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April 18, 2013

Canon 5D Mark III Uncompressed HDMI Coming at the End of April, but is It Too Little Too Late?

Canon announced all the way back in October 2012 that they had worked out what we had previously thought impossible: uncompressed HDMI (which really just involves making the output fill the screen and removing overlays). While it's not necessarily going to be a magic bullet for better image quality, there are plenty of uses for clean HDMI, including better workflow options. Unfortunately for those who were looking at the beginning of the month for the firmware update, Canon has now pushed it all the way until the end of this month. Click through for more.

If you missed it, here's what Canon is including in the update which we now know is coming April 30th, 2013 (thanks to Canon Rumors for the heads-up):

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.

While clean HDMI can make it more convenient to get ready to edit ProRes or DNxHD files, it won't necessarily provide an immediately noticeable improvement in video quality. The Mark III is already a very clean image, but the other advantage is that it makes noise much more defined. That may sound counterintuitive at first, but having cleaner and more defined noise means that you can remove it more effectively while keeping fine detail. Where I think it will be of benefit to filmmakers is when they are doing their color grading. Having a higher bitrate file along with 4:2:2 will mean you can push the image just a bit further than the normal highly compressed 4:2:0 internal codec. 4:2:2 will also make pulling keys from green screen a little bit easier.

If the camera was capable, it's interesting that Canon didn't initially include it, but certainly they made some space for people to purchase cameras like the C100 in the meantime. I think Canon is going to have to do more at this price range because the competition is getting fierce. If Blackmagic can deliver their cameras in July, those who don't need really need the stills functionality of Canon cameras might think about looking elsewhere, especially when you can get internal 10-bit ProRes, already a higher fidelity format than anything the Canon DSLRs can deliver. There are definitely other factors at play, including lens compatibility and that "full-frame" look, but the main advantage of DSLRs (besides stills and maybe higher ISOs) is their small size, and when you've got to add a recorder to the top of the camera, you're losing that advantage.

What do you guys think? For 5D Mark III owners, are you hanging on to Canon's DSLRs, or maybe moving on to a more video-centric option? What do you think is the future of video on Canon's DSLRs?

Links:

[via Canon Rumors]

Your Comment

113 Comments

I think Canon needs to tidy up their product portfolio. That cinema line messed everything up they started when starting off DSLR-videoing. They want their DSLRs to sell, but also their C100-500 and therefore have t make compromises regarding features.
The (yellow) competition doesn't have a cinema-line and can just stuff their sub-£6k-cameras with all the features they can and not do any marketing compromises. And they don't try to compete to the big broadcast/film-suppliers like Canon does.
For Canon it worked out well when targeting the average broadcaster (we still have 5 XL1s here) competing with Sony and the likes, but it is obvious that the cinema-business is harder to conquer. Budget Indie producers not having the money and the big studios having too much of it.

April 18, 2013

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Completely agree - a friend just today messaged me asking for advice in getting a DSLR camera, and promptly asked, "Why the hell do they have like 8 cameras that are pretty much all the same?"

April 18, 2013

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Their cinema line was joke. It was quality video but nothing worthy of tackling RED's price range.
They should just rename their current models the "wedding series," and quit messing around.

April 18, 2013

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vinceGortho

lol "The weeding series"!!! Owww my gosh!

But couldn't agree more...

April 18, 2013

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Alex Mand

Quality video? Not really. I mean the low light performance is good but most filmmakers who can afford cameras like that are lighting their sets properly anyway. 16k for a 1080p camera is a joke and just shows how out of touch they are with a market segment THEY accidentally created

April 18, 2013

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Skinny Pete

I had a chance to do a little shooting w/ the C100, and I gotta say it had a good weight to it, it was fun to work with and I felt extremely comfortable holding it. The graded log footage had completely acceptable image quality and really good for most needs. Honestly, It felt like what DSLR/small form-factor film making should be like(to me at least obviously). Unfortunately, the prices on the Canon's Cinema cameras just don't make much sense. I suspect this is related the the problem of separate video/photgraphy divisions in Canon and bad marketing analysis - priced for pros with a feature set for prosumors. I will say I loved the ergonomics, far better then the offerings by RED, Sony and BM in IMO. If only I could cram A RED Epic into a C100 frame... hey, I can dream can't I? =) Thanks

April 18, 2013

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Dan

anyone who complains about a c300 is an idiot. It literally save my ass on my last shoot.

