We've relaunched as a full community! Get the scoop:

January 9, 2013

Canon May 'Bring the Might of Its Legal Team' if You Modify 1D X or 1D C Firmware

That sounds promising for a potential firmware hack, right? We discussed not too long ago that the Canon 1D X and the Canon 1D C were not exactly the same camera, but that the 1D C had some internal hardware changes -- at the very least a new heatsink, and probably some additions to the firmware to allow 4K recording. At the moment it's still not clear how much the two cameras share in common, but with a quote like above, there is no doubt that the 1D X is probably capable of a lot more internally than the company is allowing at the moment. Whether or not your camera will explode when enabling those features is another consideration entirely, but we're starting to get more details about these internals.

Here is what Canon Rumors had to say about the situation:

We had a chance to peer inside the EOS-1D C (No photos allowed) to find out how much it differed from the EOS-1D X. The differences are minimal, the biggest change is the heat sink inside the camera to keep the sensor circuitry cool during 4K video operation.

The EOS-1D X has some traces of the EOS-1D C firmware code and the features are locked. We don’t know how much of the firmware is the same.

I was told by someone at Canon that they would “bring the might of its legal team” to anyone that attempts to modify at the software level, the features of an EOS-1 camera body. So I think the firmware community out there today will probably leave the EOS-1D X alone.

Obviously that quote is coming from behind the scenes and not from a source we can cite, so while it certainly may have been said, it is tough to say whether that is the company's official stance at the moment (considering they haven't said much publicly about the firmware of their cameras being hacked).

The big reason that people might want to mess with the firmware of the Canon 1D X is because at the moment, that camera only costs $6,800 vs. $12,000 for the 1D C. A $5,000 difference would be a hefty savings for people who wanted the 4K functionality of the 1D C, while still retaining all of the other great features of the 1D X. The other possible changes that could happen in firmware could be related to the HDMI output of the 1D X, which, to my knowledge, cannot be recorded cleanly without cropping (if at all). Another slight difference between the two cameras is a missing headphone port on the 1D X.

Canon is probably trying to save a few dollars on R&D by producing almost the same camera twice for two different markets, but charging much more for the other one (which is a common practice by most companies). We can't say which internal hardware parts are different yet other than the added heatsink, because a proper teardown has not been conducted of both simultaneously. Even if we did find out that they are mostly identical hardware-wise, going by the above information, there could be serious consequences for providing such a hack.

At this time, the folks over at Magic Lantern have not tried to modify the firmware of any of these 1D cameras, so we'll just have to wait and see how this shakes out, and if any other adventurous hackers want to take up the reigns for these specific cameras -- and possibly risk some lawsuits from Canon. We do have to take the company stance with a grain of salt at the moment, but I've never heard anything like that before related to the firmware hacking on their cameras. We'll see if the cease and desist notices start flying if people successfully decode the firmware on the 1D X or 1D C. Magic Lantern actually responded earlier today on twitter:

It's also worth mentioning that plenty of other companies are doing what Canon is doing with two separate models and similar hardware. For example, RED's SCARLET and EPIC cameras contain identical hardware inside, but the internal boards on SCARLET, according to RED, are not up-to-spec to handle the increased data rates of EPIC -- though we don't have much choice but to take their word on that as no hacking has been done thus far on RED firmware.

It will be interesting to see how the 1D C sells. Canon knows they aren't going to sell as many as the 1D X, and that's part of the reason for the price difference. I can't help but think that a firmware hack for the 1D X would help sell a ton more cameras and actually be beneficial to the company in the end -- but then again, I can't see their financials, so it's hard to know what they spent on R&D for both and how many cameras they need to sell at a specific price to recoup that.

This is definitely not the end of this story, and we'll keep you updated as more information comes out.

Do you think Canon should allow hacking just as they've always done, or do you believe they have a business to run, so they should be able to make some money in the process and recoup development costs? Would you consider buying a 1D X if the firmware was modified to allow 4K or clean HDMI? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Link: Inside the Canon EOS-1D C -- Canon Rumors

Your Comment

175 Comments

Wow, Canon will never get a cent of my money. DEATH TO CANON!

January 9, 2013

0
Reply
ZIM

LMAO agreed!

January 9, 2013

0
Reply

Yeah that does not make me or any other current Canon owners very happy. Glad I got a RED!!!

January 9, 2013

0
Reply

Likewise. F**K Canon and their bulls**t "C" camera pricing. 8-bit rubbish.

