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    by Stu Maschwitz

Ha ha very funny Canon now get back to work

Image courtesy of Philip Bloom. Click through for his actual coverage of the show.

Canon Expo kicked off with a bang as the venerable imaging giant stunned crowds with its working prototype 4K camera! Is this the future of digital cinema?

Ug. I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.

There’s so much wrong with this prototype “concept camera” (as Philip kindly points out below, it’s important to understand that this is not a camera Canon plans on bringing to market) that I hardly know where to begin. It’s an atrocity of aesthetics and ergonomics. It has a fixed, not-very-special 20x zoom lens. The sensor is only 2/3”. It shoots 60fps. Nothing about this camera reflects any awareness of what digital cinematographers want. It’s as if Canon brass lifted the internet ban on the engineer’s dungeon just long enough for them to visit to RED’s web site, and then shut it down again after they’d read as far as “4K.”

Of course, this isn’t a camera, or even a plan for a camera. It’s a statement by Canon. They meant to say “We get it. We know what’s important.” What they actually said is “Ooh, bigger numbers!” I expect this kind of technology dick-swinging from Sony, but not from Canon.

What’s most troubling about this non-camera is that Canon made it at all. Anyone invested in Canon’s gear should be pissed at Canon for squandering their time and resources building this toy. I look at this thing and see my parents returning from Vegas with a sheepish expression on their faces, saying “Remember your college fund?”

Canon, please stop building fake “4K” video cameras when you can’t even make an SLR that shoots actual 1080p HD.

We’ve discussed the very real aliasing/moiré issue with Canon’s HDSLRs. It is both a real problem and a somewhat workable limitation that many happily accept. What is not in dispute is that these are symptoms of a poorly-sampled, low-resolution image. Readers of this site know that I am not a spatial resolution fetishist, but even I am painfully aware that my 5D and 7D footage is lacking detail.

Canon makes it incredibly easy to demonstrate this, since the 5D Mark II that makes such fuzzy pseudo-HD video also makes ridiculously high-fidelity stills. The frames below are a 1:1 frame grab from a 5D video, and the same scene shot as a still and then scaled down to 1920x1080. I did the scaling in Lightroom, using no Develop or Output Sharpening.

Click for full-sizeClick for full-sizeFeel free to download the full-res originals and compare yourself, or look at the 1:1 comparisons below:

Port of Oakland? Or #### ## #######?Chain-link fence? Or a dirty piece of glass?The difference is staggering. And remember, I don’t even care all that much about spatial resolution. What I do know is this: a sharp 1920x1080 camera can make an image with more detail than most female movie stars are comfortable with for close-ups. So for today we can dispense with a discussion about the merits of mastering at 4K. Canon is nowhere near that conversation with their HDSLRs. They’re still falling way short of HD.

To be clear: What you are seeing above is two different ways that the same camera made a 1920x1080 image. One image was hastily yanked off a sensor (skipping entire rows of pixels) and then compressed to H.264 in realtime; the other was captured as raw 5.6K bayer data, decoded slowly to RGB by an engine optimized for quality, then downsampled to HD using every 5.6K pixel to build a 1920x1080 image with as much detail as appropriate for a true HD image.

Does the latter sound unfeasible for “real” video work? Well it shouldn’t — it’s what we do with our RED One cameras now.

The RED One is more than just a “4K camera.” It’s a 4K sensor, some very clever software, an even more clever compressed raw codec, and then more clever software. Not to mention a decent form factor, decent colorimetry, smart proxy workflows for editorial, and viewfinders that actually help you expose and focus. It’s a full-fledged 4K ecosystem.

And look how painful it was for RED to get all that working.

Canon, you have none of that stuff, you have no idea how to make it, and you don’t even know that you don’t know this.

So stop dicking around with your fake 4K toys and start making cameras we can use. That we want to use.

Build a full-frame DSLR that shoots high-quality HD video at a variety of frame rates and the world is yours.

I’m terrified that you won’t though — because then you’d have to put it on a pedestal at a trade show and say “Look, we finally built a camera that actually does what we claim our current cameras do.”

