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Canon 5D Mark III Getting Uncompressed HDMI in Official Firmware Update

10.23.12 @ 1:25PM Tags : , , , , ,

That’s right, Canon is going to be giving users clean HDMI in a future firmware update for the 5D Mark III, and it’s not coming from the hardworking folks at Magic Lantern. Canon has innovated in some ways in the DSLR space, but they have made a clear distinction between their video and photography product lines. Lack of clean HDMI is a feature their competition already has — namely Nikon and Sony, who both have cameras with clean HDMI — with the Nikon D800 being the first full-frame camera out of the gate with a fully uncompressed 1080p. Obviously Canon has a plan for announcing this now, the only question is, when will you actually be able to get it?

Here is a bit from their press release about the announcement, which will also include new AF improvements:

Uncompressed HDMI Output Support

When shooting video, HDMI Output makes possible the recording of high-definition uncompressed video data (YCbCr 4:2:2, 8 bit) from the EOS 5D Mark III to an external recorder via the camera’s HDMI terminal. This, in turn, facilitates the editing of video data with minimal image degradation for greater on-site workflow efficiency during motion picture and video productions. Additionally, video being captured can be displayed on an external monitor, enabling real-time, on-site monitoring of high-definition video during shooting.


Improved AF Functionality

Even when the EOS 5D Mark III is equipped with an extender and lens making possible a maximum aperture of f/8, the firmware update supports AF employing the camera’s central cross-type points (currently compatible with maximum apertures up to f/5.6). Accordingly, the update will allow users to take advantage of AF when shooting distant subjects, benefitting sports and nature photographers, particularly when using telephoto lenses.

The new firmware update will be available, at no charge, in April 2013 from the Canon U.S.A. website and can be downloaded by end users or through Canon Factory Service Centers.

Yes, you’re reading that right, you won’t be able to get the 8-bit 4:2:2 clean HDMI firmware until April 2013. Canon must really love making people wait, or maybe they think users are planning on jumping ship if they don’t feel like the company is supporting them? While telling users they will get a certain feature is usually comforting, I can’t help but think that the capability to really make this work could be done right now. Magic Lantern, with its limited resources, has proven that these cameras are capable of far more features than have been initially included. Either because of compatibility concerns or concerns over keeping their product lines separate, the Mark III was not given some of these key video features that the competition has decided to include right from the start.

Still, it’s good news, no question, for those who would rather not play around with third party firmware. It’s not going to magically turn the camera into a C300, but having the extra color space is extremely helpful for color grading, not to mention for those who are trying to do green screen work. You might think, why buy into an external recorder when cameras like the Blackmagic Cinema Camera are including ProRes and RAW internally? If you’re going to move to a video camera at some point, the C100 is the next logical step in the Canon line, but with its low 24mbps internal codec, an external recorder would be helpful. That’s one way to make your gear grow with you, assuming you’ve got some Canon lenses and you like the image that is coming out of the Canon cameras.

So why is Canon announcing this now, when we can’t get it until next year? There are a couple possibilities, but a good theory might be that they are trying to take away a little of the thunder from whatever Sony is announcing at the end of this month. It’s likely going to be a new camera with 4K capabilities that will slot above the F3, and while that’s worlds away from a Mark III with clean HDMI, this announcement may get some of the focus back on Canon.

What do you guys think? Are you excited by this announcement? Does this change your opinion about Canon and their support for cameras, or do you feel like this is something Canon should have included in the first place?

Link: Uncompressed HDMI Press Release — Canon Website

Related Posts

  1. Magic Lantern is Working on the 5D Mark III After Canon Firmware Update
  2. Magic Lantern Alpha 2 for Canon 5D Mark III Adds Clean HDMI, Gradual Exposure, and HDR


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Description image 138 COMMENTS

  • Clear Canon’s continuous consumer’s manipulation.

  • I find this ironic how this news occur right on Magic Lanterns news. Well its great that they actually allow it now, so congrats to 5D users.