January 9, 2013

0
Reply
Voltaire

Yeah bollox to canon - someone is bound to do it , in fact , that is the worst thing they could have said because it sounds like an Internet challenge to all those happy hackers out there ;
…hmmmmm very interesting post ! The might of canons legal team ?
Whatever ! they should be watching the competition more IMHO rather than some spotty geekzoid ( like me )
Patiently awaiting to see how 2013 pans out for my hard earned buck - canon should embrace some changes rather than get peeps backs up - It also seems when it suits
Magic lantern haven't been slammed With a law suit because I suspect magic lantern actually enhanced sales :
A rather hypocritical " when it suits " boo from the independent film making gallery from me !

January 9, 2013

0
Reply
Mitch

Exactly. As soon as they make it forbidden fruit, it's ripe for the picking. The inference from Canon is a whiplash reaction in protecting their high end turf.

January 9, 2013

0
Reply

Not gonna lie, Canon is starting to piss me off with their marketing schemes. They're never interested in creating the BEST possible camera for the LEAST possible price. They want to make incremental improvements and jack up prices. Basically the complete OPPOSITE of BlackMagic, Panasonic, and RED. I understand cameras like the C300 are great, but seriously... 20,000 for 1080p and 720p slow motion.... it's a joke. They add some extra ports, some internal ND filters, and hike up the price to 20,000... Where as RED tries to pack in as much as they can into the Scarlet without stomping all over their Epic, but it's freakishly close. Look at how much of a distinction Canon made between the C300 and C500 to "justify" the pricing difference. They're just holding back and it's stupid.

I've never owned a Canon so I probably have a biased POV, but I can't imagine Canon trying or wanting to do anything groundbreaking anytime soon. Eventually I think it may come back and bite them.

Sorry for the rant. I love the 1DX on paper, and have heard some great things about it, so statements like these really make me bitter :O

January 9, 2013

0
Reply

Well, they are in it for the money... that's what happens. A business isn't run by trying to offer something at the lowest price if it will sell at a higher one

January 9, 2013

0
Reply

Isn't that what Apple does? and how many of us own iPhones/ iPads? (im still a blackberry curve guy, so don't laugh at me. lol)

January 9, 2013

0
Reply

I understand they're in it for the money, but there needs to be a balance between making money and doing what's best for your customers, otherwise they'll just move along. Which i feel we may be seeing from all the other comments ;)

-- Ron Parida, Los Angeles based Automotive Commercial Director and Photographer

January 10, 2013

0
Reply

absolutely right!
Canon didn't give a chances their customers.
WHY?
I think, cann't upgrade a 1DX as 1DC by firmware.

January 9, 2013

0
Reply
aungaung

I really don't see where any legal consequence would come into play for someone modifying or hacking the firmware of a camera they purchase, and then redistributing that found engineering for free. If they were selling it, and using coding that was provided by Canon for camera operation, I could see that being some form of infringement - but if it's handed out and people are willing to take the risk on messing with their camera and voiding their warranty - i don't see how that is at all conflicting on Canon's business (unless of course they made some argument that it prevented sales of the 1DC versus an increase in 1DX purchases to be modded). Regardless, I think the sheer pricepoint will likely keep people hesitant from doing too much of their own reverse engineering on the body (1DX).

January 9, 2013

0
Reply

It's Canon's intellectual property. It's exactly the same situation as buying software. You're not allowed to modify software and then upload that modified software online.

January 9, 2013

0
Reply
avatar
Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

Right, I understand that. However, defining IP in such a case can be a slippery slope, especially with the amount of open source coding that exists currently. Should someone hack a 1DX and stumble upon some codec that existed outside of canon's R&D at one point in time, you run into some interesting battles. look at where the music industry and art / design industry currently exist with the terms of IP. The further you delve into it, the more you begin to realize how complicated things can really get in a court of law. (I only use these as examples as i have a more in-depth career history in design and music)

January 9, 2013

0
Reply

Isn't it more like a plug in? Software makers can't ban other developers from even selling plug ins that work with their software right?

January 9, 2013

0
Reply
fiftybob

A plug-in isn't fundamentally changing the software, it's simply adding. Software makers benefit from plug-ins anyway, because they can add features and actually make their product better overall. It's also difficult to develop everything for every need, so software makers look to third parties to fill those needs.

January 9, 2013

0
Reply
avatar
Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

Pardon me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the ML manual say it doesn't alter your firmware, it only rides on it?