So much more fun to say “Hey look, 4K!”

“We so get it.”

Reader Comments (42)

Hi Stu,

You have your info wrong am afraid. It's not a prototype, it's a "concept" camera . A HUGE difference. Prototype means it will come to market. Concept will never.

I say this all in my blog and that is a concept camera for medical use too. Not for what we want.



September 2, 2010 | Registered CommenterPhilip Bloom

I understood that but I did get my terminology wrong I suppose. I'll fix that, thanks. I see you battling with your own commenters who refuse to read your very clear explanation that this is not a camera meant for market.

September 2, 2010 | Registered CommenterStu

Canon, you have none of that stuff, you have no idea how to make it, and you don’t even know that you don’t know this.

But they have all the resources to do it. It's like they just have to get the right guys in the same room at the same time to figure it out.

September 2, 2010 | Registered CommenterAlex

Well said!

There's a guy on YouTube who compared the 7D with a hacked GH1. The GH1 footage had so much more detail. Even on YouTube the difference was clearly visible. I remember he said the GH1 footage looked as good as Sony F900 footage. Double the sensor size too.

Although I'm hoping Nikon release a D800. That could be a nice full frame 1080P camera.

September 2, 2010 | Registered CommenterGlenn Thomas

Seriously, the frame grab - still comparison pretty much blew me away although I theoretically knew about the difference in quality. Great article, Stu - let's hope the right people get to read it.
I tend to be a resolution fetishist myself but I actually just use 4k+ resolutions to be able to scale down without having an image that looks like PAL 2.0
It would be amazing if Canon would actually strive to really make full use to all its potential of 1080p resolution. If shot right, 1080p can look absolutely magnificent!

September 2, 2010 | Registered CommenterChris Offner

Hmm not sure I buy that Phil

What's the medical application that needs this spec? It doesn't say that on the label picture on your blog.

The great thing about concepts rather than prototypes is that you are designing round a dream specification and have the luxury of not having to make it work. The question is are they having the right dreams?

Before we are to critical of the form factor, it worth noting the case if using a new non-oil based plastic. The shape may have more to do with demonstrating the capabilities of the material.

What was the development status of the display devices they had hooked up. If we start moving towards a 4k world these might be just as important.

September 2, 2010 | Registered CommenterAndrew Howe

Thought provoking article. I've been puzzled why the new CS5 version of Adobe Premiere Pro was choking on my Lightroom batch-downsized 1920x1080 timelapse sequences, yet scrubs the native 1080p video clips from both my 5D2 & 7D so smoothly! I even tried matching the quality of the individual jpg's to a screengrab (exported frame by CS5) which are approx 700K in size. CS5 STILL chokes!!!

September 2, 2010 | Registered CommenterDavid Rilstone

Gosh, Canon just showed the 60D, a 120 Megapixel CMOS sensor, and now this? The more people tell them what they want, the more companies get it wrong, look at Sony A55 and Nikon D3001, are they being run by PR companies?
Instead of making 3 cameras per sector ( 7D, 60D, 550D) why don't they concentrate on the important bits?
It is not difficult to make a 1920x1080 large sensor. is it?

September 2, 2010 | Registered CommenterTulio Campregher

How much more free expert consulting and market research is Canon going to ignore?

The XF100 is the only serious thing they've made in a long time and it's only 'cause they copied JVC's brave HM100 concept and improved it. If they had done this four years ago they would have rocked the hv20 enthusiast /prosumer crowd with the features they were starved from (manual control, XLR's, good codec, omg WFM!...). Now I suspect it's too little too late, as most of them have migrated to dslr's and they aren't going back to 1/3" camcorders no matter how supercharged they are.

Are we going to have to wait another 4 years for a pro big sensor video camera?

I don't know what's worse, Canon's intentional stalling or Red's unintentional delays.

