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GPL Firmware For Canon 5D Mk II Adds Features For Filmmakers

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the a-little-magic-never-hurt-anyone dept.

Hardware Hacking 117

tramm writes "I've released an extension for the Canon 5D Mark II DSLR's video mode to enable functions that are useful for independent film makers. While the camera produces a great movie out of the box, the audio is a severely limited. My code adds features that should have been in the software, like on-screen stereo audio meters, live audio monitoring, reduced audio noise and crop marks for different formats. An introductory video shows the new features in use and an audio evaluation compares it to the stock firmware with very good results. It's similar to the incredibly flexible CHDK software for Canon's point-and-shoot cameras, but targeted at the film makers using the 5D. The Magic Lantern firmware is GPLed and new features will be written to make the camera even more useful on set. There is a wiki for documentation and development."

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My my my me me me .... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28438081)

Is this post about technology or someone bragging about accomplishments...?

Re:My my my me me me .... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28438159)

I agree. Almost no open source software announcement is really news...

Re:My my my me me me .... (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#28438163)

If somebody is going to hack together a custom firmware with all kinds of interesting features, and offer it to all of us for no money, it's really hard for me to get upset at them. Empty bravado is useless; but I'd take less humility and more software any day.

Re:My my my me me me .... (4, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#28438415)

Yup it's cool, but...

if you are a indie film maker, why are you using a DSLR instead of a HD video camera that will shoot better video for less money?

I'd rather have XLR mic in and record real audio than use a DSLR as a video camera.

Re:My my my me me me .... (4, Informative)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 4 years ago | (#28438609)

Because there are no HD video cameras that shoot better video for less money? Indeed, to even be on par you'd need to spend quite a bit more.

Until you get close to the 6 figure range you won't get a sensor as large as the one in the 5D. Even if you forego sensor size and just want decent optics to resolve the kind of detail HD video is capable of showing you'll more than double the price of the 5D and attendant L lenses.

You are right that the audio is lacking, and while this firmware allows some control, it can't address the cause directly.

Re:My my my me me me .... (4, Informative)

asparagus (29121) | more than 4 years ago | (#28440203)

Well, the red beats this thing handily and it can be had for under twenty grand.

The thing is that when you do video you don't get the full sensor. These cameras->video tricks do a sort of reverse interleaving. The chips themselves don't run more than 10fps. So the camera uses line 1 for frame 1, line 2 for frame 2, line 3 for frame 3, line 1 for frame 4, and so on. The practical upshot is that the 5k sensor gets knocked down to a thousand lines of resolution rather quickly. But then, because you're literally moving boundaries each frame, these weird aliasing artifacts appear. The quickest way to see them on the 5D is to take the camera and pan it right/left quickly, you'll see the image going all wavy. Some of the effect is the rolling shutter but it exposes the how the software is actually making the image.

So, you can't move the camera unless you're very very careful. You might as well shoot slates and sync audio in post as deal with the onboard stuff. The camera can't record longer than five minute takes because of a provision under Japanese export law that would make it officially a video camera. None of these problems are insurmountable but they're certainly there.

That being said, I have a friend who's planning on shooting a feature this fall on one of these things. I think he's crazy, but it's the crazy people who change the world. :P

Re:My my my me me me .... (4, Informative)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 4 years ago | (#28440673)

Yes, that was my 'more than double the price' option. And my 100k option beats a Red, handily.

People keep mentioning Red cameras but I doubt they've ever used one. As a former owner of an early Red 1 I can tell you it was nice, but only when it worked, which wasn't nearly often enough. If they (ever) launch their new models the same way you won't be hearing much from them any more. Or, if established players like Canon and Nikon seriously target their market, same deal.

Rolling shutter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28440915)

The rolling shutter is no where near as slow as 1 line/frame. It scans the entire frame at about 120 Hz, which is still slow enough to show some of the "jello" effect. But the entire frame is still progressive scan.

Re:My my my me me me .... (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 4 years ago | (#28441715)

Well, the red beats this thing handily and it can be had for under twenty grand.

Yeah. If you'd like a body alone. Not sure how much film-making you'll do with that...

You want a lens? Maybe even two? Most RED lenses are in the 5-10,000 range. How about some power? A viewfinder? Storage? You'll be looking at over thirty grand, up to forty without breaking a sweat.

Re:My my my me me me .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28442859)

IT CANT RECORD 4K. so the point is moot.

it records 1080p I can get a camera that can kick it's ass in video quality for $3100.00 on B&H photo.

that camera + a lens will easily cost that.

Re:My my my me me me .... (3, Informative)

Andy Somnifac (971725) | more than 4 years ago | (#28438611)

There is a XLR adapter for the EOS 5D Mark II. It's made by Beachtek [planet5d.com] .

Re:My my my me me me .... (1)

MoxFulder (159829) | more than 4 years ago | (#28440647)

There is a XLR adapter for the EOS 5D Mark II. It's made by Beachtek [planet5d.com] .