April 18, 2013

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ryan

Who or what was after your ass?

April 18, 2013

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a car accident prevented a tech scout, we ended up having to expose at 5000 ISO, so clean with great color

April 18, 2013

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ryan

So because it saves you (no telling how skilled you are) it's a great camera?

April 19, 2013

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VINCEGORTHO

Yeah, I think that's exactly what they meant.

April 19, 2013

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Herman J.

The wedding series! brilliant. Canon have been unrealistic with their prices for a while now. I want to move on from my 5D3s but the C range is too expensive for what it is, and the BMCC isn't matured, there are still many obstacles to clear. These are just my opinions, but my opinions direct my cash, and Canon should remember that it's the same for many like me.

April 19, 2013

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Agree!

April 19, 2013

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Aung Aung

I have the 5D mkii which I really like. Full frame is a difference and maybe worth the price, but really, if I would buy a new camera today I would probably go for a Panasonic GH3. Its really cheap, has autofocus, can be hacked and can use a lot of different lenses. If you have fast primes, I think you can get the shallow depth of field that you might want. Price 1200 USD compared to a canon mk3 for 2500 USD.

When the day comes I retire my mk2 ill probably do it for a 4K "GH4" or something... other words - cheaper camera that can use my canon primes (with adapter)

April 20, 2013

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Photography camera first, video second. By delaying this firmware update there trying to say hey if you want a video device with capable of uncompressed already then buy the c100.

April 18, 2013

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alguti

The 5Dmark3 should of been the c100. The c100 should of been the c300.

April 19, 2013

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VINCEGORTHO

Should 'have' been. ;-)

April 19, 2013

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Darren Wolff

+1. I suspect they'll roll out something more in line price wise with competitive offerings in the next camcorders series updates. 4K should be the ceiling for resolution for awhile, and hopefully Canon (and others) will focus on feature refinements now that we have all the res most of us will ever need. It took forever for uncompressed 1080P to trickle down from the full-size broadcast cameras to the mid-level (a decade or so of HDV and various AVCHD codecs), yet hardly any time time at all to go from full HD to 2-4K.

April 19, 2013

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Marc B

I've really debated how much longer to keep my DSLRs - I've had a lot of bands around Chicago ask me to shoot their live shows, and they've still been easier to handhold and use with an LCDVF than the BMC.

RIght now, it seems like stepping backwards in a couple of aspects to go from the DSLR to the BMC for me:

1.)the jello-effect was greatly reduced in the 5DIII
2.) being able to shoot at higher ISOs in dark places without jumping all the way down to f/1.2

BMC is a great camera, but those two features (and I suppose the aforementioned LCDVF need) are things I can't do without for many of the smaller gigs I do here.

April 18, 2013

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The 4k bmc has a global shutter, meaning NO jello effect. Thats pretty exciting

April 18, 2013

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Andrew

1) I've shot with the 5D MkIII and the rolling shutter issues are still issues, but if you're worried about the BMCC supposedly being worse at that then check this video out comparing them both: https://vimeo.com/49875510
They're pretty much the same.
2) If you don't have fast lenses then the 5D MkIII might be your best choice, but otherwise having to go up to f1.2 isn't that much of an issue on the BMCC if focusing is your concern, since the 2.3x crop will give you a lot more DOF at the same aperture than you have on the 5D, equating exposure on both cameras while it's much easier to focus on the BMCC.