September 2, 2010 | Registered CommenterDaniel García

I am working from the Canon expo, and writing from the show floor this morning. The 4k and 8k Display prototypes are very impressive. Canon is cross pollinating the Hi Res displays in the Photo/Film/Color Management market as well as new ventures in Medical imaging. As Scanning imagery and non invasive surgery has become commonplace, medical professionals need the highest resolution cameras and displays to do highly precision work. They have 17", 24", and 30", all with HD/SDI and HDMI, and gamut color profiles. They all look street ready. The 4k camera prototype is being marketed in the HD Video Pavilion, steps away from Shane Hurlburt, who is here to talk about his work with the 5D. He has put the camera through all of its paces. And Panavision actually made the Primo to EOS mount he uses for him. The marketing for the 4k prototype reflects a consumer/creative pro base. We all know Canon created the HD video mode as an after thought, and has responded to a unexpected user base. In talking with engineers here, they are working hard to resolve the pixel sample drop of the current cameras with more powerful DSP in the cameras, which should eliminate the heat issues as well.

September 2, 2010 | Registered CommenterAlex Woo

so if Canon worked at taking a full frame image sequence (no line skipping) at 1080p in a kind of RED Raw way (not really raw) then we would be way more impressed than we are about the concept camera. A better processor can do this. Besides h.264 may be a headache for content producers in the future, hmmm.

September 2, 2010 | Registered CommenterPhillip Gibb

I think the most frustrating thing about this "concept" is that it points Canon in exactly the OPPOSITE direction of what people buying HDSLR's for video actually want, which is a moderately high resolution (say 3k or about 6 megapixels) on a gi-huge-ic sensor (35mm across) and a less compressed codec. Not a high resolution, small-chip BS like this. Let's not even get into the "world's largest CMOS sensor" or "120mp APS-H sensor".... what a bunch or horse puckey. If an EVO 4G can do 8mp on a sensor smaller than an ant's penis, 120mp on APS-H is not even close to news.

Another frustrating thing for me is that everyone knows Canon has the ability to make the camera we really want RIGHT NOW. They can make a full frame sensor. They can do 4:2:2. Their processors can handle the data. Heck, just the 7D can handle 18mp RAW at 8 fps... surely it can handle 6mp at 24 fps. (both combinations equate to about 144mp processed/second) Hey! as long as we're talking, I wouldn't even care if it was a stills camera with no video mode that just happens to shoot 24 stills a second! Imagine getting a true frame-by-frame RAW output that you can batch process in Lightroom like film negatives. The amount of latitude you have would be completely out of this world.!

Never mind the non-camcorder form factor. Never mind the no-pro-I/O-connections. Never mind the focusing issues. Screw all of that. I think the past 2 YEARS have made it very very clear that if the image is good enough, filmmakers are willing to put up with all sorts of crap to be able to get the footage into their work. We're willing to pay GOBS of money just to get the form factor right. You can (and people have) spend crazy amounts of money, well into the 5-digit range, just to "correct" the form factor and get it ready for "pro" use.

Come on, Canon! At the rate you're going, Nikon is going to catch up (I'd actually like that. Competition is good) They already have a feature you don't. Autofocus!

By the way, I was doing some maths, and 3K on a full frame 35mm sensor would make each pixel about 3.5 times the size of the pixels in the 5D mark II. (currently around 38 square microns turning into around 136 square microns) which to me means 3.5 times the light per pixel, or about 1.75 stops of light. Imagine improving your low-light capability by just about two stops using CURRENT tech. This is not magic-8-ball, look-into-the-future stuff. CURRENT tech.

September 2, 2010 | Registered CommenterArt Chong

@David Rilstone: Just use After Effects instead of Premiere Pro to create great timelapse edits. No need to scale down or transcode - you can import RAW files as a sequence and do all the magic in terms of CC-ing, VFX-ing and digital zooming/panning on it.

Example here: (opening sequence)

September 2, 2010 | Registered CommenterRichard

HAHA ! Stu, you killed me with your cannon...

September 2, 2010 | Registered CommenterFrank Frohnhöfer

@Richard Thanks very much for the timelapse hint -- will give it a try!