Yes indeed. And it http://www.adorama.com/VDBDXA5D.html [slashdot.org] ">costs about $375, which ain't cheap but combined with the Canon 5D it's still under $3,000, or with the Pentax K7 under $1,700.

Re:My my my me me me .... (1)

temojen (678985) | more than 4 years ago | (#28438829)

Chances are that HD video camera that costs less that a K7, 5D, or D90 has a much smaller sensor (so no controlled depth of field effects) and does not have interchangeable lenses.

Re:My my my me me me .... (1)

wondergeek (220755) | more than 4 years ago | (#28439121)

Three words: Depth. Of. Field. Without these [letusdirect.com] ...

Re:My my my me me me .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28440345)

At the end of the day, you can run a XLR-usb interface, record the audio and then just sync the audio when you mix down the video. The lenses for SLR can be really useful and why pay twice if you already own the dlsr?

Re:My my my me me me .... (2, Interesting)

MoxFulder (159829) | more than 4 years ago | (#28440523)

Yup it's cool, but...

if you are a indie film maker, why are you using a DSLR instead of a HD video camera that will shoot better video for less money?

I don't think there is any "HD video camera that will shoot better video for less money". Do you know of any that costs $2,500 and has a sensor even close to as big and good-in-low-light as the Canon 5D Mark II? Or as many affordable lens choices?

I recently particpated in the 48 Hour Film Project [48hourfilm.com] in Washington, DC. A few of the submitted films were shot on the Canon 5D Mark II DSLR. The image quality was phenomenal, blowing away MiniDV and as good as some of the groups that had $10k+ of pro equipment.

Personally, I'm a Pentax guy, and really excited about the new Pentax K7 [wikipedia.org] DSLR with HD video capability. Unlike the Canon 5D, it allows aperture control during filming... which should allow for some cool effects. And it only costs about $1,200 for a 14 megapixel weather-sealed camera with 720p and 1080i movie modes, half the price of the 5D.

I'd rather have XLR mic in and record real audio than use a DSLR as a video camera.

I'm not enough of an A/V aficionado to really appreciate the advantages of XLR, but it looks like this issue has already been addressed. There's an add-on unit ($375, it ain't cheap [adorama.com] ) to add XLR and all kind of other audio gizmos to the Canon 5D. I wouldn't be surprised if we see DSLRs with built-in XLR in a year or two.

Re:My my my me me me .... (1)

pz (113803) | more than 4 years ago | (#28440923)

Maybe you should reconsider terminology; the 5D mk II isn't just a DSLR. It's a DSLR that shoots amazing video.

Have you seen this? http://www.usa.canon.com/dlc/controller?act=GetArticleAct&articleID=2326 [canon.com]

And recall that as you view that movie, it's running at 1/4 resolution.

Saying, "I'd rather have XLR mic in and record real audio than use a DSLR as a video camera" is just being ill-informed about the capabilities of the 5D mk II. I'd rather use an adapter and record real video with the 5D mk II. My brother has one, and I've played a little with it (just a little): it is an amazing bit of technology. And Canon's glass is fantastic.

Re:My my my me me me .... (1)

avandesande (143899) | more than 4 years ago | (#28442117)

Even an indie film maker would most likely use a separately synced/recorded audio track... I wouldn't bother with the camera's audio input.

Re:My my my me me me .... (1)

acedotcom (998378) | more than 4 years ago | (#28442147)

Big advantage is that you can do something that that very few video cameras can do...Switch Lenses. and you can use ANY canon EOS lens with it to shoot video. If you are worried about the audio, you could also record audio with another source, although that does ad to cost.

And there arent video cameras that can take a 21MP full frame still image.

Re:My my my me me me .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28442793)

The 5D2 has an external stereo mic jack.

trying to give a shit (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28438151)

failing

Now, if companies made products like they should.. (2, Interesting)

GreenTech11 (1471589) | more than 4 years ago | (#28438161)

If companies made products that functioned fine, people such as this guy would have nothing to do in their spare time.

Sounds complicated and admittedly, I know very little about this, but congrats anyway.

Re:Now, if companies made products like they shoul (2, Insightful)

carlmenezes (204187) | more than 4 years ago | (#28444143)

And companies won't make products like that unless they're willing to abandon their business strategy and relinquish control. A company makes products for the company's sake. Its the same thing that governs the product's features (implemented, locked in and otherwise). If a company was willing to create a product for the product's sake, they would have no control of it because it would be so many different things to so many different users. How many companies do you know that are willing to take that risk? That's open source's niche and that's what makes it so amazing. Its a meritocracy.

Not a video camera, so why? (2, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#28438167)

Why would anyone use this camera to make an independent film? It's an SLR still camera that only has a video mode thrown in as an afterthought (meant for taking a few minutes of video). You could get a real HD video camera, much better suited for filmmaking, for the same price.

