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All about using the Canon 1D X, 6D, 5D Mk. IV / Mk. III / Mk. II D-SLR for 4K and HD video recording.


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Old May 5th, 2009, 06:07 PM   #1
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Yet another firmware thread

I just saw this on DV:
Canon EOS 5D Mark II Firmware Update In Works

“A lot of people have asked for [the update]. When and if it's coming, all that's subjective. Some of the things we think we can do, while others we're not so sure of. Our engineers are working on what they can. There's no set date or firmware package that's coming any time soon. But we're working on it. I'd love to say we're going to fix this and this or modify that. Just stay on the boards and Web site. As soon as we've got something, you'll know.”

- A Canon Rep on the NAB floor


Things sound ever more promising.

Now, a plea: Chris has closed a couple of recent firmware threads that went from outside information to hunches to strongly voiced opinions. Let's behave ourselves, so the thread can stay open for useful information.

For instance, if you have ideas of cool ways that Canon could implement additional features, that would be nice. They might even read this thread and implement them!
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Old May 5th, 2009, 08:32 PM   #2
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Agreed! I've been researching the 5d Mark ii for a while now and would love to see some user input actually make it into the camera.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 10:06 PM   #3
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My 5D MKII arrives tomorrow from Amazon so I will let you know as soon as I get some more hands on time. Have only shot with it once before so I am looking forward to giving it a workout and learning the finer points of the camera.

Dan
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Old May 5th, 2009, 10:24 PM   #4
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I'm hoping cameras like the Pany GH1 will light a fire under them to unlock manual controls, if at all possible.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 11:28 PM   #5
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unlock manual controls, if at all possible.
This is a question that never gets asked. Is it even possible to implement all the extra features that videographers would love to see in the 5DII? The assumption everyone makes is that it is what when I was in the computer industry we called a SMOP (just a Simple Matter Of Programming which can turn out to be anything but 'simple'). I doubt that Canon deliberately crippled the video functionality it was more likely that what we do have was the quickest & simplest to implement & possibly they painted themselves into a corner by taking certain design decisions. It may be that providing full manual control 24/25fps etc is possible but requires a complete re-write of the firmware & isn't as simple as just changing a small portion or flipping a switch if they did indeed deliberately cripple it.
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Old May 6th, 2009, 01:18 AM   #6
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Nigel,

I think you're right. 24p and 25p would be big jobs. Same with shutter speed control. From the analysis that Mark Hahn and I did, the shutter speeds are very limited right now. It's not enough to add front end control when the back-end firmware is overly limited.

On the other hand, allowing us to control aperture on Canon lenses should be a piece of cake. Just turn the top wheel and control the lens. All Canon SLRs have that function.

And then there's the user interface and possible updates to the manual. User interface design always gets to be political and opinions can be strong. (When it comes to UI, everybody thinks they are an expert.)

So, maybe the long wait for firmware is a good thing. It might mean that we get nothing. Or it might mean that we will get a significant update.

If it were just a matter of connecting the wheel to the iris, it would have been done by now.
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Old May 6th, 2009, 03:13 AM   #7
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And then there's the user interface and possible updates to the manual. User interface design always gets to be political and opinions can be strong. (When it comes to UI, everybody thinks they are an expert.)
I've said it before, but I'll say it again... I often see a lot of talk about putting stuff in menus for the manual control in video mode. Why? We already have that big dial on the left side of the camera. Canon doesn't have to design any menus or GUI -- they simply allow the user to set the type of control wanted by using the dial. If they want full manual control, they dial it to "M". If they want aperture control, they dial it to "Av". If they want shutter speed control, they dial it to "Tv". If they want the camera to do what it does now, they put it on the green box setting. The other two wheels operate the same as they do for stills when the various modes are selected (IE. aperture selection, shutter speed selection, and exposure compensation).

No GUI design required and it maintains operational consistency across both the movie and stills modes.

Julian
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Old May 6th, 2009, 03:12 PM   #8
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I've said it before, but I'll say it again... I often see a lot of talk about putting stuff in menus for the manual control in video mode. Why?
Julian, I absolutely agree that no new menus are needed for manual control. Menus are definitely needed for 24p/25p though.

But keep in mind that the UI isn't just menus. It's how the buttons operate, it's about defaults, and it's about what little indicators are displayed on the top LCD and in the info display.

For instance, when you launch into video mode in the "M" setting, should it start in auto mode, until the user adjusts something? Should it start in full manual with the previous settings from still mode? Should it start in full manual from the previous settings from video mode only? Should it time out and go back to auto or default settings? How long would the timeout be?

Also, should the ISO be able to be adjusted when video is recording? Note that when you hit the ISO button, there is an overlay on the LCD screen that indicates the selected ISO. Can they even do this over live view when recording?

So, even if menu design isn't required, there are many small UI details that need to be considered - and agreed to by the design team and management - before they can code the update.