September 2, 2010 | Registered CommenterDavid Rilstone

Yes! Stu, you are my man!
True words from a worker always come hard but honestly.
Had the same feeling when Autodesk once bought Alias instead of developing there own tools... subscription tax is the devil.
But hey I think Canon really got a problem with the sensor. Scaling down images by software seems quite hard to solve problem. So they scan every x pixel and smooth the result together. Real shame, but still the result is better then most video cameras do, thanks to great lenses.
I had a positive greenscreen filming experience with the 550D, well I could solve the AA problems in the shoots I did.
So, I guess Canon is waiting till there technologie can capture full size images to video and then convert the result right in the camera to a user friendly format. The same goes for HDR. Well Canon seem to have little money invested into computer software and so they might soon fall behind. Wonder if Apple comes with a better camera someday. ;-)
Anyhow, till the red epic is released for an affordable price we will remain on the button edge of hollywood style movie makers.

September 2, 2010 | Registered CommenterRobert Lechl

I understand your detail comparison is to give Canon a little bitch slap but to put things back in perspective, to this day, I don't look at Reverie and say, "Oh my god, look at how much detail is missing!!!!"

I'm all for more options and there are certainly artifacts in the 5d footage compared to the RED but you can still argue versatility at one fifth the price.

Bottom line, I mostly agree with you that this 4k mutant is a waste of time. And I also hope hope hope that they are working on a pro/prosumer RED competitor.

September 2, 2010 | Registered CommenterJosh Chapel

The problem Canon has, I think, is that they've spent so long in an industry where the goal was to get the most megapixels on the sensor. Now, for video, they need to go the other way. The problem with the 5D (et al) is that the sensor has too many pixels - the only way to get the 1080P off fast enough is to just ignore a lot of them.

If they made a sensor with fewer photosites they could read it faster and get them all...

September 2, 2010 | Registered CommenterDylan Reeve

"I say this all in my blog and that is a concept camera for medical use too. Not for what we want.


Yes, Clearly a medical camera meant for Proctology no doubt.

September 2, 2010 | Registered CommenterDan Kanes

Well spoken, Stu, well spoken.

Nonetheless we all have to get more realistic. Even though we as video- and filmmakers (I, for one) crave for a full-frame 4K camera with RAW output (okay, full frame 1080p in RAW will do as well), we are only a very small target group for Canon. Please realise how big the tv and movie industry is compared to the consumer market that wants to take a picture every now and then. The 5D mark II clearly was an accidental hero - never, ever was it intended for professional use. This is why those RED's, Sony's and ARRI's are so damn expensive and the Canon 5D has such an akward form factor. It's a stills camera, never intended for proper video!

So, it's all about how lucrative the market is. You can only expect Canon to create a 4K product if they can sell enough units or at much higher price points (like RED, ARRI, etc). To the Medical industry it's clear that they will be willing to shell out whatever is necessary for surgeons to save our lives. And they don't care about shallow DoF, manual focussing or XLR inputs. So the question is: are we willing to pay ten times more for a Canon 4K? That's where Canon would meet ARRI, Alexa and Sony.

As another example, look at Apple. The company has been cranking out great looking and well-functioning - consumer - products, yet appears to leave the professional market (FCP, Color) hanging in 32-bit land. @Robert Lechl wonders if "Apple will one day come up with a better camera". Fat chance. Unless all consumers would require this for their home theater systems... last time I looked Full HD was the new standard for the living room, not 4K.

September 3, 2010 | Registered CommenterRichard

Your point is well taken, but in my opinion it's a mute point. The images I see from the 5D are stunning. Are they perfect? I don't know, what is perfect? The fact remains Canon changed the way we record video forever with the 5D Mark II and last I saw millions of buyers, and still counting, are just fine with the cameras results. Does the company that brought us the 5D Mark II deserve to play around with a concept camera, why not?!!

September 3, 2010 | Registered CommenterSteve MacDonald

Are the video guys at Canon sleeping or just stupid? The 'entire internet' is abuzz with DSLR video stuff.

In the past (almost) 2 years, they have released -4- still cameras that I would want to shoot video on and -zero- video cameras that I want to shoot video on.