Re:Not a video camera, so why? (0, Flamebait)

Korey Kaczor (1345661) | more than 4 years ago | (#28438191)

But then you wouldn't be an independent filmmaker, and nobody on youtube takes you seriously these days unless you have a crappy camera/webcam/cell phone.

Re:Not a video camera, so why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28438321)

Did you just lump the 5D MK II in with crappy cameras, cell phones, and webcams? I suppose you use a Brownie for your photography needs?

Re:Not a video camera, so why? (4, Insightful)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 4 years ago | (#28438239)

The larger sensor, and the ability to use lenses one already owns.

Why not? Plus - it's 'better' than HD (4, Informative)

Animaether (411575) | more than 4 years ago | (#28438267)

Why not?
It's possible, they can do it, so why not do it? I, for one, welcome custom camera firmwares. The more the merrier - I know I had a reply on Slashdot before where I asked if there was a programmable camera; lo and behold, there is.. and there's some very fun projects coming out of it. Why let the camera maker dictate what you can do with the camera, when you know that it is physically capable of so much more? E.g. why limit exposure times to 2 seconds, when there's no physical reason you couldn't keep the shutter open for an hour? )

As for HD.. an HD camera, 1080i/p, is 1920x1080.

The 5D Mark 2 is 5616x3744. That's larger than 4K cinema. Let me put it differently.. that's larger than practically every single movie you see on 'the big screen' today (which are often finished at 2K, or post-effected at 2K and upressed to 3K).

Sure, a consumer might not exactly -need- 4K. I'm not so sure they need HD - non-'HD' youtube resolution seems to be just fine for most people. But, again, it's possible.. so why not?

RED, at one point, decided that movies could he shot all-digital and made their behemoths based around fairly expensive sensors... now Canon, Nikon, Kodak, SONY, etc. are realizing that their sensors are getting fast enough to do movies as well.. and they're taking full advantage of it.

Re:Why not? Plus - it's 'better' than HD (3, Insightful)

Chuffpole (765597) | more than 4 years ago | (#28438363)

> The 5D Mark 2 is 5616x3744.

Maybe for stills, but the video output is 'only' 1080 lines - and it seems to achieve this by skipping 2 out of every 3 lines of sensor data leading to aliasing problems. But there are ways around this and it's certainly becoming an extremely popular camera for amateur (and some pro) filmmaking.

Re:Why not? Plus - it's 'better' than HD (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#28438717)

Sounds like we're still a generation from still/video convergence, but IMHO it's inevitable. Several years ago I bought one of the earlier consumer digicams with high-def video (Canon S80, 1040x768 video) and I've found that often a still from that video is acceptable as an image - especially when the alternative is most likely missing the shot. For instance, it provides a way to take action shots of yourself. I really have to wonder how much longer sports photographers will be taking still images instead of high-def video. Once you get a couple thousand lines of resolution it's enough for normal-sized prints, and the odds of perfectly timing a still shot are just too slim.

Re:Why not? Plus - it's 'better' than HD (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 4 years ago | (#28439341)

While sports photographers may technically be taking 'still' shots, most of them are shooting burts of 8 frames per second or better.

Re:Why not? Plus - it's 'better' than HD (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#28442323)

A more pointed question is, how much longer will the SLR design be with us? The slapping mirror has been with us for some time, but even the 5D Mk II's 150,000 shutter cycle durability rating is only 4 hours of 10 fps "video". (Obviously it doesn't operate as an SLR in video mode).

Re:Why not? Plus - it's 'better' than HD (2, Informative)

temojen (678985) | more than 4 years ago | (#28438873)

"binning", not skipping... it's a very nice feature of CMOS sensors... 2x2 or 3x3 grids of pixels can be averaged before readout, increasing sensitivity and reducing noise.

Re:Why not? Plus - it's 'better' than HD (1)

nattt (568106) | more than 4 years ago | (#28439299)

No, not binning. Binning wouldn't look as bad as it does. It must be skipping entire lines to look as bad as it does. If you analyze a zone plate image through the camera, you can see this quite clearly.

The only way this aliasing can be reduced is to mis-focus the camera, or put aggressive filtering on the lens (or replace the existing OLPF with one designed for the video mode).

Videos and stills (3, Informative)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#28440393)

You can also make some videos with stills.

See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2fNQppJqXw&feature=PlayList&p=F3C868A21F33E198&index=0 [youtube.com]
(do get the HD videos, they're MUCH better)

I recall the slashdot story saying that many of us can't see the Milky Way at night, but that's not true - we can see it on Youtube.

And we can even see beautiful sunrises from our basements ;).

FWIW those camera sensors and lenses are better then my eyes in terms of quality of picture.

Re:Why not? Plus - it's 'better' than HD (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#28438371)

According to the specs it only shoots video in 1080p, not 5616x3744. And, regarding the "why not" argument, that's kind of like saying "If you can drive a nail with a wrench, why not buy a wrench to drive your nails?" when a hammer costs the same price and would be much better suited to the task.

