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Canon Finally Releases Firmware V1.2.1, Enabling Clean HDMI on the 5D Mark III

With everything going on with the 5D cameras over the last few days, you’d think the clean HDMI firmware had already been released — but today Canon finally took the wraps off the firmware update they announced all the way back in October. While the headline feature is definitely the clean/uncompressed HDMI, they have introduced a number of other fixes as well. Click through for more from Canon about the update.

A little from Canon about the clean HDMI:

To benefit DSLR cinematographers, the EOS 5D Mark III will now be able to record clean, uncompressed digital video with embedded time code over HDMI output while simultaneously displaying the video on the rear LCD display and recording to internal CF or SD cards. Combined with an improved color sampling of YCbCr 4:2:2 8-bit video, this firmware update adds efficiency to video editing, improves color grading options, and enhances on-set monitoring. 

The new “mirroring” feature via the HDMI output allows video to be displayed on the rear LCD screen with or without scene and camera information while also outputting a clean video signal to a monitor or external recorder. An external recorder not only enables a video signal devoid of compression artifacts, but also allows a choice of preferred edit-ready codec, the ability to shoot in a variety of frame rates and bit rates, and longer record time. Combined with the heightened color correction capabilities as a result of the expanded color space, post-production workflows will be smoother and offer users greater control and quality. With external recorders it is also possible to use a variety of on-set monitoring solutions, which facilitate real-time viewing of EOS 5D Mark III video with the Rec. ITU-R BT. 709 color matrix. Additionally, it will now be possible to synchronize the start and stop of EOS 5D Mark III video capture with the start and stop of the external recorder.

Those who make external recorders, like Atomos, have been testing the update for a while now. If you missed it, here are some of the cool features (thanks again to OlivaTech for the video):

As I’ve said numerous times, this won’t be a huge improvement with image quality looking at the files straight from the camera. This is mainly a workflow solution and one for those doing green screen or heavy color grading. It’s not all of a sudden going to make the camera look as good as a C300 — and really — it was never intended to. With an external recorder, you’ll be able to go to any number of excellent codecs, like ProRes and DNxHD, which are much easier on systems and are 10-bit codecs designed to be pushed and pulled.

This also appears to be the same update that was leaked earlier, so it doesn’t look like we’re getting audio from the HDMI. As I don’t have a Mark III on me, it would be great if someone could confirm that in the comments below.

While there are a lot of interesting things going on with Magic Lantern, it may be a while before those features are really useful for video people. For the time being, updates like this should squeeze the last bit of image quality out of the Mark III.

Head on over to the Canon site to read more about it and download the update.



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  • Its a weird update, messed around with it at work this morning, the signals are not the same, theres a noticeable green cast and slight gamma shift. The images are sharper and noisier as expected on 5d external, but pulling a secondaries key wasn’t that big of a difference, c100 disparities between internal external is way bigger.

  • As far as we’ve seen, the quality achieved via HDMI output with this new firmware is not much different from the in-camera recording.

    As OPPOSED to Nikon D800 + Atomos Ninja 2, which delivers a VERY clear difference vs. in-camera recording (being Ninja 2′s recording via HDMI output MUCH better)

    Did Canon make all the community wait 6 months for almost non-improvement over HDMI output?

    Getting externally recorded files already coded is not the BIG deal. What is really important is the IMAGE QUALITY. If there’s almost no difference between the in-camera recording, then this update is almost a hoax to increase expectations (and make Magic Lantern leave the work in progress for 6 months)

    So far, the only real bonus is the ability to keep rear LCD enabled and the f/8 AF improvement. BUT the big MARKETING promotion was about CLEAN 4:2:2 HDMI output to be recorded externally (with the supposed benefits…)

    The entire community has waited for IMAGE IMPROVEMENT, otherwise external recording is not big deal.

    The image quality delivered via HDMI output SHOULD really be BETTER than in-camera recording.

    So what’s going on with Canon?

    WHY does Canon degrade the HDMI output? (as pointed out by one of our members there are lot of ways to degrade it, besides it being only 8 bit).

    Another crippling to the HUGE potential of a $3K+ DSLR ?

    • that was the sound of me putting this mk lll up for sale, and buying a d800. this company are bunch of manipulative fools. goodbye. much as i love the magic lantern guys, i can’t wait around.

    • Canon is as Canon does.