I realize that we'll hear about their foray into a true large sensor video camera when it's ready to actually go out to the shelves, but, a 2+ year market cycle is too long imho.

September 3, 2010 | Registered CommenterAdam Oas

This was so obvious when the gh13 images started arriving. And it´s a simple and effective demonstration of the problem. But the solution is like asking GM to stop producing gas-guzzling engines. And what was Panasonic´s response ? They killed the firmwares´ability to be manipulated. This is why the world of camera-people are waiting like starving vultures at a dumpsite for Red to release Scarlet. Afterwards the big dogs might be moved/tortured to respond in kind, but not before .

ps- the prototypes at Canon Expo looked like 50s´futuristic caricatures of Jetson junk !

September 4, 2010 | Registered Commenterkurth bousman

Definitely agree that that Canon needs to figure out how to better their current process in the DSLR video side.

I'm just slightly confused as to what people are thinking they should do... From what I gather, the only way to do it with a DSLR would be figure out how to get a really good downscale image from the chip, whatever megapixel size they may be, or to create something maybe more like their XF-300 & 305 dealies but with a full-frame sensor (and interchangable lenses!). I'd LOVE to see either, really, though I'd probably appreciate it more in a video-cam style setup

But I can't imagine them making a DSLR with a 1920 x 1080 chip because that would make it a pretty shitty DSLR ;) (some of us still use them for photos, which I think too many people forget!)

I love that their R&D is delving into different things, but when I first saw an image of Canon's concept cam, i thought it looked like some weird futuristic vacuum cleaner attachment...

And Richard, I whole heartedly agree with your comment, and you put it perfectly: "The 5D mark II clearly was an accidental hero - never, ever was it intended for professional use."

September 8, 2010 | Registered CommenterJeremy Bernatchez

Beautiful Stu,

For some reason all of these companies are missing the boat in one way or the other and it doesn't take someone with a Masters in Marketing to see exactly what the consumers want.

If I thought I needed a 4k camera for a closed-circuit perimeter watch on my property, boy it looks like Canon really built a dream machine. But I don't know what that atrocity is, certainly nothing that could be used in a film production.

Canon is so missing the boat, it is ridiculous these days. What is with the 1/3" chip camera for $6-8k? Who cares if it records 4:2:2 with that kind of grungy noise reduction required by that tiny sensor.

Canon is probably the only company besides Sony that can really punch RED in the throat. There is really no question that RED windowed 2k is quite lousy in terms of quality. This economy is in the crapper, and going nowhere ( no political overtones here just the reality). So 4k on the average production is just not necessary or even desirable, a clean 1080p has got some time left as the dominant format. Even if you shoot in 4k, if you do anything other than Hollywood work you are delivering in HD anyway for the most part. Heck production companies are using DSLR's (with all of their technical issues) all over the country for commercials, music videos, you name it. Cable TV, 4k? they still will accept 720p programming just fine for the most part.

Canon get three cameras out there and own the market, something like the HPX370 / ENG style body with the big DSLR sensor ( size of the 7D is fine), a camera like the X305 they just released (competitive to the EX1, HPX170), a DSLR, and while they are at it add a lipstick cam. Put the same sensor in all of them to simplify the process, and do the correct downsampling to get rid of this horrendous line-skipping "technology". Talk about cleaning up that market. Make the two bigger cameras shoot to CF or SSD, the DSLR and lipstick shoot to CF. All shoot at least 140 megabit i-frame, or go ahead and just license Cineform to shoot into a wavelet codec and really mock RED.

As much as I want a Scarlet ( and no not the sexy piece of CNC'd aluminum that is said to be a camera) , whoever makes the right camera, well they clean up as what people WANT TO BUY is SO clear it is absurd.

September 10, 2010 | Registered CommenterCris Daniels


just one question. Im coming from photography and using canons for like 15 years now and been quite fine with the results.
I recently switched to a Eos 1d Mark IV and made some newbish video. I really like the outcome and tend to do some more, and learn some more video making.
I have one question now, whats the reason that in every review and howto i read - noone ever meantions the Mark IV but everyone using EOS 5 and 7?
Is it because of the price tag or is there any significant feature the Mark IV is missing?

