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Julian Frost December 7th, 2010 09:04 PM

Still getting duplicated frames on 5D mk II
When I first got my 5D mk II, I noticed the footage would suddenly jump. When I put it in an NLE, I could see I was getting a series of 3 repeated frames in the timeline.

When firmware version 2.0.4 came out, it seemed my problem went away, at least for a while. Then it came back! I thought it may have something to do with the Transcend 300x 16GB cards I was using, as I noticed that whenever I formatted them, the camera would pause very briefly (barely noticeable on the progress bar) during the formatting.

I bought 2 new SanDisk Extreme 60Mbs cards and tried them today. I formatted them in the camera, and saw no pause during formatting. I shot a couple of minutes of test footage, and guess what? With firmware 2.0.8, and new (faster) CF cards, the first clip I shot had one set of 3 duplicate frames, making the footage appear to jump!

I have to say that this is pretty disappointing. Do you think it can be something to do with the lens? It happened today on my 17-40L. I'll see if I can replicate it on my 70-200L IS.

I'm open to any comments/suggestions you may have.

Julian Frost December 7th, 2010 09:12 PM

Urgh. I just tried it with my 70-200L, and at 1 min 35 seconds, I saw the image pause on the camera's LCD screen. I reviewed the footage, and sure enough, it had duplicated frames. It's now happening every time I shoot a clip!!

Erik Andersen December 8th, 2010 03:57 AM

Is the camera still under warranty?

What mode are you shooting in, i.e. is it Manual (M) or some other mode?

Is there any pattern to when the problem happens? E.g. during a pan, during aperture change, etc.

Julian Frost December 8th, 2010 02:08 PM

I've been trying to find a pattern for this problem today, but except for one instance, I've been unable to replicate it! Really frustrating!

When I tested it last night, I had a Sennheiser G2 wireless receiver hooked up to the 5D mk II. It was connected via a Bogen hot-shoe mount. I tried it this morning without the receiver, with the receiver connected to the hot-shoe mount but turned off, and with it all connected as it was last night. Nothing.

I tried it last night shooting both 24P and 30P. At 24P, it consistently duplicated frames at about 1 min 30 secs. At 30P, it was consistent at about the 2 min mark. At 24P, the file size was about 512 MB. At 30P, about 1GB. I thought it may be a file size issue, but today, no problem!

Last night, since it was dark, I used a very high ISO, 6400, or even the HI selection. Using the HI selection was the only way I could replicate the problem today... but only once.

The camera is not under warranty, but I do live a short drive from the Canon Irvine repair facility. I wanted to be able to go there with a CF card full of duplicated frame shots, but now I don't have many! I know what the repair techs will do... shoot video once or twice, play it back, and see no problems, and return it too me with a bill for no problems solved... so I wanted a consistent problem. No such "luck" today.

Oh, everything was manual mode -- manual focus, manual ISO, manual Shutter, manual aperture. It was on AWB though.

Chris Barcellos December 8th, 2010 03:14 PM

This could be the little trick we all learned about 2 years ago. Just saying to double check it.

Despite having the camera in manual, the camera remains in an automode if you don't have the Live View func. set correct. Sometimes, changing the firmware will cause it to change.

Open Menu, go to the wrench with ":", then scroll down to Live View/Movie func. Press the "set" button in the center of the wheel. Select LV Func. setting. Make sure the seetting is "Stills+Movie". Then select Movie Display. If you have it on Exposure Simulation or Stills, it will cause it to act in auto mode.

If this is not set up this way, your camera will still be in semi auto mode, and changes in the aperature or shutter speed selected by camera will cause the frame issues.

Julian Frost December 8th, 2010 06:35 PM

Thanks Chris,

Unfortunately, that's not the problem, as the camera was, is, and always has been set up that way.

I really wish it would always repeat frames, so I could get Canon to repair it. As it is now, any and all footage I shoot with my 5D mk II stands a good chance of being useless due to random repeated frames.

Erik Andersen December 8th, 2010 08:43 PM

If it's under warranty, I don't see why you couldn't just get it repaired or replaced. Just your experience and perhaps a couple of sample clips should do the trick.

Julian Frost December 8th, 2010 09:47 PM


I agree, if was under warranty, that's what I would do, but like I said above, it's not under warranty. It's two years old. It's been doing this since the day I got it, but in the early days, this issue seemed to be pretty much the norm for many 5D mk II owners. It haven't heard many complaints about it recently.

Julian Frost December 8th, 2010 09:49 PM

...Oh, I should add, that I also tried the trick of formatting the CF card in a computer (doing a full format, not a quick format), and then reformatting it in the camera. I still had the problem with duplicated frames.

