New Canon 5D Mark II shoots HD video!


Update: See links to video samples at the end of this post.

Ok, the rumor mill can stop now. Just after midnight, Canon USA announced the much anticipated EOS 5D Mark II digital SLR. This is the full-frame camera that multimedia producers and photojournalists have been waiting for. Yes, it has a new 21.1 megapixel CMOS sensor with new low noise capabilities. But what sets this digital camera apart is that it shoots HD video onto CF cards. I know what you’re going to say. Nikon beat Canon to the punch with its introduction of the Nikon D90 last month. What I and a lot of other visual journalists wanted in that camera was a mic jack to plug an external microphone into. Canon engineers listened. Finally we have the full meal deal. This from the Canon press release:

Answering the question of where SLR technology is going next, the EOS 5D Mark II features 16:9 Full HD video capture at 1920 x 1080 pixels and 30 fps as well as 4:3 standard TV quality (SD) video capture at 640 x 480 pixels and 30 fps, both capabilities appearing for the first time in a Canon SLR camera. Video capture is part of the camera’s Live View function, using the Picture Style that has been set for Live View still image shooting. This allows skilled photographers and cinematographers to adjust image sharpness, contrast, color saturation and white balance, and have those settings apply to the movie image…The new camera features an input terminal for external stereo microphones as well as a built-in monaural microphone for convenience.

My question is what impact will a camera like this have on newspaper photography departments? No longer will photojournalists need to take a video and a still camera on the same assignment. Will we all become overworked, or energized by this new creative tool? As photo departments do more work for their growing online departments, this camera, I believe, and the ones that follow, will give visual journalists a new and powerful storytelling tool. Wow.

Update: Check out Vincent LaForet’s Blog. He got to spend 72 hours shooting with the Canon 5D Mark II

Here is a link to a Canon page with actual video samples


11 thoughts on “New Canon 5D Mark II shoots HD video!

  1. The mic input is the big deal here — it takes the video feature from being a novelty (Nikon D90) to something that could be used to shoot entire stories.

    Any idea what it’s using for compression? I fear the answer will be Motion JPEG.

  2. IMHO this product is completely misconceived, it will fall flat straight out of the gate. This isn’t innovation – it’s desperation.

    Nikon are making the same mistake that newspapers are making. They see their dominance threatened so they attack the competition at the highest (most profitable) end of the market.

    That strategy almost never works – disruptive innovators can’t compete for the high-margin products. It’s like attacking a fort at its most fortified bastion. Like Peter Drucker said: “you need to attack where the enemy ain’t”.

  3. Peter, I’m not so sure you are right on this. The Spokesman-Review photo dept. is full of shooters producing multimedia, both audio sideshows and video storytelling. We are just starting to ramp up video. I saw the “wtf” look of a photographer as he left the building today to shoot his third ever video. He was juggling a Sony Z1U, a Nikon D-300, a fanny pack with wireless mic, and a rather large tripod.

    He was on his way to shoot a story on a service pig in training. The 5D would have been perfect for this story, and shooting a still for the paper would have been a hell of a lot easier than putting down the video camera and switching your brain over to still mode. For small stories, this camera is going to be huge. It and other future full-featured DSLR/video hybrids are going to change newspaper photojournalism forever.

  4. – there are thousands of smart folks at Canon and Nikon who are 100% convinced that they are right – and they have tens of millions of $$$ supporting their view.

    so I thank you for the “not so sure”….

    but here’s my .02:

    10 years ago spreads for Vogue were shot on the first generation pro DSLRs – 2MP

    modern handicams do not suffer from a lack of resolution. They suffer from a lack of dynamic range(latitude), bad ergonomics and inaccessible controls. The move from DV to HDV has done nothing to address these issues.

    So here we are moving to the 72 dpi www with cameras fixated on the big screen.

  5. Peter, you’re wrong about 72 dpi being the ultimate target. It’s a target, especially now. But even today, you’re finding a lot more online video at near-HD resolutions, especially video podcasts. Shooting in HD is going to be mandatory going forward. If you’re buying products with 72 dpi as the ultimate target, you’re buying for the audience 3 years ago instead of 3 years from now.

    You’re right about the lack of dynamic range and ergonomics being a limiting factor, but it appears the 5D mk II is going to be a game-changer in that regard too. Check out the frame grabs at that link. Mindblowing.

  6. I think the introduction of the video in the 5d Mark II will open up a whole new world of video capture. As a landscape photographer I am always out and about to all areas in Australia and quite often there are moments where you wish you had video to capture the setting as well but you have to settle with a still image as running a video cam and a stills camera is too much.

    It will be exciting to see what people out there capture with the video feature of the camera. I own the 1ds Mark II and the 21 mega pixel certainly raised my eye brow and I felt sorry for people who may have over extended their budget and bought a 1ds Mark III and then out pops this camera. Glad I waited. I think the video is an excellent feature in the camera and in the news industry this move towards video and still image capture in one device is the future.

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