Would love to hear your thought!

Thanks a lot

September 11, 2010 | Registered CommenterMike

It's clear that there's a lot of room for improvement without going for a higher resolution, so I think getting real 1080p should go first, it makes much more sense than going 4K (the storage and processing power requirements don't need to grow so much).

Still, I made a test to see how much resolution my eyes can resolve, and it looks like it's actually higher than 1080p, but not by much, maybe around 3K. If you want to do the test yourself, you can head over here:

September 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterSamuel H


I think it's not a matter of features.

In the zacuto shootout I think they concluded that 5D had the best overall image, followed by 7D/550D (and now, I expect, 60D), which are equal among themselves. The 1D had a bit worse image in normal conditions, but was totally awesome in low light, by far the best of all the canons.

Don't get it wrong, the image is still great in normal conditions, but that's a very expensive body, so it doesn't make a lot of sense as a general purpose camera, it's more of a specialty tool.

September 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterSamuel H

It seems like a simple enough formula. Personally, I want a video camera with:
- a large format sensor (4/3 is OK, APS-C is fine, full frame 35 mm is super) for depth of field control
- true 1920 x 1080 resolution with appropriate anti-aliasing filtration/moire reduction
- no line skipping, 1920 x 1080 sharp pixels delivered
- progressive scan
- as little jellocam as possible
- 24/25/29.97/50/60 frames per second for slowmo and versatility
- interchangeable lenses, or a whacking great f/2.8 zoom with excellent glass built in
- video camera form factor and ergonomics
- XLR inputs
- zebra
- scopes
- audio level bars
- manual audio gain control
- fast autofocus (because when I need it, nothing else will do)
- HDMI output for monitoring
- low noise especially at high ISO, for available light shooting
- ND filters
- A decent big bright LCD screen and/or proper EVF built in
- With peaking so I can check focus
- And a hood so I can see it in daylight
- Output at the highest practical bit rate with the lowest practical compression: 100 Mbps 4:2:2 would do me fine
- Enough control over recorded gamut to get a decent "digital negative" without too much baked in sharpening or contrast
- That can shoot all day on a hot summer's day and not shut down with a blinky overheating light (are you listening, Canon 7D engineers?)

But- and here's the kicker- it has to come in under $10,000 and you have to actually be able to purchase it (are you listening, RED?)

Fingers crossed for the new Panasonic, because I guess all I want is them to glue a dSLR sensor into one of my HVX200's.

September 14, 2010 | Registered CommenterHywel Phillips

Wow, Stu.

The fact that the camera uses 2/3" sensor should point out that it was not a cinema camera concept.

Aliasing & Moire ? What does that have to do with this cam ? Do you have the grabs from this camera ? Mind sharing? The fact that the camera has an 8 megapixel sensor and shoots 4K video should tell you that there is no room for pixel skipping.

"Only 2/3" sensor"...has a market many times larger than cinema market. It is the optimal sized sensor for pulling your own focus. It allows smaller lens. 24-480 f1.8 on 35 mm ?
It is optimized for single shooter and broadcast. It can also make beautiful cinematic imagery. The same size will be in Scarlet.

As far as design is concerned, tastes vary, but I'm guessing shooters who will operate this generation of cameras will grow up on iPhones and will prefer this over a square box with a lens on it. You might want to compare the design of imaging devices over last 20 years and guess in which direction it is going.

This 4K camera weighs 5.5 lbs and is smaller than Red One, which btw. had similar negative comments when it was introduced.

Nice going there, Stu.

September 17, 2010 | Registered CommenterHrvoje Simic

I completely agree with Richard (comment on September 3, 2010)

I happen to live in Japan, where the market for HDSLR is 100% oriented to basic consumers, with Canon, Nikon, Sony, Panasonic...having a raging war on low cost DSLR.