Wayne Mann December 8th, 2010 10:14 PM

Hi Julian,

If you will take the camera out of AWB and set everything manually it shouldn't do this. My 5D will do similar things when shot in TV or AV mode. At this point I believe that having anything set to auto mode will cause this behavior. Try everything in manual mode and see if that stops the problem.

Wayne Mann

Andrew Clark December 9th, 2010 01:59 PM

Hey Julian -

Had the same exact problem you are currently experiencing....which is most unfortunate. There are others that have encountered what you are going thru; don't know what they ended up doing, but for me this is what I did.

I sent it back to Canon because it was still under warranty. They inspected it and suggested the following:

- Don't pan the camera too fast
- Try avoiding changing lighting conditions if using any of the Auto modes
- Utilize the fastest CF card you can (they told me the minimum speed, but I forgot what that was)

It never was resolved. So unfortunately, I had to sell it because it was not reliable enough for me.

Well after all.... it's not a video camera; it's a stills camera...that has the ability to shoot great video...but with caveats such as this.

Funny thing though, I took the exact same CF card that I used for my 5D2 footage and popped it in a 7D to see if the 7D would do this. It didn't. And I used all combination's of the various modes and frame rates available in the 7D and I never got a skipped frame. Nice...but strange.

Maybe I'll get the 7D .... or maybe just wait for the third generation of the 5D.

I hope you have better luck in finding out what the problem is that is causing this. If you do find a logical explanation, please do share with us!!

Julian Frost December 9th, 2010 03:52 PM

Wayne: I'll try what you said. Today, I was able to get it to duplicate frames twice, both within 30 seconds of pressing the record button (ISO 4000, manual everything except white balance). I'll try manual white balance next.

Andrew: That's a sad tale! As I said in my first posting, I bought 2 new SanDisk 60Mb/s cards just to see if it was a CF card issue. 60Mb/s should be ample fast enough for this camera. The problem seems independent of the CF cards (note: I'm not seeing any buffering whatsoever).

Right now, I'm just compiling video containing duplicated frames, so I can give it to Canon when I take it in for repair.

Wayne Mann December 9th, 2010 11:09 PM

Hi Julian. It isn't a card issue. I have two SanDisk Extreme lll 8 gig 30MB/s cards that have never once acted up and one SanDisk 8 gig 60 MB/s card that has worked perfectly also, as long as the camera is completely in manual mode. The two 30 MB/s cards have a ton of time on them. The kicker here is that we do aerial video with our 5D from R/C helicopters and the video has A LOT of movement in it. Check out this clip: HeliCam Aerial Media Services - Aerial HD Video This is a software issue that for some reason Canon has not addressed or does not care to fix. But, in total manual mode I have never, knock on wood, had any type of issues like this.

I look forward to hearing that you problem is solved once you choose a manual white balance setting.

Wayne Mann

Julian Frost December 10th, 2010 02:02 PM

Wayne: I agree... it's not a card issue. I've used all kinds of cards, fast and slow(er), from several different manufacturers. It's definitely a camera problem. Right now, I'm just compiling a bunch of clips which contain the problem, and I'll supply them on a CF card when I drop the camera off at Canon Irvine this coming Wednesday.

Oh, and it occured with a manual WB also.A

I'll keep everyone up to date.

Julian Frost January 13th, 2011 02:59 AM

While at the Canon booth at CES, I spoke with a Canon Service Center technician, who told me the duplicating frames definitely sounded like a camera problem, since I'd tried several high-speed CF cards, from different manufacturers, different Canon lenses, different batteries, and all manual settings on the camera. He told me to bring it in to the service center, saying it's usually a problem with the sensor (usually?).

I took my 5D mk II in to the Canon Service Center, Irvine on Tuesday, along with a 16GB SanDisk 60Bps CF card containing footage with duplicated frames, and picked it up today. I was surprised at how quick the repair was. The notes on the receipt said the "printed circuit board" was "not operating properly", and was replaced. The electronics were tested, the sensor and camera cleaned, and returned to me.

I took the camera into the parking lot outside the service center, shot a single 1 minute 45 second clip, and had the exact same problem!

I immediately took it back inside, and showed the representative at the counter the footage I'd just shot. He went back inside and spoke with the technician who worked on my camera. He came back out to me and said the technician said "This is normal operation for a CMOS sensor", and that it will happen any time the camera is moved!!

