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

04.18.13 @ 7:29PM Tags : , , , , ,

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]

Related Posts

  1. Canon 5D Mark III Getting Uncompressed HDMI in Official Firmware Update
  2. Clean HDMI Will Be Coming to the Canon 7D
  3. Magic Lantern Unified: Clean, Uncompressed HDMI May be Coming to Most Canon DSLRs

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  • I kind of agree with Kendrick. I don’t personally know any film makers for whom the camera is the factor that limits the quality of their work.

  • Its the black magic pocket cinema camera for me, why waste money on what is a stills camera with added video. The dslr should stick to what it was designed for – stills.

    • Do you think Canon had no intentions of having their DSLR cameras shoot video and only take stills ?
      Theres no doubt that these cameras are not a waste of money and I agree with John that its all about the person behind the camera.

      • Person behind the camera – self evident, and that is not what is being discussed. Video capable dslrs are a passing phase, the pocket cinema camera is the first toll of the bell.

        • vinceGortho on 04.21.13 @ 3:53PM

          Amen. I don’t know why anyone would buy a c100 for filmmakng now.
          If you’re an event shooter, perfect. But BM trumps the superalative c300 in pro res mode.

  • Andrius Simutis on 04.19.13 @ 5:03PM

    For those of us who also shoot stills, the 5D3 is a great camera made even better with the update. I’d actually call it the best choice for DSLR.
    For video, it’s still a pretty good camera and still competes well against a lot of the other new cameras.
    -Full frame
    -Cheaper than most video only options
    -Stealthy when shooting in public
    -Still has that 5D look that clients love.
    -Headphone out and other improvements over 5D2
    That said, it’s not the best choice for everyone as nothing ever is, but to call it “too little too late” in a headline is simply trolling. I wouldn’t expect there to be a headline saying “RED Scarlet Complete Piece of Crap for Run n Gun” even though that is a fairly accurate assessment.

    • Kenneth Merrill on 04.19.13 @ 7:59PM

      Hahahaha, that last sentence is the best.

    • haha. right. it´s really out of competition when u search for a dslr, with full frame and also want to shoot video, only the 1dx or the 1dc, which i really would like to have if i had the money. i´m really interested how much the external recording makes a difference. for me it would only be worth to record external if i really can see a difference. in some situation u can see a lot of compression problems with the mk3. for example when it´s dark and foggy. the would be a point where i guess it to be better with proress 422.

    • vinceGortho on 04.21.13 @ 3:48PM

      Best choice? No. D800 is a god send. D5200/7100 should be stellar.
      The clarity in video mode trumps the mark 3. Shooting wide open looks better in a d800.
      The yellow tint is easily avoidable. Skin tones are great. Uncompressed looks even cleane
      r on big screen lcd.
      I’ve owned two mark 3′s. Great for photos video way too muddy. Post sharpening doesn’t hold up on large screens.

      • Vince i agree, im getting several BMC’s on preorder, but agree that i would recommend D5200 to any new filmaker and if photo is your thing get the d7100 that can autofocus with D AND G lens and no moire and true hdmi clean uncompressed, both are the best DSLR bang for bucks available, low bit rates with amazing clarity.

        I agree d800 seems to have better dynamic range, its just that ugly yellow cast in lowlight that i hate about d800 but still amazing cameras, $700 for a camera that resolves better than the epic gh2 and compatability with NIKON cheap new and used but amazing glass. NIKON GLASS resolves more tv lines and are readily available for cheap , the nikon 50mm g and d series lens is as sharp as a 5,000 hassleblad leica lens but for only $105 bucks on amazon,

        • Rob Manning on 04.25.13 @ 4:06PM

          Nikon typically (arguably) has better DR then Canon for stills especially. The low light cast (not something I’ve seen, but now I will be on guard for it, certainly can be adjusted out in post, or by an upfront tweak with a profile like here:http://www.similaar.com/foto/flaat-picture-controls/index.html

          He bases the tweaks on Portrait mode instead of Neutral (which most folks will fall back on for contrast possibilities) for better control in post of skin tones.

          RM

  • Kenneth Merrill on 04.20.13 @ 3:11PM

    One thing to think about here is that yes, the MkIII is a lot more run-n-gun suitable than the BM4K, but if you tack on an external recorder, your MkIII loses some of its mobility. It will probably still be more run-n-gun than the Black Magic, but you’re now paying about the same price (or more) for your ProRes 422.

    • Is it? Why? Because you need a battery solution? You can use one the same size as a DSLR hand grip. The form factor is basically identical?

  • From a guy that owns a C100, at least the 5D3 does slowmo..

    • So does the C100 but you do need to know how to interpret the 60i into 60p. If you do know, then the C100 will do better quality slowmo than the 5d. It amazes me how many people have never learned how to do slowmo with interlaced material.

    • vinceGortho on 04.21.13 @ 3:50PM

      Whats the resolution lines on a mark3 in 60fps, 320p?

  • Nobody here talk about Nikon, and even less people talk about lenses…
    I tried Nikon, Canon, Sony, and u43 cameras.
    I’m now wondering if I should go with 2 Nikon D600 or 1 Canon 5D3.
    If I go with the D lenses serie, I can unclick the lenses and use them pretty much on anything.
    BUT if I go with the D ( not the G) lenses serie, I can’t have any stabilisation …
    I mean, nowadays, they begin to have EF mount everywhere, so it’s making less sense … and you don’t want anyway to put a full frame lense on a 4/3 or S16 sensor…

    so does it makes sense to invest in NIkon just to have access to lenses with aperture rings ?

    (And I mean, now with Nikon, you have 10 bit clean HDMI on every model …)

  • I still watching videos from BMC to green. Don´t forget the green.

  • I own a 5D mk3 and I have to say that for me it perfectly works. I need that “full frame look” and now that I’m getting that quality I can not move to another camera. for the post production and color grading I will stay with my current Cinestyle profile picture.

  • Jonny Figgis on 04.26.13 @ 7:21AM

    There is one point I always have to make when this “that camera is better” argument. The point being “How good does an image have to be?” I shoot with the 7D and get beautiful images and equally beautiful video. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the quality and it looks gorgeous. Images can actually be too good (The Hobbit in 48 fps being an example) and take you out of the story. Why make an image look like something that doesn’t resemble real life? I will be happy to stick with the 7D for many years; it is a relatively low cost camera, it performs very well and it has a great build quality. People can masterbate over the new technology but it won’t make you a better filmmaker. All the pros know this and speak about it on their blogs. You shoot with what you can get your hands on and what your budget can afford.

    • I too own a 7D and wouldn’t trade it for a 5D. I really like the colour and the DOF of the sensor.

      I am currently shooting a brochure with interlaced video all on the 7D. Everything is shot at 1/60 @ f/10. I don’t have to change settings to switch from stills to video. The video is shot at 30p as my work is only for laptops.

      I was at NAB this year and looked at all the ‘gear’; it was nice, but I’ll stay with my 7D for now.

      Regards,

      Rachael

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