Re:Why not? Plus - it's 'better' than HD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28438631)

Actually. I think the better analogy would be: It's like saying "If you can drive a nail with a wrench, and you already have an awesome wrench, why bother buying a hammer?"

That's the approach that I've always taken...but then again, I've been using a meat tenderizer as a hammer for the last 8 years...

Re:Why not? Plus - it's 'better' than HD (1)

nattt (568106) | more than 4 years ago | (#28444111)

It might record 1080p (1920x1080) but the measured horizontal resolution is much more like 1400 or so... So not even full 1080p. If you actually try to shoot something with high detail so you can actually see that resolution, the result is ugly because of the line skipping, you get false colors appearing, and it sort of twitters and jumps as the detail falls into the rows that got skipped.

Re:Why not? Plus - it's 'better' than HD (2, Interesting)

dargaud (518470) | more than 4 years ago | (#28443207)

I, for one, welcome custom camera firmwares

I would too. I'm a photographer and a pro embedded software writer, but I have no idea how to write (or, better, 'correct') a firmware for a camera. I have written out long lists of suggestions to the makers of my cameras [gdargaud.net] , obviously to no avail. Some things would be trivial one liners in the firmware code. But how do you get started ? Can you decompile a firmware update ? Probably not. Can you get the source code of a Nikon/Canon/Ricoh/etc firmware ? Probably not.

Re:Not a video camera, so why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28438325)

5D mark 2 is easily the BEST image quality "video camera" money can buy for less than about $100 000. And as an added bonus, you can shoot great stills.

It's really that simple.

HD video cams, professional or otherwise, simply cannot touch its image quality, and offer very limited amount of depth of field control.

There are several after market add-ons meant to make 5Dmk2 more video camera like.

Re:Not a video camera, so why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28438869)

"5D mark 2 is easily the BEST image quality "video camera" money can buy for less than about $100 000."

A RED One cost much less than $100k and you actually get features you need to make a movie in lieu of a home video. And RED's new lineup will leave this small format camera in the dust.
   

Re:Not a video camera, so why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28439203)

Sure, when you can finally buy Scarlet or Epic. Right now you can't. And 5D mk2 is superior in low light compared to RED One.

$100k is actually pretty low estimate. It's probably a lot more.

Re:Not a video camera, so why? (1)

nattt (568106) | more than 4 years ago | (#28439321)

A RED has superior resolution, vastly less aliasing, more choice of frame rates etc. etc. Overall, a better picture.

Re:Not a video camera, so why? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28439495)

Superior resolution (slightly), freely adjustable frame rate; sure. Aliasing can be controlled with filters. RED One is an amazing camera. But do compare the price: for less than 10k you get 5D mk II and a very respectable set of high quality primes, maybe a good zoom too. You need to spend around 80k to get same with RED setup.

But no matter what, mk2 performs much better in low light. It might not be an issue if you have professional lighting and can control the scene, but for most people it's a big bonus.

Re:Not a video camera, so why? (2, Informative)

nattt (568106) | more than 4 years ago | (#28443629)

Horizontally, the Canon measures less than half the measured resolution of a RED One. That's not slightly different, that's vastly different. I'd love to see how you can control the aliasing produced by the line skipping with external filters. Even if you could put a filter on blurry enough to do so, you'd now be into sub-HD territory with the resolution.

As for performing better in low light, you can't even brighten up the shadows on something you've shot because it all just looks like macroblocks! The codec is terrible and utterly un-suited to any kind of professional post production.

Sure, you can get good Canon glass cheap, or Nikon glass for that matter, both of which will work on your RED.

It's funny that people always go on about the DOF with the Canon - because it's only when everything is out of focus are you not able to easily see what is wrong with the picture.

Re:Not a video camera, so why? (1)

planetMitch (1583389) | more than 4 years ago | (#28438901)

Well, you may not think it is good for filmmaking, but the indies and the big names are flocking to this camera like moths to light. Check my blog, http://blog.planet5d.com/ [planet5d.com] for lots of posts from indies making movies, to big films like Harry Potter and Iron Man II and several TV shows using the 5D mk ii. The sensor is amazing and the DOF is killer when done right.

Re:Not a video camera, so why? (1)

wild_berry (448019) | more than 4 years ago | (#28441121)

I read a BBC blog that the present HD video equipment they have can only do single-plane focused images, and that good depth of field is difficult because of sensor noise and sensitivity. So to have a good set of lenses and a highly sensitive low-noise frame (and good sound recording) at the price of a 5DmkII would be a tremendous asset.

Re:Not a video camera, so why? (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 4 years ago | (#28438985)

Just throwing this in: a friend if mine was a DP on the last season of CSI and he'd demoed the 5dmk2 to see if it was usable for what they were doing. His opinion was that the image looked great, but it NEEDED a 24P mode (it only shoots 30fps nominal right now). Also, it only records MPEG-compressed movies, and there's no way to get a raw feed off it or at least something with less/more pro levels of compression.