I tried to be polite when I pointed out that this statement is total BS! After all, we've all seen Reverie by Vincent Laforet, beautiful footage by Bruce Dorn, the "House" finale, shot on a 5D mk II, and Phil Bloom's excellent work. Nowhere do we hear the cries of, "You have to lock the camera down on sticks to avoid that pesky duplicating frames issue!" I also haven't heard the hundreds (thousands?) of 5D mk II owners on this forum complaining about it. A few have... maybe 10 or so... but not many. So if it was the "normal operation" of this camera, you'd ALL be seeing it. And since it also happens when my camera *is* locked down on sticks, the technician's statement is definitely BS. The technician obviously didn't understand the difference between "judder" caused by rapid panning, and duplicated frames.

Anyway, I gave it back to Canon for further repair. They asked me to provide screen shots of the duplicated frames in my NLE (Premier Pro). I did this, so they could see the background moving in 2 successive frames, followed by 3 identical frames, followed by background movement again that looks "unnatural" (IE. it skipped). I did this for 2 of the 3 clips on the CF card.

I'm waiting to hear from the Canon technician who worked on my camera, *why* he replaced the printed circuit board. My camera was operating perfectly, except for the duplicate frames problem, which was not resolved by this "malfunctioning" circuit board... so what was wrong with it? My guess is, he just replaced it as a guess. There was probably nothing wrong with it at all.

I look forward to getting my camera back, in perfect working condition. It hasn't worked properly since day one, but I've put up with it, because I believed this problem would be fixed in a firmware update. I didn't realize it was just MY camera that was faulty. If Canon can't fix it, I'll demand my repair fee back and I'll have to sell the camera as is. I don't want Canon replacing it with a refurbished copy... having been in the service center today and witnessed 2 customers come in (in addition to me!) saying the repair did not fix their problem, I don't want to get a refurbished unit and inherit someone else's lemon.

Bill Binder January 13th, 2011 02:06 PM

I don't think you have ever told us whether you have been able to reproduce this in FULL MANUAL (e.g., M mode, video mode not exposure simulation, no auto WB, no auto ISO, no auto anything)?

I can get your results if not in full manual, but never when in full manual, which is where you ought to be anyway, no?

Julian Frost January 13th, 2011 02:38 PM

Yes, FULL MANUAL EVERYTHING (M mode, manual ISO, manual WB, manual shutter, 24P, 30P, correct live view settings etc). It is NOT a settings or CF card issue, It is a defective camera. I've spent 2 years researching this problem. It needs to be fixed at the hardware level.

Sorry if I sound a bit snippy, but I am rather annoyed. I just got an email from Canon asking if I'd tried other CF cards!! And this in response to my 2 page email that detailed all the tests performed, settings used, and hardware used. I took the time to do all these tests and document them, and provide original evidence (MOV files from the camera) and supporting evidence (screen shots of the duplicate frames) so that Canon had everything they need. They could at least READ the documentation they asked for!

Andrew Clark January 13th, 2011 02:47 PM

Hey Julian -

Bummer that you still are having this problem and that you are considering selling the camera because of it.

You'll definitely find a buyer; but the buyer will be a still photographer and could careless about the video functionality. My buyer didn't care about the video capabilities of the cam, since he was a still photographer. He bought my cam because he couldn't afford his first choice, the Nikon D3x.

But nonetheless, he wasn't the only one to inquire about the cam as I had no less that fifty inquiries...and that was within 2 hours from when I posted it!!

On the other hand, I do hope that the Irvine facility can find out what the heck is causing the skipping frames.

Please keep us posted; much appreciate it.

Khoi Pham January 13th, 2011 02:55 PM

Keep up the pressure and demand to talk to higher up in management, once it took 3 times before they get it right for me on a repair. BTW your technician sound just like the same idiot tech that works on mine.

Julian Frost January 13th, 2011 02:59 PM

The person I spoke with at CES, was *the* top guy at the Canon Service Center. I'll be leaving him a voicemail message today.

Julian Frost January 19th, 2011 11:54 AM

I got a call from Canon yesterday. They were setting up a conference call with the techs in New York to discuss my camera's problem, and I should hear some news later today. They were glad I'd included sample footage on a CF card. Now they can use the EXIF data to set up their own test bodies to see if they can replicate the problem. Based on my own, extensive, testing, I'm 100% certain it's a hardware issue, but I'm very glad they're giving my camera the full attention it needs, and not just randomly replacing parts and saying "it's done!"

Andrew Clark January 19th, 2011 01:30 PM

Great to hear the progress so far Julian!! Keep the pressure on them, now that they admit there is some sort of issue going on that's not card related.

Let's hope they can isolate the problem, fix it and get you back to shooting without any frame skip issues.