January 9, 2013

0
Reply
fiftybob

Yes, I had a previous comment that stated otherwise, but I've now been corrected. Magic Lantern simply runs on top of the firmware.

January 9, 2013

0
Reply
avatar
Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

Decoding the firmware and modifying it is reverse engineering. In this case Canon's IP does not apply unless there is a patent in play. (Which you can't have reverse engineered because the patent is publicly disclosed.) However, for almost all software reverse engineering is prohibited by the EULA, in which case you are in breach of contract, and case law reinforces this. If a firmware EULA is supplied with the camera they have legal basis to prosecute someone reverse engineering and providing modified firmware, but there was no EULA explicitly mentioning the firmware with my Canon DSLR. It is possible they may have done this with the 1DX though, but I don't own one to confirm, and have no desire to own one given the alternatives out there.

January 9, 2013

0
Reply
Swami Digital

What you're saying sounds right - my understanding was wrong before, and I've been corrected now on what is actually happening with this particular firmware. It's not necessarily the case with other camera hacks, and that is the source of my misunderstanding in the first place.

January 9, 2013

0
Reply
avatar
Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

Tell that to the judges that ruled against Apple's attempt take legal action against individuals jailbreaking their iPhones. As long as these hacks are not being sold for profit or promoting piracy, the courts tend to rule in favor of those modifying their devices.

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/07/feds-ok-iphone-jailbreaking/

January 9, 2013

0
Reply
Andrew

I don't see how Canon has any legal right to tell people what they can or cannot do with their cameras.

January 9, 2013

0
Reply
Brian Hawkins

Yes, you personally can do whatever you want with your camera, but this quote from the anonymous Canon source is referring to people putting hacked firmware online for download. That is the part Canon can, and might, do something about.

January 9, 2013

0
Reply
avatar
Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

From what i understand, ML is an add-on that runs alongside Canon's firmware.

"Magic Lantern is an enhancement atop of Canon's firmware that frees your Canon DSLR, allowing you to use many useful features. It is an open (GPL) framework for developing extensions to the official software. "

(From their user's guide.)

Provided they haven't stolen or altered any Canon code, is this not the same as running Linux on your pc?

January 9, 2013

0
Reply
ruben huizenga

Yes, Magic Lantern simply runs on top of the Canon firmware. I don't know if it's the same as running Linux on your PC technically because that's actually a whole can of worms if you know anything about GNU/Linux, but from my understanding now it is similar to running an app on a phone.

January 9, 2013

-1
Reply
avatar
Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

Canon is late to the game and they're using their brand loyalty and wide user base to finance their development in this market segment.

I have no doubt that in 5 years, Canon will be a leader, but not on my dime.

January 9, 2013

0
Reply
sean

I assume the two cams are 95% the same. Does it annoy me that the 1DC is not under 10k and a slamdunk for me, a hybrid shooter? Yes. But car companies do this, and every electronics maker does this. I don't hate them for it to the point of not considering buying their product. Audis and VWs are almost identical under the skin. One costs 40% more because of how it looks! That's business.
As to the C300, its become the dominant camera in its segment. That's a strong argument that Canon priced it perfectly.

January 9, 2013

0
Reply
marklondon

So in other words, getting 4K out of the 1DX is completely possible. I think everyone is losing respect for canon. It's funny that even the data ratios and processing capabilities it is possible to get 4K out of a 5D Mark III but may only last 3-4 minutes because of heat issues but still very capable.

January 9, 2013

0
Reply

I would certainly purchase a 1DX if I could use the 1DC software on it. Especially because I've been thinking of purchasing the C100. 4k is future proof and I'm still used to the dslr ergonomics so it would be an easy upgrade for me. How could they possibly find out I hacked my 1DX anyway? Oh no I've said to much!!

January 9, 2013

0
Reply
Caleb

If it's so similar why don't the cynical fucksters at Canon release the 1DX at a much lower price...i.e a price that reflects production costs rather than opportunism.

Anyhow...won't be long before they will be forced to stop such price gouging by Blackmagic or some other value for money, kick-arse innovator...

January 9, 2013

0
Reply
Skeptikal

I find this hilarious. "You can do whatever you want to our $500-$3500 camera but once you cross into $6000+ territory it's all of a sudden a problem. Why not make this claim across the board?

January 9, 2013

0
Reply
Jacob Ladder

I don't seee any problems on the 1DX or the C100. Both capable cameras. Guys on canon are not stupid, they price whatever they want and paople will pay. Simple. If some can't buy their high end stuff then use MKII or 60D and be happy.