    • mikko löppönen on 05.2.13 @ 10:33AM

      That’s because the D800 has worse internal encoding. The all-i is good enough. Capturing the HDMI at 4:2:2 uncompressed is about 12:1 ratio relative to the ALL-i encoding. So people saying “there’s not that much of a difference” is so dumb. The ALL-i beats up anything the D800 can get out (codec wise)

  • Let me update you about the almost forgotten 1D C 25p firmware:

    1. The new firmware has appeared in some newly shipped 1D C cameras, version 1.1.9.

    2. For existing 1D C owners, the new firmware won’t be available until early or mid May.

    3. The new firmware won’t be downloadable, 1D C owners will have to send their cameras to authorised service centre.

    4. So far Canon haven’t announce anything publicly at all, which they promised back in Febuary in the first press release.

    5. Most dealers and CPN staff are not aware of anything regarding this firmware.

    • Great information. Thanks!

      Canon’s official Press Released told about the 1D X “The Film-maker’s DSLR”, and they don’t even implement Peaking, a basic focusing feature… WHAT KIND OF GAME are they playing with us?

      Neither the hugely expensive 1D C has Peaking! So absurd.

      If 1D C firmware update can’t be downloaded when officially announced, then it seems Canon does have real fear of ML..

      But Magic Lantern is not interested on the 1D line.

      Anyway, we’re tired of crippled cameras as clearly seen on 5D3 and lower end models.

  • I agree with most of what people say, as a 5D owner its sad that they do this to us, but I’m also very happy as a 5D owner for photography. Its an amazing stills camera and the is what it is meant to be. So hoping Blackmagic will fix the few things they need to with the cameras firmware and ship on time, Cant wait to be a BMPC 4K owner this year.

    • Will you be the first to post a test video of that BMCC 4k? Me, and a whole lotta others, would want to see it!

  • same here…unless something else comes out???

  • A way to let Canon know about our tests, reviews and feelings:

    Post your comments at Canon’s own forum:

    BE POLITE to avoid the comment be deleted… but show what you found with full details.


    • There is no argument that Canon does great photography. I just wish they’d get both feet in with video or get both feet out. Doing this in fits and starts is giving them a bad name.

      Here is a simply wonderful example of Canon photography. If only movies could look this good! Make sure you click on “Original” in the watch quality button. This video is mostly the same as a video I posted a few days ago here in another thread, but it has bonus footage.

  • Canon you suck even…if you the 5D rocks. Long live Magic Lantern!!!

  • what in hell does everyone mean by no audio via hdmi ? you mean we have to record audio on internal cards and sync up everything that we record on ninja manually ? are they kidding ?

    • Chris Lambert on 04.30.13 @ 5:53PM

      Well HDMI via audio is a relatively new thing after all, It’s not like you going to find that functionality on a 10yr old dvd player, or a 7yr old game console, consumer level camcorders, gopro etc etc…. what a joke.

      • john jeffries on 04.30.13 @ 7:35PM

        Im 90% sure HDMI did not exist 10 years ago, or at least, was not available on most DVD players in 2003.

        • Chris Lambert on 05.2.13 @ 5:15PM

          Your prob right my bad was rounding up a lil bit got my first HDTV in 05 and they were around then so i stand 90%ish corrected

    • Yep, no audio, Yep, sync it up in post.

  • john jeffries on 04.30.13 @ 5:32PM


  • So half a year for nothing…half a Year to string canon users along…for what?

    And now we have this carrot of raw from magic lantern. More stringin along to keep people locked into the canon ecosystem and perhapse take sales away from BM? If I didn’t know any better I’d say canon was the one behind the info on this hack, passing it onto ML in secret in full knowledge that it will simply NEVER be able to work properly.


    • If you meant that Canon is in contact with ML passing them classified information in their own benefit I can completely assure you’re 100% wrong.

      ML does not have a piece of Canon’s help…at all.

      We all wish that Canon helped Magic Lantern!!

  • If BlackMagic can’t bring Raw recording to the 5D. This is the end for me with canon as far as video recording is concern.

    • I meant magic lantern. Dargn it.

      • that’s it. magic lantern hack, or bust. this probably pisses off atomos, too … i was ready to run out and buy a ninja 2, but now: what the hell for ?
        i don’t know how fast ML can do anything …. if they can do anything at all.

        so what’s the alternative if you want video and stills, like i do ? i’m invested in canon glass. have to sell the glass, AND the body, and jump wholesale to d800.