Appreciate you keeping us posted; look forward to your next (hopefully) positive post!!

Julian Frost January 19th, 2011 06:48 PM

The update from New York is that as 5D mk II owners, we should be aware of a page in the printed manual that says something to the effect of "when shooting video with high ISO setting, if the camera has to record a lot of information, it's possible that the video could freeze for a moment." It was explained to me that having a high ISO, moving the camera, and having lighting conditions change, could cause the camera to momentarily pause video recording.

While the manual does in fact say something to that effect, I personally don't believe that's what's happening here. The manual was written before manual control was introduced, and we've all seen what happens to footage recorded in an automatic mode when the camera changes aperture during recording... It pauses, for almost second. What I'm seeing is a duplication of 3 frames, which results in a skip in the footage. Another reason I don't think this is the reason for what I'm seeing, is that sudden changes in the amount of data being recorded by the camera are exactly what Vincent Laforet captured during his shooting of Reverie. His camera was attached to a moving vehicle, driven down dark streets, with car headlights suddenly illuminating the way. His shots from a helicopter have more motion in them than a simple pan, or a locked off shot in an interview setting, shot at 100 ISO where the light doesn't change and the subject hardly moves. I've had duplicated frames in all these situations. I've had duplicate frames occur when I've been shooting at ISO 100, with the camera on a tripod, and the subject sitting and talking at the camera.

Anyway, I'm told that the sensor, and associated electronics, have all been replaced and that in side-by-side tests with one of Canon's reference bodies, they could not replicate the problem on my camera. I will pick it up tomorrow and run it through its paces. Hopefully it will be perfect. If not, well, we will have to see what the next step is. I'm hoping this will be the end of it. Canon's techs have worked hard on this for me, and I fully believe this issue will soon be resolved.

I'll post an update in the next few days.

Antony Newman January 20th, 2011 10:27 AM


I am not 100% convinced it is a hardware issue.

I could speculate that when the focus of the lens is changes, that this causes the DryOs to invoke a 'property' that runs a short lived operation at a higher priority than either the Fwrite() task of the writing data to CF, and also higher than the task that fills the Hd vram segment that the sesor data is being copied into.

Rotate the lens too much, combined with the .264 DIGIC compression doing too much processing (ie interframe picture changing too much, or Higher ISO) -> and this causes a task freeze.

This could hypothetically be induced by created a task with a stupidly low priority (eg 1), that runs for an increasingly large amount of time.

But, it is possible that changing of the focus is actually causing the image to change 'the most' from the perspective of the .264 compression. The being the case - they should. 1) Give priority to the DIGIC to finish the .264 compression, reduce the priority of the other tasks, to guarantee that it is completing within the required frame time. Or 2) they should use the DIGIC clock to count how much time is left on each frame. If half way through the frame, it's not going to have enough time to encode .. they want to dynamically change the encoding 'quality' ... thereby avoiding dropped frames.

Whatever the actual cause - I would speculate that it also involves the memory bus, and or the ARM chip - as I guess the performance of ARM only code probably also freezes.


Julian Frost January 20th, 2011 10:36 AM


But I get the duplicated frames even when the camera is on a tripod and the subject is sitting a fixed distance away... No change in focus, no zooming, no camera movement, bare minimal subject movement, and the camera is in full manual (everything) mode.

Anyway, I'm off to pick it up now. Will let you know. My fingers are crossed!

Andrew Clark January 20th, 2011 11:10 PM

Julian -

I hope it is GENUINELY repaired to perfect operating conditions.

I personally believe that there was just a bad batch of 5d2's that unfortunately have this most irritating problem. Why others have never mentioned it or encountered it, is kind of bizarre.

Whatever the problem(s) that are causing all this, let's hope it is 1.) resolved and 2.) won't pop up in the next version of this camera.

Keep us posted please!!

Wayne Mann January 31st, 2011 01:39 PM

Hi Julian,

Do you have an update for us yet? Very curious to know if the problem has been resolved.

Have a great day

Wayne Mann

Julian Frost January 31st, 2011 02:52 PM

I got my camera back, and was able to recreate the problem again later that evening. I spoke with one of the senior technicians about it and we're currently working on a solution (technical or otherwise), which may involve me shipping it to Canon New York for the techs to look at.

I can reliably recreate the problem at ISO 3200, which, while not a fair test (since that's pushing the video limits of the camera's single processor quite a bit), allows me to give Canon some footage to play with... and with it, all the EXIF data which they need to replicate the problem.