That being said, I hate that the Blackmagic has a fixed screen, but then the 5D does too and I really don't like it for checking focus (not to mention the focus assist button is on the left, forcing you to to move your hand away from the lens! -by the way, I think I heard there was a way to assign that function to another button, but at the time of shooting I didn't remember and it's still a native design flaw-)

April 18, 2013

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Man.... not this epic music again!! Haha

Completely forgot about that. I would say the other issues around the BMC for me right now are not being able to change settings on the fly (easy with the DSLR, just roll your finger while still shooting), form factor (we all know this), and battery issues.

I just feel that until those get resolved, it would be hard to justify shooting these low-paying gigs with a tool that isn't as easily ready-to-go.

April 19, 2013

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In all honesty, yeah, the BMCC might actually be overkill for a live show, but of course on the other hand the increase in image quality (all conditions given) would be appreciated by the bands.
But yes, I just don't understand why the camera doesn't have physical buttons to change settings either before or while shooting. Touch screens make me feel like an idiot, I have to be staring at the screen to make any changes. Buttons would be the most sensible choice. And that's another reason to love the idea of the BMPC (I also happen to like it's form factor over the BMCC)

Now about the battery, it is indeed a hassle that you have to add an extra bulk to last more than 1.5 or 2 hours, but if you get a Switronix battery, for instance, you'll have 6 hours of autonomy on top of the internal battery (and it also charges it while you're at it). That's a lot more practical than what any DLSR can say of itself.

April 19, 2013

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I don't think anybody who has a DSLR right now (be it Canon, etc) will be upgrading to another one anytime soon.

April 18, 2013

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Skinny Pete

Once the 4K DSLRs hit (like what Sony presented) we'll be back here discussing DSLRS. I can't imagine not using DSLRS; they're very versatile and are still smaller that the BMCC, RED and Digital Bolex. The GH3 is a good example; if that was 4K I would use it over previous mentioned cameras. Why? It's cheap and I can buy it at Best Buy.
Canon unveiled the clean HDMI for April knowing full-well that people would be salivating over NAB 4K offerings. Clean HDMI in the nick of time! It gives the 5D a little longer on the market.

April 18, 2013

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Not smaller or more versatile than a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera.

April 19, 2013

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Razor

Right, but I was referring to the Cinema Camera (BMCC). The Pocket Cinema Camera is a 1080p camera; it's competition is the 5D and GH3. What it has over those cameras in CinemaDNG and ProRes. It's good on paper and really insults the the early adopters of the BMCC with active MFT mount, remote start/stop, and removable battery.

April 20, 2013

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I love my MarkIII and don't plan on changing....I love the image...this firmware upgrade only makes this camera better than what it already is......stop raising questions and just be happy Canon finally did it.....tons of ppl still shoot with MarkII and don't complain....

April 18, 2013

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Kendrick

...and that, ladies and gentlemen, is why Canon isn't going to change its approach to innovating its products anytime soon. Complacency.

April 18, 2013

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Hummer

haha You hit the nail right there.

April 18, 2013

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I agree (happy shooting with the mk2), but I will abandon canon (when going to 4K) if they don't innovate and lower their prices. Especially if you consider cameras like the panasonic GH3 for 2/5 of the price.

April 20, 2013

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I have a mark II and I'm sick of it. I complain every time I pull it out of my case. But hey, for a personal camera it's not that bad.

April 18, 2013

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john jeffries

I'm selling my MKIIs and basically using my MX along side with a Scarlet mostly. MKII... Good for a time, but when you touch anything 10bit or more... Well, it's hard to go back to such a limited camera. But hey! this camera was a game changer, kudos... Let's move on!

I hope BMCC 4k sells insanely good and be delivered...

April 18, 2013

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Alex Mand

If they can derive a Magic Lantern firmware from that, usable on my old T2i, I may just use it with my Ninja once in a while. But in these times of Blackmagic, I'm part of the group that would never, ever, buy another still camera to shoot video. And to answer your question: teah, I think it's too little too late. 4:2:2 8 bit ? in 2013 ? Nope.

