August 7, 2012

The Long-Awaited Canon 7D 2.0.X Firmware Update Allowing Manual Audio Control is Here

We've been talking about it for what seems like an eternity now, people have been asking for it, and Canon has delivered. The new Canon firmware 2.0.X that will be fixing audio in the 7D and finally allow manual controls is available for download. The firmware update also addresses a number of other issues related to the still photography portion of the camera -- but the manual audio controls are the most significant change for video shooters.

Here is a quick overview of all of the updated features (thanks to Sebastian at cinema5D for the tip):

This is the list of the updated features:

  • Maximum Burst Rate for Continuous Shooting: 130 JPEG Large/Fine vs. 126 JPEG Large/Fine
  • Maximum Burst Rate for Continuous Shooting: 24 RAW vs. 15* RAW
  • GPS Compatibility: GPS Receiver GP-E2
  • Manual Audio Level Adjustment: 64 Levels
  • Maximum Limit for ISO Auto: 200-6400 Limit Set by User vs. ISO 3200
  • In-camera RAW Image Processing
  • In-camera JPEG Image Resizing
  • In-camera Ratings
  • Quick Control During Playback
  • Customization of File Names
  • Time Zone Settings
  • Scrolling of Magnified Images
  • Improved Scrolling Speed

Just like the 5D Mark II and other previous generation Canon cameras (and the Nikon D800), the new firmware will not allow you to change levels during recording. This is unfortunate, but it seems that it's just not possible to implement (though it would have been wonderful). Either way, there are many shooters who need these controls, as much as some people prefer not even having the ability because the sound quality isn't the best in the world. We'll see what Canon does with a future 7D Mark II (or whatever they will call it), but it would be a huge surprise if Canon decided not to update the video quality and used a similar 18mp sensor just like the Canon T4i. Only time will tell, but this firmware update is a clear sign that an updated camera body will probably not come by the end of this year.

To download the firmware, go to the link below and select your operating system and version. It does not allow downloading if you select Mountain Lion at this time, but it shouldn't really make a difference as the actual firmware itself is just loaded to the camera. For those of you with 7Ds out there, come back and let us know what you think of the update.

Link: Canon 7D Firmware Update 2.0.X

[via cinema5D]

Your Comment

30 Comments

With the implementation of manual audio control, would the sound quality be useable in conjunction with a Beech-box?

August 7, 2012

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Usable is up for interpretation, but there is no question you can get much better audio quality thanks to the ability to control levels.

August 7, 2012

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

And remember kids, never, ever, ever, use in camera audio on DSLR's as your final sound. It is always a scratch track to be synced with sound from an actual recorder. It doesn't matter how manual it is, the preamps inside canon cameras are terrible.

August 7, 2012

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john jeffreys

And if you are a run and gun/documentary kind of guy who does not have the luxury of a dedicated sound person next to you, you can simply mount a zoom h4n on top of your camera via a simple hotshoe adapter, and press record on the camera before you press record on the zoom, and yell the track name and action before a take.

August 7, 2012

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john jeffreys

Also consider that there are people and situations that don't need the audio quality to be perfect, it just needs to be passable. That's really who this is for - someone who doesn't want to have to deal with a sound recorder, they just want it to work right away. For example, this would have been perfect for the NAB coverage.

August 7, 2012

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

Actually, there's no reason not to put better sound on your camera. At the very least it will be a better guide track.

But if you want better sound, you can bypass the internal mic pre's by sending it a line level signal, attenuating it and setting the manual input level to one tick above zero. I send the signal from my MixPre, which is also feeding my external Marantz recorder. I get really clean results this way.

An added benefit to having the camera audio track is that you can record the signal at 10 db less than the outboard recorder. In case you have any clipping issues on the external audio, you'll have another track which is not clipping. This can be a life saver in a pinch. The only difference between my camera recordings and the external recorder is that I go 24/48 but the internal one can only be 16/48.

August 9, 2012

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I own a 7D and I downloaded the upgrade to get the other features as well as the sound level controls.

I'm new to Video and have done a lot of research, including this site, to learn about shooting and recording audio. I agree that my audio has to be passable; after all the video is only a 7D and not an EX3 or a RED.

After all of the research I purchased an active BeachTek DSA-XLR and an Azden Shotgun Mic. This Preamp allows me to suppress the hiss (disable the AGC) from the 7D and makes the audio quite good. My video work is only for Lap Top computers and small monitors. I will be posting them to YouTube as well, so the quality of the sound/audio is more that sufficient for the medium and audience.

The camera audio is what it is, but can be enhanced by using a good Preamp and Mic. I have compared both audio tracks with and without the Preamp; the Preamp wins. I have learned that good audio is almost as important as the image being recorded. This is obvious to many of you who are more experienced "shooters" and film makers, but it is (to me) exciting discovering these new mediums.