I get duplicated frames at -all- ISO settings, but at ISO 100, it happens quite infrequently... usually on a take I can't reshoot! :-) When Canon used their 5D mk II test body with all the same settings as I used, even at ISO 3200, they were unable to get duplicate frames in their footage. To me, this means it's a problem with my specific camera.

While speaking to a technician on the phone, I loaded a clip into Canon's ZoomBrowser to give her the EXIF data, as she'd been told (incorrectly) that I only had this problem at ISO 3200. The clip, which contained one set of 3 duplicated frames, was shot in bright daylight, at ISO 100, full manual mode. After checking the EXIF data, she admitted that she has seen this problem at ISO settings greater than 1600, but she hasn't seen it at ISO settings below 1600.

I'll keep this thread updated.

Julian Frost February 5th, 2011 12:22 PM

I shipped my camera off to Canon's New York technicians on Thursday. We'll see what happens. I only had the camera for a short time, prior to shipping it off, but during that time, I was unable to get any repeated frames at ISO 100 to send along with it. That's the trouble with intermittent problems! Grr!

Julian Frost April 10th, 2011 09:42 PM

Re: Still getting duplicated frames on 5D mk II
Sorry for the long delay...

I sent my camera off to Canon in New York, at the request of Canon's Customer Service department. They kept the camera for a several weeks, after sending me a loaner, but ultimately they said they were unable to duplicate the problem. Since the only way to replicate the problem is to use the camera to shoot hours and hours of video, and then watch it all very carefully, in the hope of catching a very intermittent problem, I highly doubt they put in a whole lot of effort in trying to replicate the duplicated frames!

They asked me to send them sample footage of duplicated frames at ISO 100-1600, but since I don't normally keep unusable footage, I didn't have any readily available. They asked me to look through (IE. "watch") all my clips to find examples of footage containing duplicate frames. That's several hundred gigs of 24P and 30P footage! That would have been tedious, and probably pointless, for the reason given earlier.

So, about 3 weeks ago, I got my camera back. I haven't had many opportunities to use it since I got it back. If I shoot video and get duplicated frames, I will definitely keep the footage and send it to Canon along with the camera.

Henrik B. Clausen August 30th, 2011 04:15 AM

Re: Still getting duplicated frames on 5D mk II
Any update on the functioning status of your 5d mk II, Julian?

I bought my camera a few weeks ago and have been having similar issues. 2-3 copied frames within a video clip and the first new frame immediately after has a change in brightness. I am running the camera in full manual mode with Marvels Cine Picture Style 3.4 as the only "non standard" setting.

Hoping you can give me some good news - or perhaps a guideline of how to handle it. :)

Julian Frost August 30th, 2011 10:57 AM

Re: Still getting duplicated frames on 5D mk II
If I shoot video in low light/high ISO (typically above 1600 ISO), I still get duplicated frames, but at ISO settings below 1600, I have yet to reproduce the problem.

I can still consistently reproduce the problem at 3200 ISO, which is a shame, as many of the events where I shoot, have poor lighting, and bringing my own is not possible.

I would suggest, that if you are having this problem at ISO values of 1600 and below, then you should definitely contact Canon technical support. They pointed me to a line in the manual that said something about the video pausing momentarily if any settings change, or when shooting at high ISO and there's movement, but none of these were applicable in my case (and I can't find that section in the manual anymore).

Good luck. I can't wait for the 5D mk III, if and when it comes out.

Henrik B. Clausen August 30th, 2011 02:05 PM

Re: Still getting duplicated frames on 5D mk II
I'm sorry to hear it was never resolved.

I have not been able to predictably reproduce the problem even when shooting 3200 ISO and panning the camera quickly from bright light to shadows - it just seems to happen sometimes. I've labelled my two CF cards A and B in order to keep track of the origin of the footage for each shoot - hoping it's one of the cards.

For now I'll just use the camera pretending nothing is wrong, and when I do catch it happening again - A picture may start to emerge pointing towards either a type of setting or CF card used.

I'm just baffled that this hasn't screamed through all the DSLR forums like wildfire, if this is a common problem - as Canon seems to suggest in their answer to you.

Julian Frost September 3rd, 2011 09:18 AM

Re: Still getting duplicated frames on 5D mk II

Yes, the problem is easily reproduced at 3200 ISO... I was able to reliably reproduce the problem at 3200 ISO while sitting at the Canon service center... but Canon says that is a known problem and is documented in the manual. Canon says 5D mk II video should NOT suffer duplicate frames at ISO settings of 1600 and BELOW, and that nnow appears to be true for me. I doubt it has anything to do with your CF cards. Canon ruled out any CF card issues in my case.

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