I'm a sound guy, so my main complaints are that it doesn't have balanced wiring for the audio inputs, there is no digital audio input, and it's not clear how well the camera will hold sync if you were to do double-system recording, since the camera has no genlock/trilevel sync.

Re:Not a video camera, so why? (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 4 years ago | (#28439047)

...or any conception of timecode, for that matter.

Re:Not a video camera, so why? (1)

waveformwafflehouse (1221950) | more than 4 years ago | (#28444053)

If you want the best sound when shooting in consumer/prosumer land, run your own recorder and stripe* timecode [wikipedia.org] . While balanced inputs would be nice, you still would be stuck with cheap A/D converters and 16 Bit recording. On-camera sound is a convenience: it's second place to price/ video quality with most manufacturers.

Unless you can drop 50 grand on a multicamera Genlock setup, drift will always be potential issue with multicamera shoots. In my experience even the cheapest usable cameras may only drift a few frames an hour, which can easily be fixed in post by slating [wikipedia.org] at the beginning and end of long shoots.

*Stripe meaning record a track of audio timecode on each camera and recorder for sync in your post-production software.

Re:Not a video camera, so why? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#28439135)

It depends what you're doing, but you're not going to get the depth of field with a real HD video camera that you can with a dSLR. And additionally, it's easier to chop down the image size to HD than it is to turn and HD video camera into something that takes decent photos.

Re:Not a video camera, so why? (1)

caseih (160668) | more than 4 years ago | (#28441743)

The current trend is very much to do high-quality photography and video with the same camera body. I expect that in the range we're dealing with (mid-range), we'll soon see a complete convergence with the sale of HD-video only cameras disappearing entirely. It makes sense if you think about it too. The quality of lenses available for SLR cameras is very good and readily available. So while today the 5D has video as an afterthought, the future cameras will be natively built for good, high-quality, HD video. I think Canon's latest offering has all this if I recall correctly. A number of my photography friends were drooling over it because of this.

On the higher end, Red cameras are also moving towards cameras that do both video and stills very well.

DSLR video... (3, Interesting)

mansa (94579) | more than 4 years ago | (#28438197)

Wow, sounds like you've added some great functionality. Interesting read.

I have a T1i- the little brother to the 5d Mark II. Any thought on firmware for this model?

Aside from not being full frame, it also only does 1080P video @ 20FPS... I understand that it *can* do 30 but Canon crippled it as to not encroach on the 5D market. Has anyone seen any "updated" firmware to crank the frames for the T1i? :)

Re:DSLR video... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28438359)

It's not a firmware problem for the T1i, it's a processor power problem. The only way you're going to get 30fps at 1080p is by adding more processing power.

Re:DSLR video... (1)

etherelithic (846901) | more than 4 years ago | (#28439853)

I'd question that statement, as both the T1i and the 5D Mark II have the DIGIC 4 processor.

Re:DSLR video... (1)

MoxFulder (159829) | more than 4 years ago | (#28440855)

Aside from not being full frame, it also only does 1080P video @ 20FPS... I understand that it *can* do 30 but Canon crippled it as to not encroach on the 5D market. Has anyone seen any "updated" firmware to crank the frames for the T1i? :)

I wouldn't be surprised to see CHDK come out with an un-crippled 1080P video mode for the T1I/500D. There's unfortunately a hardware-based dealbreaker for that system, though: no external mic input at all. Ugh. Making it pretty much useless for anything beyond home videos, as the on-camera mic is mono, noisy, and low-quality.

You called it what? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28438199)

Magic Lantern? Do you open sores fucktards know how to name something so it has any relevance at all to your software?

Panasonic GH1 & Consumer Video (3, Informative)

Iskender (1040286) | more than 4 years ago | (#28438241)

This GPL'd firmware sounds cool and the 5D2 is a cool camera. However, people who are interested in getting one solely for video should also look at the Panasonic GH1: it has stepless aperture control (with the right lens) and is in general made for video, unlike the 5D2 which has half-afterthought video.

The reason I mention the GH1 is that it's really the first digital system camera that's 1) Made for video 2) Costs below 1500-2000 euros. It would be nice if the firmware hack people could do it for some other brands than Canon too though...

The models won't matter soon though: all of this points to high quality video soon being available from lots of companies for anyone with 1000 euros to spend. Essentially, anyone with a decent income can soon only blame themselves for their video footage sucking.

Re:Panasonic GH1 & Consumer Video (2, Informative)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 4 years ago | (#28438447)

Except that the sensor size in the GH1 is much smaller than that in the 5D, so if you want to use a smaller DOF, you are going to have more problems on the GH1 than on a 5D with something like a Canon 85mm f/1.2. That same lens on the GH1 is going to be much less useful.