What's also interesting: only the slightest fraction of Japanese Video professionals actually use HDSLR for work, most of them beeing primary pro-photographers who are just having fun with their still cameras from time to time. (unlike US)

The problem we feel: Canon doesn't seem to target film/video makers (like Us) with its stills camera, nor listen to Our expectations (i trully share the frustration)... but why should they listen?

People easily forget that the video mode of the DSLR is just an option. Canon is not selling 5Ds saying: "The camera you need for your pro-video work"
If you intend to use this fonction to make decent video work, you'll need a bunch of gears (viewfinders, ext.sound, stabilizations, rigs....) which are not related to Canon at all.

I guess their company strategy can't be: let's spend time and money to improve the video mode of our Pro-still-Camera, even if we know nobody will be able to use it without all that external & expensive extra-gears. That wouldn't be serious.

Instead, they'd better come up with a real pro-video-camera.....via their well established video/broadcast department dedicated to TV & video professionals.

Regarding DSLRs, they have nothing to prove and will probably continue to come up with more models like 550d or 60d for consumer-market because that's what they sell the most, and continue to create pro-still cameras (1D & 5D like) & Lenses for their Pro-Photographers market.

Infortunately, we are in fact a minor market made of entousiasts who just "Hack" their still-cameras with TONS of accessories to make the best out of it. I guess Canon has no other gain than "glory" to listen to our requests...

Also, a new race is starting with this new generation of Camcorder like the new Sony NEX-VG10 or the much anticipated Panasonic bet is that Canon is working way way harder on this new market.

Just my two Yens ;)

September 19, 2010 | Registered CommenterRishaar Gazzo

A very astute, and quite sobering comment Rishaar. Thanks for posting.

September 19, 2010 | Registered CommenterStu

Some great points raised by Rishaar. I would argue that we're not such a minor market when you consider that a lot of us are buying Canon glass in addition to the DSLR body. I own 3 Canon L lenses and am about to purchase 2 more. Add on my 5D and that is ~$10k.

To get more customers like me I think it would be a no-brainer for Canon to tweak their firmware to create a better image. They would increase sales of existing products without having to develop new hardware.

September 21, 2010 | Registered CommenterMike Paunovich

but we ARE a small market, in relation to the stills market

look at the current list of DSLR bestsellers at amazon:
#1: D7000 body only
#5: D3100 with 18-55
#11: D7000 with 18-105
#16: 60D body only
#26: 60D with 18-135

I think I can call the 60D more "video centric" and the D7000 more "stills centric" (at least so far, as we know very little about its video mode but we know much more about its stills capabilities), while the D3100 seems to have so much jello that it should be nearly unusable, thus "stills centric" again
(t2i is #4, behind D7000, D3100 and D3000, but I think that one is not specially "video centric")

what this tells me is that video is relatively unimportant for the manufacturers, and that, even if they invest resources in developing it, it may just be in areas that appeal to soccer moms and the average joe: each time a camera is presented, I get the feeling that the manufacturers are going for autofocus, longer recording times, etc. I wouldn't be surprised if the next generation of canon DSLRs fixed the H.264 encoder issues... and lowered the bitrate too much (then try to sell me a "proper" videocamera, for ten times the price of the t2i I bought today)

September 21, 2010 | Registered CommenterSamuel H

Interesting points from both Samuel & Mike :)

Manufacturers are fighting to create easy-to-use DSLR with no brainer & satisfying video mode for the cumsumer market. That is their top priority right now.
The new Panasonic GH2 or the Sony NEX series are perfect exemples...but those are not really for "us" (lol)

But as Mike said, we are customers and we are buying those expensives L Prime lenses by half dozens!
What's also important, we are promoting Canon brand while shooting in a Professional environment...and image is really important in this market.

let's just hope they won't take too much time to improve some features.

September 21, 2010 | Registered CommenterRishaar Gazzo

Great article Stu,

Do you think that Cell Phones will ultimately force manufacturers to actually make good 1080p prosumer gear?

