30p and 24p that are broadcast over 720p channels are proper 24.00 and 30.00. I would not care about crappy TVs that cannot handle framerates that are clearly spec’d in ATSC requirements.


chris wrote on May 28th, 2009 at 10:10 PM PST:

That’s ridiculous @ 12 min., you would kick yourself for this if you ever wanted to capture once in a lifetime footage.

Regardless whether or not you’re a filmmaker or videographer or consumer.


Jara wrote on May 29th, 2009 at 3:00 AM PST:

Hi Eugenia,

just wanted to clarify if all the videos on Vimeo are reencoded to 24p as I read it somewhere few weeks back? thanks


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Eugenia wrote on May 29th, 2009 at 12:57 PM PST:

The HD videos are re-encoded at a maximum of 25p, but this will change soon (they will go 30p). The non-HD videos re-encoded at a maximum of 30p.


Claudio wrote on May 31st, 2009 at 2:36 PM PST:

Several times i’ve read about your concern for non NTSC frame rates, especially when you edit:

– A 24p video in a 23.976 project produce horrible blended frames, etc.

This have not been a problem for me because I change de frame rate using AVIFrate. This means:

One frame in the AVI -> one frame in the timeline.

And if you do this for 30p video (29.97->23.976) you get that slow motion feel of video clips without reencoding or anything.

Of course, you have to stretch the audio independently in your timeline.


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Eugenia wrote on May 31st, 2009 at 3:32 PM PST:

Yes, I know of time remapping. But it’s a pain in the ass to do that on Vegas. You will have to re-render out, or do that to all clips one by one, it’s not automatic on Vegas.

And besides, why would I want to do this in the first place? I just want Canon to get it right.


Jara wrote on June 2nd, 2009 at 5:47 AM PST:

So how it is possible that Vimeo is able to flawlessly transcode Canon 5D videos from 30p to their codec at 24p (or 25p).

Why cant we just use the same setup?


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Eugenia wrote on June 2nd, 2009 at 10:45 AM PST:

Because Vimeo does not do retiming. It simply drops frames. Vegas can do this too — very easily.

The problem is that a 30p video exported as 24p will be choppy — as are Vimeo’s pans. It is NOT the same as having shot at real 24p with shutter speed at 1/48th. It’s just a fake 24p — and it shows.

Please obtain a bit more knowledge about the whole thing.


Monty wrote on June 2nd, 2009 at 4:17 PM PST:

http://prolost.com/blog/2009/6/2/5d-day.html

5D Day
DateMonday, June 1, 2009 at 6:40PM

It’s June 2 in Tokyo, and the manual exposure control firmware update for the Canon 5D Mark II is here.

Now set your shutter to 1/60 and get shooting!


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Eugenia wrote on June 2nd, 2009 at 4:37 PM PST:

Erm, not sure why you linked this, because I have already replied to that blog post hours ago. So I’ve read it.

And besides, setting your shutter to 1/60th does not make it 1/48th and 24p. It will still look different.


Jara wrote on June 4th, 2009 at 5:00 AM PST:

Thanks Eugenia, I am trying to learn all this framerate nonsense. Two more questions: How could you force Vegas to drop frames as Vimeo HD does? In some more static takes it does not look that choppy.

Secondly, any other method of transcoding 30p to 25p within Vegas ( I know about Twixtor and Compressor but would like to keep my editing in Vegas)

Btw here is one action video filmed with HV20 and Twoneil adapter. I know you like Bloc Party so you might like this one:


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Eugenia wrote on June 4th, 2009 at 10:24 AM PST:

1. You select all clips in the timeline, and you “Disable resampling” on them, and then you just export in the desired frame rate.
2. Just use the method above, the only other way is to retime the footage, which will make it slow motion.

I added your video to the HV20 channel. Please go back and add the words “HD”, and “HV20”, as tags on Vimeo. Otherwise, we can’t know to add it to channels for more people to see.


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