        • Well, Nikon is not really the Holly Grail either…

          Nikon refused to implement video features (full manual control) for many years (they still limit them a lot in most of their cameras).

          Nikon is indeed more conservative. They only “open” when they want , and certainly their “logic” is extremely weird and unpredictable…

          We need to shoot stills & cine too, that’s why we chose Canon.


          Post there your thoughts, politely to avoid deletion of your post. Believe it or not, this CAN help.


          • To Nikons credit when they invented video on a DSLR with the release of the D90 they were not a video camera manufacturer. Canon with their years of video background then simply copied Nikons D90 and added the features users of the D90 had been asking for. Then Nikon were the first to implement uncompressed HDMI 4:2:2 out with the D4 and D800, then the D600 and dont quote me but I thought I heard the D3200 and D5200 also and now the D7100. With audio :)

            Anywhere I place the focus cursor in the screen the Nikons will one button touch magnify into that area. This is an awesome feature and only now am I hearing talk of maybe able to do the same with was it 9 sections of the screen with the C300′s or one of those. Not to the exact spot you select but to just a big tile of the screen..

            Its Canon that are the ones limiting their lower end cameras to protect their more expensive models. Nikon has no dedicated video product line to protect and thats why they are incorporating as much as they can into all the models where possible. You could see Canon werent going to give the 5D’s uncompressed HDMI long before its release because they were protecting the higher models and only broke to pressure then they saw what the D800 was doing to their sales.

          • vinceGortho on 05.1.13 @ 4:36AM

            Wouldnt it make more sense to complain to nikon about canon, so maybe they’ll take advantage of canon customers who want to jump ship?

          • Panasonic > Nikon > Canon!

            And no, as a Panasonic GH1 and Nikon D50 owner of course I am not biased! ;-)

          • David Peterson,

            Have you ever tried the GH1 for live streaming? I’ve seen video of the GH2, and the GH2 hacked. They both look great. I’m just wondering if they work great for live streaming.

  • No audio, no live streaming of conferences and concerts. But they’re primarily interested in photography. So it’s ok.

  • Not only no audio but no 25p so completely doing useless to anyone in PAL territories. Canon is a god damn JOKE!

  • Not half a year for nothing…. Not from Canons point of view. In announcing it so long ago they managed to help hold off people switching to the D800. Its likely they even took so long intentionally knowing that most people would have made their camera purchases assuming the HDMI will make a difference in this wait time. It shouldnt have / wouldnt have really taken this long to implement. DXO rated the 5DMk3 the same as the $850 D3200 at No. 23 (terrible for a $3500 new model) but if DXO were to rate the Canon marketing department they would be No.1

  • I can’t believe they have poster. “Today we announce with much fanfare the fact that we are no longer disabling a key feature of this camera!”

  • I’m using a Black Magic HyperDeck Shuttle 2 and I can’t figure out how to trigger it to record from the 5D MKIII. Any help would be great.


    • vinceGortho on 04.30.13 @ 8:59PM

      Just let it go. There is no point.

    • Please contact BM support or check Planet5D Forum.

      AFTER you get it working, post your tests and reviews at CANON FORUMS TOO:

      This is important. If there is no quality improvement, we should request it. The best place is Canon’s own Forum!

      Thanks in advance

    • Chris Lambert on 05.1.13 @ 4:33AM

      Have you tried hooking it up to a PC/MAC and altering the settings? “use input timecode when recording” works with my ex3 hopefully works same on 5d

  • So I guess the only audio solution when recording externally, is to actually record internally at the same time, and then sync in post or use an external recorder. Nice workflow..Thank god it’s a great stills camera, and a low light beast. & pls stop comparing it to inferior cheap cameras, you just sound dumb, there’s a reason they are cheaper (shadows banding, inferior construction, even the dynamic range of a d800 is inferior to the 5d3 after iso1600), the 5D is a workhorse.
    Not a happy 5D3 owner, but still, to anyone comparing it to the BMC, at least we’re already using it for 1 year now, and when I actually sell it, I will get a good chunk of my money back.

  • Hey y’all…They do sell video cameras you know.

    Was waiting on the new between the “c100-c300 announcement.” Now I’m not to sure about that. They playing marketing games around BMD I believe.

  • A BMC 2.5K crushes a 5D for video/film on ALL levels. For less money.