BMCC came to shake things it a bit but right now is almost vaporware, so i don't think canon will move a bit from where things are right now...

1DC will become a hit really fast I guess...

January 9, 2013

0
Reply
Alex Mand

I'll probably get flamed for this but here goes... The comments here lead me to think 2 things.

1. We are spoiled and ungrateful for the amazing technology that we have access to today that just 10yrs ago we did not. I got into film in the early 90s and I sure wish I had the tools then that we all have available to us now. Back then, to get similar image quality and production value I would have had to spend a fortune AND much of it would have still only been rental gear rather than owned gear that I would eventually be able to pay off.

It reminds me of the classic Louis C.K. monologue when he talks about being on a plane and the person beside him starts whining and complaining because there's no wi-fi available. "You're sitting in an armchair at 20,000 feet, you have an alcoholic beverage in front of you, a 3 course meal and you're travelling at 200mph! Why are you complaining?! This is AMAZING!"

2. Joe is absolutely right about the R&D costs incurred by Canon and how users are perfectly able to do what they want with their cameras but uploading hacks to that software is an entirely different matter. The opinions in some of these comments suggests that there is a generation of people out there that have no respect for basic Intellectual Property rights. I wonder how you will feel when the movie you've spent 2yrs+ of your life making suddenly gets pirated by thousands. Will you feel the same way about copyright when you're struggling to pay off your maxed credit cards whilst thousands of people are enjoying your work for free thanks to P2P file sharing?

Is Canon expensive compared to some competitors' similarly specced gear? Yes. However, that doesn't give you the right to pirate their products.

January 9, 2013

0
Reply
Neil

I really think this style of arguing needs to die out. We can keep reflecting on the past, but that shouldn't change what we demand in the present. You're asking us to calm down and be thankful we're getting a 4k camera at $14k, when it's clear Canon has been overcharging and under-delivering for the cost. Why would anyone be grateful for this? We're used to technology being refreshed every 12-18 months, if not sooner.

Yes, it is "amazing" what we've accomplished so far, as well as where we're headed. That doesn't mean we can't voice our expectations and complaints when a camera company isn't keeping up with others in many respects. It would be rather backwards to keep silent.

January 9, 2013

0
Reply

You saying "what we demand" kind of makes my point. What gives you the right to demand anything? I'm not asking anyone to calm down although you do seem a little upset. If you don't like a product, don't buy it. My point is that having access to all these tools has created a sense of entitlement, as illustrated by "we demand".

January 9, 2013

0
Reply
Neil

We have the right to demand from Canon - without the indie film community, they wouldn't even have had a rep in the filmmaking business to begin with. We gave them their friggin' balls and they spat in our face.

January 9, 2013

0
Reply
Voltaire

Reality check Voltaire. Indie filmmakers make up a small percentage of Canon's market share. Sorry if that hurts but its true - look it up. As for giving your balls, well, perhaps you should have saved those for your sex life or something rather than give them to a company who's sole purpose is to make money. Sorry Canon spat in your face - Did the spittle come at you at 60fps in glorious 720p just to really make you mad?

I recommend you pour your drama into your next production for the benefit of your audience. You'll get much more validation from an appreciative audience than a camera company.

January 9, 2013

1
Reply
Neil

Perhaps we're seeing how the world works a bit differently - my understanding was that companies don't tell us what we want, it's the purchasers that voice that. We can explore Advertising 101 of "telling the buyer what they want vs what they need", and it's clear that Canon is doing just that.

You're right that we don't have to buy their products, but many of us have owned Canon products, and want to keep the company on-track with what the consumer would like.

Of course we make new demands - when things aren't working right, or keeping up with other areas of technology, and we're absolutely entitled to say that we should get this or that from the company. Where would we be if we always sat in "awe" of what was given to us? It's much, much better to progress the technology by saying what works and doesn't work for us, and twice the price for a nearly identical camera shouldn't sit well with anyone. Being told not to mess with the software should raise quite a few eyebrows as well.

January 9, 2013

0
Reply

Agreed Brendan. I certainly am not in awe of Canon (or any manufacturer for that matter) my point above was for the purpose of illustration only. We are entitled to express what we feel in regards to the pros and cons of a product but who can fault Canon for ignoring users when they rant as some people in these comments are doing? As for the legal threat re: hacking, it's important to remember that this is just a quote from an unknown Canon person at CES - hardly an official company statement.