Thanks for your input to this site and for this site.

Best regards,

Rachael

I am very happy with the 7D combined with the BeachTek and the mic.

August 10, 2012

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Rachael

Has anyone done a serious test of the audio quality available on the 7D, now that we have manual control?
How does the audio compare to the zoom h4n or other video cameras or audio recorders? Is it high enough quality for interview audio with a good mic? What will be the best pre- amp to use, and will it actually bump the audio quality up enough? Is the audio bit rate high enough to justify getting a good pre-amp or good mic?
I'd love to leave my H4N at home and abandon Plural Eyes and all the time it takes to work with double system sound.....can I do it now?- thanks all!

August 13, 2012

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Greg

2 years late, all I can say.

August 7, 2012

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Marcus

Where is a good 5D Mark III upgrade! I want it to look as good as the c300!

August 7, 2012

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Omar A.

Firmware*

August 7, 2012

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Omar A.

firmware upgrades don't affect image quality.

August 7, 2012

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john jeffreys

Oh, well that sucks! Well I just feel like no one likes the mark III and they are going to leave it to die out. idk I guess I'm just scared that I might have just payed $4,300 for a camera that wasn't very good for video.

August 8, 2012

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Omar A.

That was sort of the impression I got when the Mk. III came out, but I had a great discussion with Joe about it when the time came to pick a camera for our shoot. He assured me that the Mk. III was a great looking camera (and I think there was a post a couple of months back about why the Mk. III was worth the money).

August 15, 2012

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Dave Mueller

It is a good looking camera, it might be a little softer than some options that are out there, but it's no softer than the Mark II. I like the look, I might be a sharpness junkie, but the skin tones hold up way better over higher ISOs than the Mark II ever did. It all depends on your own situation and what you need - whether moire/aliasing really affect your shooting and whether you have Canon lenses, etc.

August 15, 2012

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

Its more of a stills camera than a movie camera. Your 4 grand can be better spent.

August 16, 2012

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john jeffreys

I'm planning on getting a 7D soon. Will this this update be apart of the camera already or will i still have to download it.

August 7, 2012

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Dae Dae

Good update but... in live video mode, the histogram do not appears. At Canon 60D this function exists. Why Canon not incorporate this function in 7D? I don't understand that.

August 7, 2012

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LATE

August 7, 2012

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kunjimani

Ok so maybe this is a stupid question, but will this allow for Magic Lantern to be loaded onto 7Ds now?

August 7, 2012

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Not likely, no. There have already been firmware updates for this camera so a new one wouldn't really change the situation.

August 7, 2012

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

The audio fix is a great addition and I like many of the new still camera features. In particular rating photos and the ability to create jpegs from RAW in camera. The one item that I wish the new firmware could achieve which may be technically impossible is it's noise performance at very high ISOs, (above 1600). This seems to be the one crucial area where the 7D is being left behind by the best new cameras.

August 8, 2012

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Pity it's come so late. I'm on the verge of trading my 7D in for a BMCC... I should be able to get over $1000 for the body and associated kit (sans lenses), which makes the BMCC a sub $2000 upgrade. Which is a pretty good deal considering the difference in image quality between the two cameras. It'd pay itself off in a job or two...

August 8, 2012

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Stephen

Where would you trade in your 7D at?

August 9, 2012

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Jer

Does the "Maximum Limit for ISO Auto" works in movie mode? On my 7D it doesn't and that sucks, really...

August 9, 2012

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Tim

One thing I wished they fixed was to have the Histogram display on the Info overlay in Video mode, not just stills Live View mode.

On the 5D2, you get the Histogram on Live View until you start rolling, at least (even if it doesn't show up during filming) but on the 7D, you lose the Histogram the second you switch back to Movie mode, so it makes it hard to use.

August 9, 2012

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What about using the RA 333 or RM 333 from JuicedLink. I believe this firmware will allow us to DISABLE the AGC right?

August 10, 2012

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The big deal is really AGC. Can that be turned off??? if not, this is a "so what upgrade". For stills save a little longer and just go get a 5D Mlll... . get Magic Lantern installed and jobs a goodn. I've had ML on my Mll sinc the dawn of time, its awsome, and very stanble.

August 10, 2012

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This is what manual control does - it disables AGC

August 23, 2012

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I have been using the 7D with the BeechTek DXA-SLR for some time now and the results have been quite good. I disagree that the 7D audio is not usable. I presented a series of short web films in a small theater with a high quality audio system. They all sounded great and I could not tell the difference between those where I used a Zoom and those that used the 7D audio. Using this mixer with the new firmware should provide that much more control. I do need to test the line vs mic level input still. Now, if I were shooting a feature film I probably would not be using any of these DSLRs.

August 23, 2012

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