    • Sure, but the 5D is a stills camera.. :) And more importantly for broadcasting, it doesn’t have moire/ alliasing
      That being said, anyone who can afford a 5D3, can probably get the pocket BMC just for fun, and when eventually BM actually starts shipping cameras, and resolve their issues (I’m not going to go into details, you can choose to ignore them), we can have this discussion again..cheers

    • Comparison video, BMCC 2.5 vs Canon 5D MkIII

    • On all levels?? I guess your right. No DLSR is capable of getting everything in focus at the same time the way the BMCC does ;) They should list not needing to focus as a feature.

  • i’m loaded up with canon glass … no reason it can’t be sold. is there ANY reason not to switch to the d800 with a ninja out …. at this point ? even with the added pain in the erse of selling out all your glass ? is the clean hdmi out a true 4:2:2 ten bit ? in my work, i need video and stills options.

    • The D800′s HDMI is uncompressed 4:2:2 8 bit with audio ;) But its in-camera recording is that good most people dont bother with external. Even heavy grading it holds up well.

      • marklondon on 05.1.13 @ 6:07PM

        as a D800 guy I’ve found that while the HDMI out is great, I record internally most of the time. we grade in baselight. looks great.
        the D800 is also a better stills cam IMO.

        • Have you done any video work with the D600 to compare it with the D800 video?

          For $1000 less, all that is lost is the ability to adjust your aperture during live view (and keep dust off the sensor…)

          • The aperture thing on the D600 and D7100 is nothing to be concerned about. I used the D7000 for a year and a half before the D800 came out and the D7000 had the same aperture ‘issue’ but the thing is your aperture setting is a creative decision. Its not something your constantly adjusting during a shoot. I pick my aperture in the planning phase a lot of the time. Its a tool for setting the look, not for adjusting exposure levels.

            When you set your aperture and set your shutter speed you want to leave those two alone then and just adjust exposure with a variable ND and adjust focus. Thats it. Two rings to turn on your lens and everything is covered except hitting record on the camera body.

            So working like that the D600 aperture wouldn’t bother you at all, not for the savings. Its the D7100 I’m keen to test out.

          • marklondon on 05.1.13 @ 9:42PM

            I haven’t tried the D600 for longer than an hour, but I can heartily recommend the 5200. I think its better than the 7100 for video.

          • Ok I’ll check it out. Even from what I saw of the D3200 I was surprised so I’ll check out the D5200. I’ve had the D7000 as a backup body since the D800 but theres a bit too much of a difference to use it as a B camera to cut between. Going to Kenya and the Congo to shoot 2 docos in a month and need to pick before then. I do like the weather sealing on the D7000 tho. New ones should be similar. Could be a funky place to do a product review. “Look how theres no aliasing along the barrel of the AK47″ or “Zero jello effect as I try to run from this Silverback”

        • vinceGortho on 05.2.13 @ 9:19PM

          @marklondon… have you tried using the Atomos recorder in photo mode on the d800? Its way more detailed than movie mode through the hdmi. There are black bars on the side but if cropped it could possibly deliver more resolution.

  • Guys, I just upgraded and now the camera won’t let me shoot stills with an adaptor and Nikkor lenses. Still works for video. Anyone else??

  • So, to bring all of you that are bitching about no audio thru HDMI. WHO CARES!!! You are using the audio from the camera…come on really? If you want synced audio the Atomos Ninja-2 can record 2 channels of digital audio embedded in the HDMI signal. There is a 3.5mm Stereo Line-in socket for recording audio in sync with incoming video. A perfect location to run the line out for my JuicedLink. Maybe a little research beforehand may keep a few of you from have a stroke over hate for Canon. If you want to read it for yourselves here’s the link then go to section 5 on page 8. Oh, and how about that timecode!!

  • I’m a newcomer to the 5D MK iii but a longtime cameraman. I keep reading how the 5D doesn’t pass audio over HDMI and when I would plug it into my TV that would be the case (i think). The thing is I just plugged my camera directly into my girlfriends TV to preview the footage I just shot and the audio was coming through the speakers.

    Is this some weird anomaly or has this been resolved in latest firmware which I didn’t know of?

  • I’ve been doing some testing with this clean HDMI output update and I’m having a hard time believing that it’s even 4:2:2 that’s being streamed. I did some real-world comparisons between the native h264 4:2:0 video and video captured on a ATOMOS Ninja 2 in ProRes 4:2:2 and I’m finding almost no difference in chroma subsampling. Anyone else doing any testing on this?