Re:Panasonic GH1 & Consumer Video (1)

Iskender (1040286) | more than 4 years ago | (#28438899)

Except that the sensor size in the GH1 is much smaller than that in the 5D, so if you want to use a smaller DOF, you are going to have more problems on the GH1 than on a 5D with something like a Canon 85mm f/1.2. That same lens on the GH1 is going to be much less useful.

I won't deny that the 5D2 has a significantly larger potential depth of field range. However, I do doubt that that thin depth of field is all that usable. Your example, the 85mm 1:1.2 will have VERY thin depth of field wide open - basically, focus has to be spot on for stills, and for video it will have to be right continuously. This will be very taxing for any focusing system, manual or automatic. As such, if that one niche use is important the 5D2 will be justified, but I do firmly consider it a niche.

If my information is correct and the aperture changes on the GH1 are much smoother, I believe that will be a much larger net positive for one's video than the minimal depth of field potential. As I said though, to each his own - as long as one doesn't do the camera equivalent of MHz races.

Re:Panasonic GH1 & Consumer Video (1)

Joseph Lam (61951) | more than 4 years ago | (#28438931)

True, but a counter argument is that if you want larger DOF, the sensor size advantage of the 5D will be offset by the need for a smaller aperture which puts pressure on either the sensitivity or shutter speed.

Re:Panasonic GH1 & Consumer Video (1)

dfghjk (711126) | more than 4 years ago | (#28439125)

Yes, the 5D2 is a groundbreaking camera in the area of incredibly shallow DOF video. Otherwise, it sucks. Up until now, videographers haven't been hamstrung lacking the ability to shoot 35mm frame sizes with a 85 f/1.2. It's just an excuse to trumpet a Canon product.

Re:Panasonic GH1 & Consumer Video (1)

yo_tuco (795102) | more than 4 years ago | (#28440563)

Putting a Letus Ultimate 35mm adapter on your video camera gives you the same DOF capabilities.

That's really a non-issue. (1)

Estanislao Martnez (203477) | more than 4 years ago | (#28443257)

The greater depth of field of the GH1 is by no means a disadvantage. The idea that a camera like the GH1 is somehow crippled because it's DOF is wider is just an internets camera measurebator myth. The lenses needed for a sensor of the size of the GH1's are large enough to produce perfectly fine background blur, and you'll get more of your subject in focus thanks to the greater DOF. The larger sensor cameras shallower depth of field is in nearly every case a disadvantage, though one that they make up for thanks to having much larger sensors (and thus allowing you stop down the aperture and crank up the ISO).

These two posts at The Online Photographer [typepad.com] make for instructive reading:

  1. The PS of What's a 'Fast Lens'? [typepad.com] (though the rest of the post is also worth reading)
  2. Depth-of-Field Hell [typepad.com]

Re:Panasonic GH1 & Consumer Video (1)

BlackPignouf (1017012) | more than 4 years ago | (#28438961)

Sure, it's not the same price point, but the 5D2 just beats the crap out of the GH1 for anything that should look professional.
Take a look at Reverie (TFV), and tell me if it would have been possible with GH1's sensor size.

Great job! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28438251)

Two words: very impressive!

  Now just give us 24 fps and maybe externally controllable aperture and focus (ability to focus the lens to specific distance).

If those are possible, if necessary, I'll bow towards your generic direction several times per day. ;)

That, and a reasonable contribution to your paypal account.

Most active forum - cinema5d.com (4, Informative)

Chuffpole (765597) | more than 4 years ago | (#28438431)

If you a 5D-II forum with a lot of activity, see http://www.cinema5d.com/search.php?search_id=newposts [cinema5d.com]

Re:Most active forum - cinema5d.com (5, Funny)

viking099 (70446) | more than 4 years ago | (#28438481)

I once a whole 5D-II forum with a lot of activity.

I'll never do that again.

Re:Most active forum - cinema5d.com (2)

ThatFunkyMunki (908716) | more than 4 years ago | (#28438937)

The whole thing?!

Re:Most active forum - cinema5d.com (2)

viking099 (70446) | more than 4 years ago | (#28439079)

It shames me to say it but yes, the whole thing.

Re:Most active forum - cinema5d.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28441351)

I once a whole 5D-II forum with a lot of activity.

I'll never do that again.

Does that help clarify it?

Re:Most active forum - cinema5d.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28441401)

well I once accidentally a whole 5D-II forum!!

No love for the 10d-50d series? (1)

vmxeo (173325) | more than 4 years ago | (#28438545)

As awesome as these hacks for the Canon cameras are, as a 40d owner I'm feeling a bit left out. I have the CHDK firmware for my S3IS which is awesome; multiple exposure bracketing, RAW support, and scripts galore. And now extra movie support functions for the 5d. There was a guy a while back who hacked the 40d to shoot video, but he ended up getting hired by Nikon and couldn't release his code. Anyone know of any efforts to hack these cameras as well?