  • Only 8 bit? Is it a stream coming straight off the sensor? will DR be higher or are we basically getting an uncompressed version of the same files on the CF card?

    • IIRC HDMI can only handle 8 bit 60i 422 which will give you 11 stops of DR with a standard sRGB gamma (you can try to extend it with Cinestyle if you want, but you may get banding in the mid tones from the limited bit depth). The sensor at ISO 1600 could theoretically do more stops once downsampled but there isn’t going to be a way to get that out of the camera in realtime. HD-SDI can do it and it’s conceivable ML could do it to the cards but at some point you have reached decreasing returns.

      I think 8 bit is acceptable, the noise will be much finer recording direct to ProRes 422HQ and exposing for the highlights some added NR in post ought to give a fine result in most any situation. The C100 won’t be able to do more than 8 bit in any configuration though it will have a built-in log gamma that may suffer from the same problems as Cinestyle on the 5D3. The BMCC is what you want if you care deeply about formats above all else under $10K. I’m sticking with the 5D3 for now.

  • i don´t understand why all people are running for the black magic camera. i mean what projects do you do where somebody pays you this crazy workflows like 500gb per hour? i earn my money with filming and photografing and i never have customers you even would see the difference between the 5d and the bmc and if they would see a difference they would not pay much more for the work because i need a raid system with terabytes of space. i mean 3000€ for uncompressed raw video is great but 500gb per hour is just not working. compressed video is great, the only thing i would love to see from canon is a constant bitrate in the mk3 because in some situations the nitrate falls to 40mbit. 90 mbits you only get when you film wideangle, bright light and you move the camera like crazy. but recording under let´s say 100gb per hour is good for me…

    • We shoot a lot of DSLR, but if your clients don’t know the difference, you need better clients.
      I think having both cams will be the way to go.

      • I’ve worked with some very high profile clients, and this year that continues. What you shoot on doesn’t particularly cross many clients minds. Apart from the FILM industry, and if your making good money from the film industry, I dare say you have that much interest in forums like this. Doesn’t teach you anything. When you’re speaking to marketing directors etc they don’t have that much of a technical knowledge, if any. They might know the 5Dmkii quiet openly because it’s completely confusing to why you would use a stills camera to shoot video. It sticks in the mind and most of them know and see the results it can achieve. For web, for HD playback, the results can be be good or bad depending how professional you are. However what you shoot on is one element to the business. And for the amount of chippy operations looking to shoot 4K to downscale to 1080 and upload to vimeo or whatever..having resort to using cheap plastic lenses to afford the rest of production and post production..they’re all missing the point.

    • You’re ignoring one of the biggest advantages of the BMCC, which is its ability to shoot ProRes…especially ProRes LOG, which basically makes it like a baby Alexa. I personally don’t think uncompressed raw is very useful, but that’s kinda beside the point when you can get 10-bit ProRes LOG with 13 stops of DR instead of super compressed 8-bit H264 with 11 stops of DR.

      • Yes people always forget , more so intentionaly omit the high quality intraframe prores/dnxhd mode, that ar are editors friendly and much better quality that the low bandwidth dslr codec. You can also covert very efficiently in cineform raw to 5.1 and lower if you still want to keep working in raw.

  • i´m not a canon fanboy, but somebody wj´ho has a lot of canon glass and need a camera to work with day to day. but you get quite a lot with the 5d mark3, not only a very good stills camera. i work with it since half a year and had the mk2 since spring 2009 and i really don´t want my 5dmark2 back. a few weeks ago we did a documentary of an old paper flower factory and used both, the mk2 and the mk3. that was the point where i really saw how much better the mk3 is in video mode. when the update comes out i will surely try to record external and decide if it´s worth the money and the stress for me. i could imagine the there will be less digital noise in the darks. that would be great. also the bitrate wouldn´t fall down so often which cause really ugly artifact especially in high iso shots with a lot of dark areas.