April 18, 2013

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FabDex

think you hit the nail on the head there the potential for reverse enginering the update to other cameras is maybe why there is the delay

April 19, 2013

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Chris Lambert

4:2:2 8 bit in 2013...too little too late... agreed!

April 19, 2013

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Razor

For me the Canon 5DMkII & III has the packaging: full frame, canon mount, robust, reliable and flexible allowing you to shoot HD, stills and time lapse. If they were to give in addition: 50 frames a sec. and uncompressed output in camera for the current price, I think the BMC would likely stall as a product. In my heart of hearts I think this is what is going to happen, it's just a matter of when. The risk is, if they (Canon & Nikon) leave it too late, other manufactures such as BMS and Panasonic will take too much of a lead and end up owning the market.

April 18, 2013

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I agree with all the comments above, but in the grand scheme of things, its not just Canon BullShiiiiiiting around, if we want to use BLACK MAGIC as a barometer , then technically none of the major camera companies are really giving us DIY aka regular folks nothing in realistic owning price range.

SONY, PANASONIC, SAMSUNG, ETC. none of them have really given us nothing worthwhile, h3ll, nikon just got serious about semi filming this past year, h3ll the most exciting advancement in dslr IMO was the clarity/sharpness of a NIKON D5200 and technically that was because of a TOSHIBA non Nikon sensor.

I mean just think about it , TWO of the most budget realistically resouliton digital filming advancements have came from two non major companies which were BLACK MAGIC (2.5K, 4K, 422 internal proress) and GOPRO ( 4K STILLS AND 2.7k) all of which could have easily been attempted or tried by a major camera company.

So what gives is it POLITICS, or is it what the big companies feel should be allowed in a certain price range , it has to be something, it seems almost MONKEY SEE MONKEY DO, no major company wants to budge unless another does.

SONY FS700 4K okay yeah its nice, but heard it will cost a reported 8,000 dollars more to get it shooting 4k, basically a lil short of an F5 GTFOH,

IT reminds me of the SCENE IN american ganster where DENZEL IS talking with french guy about monopolies and what he feels should be a fair market price

im rooting for black magic , i really am and hope that they and any company trying to offer a product not neglecting everyday film makers. I hope they get the dropped frames issues fixed and weak SSD bay resolved because these major camera companies are a joke

April 18, 2013

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JayClout

I like that you're acknowledging the whole camera game IS A GAME. We're the pawns. All the RED people are going to promote the REDs because they're the first game in town, but not anymore.

Are you really going to tell me you'd rather spend $20,000 2 years ago to put together a 4K package than put one together now with all the competition? A BMPC at 4K for $4K?

I couldn't imagine being a Scarlet owner right now. Everyone says they'll just buy an Epic with Dragon instead of upgrading, yadda yadda yadda. Where is this money coming from to upgrade with? Don't you just want to spend it on something else and wait for companies like Blackmagic (and there will be others) to catch up?
What about computers? Can you edit natively? Um, no you can't. You have to convert to 1080p. Wow. You just spend $20K to shoot 1080p. That sux.

I don't want to get of on a rant here but video people on this site are just letting these bastards get away with murder:
Blackmagic isn't innocent; they still haven't delivered a camera. They're idiots for messing that up.
Digital Bolex? A pointless form factor; why are the XLR inputs on the left side when they should be on the right (away from the operator)?
Sony? Give me a break! An external recorder?
Red? You guys are raping all of us. Stop improving, keep it simple and affordable. People don't mortgage their house for Beta cameras anymore (nor should they).
Panasonic? Where the hell are you guys? Actually, go away.
GoPro? Make something great and beat the rest into oblivion.

End of rant!

April 18, 2013

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You make some valid points good key points, but in retrospect to what I originally stated, i wouldnt really put RED in that catagory, because technically they are IMO in the same league as SONY, PANASONIC, CANON, NIKON ETC, technically they really broke foreground in terms of an affordable cinema big screen production camera price wise. At one point CINEMA cameras were to only be rented, techinically when the EPIC came out at around 40-50k JUST over a few years back, that price was not that bad considering what alternatives were available , which all costed over 120k.