The more I think about it, the more I understand why we didn't get a quick firmware update. Canon needs to consider not only the policy and functional goals, but all the details needed to get it right the first time.
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Old May 6th, 2009, 04:07 PM   #9
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All good points, Jon. And it would certainly explain a delay in getting a firmware update out to the public (if indeed it is in the works).

Julian
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Old May 6th, 2009, 05:30 PM   #10
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There is no reason why shutter speed control would be more difficult to manually control than aperture or ISO.

The 5D2's auto exposure algorithm works just like on the HV20/30/40.. According to Chuck Westfall, the 5D2 contains a lookup table for various combinations of aperture/shutter/ISO which results in a particular exposure level. There is abosolutely no difference in complexity in whether to allow manual selection of aperture, shutter, or ISO... Granted there some technical limitations of what the camera sensor supports with respect to the electronic shutter speed- The simple solution is to just set a min/max limits for the shutter speed.. Obviously it won't be the mechanical shutter's speed range of B - 1/8000

I think it's pretty obvious they intentionally designed the 5D2 to have an auto-only video mode. There is no technical hurdle to allow manual control in the movie mode. How do I know? When you set the Live View to Exposure mode, you can adjust all 3 parts independently and see the result of your adjustment in realtime on the LCD... However, as soon as you hit REC, the camera kicks into AUTO mode. All they need to do is to disable the logic to go into AUTO mode when you hit REC and allow the settings you've dialed-in carry over to the movie mode (other than shutter speeds outside of the normal movie mode range of course)
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Old May 6th, 2009, 11:52 PM   #11
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When you set the Live View to Exposure mode, you can adjust all 3 parts independently and see the result of your adjustment in realtime on the LCD... However, as soon as you hit REC, the camera kicks into AUTO mode. All they need to do is to disable the logic to go into AUTO mode when you hit REC and allow the settings you've dialed-in carry over to the movie mode (other than shutter speeds outside of the normal movie mode range of course)
You are exactly right. Just leave Exposure Simulation intact when the dial is on "M", and you're pretty much done.

One small detail: When in Exposure Simulation, the display shows the whole sensor, rather than the 16:9 crop. As always, there's some detailed design decision that crops (a pun!) up.

Of course, Canon has the engineers to design this UI stuff in lots of cameras from P&Ss to their top DSLRs. They've got the skills and experience needed. They don't need any breakthrough inventions. They just need a solid policy decision, followed by solid design decisions, followed by execution.

Fingers crossed.
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Old May 7th, 2009, 08:36 AM   #12
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According to Chuck Westfall, the 5D2 contains a lookup table for various combinations of aperture/shutter/ISO which results in a particular exposure level.
Likewise there is a table of audio levels and gain adjustments. Disabling the AGC is as simple as -not- adjusting the gain.
Quote:
There is no technical hurdle to allow manual control in the movie mode. How do I know? When you set the Live View to Exposure mode, you can adjust all 3 parts independently and see the result of your adjustment in realtime on the LCD... However, as soon as you hit REC, the camera kicks into AUTO mode.
And the first two frames of the video file are recorded with the desired manual aperture settings, then it stutters and adjusts to the auto-mode. By not registering the callback it might be possible to remain in manual mode.
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I think it's pretty obvious they intentionally designed the 5D2 to have an auto-only video mode
The EP_SetMovieManualExposureMode() function in the firmware would seem to argue against that.
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Old May 7th, 2009, 12:15 PM   #13
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And the first two frames of the video file are recorded with the desired manual aperture settings, then it stutters and adjusts to the auto-mode. By not registering the callback it might be possible to remain in manual mode.
HAHA, I didn't know that.. Sloppy programming or a cruel way to drop hints of hidden capabilities!?

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The EP_SetMovieManualExposureMode() function in the firmware would seem to argue against that.
What I meant was they intentionally released it with no manual mode... For business reasons I assume.

Interesting.. I haven't followed the hacking process very closely.. so this function name was found? Were they able to decipher the content of the function, including how large the function is? Small function with only a flag change or a large function with more complicated logic?
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Old May 7th, 2009, 12:20 PM   #14
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What I meant was they intentionally released it with no manual mode... For business reasons I assume.

Interesting.. I haven't followed the hacking process very closely.. so this function name was found? Were they able to decipher the content of the function, including how large the function is? Small function with only a flag change or a large function with more complicated logic?
More likely a placeholder function with just a 'Return' statement as they hadn't got around to writing it.
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Old May 7th, 2009, 12:58 PM   #15
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Were they able to decipher the content of the function, including how large the function is? Small function with only a flag change or a large function with more complicated logic?
It is a very short callback function (about 30 bytes) that just sets a flag in the global config structure. There are many like it; this one had a string in it that gives away its function. I haven't determined if that field is read elsewhere yet, nor have I determined if there is a menu somewhere that calls this function.
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