  • one more thing. this year a was thinking about buying me a fs100 because i had a a big videojob for 3 month. i thought i could keep the mk2 and buy a fs100 that would have cost me 6000 bugs. i need a stills cam cause i do photo jobs. that seemed to i bit much money and i know in one year maybe i want something else. so i decided to sell the mk2 for 1000 bugs and buy a mk3 for 3500 bugs. that cost me 2500 bugs. i saved 3500 bugs. nice story, hm.

  • I can’t believe people are still defending Canon! Imagine you have delivered a promo video to a client. Then you send them an email saying:
    “I am pleased to announce that I didn’t use the best shots in the promo. I have a much better edit which I have completed already. And you can have it for free! But not until April 2013. You should also know that all the work I’ve done for you since 2008 I have made deliberately sub-standard. I have done this to justify charging higher prices on work I produce for different clients.”
    Would that be acceptable?

    • Haha. It’s funny cos it’s true.

    • Maybe it works like this at Canon HQ.
      Worker: I’ve completed the report on the flooding in Thailand.
      Manager: What’s wrong with the last five pages?
      Worker: I’ve printed them smaller and overlaid them with red dots. If you want to read them please double my salary.
      Manager: What the hell???
      Six months later:
      Worker: Boss, good news! You can have the last five pages of the report without raising my salary! But not until April 2013.
      Manager: [other Nofilmschool commenters please complete]

  • i think you miss understood me. for some jobs is just not necessary to film in 422. for one client i did photos with a phase one middle format camera with a hasselblad body with 65 mp. normaly they do small prints or things for the web. it´s just not necessary for them, that i use this kind of camera. i still can use it, but they wont pay it. so most of the jobs the 5d is enough. and for a 720p image video for the web even the mk2 is enough. that´s why i´m asking, which jobs do you do where it´s worth using the bmc? and what do say to you clients why you really have to use the bmc? and by the way, i don´t produce shit. what do you produce? anything?

    • The 5d is not the point of marginally utility for the web, what are you nuts?!

    • benjolino: my post was not a reply to your comment. Just adding to the whole discussion, trying to have a laugh at the situation.

  • Gary Simmons on 10.28.12 @ 12:04AM

    I use Canon because I like Canon glass but I do have to say I am not fond of many decisions they make. especially now that I have crossed over to video from only stills it seems that with canon it’s either overkill or under done they are really stingy about adding features to their cameras without their competition’s success proding them up the kazoo.

  • If I ever am handed a DSLR to run with a Hypershuttle or other HDMI/HD-SDI recorder I would only be shooting certain things uncompressed. Documentary stuff would just throw it on the SD/CF card…not going to be pulling colors around like crazy. Now if I was shooting one of my short films where I have complete control over the environment and want the absolute best quality I would no doubt be using an external recording deck…one of my next projects I plan on doing is going to have HEAVY color grading and I already know my Canon 550D’s H.264 output is not going to hold up that well even being upped to 100+mbps then put in ProRes 422. Canon needs to hop on the 10-bit 4:2:2 train…12-bit would be even better….4:2:2 is perfect and 10-bit gives me that extra bit of edge (pun intended!). Gotta get off this 8-bit 4:2:0 crap…it hasn’t changed enough…we have a Codec that can do it in AVC esk style too! Its called AVC-Intra…but for now I just hope more than the 5D MkIII gets the ability to output uncompressed. Positives are that the color space not being as subsampled is good for allot of effects but 10 or 12bit would be ideal…maybe Canon will surprise us…who knows…Im off now, gotta go grade some BMCC footage for fun XD XD

  • Love all the guys complaining about the 5D instead of moving on with their lives. Don’t like Canon or the 5D? Move on. Get something else. Shoot something. Make it look amazing. Put it on youtube. How many of us actually have our stuff shown in a cinema anyway? Do the issues that come with blowing something up 400x really matter to most of us? Does the general public (your viewers) really look at a video and go “Hmmmm…. Seems that only has 10 stops of dynamic range, I’m going to ask for my money back.”

    No, they don’t. They don’t care. They want to be entertained and that’s it.

    There’s a lot of hungry “cinematographers” out there…

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