Also Red debuted the SCARLETT just more than a few years back, which although just a brain was still a bargian and they have still slashed prices, because of RED big companies were forced to make cameras in a paticular price range. Now im not saying they could not do better ,espeically since they once waved a 2lk camera for about 2k, but im talking about the BIG WIGS.

ITS not just by accident that BOTH SONY AND CANON have cameras both int he price range of epics and its also "fishy" that RED is offering an upgrade to dragon but in actuality buying a new one would be cheaper, its all politics and market price numbers games in the end that control the market, Again competetion is good and im really rooting for black magic

April 19, 2013

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JayClout

Blackmagic did what RED proposed to do, but could not... 4K for $4K... the Assies win.

April 19, 2013

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Razor

Aussies... sorry no ability to edit on this antiquated, gen one blog site.

April 19, 2013

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Razor

I'm tired of hearing so many armchair DP's complain on this site over camera specs and such. We used a 5dIII interchangeably with an FS700 this week and both performed exceptionally. It gets to a certain point where it's about the people behind the camera and the story being told. Don't ever lose sight of that.

April 18, 2013

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Of course! But equipment does make a difference, or you wouldn't be using 5Ds and FS700, you'd be shooting on a Sony Z1 or a solid state camcorder of sorts.
By the way, I shot a short film around three weeks ago with a 5DIII and it was kind of a pain to operate. I missed my GH2 a lot. The images looked nice (although soft and the overexposed areas looked awful -perhaps that was Cinestyle working its magic?-) but it wasn't a pleasure to use.

April 19, 2013

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I've been waiting for this firmware update eagerly. I got a Ninja 2 for recording green screen footage and it worked amazingly well with my 3- yr old Sony Z5U. I think the 5d3/Ninja match will produce much better results than people realize. The Z5u is just a 1/3 inch chip with 8-bit HDMI output. The green screen footage I got with it and the ninja was so clean, it keyed perfectly in Adobe Premiere Pro CS6. The clean firmware plus Ninja 2 turns the 5d3 into a pretty effective event camera if you add in a JuicedLink preamp and maybe a fader ND for outdoors. The 10-bit prores recording with 13 stops would be great, but honestly I'll believe they can ship a camera on time when I see it. They have made their first camera almost obsolete before it is even widely available. Nice thing about the Ninja, it can work with a bmcc if they actually start shipping them. Meanwhile, the 5D3 has better power options, better ergonomics, push button autofocus while recording, lots of color profile options, and slow motion recording. Yes, it's much later than I would have liked. But a full frame clean HDMI 4:2:2 signal, even at 8-bit, has got to be pretty close to as good as the C100 output to a Ninja. Lets hope so, anyway. If nothing else, it prevents me from having to switch to the comparable Nikon D800 to get full frame clean HDMI, which is probably the main reason Canon did this.

April 18, 2013

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JohnGreen

Right - I think this was aimed squarely at matching the D800's feature set, and was not meant to cut into Canon's Cx00 line (or even go after potential Blackmagic customers).

April 18, 2013

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Hummer

Does anyone know if the mkIII applies 4:2:2 chroma subsampling for the output through HDMI? If not, we'll just be recording a 4:2:0 subsampled image in a 4:2:2 video file.

April 19, 2013

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Eric

Re: JohnGreen - Sorry, but 4:2:2 8 bit is crap for green screen work and color correction. "...believe they can ship a camera on time when I see it" - Get ready for a surprise then, because the assumed sensor (CMOSIS CMV 12000) BM is using for their new 4K camera has already been in proven production for 12 months. I actually expect them to start shipping the camera sooner than July 25th.

April 19, 2013

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Razor

I call bullshit. If you cannot pull a key using 8 bit 220mb/s prores, you clearly cannot light for shit.

April 19, 2013

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As a reminder 8-bit is shorthand for 8-bits per channel. For color accuracy, there's no arguing 256 channel values vs. 1024 or 4096 channel values.

April 22, 2013

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Razor

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