Re:No love for the 10d-50d series? (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 4 years ago | (#28438789)

I'm not quite sure of the point of chkdk. I have an S5 (next model up from you). It makes the start-up ridiculously long, and it comes up in preview mode. I tried it for RAW on my last holiday, but found it used ridiculous amounts of space (not surprising) and increased my post-trip processing time immensely. I only used two of the RAWs. These cameras have such noisy sensors that it's to much work dealing with it afterwards and the in-camera processing is generally good enough. If you want better, get a more expensive camera! I guess I can see the benefits of some of the things, but I'd use them so infrequently in a year that it's not worth the slow start times and the hassles of XP not coping properly with partitioned SD cards (mine's an 8GB card, and CHKDK forces it to be partitioned).

Nice idea, not worth the effort.

Re:No love for the 10d-50d series? (1)

darkstar949 (697933) | more than 4 years ago | (#28439353)

How is the PowerShot S5 considered to be a step up from a semi-pro dSLR?

Re:No love for the 10d-50d series? (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 4 years ago | (#28441421)

I didn't say it was. Read the parent. The camera he mentioned has a better sensor, but in all other ways is a predecessor of the S5.

Re:No love for the 10d-50d series? (1)

darkstar949 (697933) | more than 4 years ago | (#28441649)

"In all other ways?" I'm still not sure where you are getting that from as the Canon EOS 40D is a semi-professional dSLR camera that is quite often carried as a backup camera (or as a primary) by professional photographers, where as the PowerShot S5 is strictly a consumer level camera. Given that the 40D support interchangeable lenses I'm even sure you can fairly compare the cameras, thus, this really is a situation where you are comparing apples to oranges.

Re:No love for the 10d-50d series? (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 4 years ago | (#28441971)

You might want re-read the parent post. It contains the following: "I have the CHDK firmware for my S3IS which is awesome;"

Re:No love for the 10d-50d series? (1)

darkstar949 (697933) | more than 4 years ago | (#28443017)

Reading comprehension failure, apparently I need to have another mug of coffee. On the upside, at least I'm not the only poster to make the mistake.

Re:No love for the 10d-50d series? (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#28440299)

The 40D MSRP is $1100. The S5 is $350. Your camera is nowhere near a step up from a 40D.

Re:No love for the 10d-50d series? (1)

Archades54 (925582) | more than 4 years ago | (#28441095)

s5 and s3IS i believe were the 2 in question.

Canon CHDK awesome (1)

Gruff1002 (717818) | more than 4 years ago | (#28440239)

Not only does Canon let the consumer play around with the firmware they encourage it, as far as CHDK goes there are tons of parameters if its not working the way you want it to its your fault. I have taken shots of lightning where the motion detection script responds in 110ms. To take advantage of RAW (CRW file format) you have to be a borderline pro photographer and know how to convert them to DNG, preserving the 10 bit color, and then I use RawTherapee and possibly GIMP.

moire patterns? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28438627)

According to the wikipedia page:

The 21 megapixel sensor is downsampled to HD resolution by only using every third line and 4:2:0 chroma subsampling[8], leading to concern about Moiré patterns in recorded video

Does the software address this? Or is it a non-issue?

what about stock firmware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28438675)

I never undestood why don't manafactures already have all these features.
It's easier for them than for anyone else to develop this kind of things..

complete Canon EOS 5D Mark II coverage (1)

planetMitch (1583389) | more than 4 years ago | (#28438831)

Hi y'all If you're interested in the 5D mk ii, you should check out my blog and wiki - http://planet5d.com/ [planet5d.com] - the best 5D information on the planet! We have had several posts on this story since it was 'announced' several weeks ago (yesterday's formal announcement was the first 'release' of the software to the public - but we've been covering it before that).

Ok, honest question here... (0)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#28439065)

Can anyone explain to me what exactly is the fascination with QuickTime MOV format?

Kodak's cameras record video in MOV. Apparently Canon's cameras also record video in MOV.

It's a PITA because Apple is so stingy about licensing the codecs for its QuickTime formats (no, I don't want to buy QuickTime Pro). It makes it a major inconvenience if I want to actually edit the clips. So, why do I have to put up with this?

Sorry if this seems like a rant. If there's some reason why MOV seems to be favoured, I'm honestly curious as to what it is.

Re:Ok, honest question here... (1)

viking099 (70446) | more than 4 years ago | (#28439181)

My Canon S3 records in AVI format, but my old Olympus camera recorded in .MOV.

I always figured that Apple has a relatively cheap and easy-to-implement authoring code API or something that makes it easy for the bean counters to approve of.

Some cameras have basic editing functionality built into the firmware, but yeah it sucks that it's not in a more open format.

Re:Ok, honest question here... (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#28440615)

AVI and MOV are just containers. They have no bearing on the codecs used, which is what actually differentiates quality of encoding. AVI can contain MPEG, MPEG-2, DivX, MJPEG, H.264... whatever. Saying you have an AVI means almost nothing.