January 9, 2013

0
Reply
Neil

Oh, i totally agree with you - but you have to remember, if you have that stance on IP in general, you have to live by it, which is practically unavoidable nowadays. If you've ever enjoyed a video on youtube that didn't receive permission for a song it chose to use - such would call that hypocrisy. All i'm getting at, is that IP is a difficult foundation to hold a flame to, and it gets exploited daily this day and age, and that the term "fair" hardly gets taken into context. I'd be hard-pressed to believe Canon has never infringed on IP rights of others.

January 9, 2013

0
Reply

I've heard this argument many times before. Firstly, ignorance of the law is not a defense "Sorry, I didn't know it was copyrighted material". Secondly, though I agree with numerous cases being unavoidable, my point was in regards to knowingly infringing on intellectual property and consciously sharing it, in some cases for personal profit. It's one thing to accidentally watch a youtube video with illegally used music in it, it's entirely different thing to make money off of someone else's hard work.

January 9, 2013

-1
Reply
Neil

well see, making money is where the line is drawn and lawsuits come into play. it's the sharing of that content for free - free from any sort of gain or profit - that it becomes an issue of debate

January 9, 2013

0
Reply

Very true Aaron. At the same time, one has to factor in that even "free" undermines the basic value of a product which has in some cases, gone through years of development, research and testing not to mention massive marketing expenses making the consumer aware of its existence.

Could Canon give us the dream camera for under $3,000? Of course they could. As could any of the major manufacturers. But it would undermine not only their own product lines, their R&D of many years, their future development cycle and all of these same elements for every other company out there making similar products. The manufacturers aren't making cameras to make our dreams come true, their running a business and a businesses is designed to make profit for its shareholders.

January 9, 2013

0
Reply
Neil

On one side yes.. but we really dont know what they really planned. What If I told you that The 1D X was possible at 4K, but they held it back for the 1D C? Knowing that the parts are identical, but purposely held back. Its more about the principles for me, its just bad practice. Then to add on the possibility of a lawsuit? Thats like fanning the flame.

January 9, 2013

0
Reply
Xiong

I'll totally concede to your second point, but being "spoiled"? No way. In one of the responses above, you ask what gives us the right to demand anything? The fact that we pay for the R&D. It is someone's job to develop and advance imaging technology. I pay their salary because I spend quantities of money on camera gear that my friends with 9-5 jobs find outrageous. I am freelancer. There is risk and there is serious investment that goes with the territory. That is my job - to shoot. Their job is to advance imaging technology, and I pay them quite well for it. The notion that we are "spoiled" presumes that we aren't contributing anything and that this is some kind of charitable act bestowed on us. No way.

January 9, 2013

0
Reply

The understanding that piracy is the same as theft is incorrect. Nobody takes the original and deprives the legit owner of anything else as hypothetical potential sales. Nobody is advocating to steal anything from Canon, or anybody else for that matter. but the IP scheme should change with society, not the other way around. To think that by forcing society to accept an old scheme to ensure the same old players and corporations can still profit as before is not is not keeping up for reality . IP may still be used to sell great rock classics as jingles for laundry ads, but that is not what this site and others like it are all about. With so much new talent wanting to be found, it is my personal experience that if any form of artwork, music, film , video etc, is enjoyed by thousands, there is a net benefit to the original creators, even when some people might not pay for their "enjoying share" of the product itself.

January 9, 2013

0
Reply
Agni Ortiz

I meant to type "keeping up with reality".

January 9, 2013

0
Reply
Agni Ortiz

It seems like you do not value the creative process. Please tell me how I can pay my rent with free sharing of my work? Don't let dislike of corporations color your perspective. The same Intellectual Property law that a large corporation uses is also available to you.

Since you're so not bothered by free loaders and don't need money to live, please post links to your work so I can host it on my subscription only website and profit from your hard work.

January 9, 2013

0
Reply
Neil

Why doesn't canon make the 1dx a 2k version of the 1dc?
Give it respectable compression and sharpness and log gamma profiles that only work in a super35 crop.

January 9, 2013

0
Reply
vinceGortho

Neil, what a joke comparing pirating movies to buying and owning a $6K+ camera and wanting it to be better by installing a firmware.

Canon are obviously scared as they know it is possible, I would certainly buy the 1DX if I could get similar outputs as the 1DC, infact I am sure it will be done.

Canon should do like Skeptikal said and reduce the price of the 1DX as they are deffo going to miss out when the hack gets released!

January 9, 2013

0
Reply
Ben

Pages