Now at CEATEC 2010 Panasonic has announced a Lumix phone and just this morning “Sony has announced the world’s first 1/2.8″ 16MP Exmor-R back illuminated sensor for mobile phones. Offering the smallest unit pixel size of 1.12μm, it will also be incorporated into what is claimed to be the smallest and thinnest mobile phone lens module. The sensor is capable of recording full HD 1080p30 videos and offers continuous shooting speed of 15fps.”

No interchangeable lens phone though, yet…

October 7, 2010 | Registered CommenterNick D

I just got a 60D and took it on vacation to disneyland. The one thing I noticed was that the video could pick up images in dark scenes where the camera couldn't. In the Pirates ride video mode was able to capture very darkly lit scenes (although very grainy and not really usable for anything) - but photos of the same scenes needed too long of a shutter to capture and therefore were very blurry (and still grainy).

Makes me think that there's more than just line skipping going on.. possibly adding lines or pixels together to have more sensitivity. Still I agree that video is not as sharp as photos.

Stu I appreciate your example stills of the video. It shows why we need something like the red to get good high res video.

On 1080p being good enough.. I think it CAN be although I want more. One example for me is the Dark Knight BluRay.. the scenes shot in imax look AMAZING and look better than the rest of the movie.. now it's all downscaled to 1080p - but I can see the difference. So there's more to it than just the delivery or capture resolution.

I see that sony has a new solution but the video sample i saw from that looked VERY much like video. Stu have you looked at that camera yet?

October 11, 2010 | Registered CommenterMichael Smith

Yes, this is called "binning," and the general consensus is that Canon is doing a combination of binning and skipping. But no one knows for sure, and Canon hasn't ever released any information on the process.

October 11, 2010 | Registered CommenterStu

Stu... this is the Sony I'm talking about...

Have you had a chance to look at it yet?

108024p embedded in 1080i60 - reverse telecine and you have 24p.

October 11, 2010 | Registered CommenterMichael Smith

I completely agree with the article. I bought my t2i not really knowing about this problem, while shooting I realized that something was wrong. I got on my own that what I was watching was at best a highly aliased 720p footage (and let's not talk about 720p60 footage). I wonder why Panasonic could make it right since the beginning and Canon can't. the GH1 is practically showing twice the resolution and virtually no aliasing compared to the high end FF 5D.
I use my DSLR for video mainly and I want to buy a lot of lenses for video and low light conditions but this fake 1080p kinda stops me it's like they sold me a fake product! But more importantly what if I spend thousands of dollars on lenses (not the vintage ones) and the Canon with the next generation camera with the DIGIC 5 processor will just keep pushing more MP as they can instead of fixing that "simple" video downscale and another company, say Nikon, will release a better system and I'll be forced to switch? I will lose my lenses usage, OK adapter will make it work but no aperture control or autofocus.

So yes Canon, instead of thinking about 4K cameras just release at least one in real's 2011.

November 2, 2010 | Registered CommenterSandro Antonucci

One of the main issues to all of this is that the HDSLR craze has not caught on at all in Japan. I'm basing this on living in the country and having no luck finding decent gear like viewfinders and rigs domestically. Selling production equipment to manufacturers as Canon for a living and talking to the engineers is also one factor. The decisions makers deciding where the manufacturers takes this are living in Japan and are affected by the local market, make no doubt. In my humble opinion, this is one huge factor to why we have not seen more progress...

November 5, 2010 | Registered CommenterRobert Karlsson

Wouldn't it be funny if the new 5D mark III or 6D, or whatever they call it turned out to be a bit of a let down in terms of technological improvements and it made more sense, financially, to stick with the 5D2?

Would make the 5D2 even more of a ledgendary and sought-after item long after they ceased production on it. It's happened before in other products / technologies!

I do hope its eventual appearance lives up to all the hype and buzz its receiving now. As long as the replacement seriously addresses the moire/aliasing issues, rolling shutter and has at least 60fps for 1080 or 720, I'd be first in line for pre-ordering (and putting my CPS platinum membership to good use borrowing one for a test drive!)

Here's to good times ahead (I hope).

February 10, 2011 | Registered CommenterKris Koster
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