Re:Ok, honest question here... (1)

skyride (1436439) | more than 4 years ago | (#28439483)

.MOV is actually a fairly good format. It may not be open but NOTHING in the higher-end video editing spectrum is. Personally I used to do some small time recording of a local bands with a few DV cams. Just like some bands who wanted live demos, then often link it up with a stereomix. While I brought along 3 DV cameras with me, I'd often have people who'd recorded it on their digital cameras email me there videos and these were more often than not in .MOV format. Most amateur editors/producers use Sony Vegas (I personally use Premiere Pro) which supports .MOV format. Infact the only editing program ive ever found that dosen't support .MOV is Windows Movie Maker which no self respecting editor would use in a million years anyway. Me thinks you should stop putting videos of your brilliant nights out on Youtube, Nobody wants to see them. ;)

Re:Ok, honest question here... (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#28439815)

MOV is actually a fairly good format. It may not be open but NOTHING in the higher-end video editing spectrum is.

Why? It's just a container. What's inside is what's significant (as Anonymous Coward pointed out below), so how is MOV better than any other container format?

I'd often have people who'd recorded it on their digital cameras email me there videos and these were more often than not in .MOV format.

Thus illustrating my question. Why do so many cameras record in MOV?!

Me thinks you should stop putting videos of your brilliant nights out on Youtube

Actually, YouTube had no problem transcoding the videos my camera recorded, but if I wanted to edit them first, I'd have had to buy a video editing package that would have been serious overkill for my purposes.

Re:Ok, honest question here... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28439515)

MOV format is not that much of a problem. after all, it is very similar to MP4 container. What's important is the codec used for the video and in case of 5D Mark II it is H.264 (aka MPEG-4 AVC). There's no problem processing this in most video editing software.

Re:Ok, honest question here... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28439939)

MOV is just a container format. It's really all h.264. Demuxing the stream is easy and very fast and there are free tools to do that. VLC plays/converts it out of the box. VirtualDub can load it with a plugin.

There's absolutely no reason to use QuickTime Pro.

Re:Ok, honest question here... (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#28440061)

VLC plays/converts it out of the box.

I had no end of trouble trying to get VLC to convert my Kodak's MOV videos. Trying to convert into MPEG 1, mp1v/mpga just gives a ffmpeg error.

I seem to remember finding a 2-step conversion that actually worked (I was able to successfully convert them into some absurdly large format, can't remember which one, then convert that into MPEG), but I can't remember it any more and if I had to convert one of them today I'm sure I'd have no end of trouble figuring out how to do it again.

Re:Ok, honest question here... (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#28440075)

FWIW, the MOV videos were in mp4v/ulaw, not h.264.

Re:Ok, honest question here... (1)

Krupuk (978265) | more than 4 years ago | (#28440369)

I recently got a MOV file from a 5D Mark II, which played fine on a Macbook.

I tried to play it on a Windows machine (I don't own a Mac) and I only got a "-2048" error that "QuickTime doesn't understand the file format". I tried installing every codec package I know of and used different players (Windows Media Player, Media Player Classic, VLC...). I did the whole thing on different PCs without success.

On some forums I read that there are problems with playing HD QuickTime under Windows. Does anyone know a solution how I can play that file under Windows? Or at least how I can convert the file to something playable under Windows.

Open Source? (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 4 years ago | (#28440171)

With Canon, we can.

This is a great camera - just needs a nudge or two (1)

intensity (118733) | more than 4 years ago | (#28440367)

I own the 5D Mark II and I love it, especially since Canon recently released the firmware to enable ISO, Aperature and Shutter Speed control in video mode. I work on indie film and professional video and I can tell you that even though this isn't a "video" camera, the full-frame sensor and the Canon line of lenses, especially the high-end primes, are a wonderful combination. Such shallow depth of field, such great color reproduction, and great low light sensitivity.

Most prosumer / consumer HD cameras can't touch the sensor and lens combo that this camera does, unless you get above 10K$ for your camera. Naturally, in indie film we want to get the best bang for the money, so this camera has been a godsend. A lot of companies like Redrock and Zacuto are now selling full rail systems with matte boxes and follow focus equipment for this and other DSLR's enabling a DP to utilize a DSLR like a traditional video or film motion picture camera.

One of the biggest issues with this third-party firmware is it has to be reinstalled every time you power down and power up the camera. I hope Canon sees what the community is doing and adds these features directly or at least supports the development of 3rd party firmware. We're still missing 24/25P, and a real Zebra function would be incredible.

Shameless Self-Promotion (0, Troll)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 4 years ago | (#28442075)

I seem to have stumbled into the Slashdot Classified Ads section. And I didn't even know that Slashdot had a Classified Ads section.

But given that its GPL code I will mute my criticism that this post is put up by the author, and not a more neutral review site.
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