I like my Canon 5D Mark II – it shoots great stills, and it also shoots more than passable HD video. I’m personally a fan of working at frame rate of 30p, so I didn’t even mind this limitation all that much, but I have to admit I was irked when the 7D – and then the 1D Mark IV – were announced with a much wider range of frame rates (and frame sizes). So I was feeling considerably better about my purchase after Canon Europe, UK, and Australia announced a firmware update for the 5D that will support 24 and 25 fps HD capture (as of the time I write this, a search does not turn up a similar announcement on the Canon USA site – thus my delay in learning about it).
That’s the good news; now let’s look that gift horse in the mouth and discuss the bad news:
- not ready until the first half of 2010 (but at least they let us know now, rather than letting users sell their 5Ds to buy a 7D or 1D only to learn later that we would have gotten these rates anyway)
- no “high” frame rates of 50 or 59.94/60 fps, nor 720p frame sizes (meaning no pseudo-slow-mo, which would have been very useful for my work)
- no mention of the “1000/1001” frame rates of 29.97 or 23.976 fps (might be an oversight in the wording of the release, but I’m betting the camera’s hardware was only wired to support the integer rate of 30 and its brethren – in the meantime, Stretch by 100.1% in After Effects; Speed by 99.9% in FCP)
It’s interesting to note that the wizards over at the Magic Lantern project already had 24 fps on their feature request list; at least that’s one they can strike off as they work on other cool features such as full HD on HDMI while recording (not the 480i it currently switches down to).
Magic Lantern firmware introduction from Trammell Hudson on Vimeo.
Despite my complaints, it’s actually nice to see Canon putting forth the effort to do this. They’re still selling a boatload of 5Ds, plus they have two other new DSLRs that support HD capture to sell, so they could have sat on their hands – but they didn’t. Now if they would just throw money at Magic Lantern and integrate those features as well…
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