5D Mark II Team

Improvements & Gear

Canon Firmware Updates

WHY to release Firmware Updates?

Adding and improving functions and features via firmware updates on current Canon cameras would be a very smart and important action from a business point of view.

Please note that many of the features mentioned here were already requested in the Petition to Canon Inc. since early 2009, signed by more than 3,000 amateurs, professionals and studios around the world.

On this post:

  • Update #1: Non-free Upgrades
  • Main factors & reasons for updating the firmware
  • List of Fixes & Improvements collected from thousands of users’ feedbacks


There is a huge amount of users willing to pay for Firmware Upgrades with enhanced movie/video features like those ones listed below (also for some improvements on photography functions)

QUESTION TO CANON: If there is the need of giving resources to programmers and engineers to work on such improvements, then why not to give that option to those customers who really want and are willing to pay for them?

That would be another way to keep these cameras more featured and competitive for longer time, without any kind of hardware change and the obvious benefit that they are already in production.

Make a survey, do marketing research and read what customers write on dedicated HDSLR forums like www.cinema5d.com.

Most software companies do offer special upgrades for a fee. Why manufacturers of expensive devices, with a “long” life cycle like EOS 1D Mark IV and EOS 5D Mark II couldn’t offer the same? We would all benefit from it, since replacements for these models will not appear in near future.

This option should be considered very seriously.


5D Mark II has huge potential inside not fully exploited yet, that leaves lot of “room to move on” whenever you (the manufacturer) want.

• Canon has a product that has no competition (until now): a Full Frame sensor camera with Full HD capabilities that can really be used for serious Video and Cinematography purposes (along with its great still capabilities). Canon has been in this situation for more than 1 year. This is very significant and also a unique case in a very long time.

• With firmware updates incorporating improvements customer satisfaction will increase notoriously. But what is even more important to any company: when customer satisfaction increases, sales are bigger and the loyalty to the brand also increases. Loyalty is a key factor for the long term company profit. Especially in a high competitive market area such as digital SLR cameras.

• It is much more convenient to “refresh” a camera (of this level) and then get more profit from it (already designed and already in-production model) adding features and functions than “leaving it as is”, getting lower value over time and being surpassed by competition.

• This “refresh” can be easily made via firmware update, because the camera does have the possibilities inside, with insignificant costs to the company when compared to designing a new whole camera with its own firmware (and all the processes and very big costs that imply).

• Customers have already demonstrated the huge interest on this camera and these improvements. Just remember all the requests for Manual Control, STANDARD 24/25/30p modes and frame rates, and all other features being requested to Canon. Please check here and here.

• The Filmmaking Community (Amateurs, Professionals and even Studios) has adopted the 5D Mark II far beyond anyone could have expected (Canon included). This camera has been selling like almost no other camera in the past for over 1 year at the same price since its release date. So, improving and adding features will broaden the usage scope, keeping big sales on it.

• The addition of FILMMAKING features (like Preset/Rack Focus, and all those achieved by Magic Lantern Project) is a hidden “card” that Canon CAN use if they want to make this camera more competitive, especially when competition arrives.

We sincerely hope Canon Managers and Executives consider this list very seriously (and before competition) for further Firmware Updates.

This is a big and free list of ideas that has been elaborated from thousands of users’ feedbacks on how to improve the camera with all the benefits mentioned above. Including them would make this camera unbeatable for a VERY LONG time.


Frame Rates as in EOS 7D Done
29.97 / 25 / 23.976 fps: STANDARD 30/25/24p video modes.

720p mode at 29.97 fps
It will allow LONGER video recording time before reaching the 4GB file size limit.

▪ Improve AF contrast detection algorithm and/or add Focusing Aids
Magic Lantern has done a lot on this, and proven it is extremely useful, even essential. See additional Filmmaking features.

Digital Zoom Video mode
To record on video a smaller area of the sensor as “digital zoom”. Very useful.

1:1 Crop Sensor Video mode – Like much cheaper T2i/550D
To record a native 1920×1080 area of the sensor (or 1280×720 or even VGA), which minimizes “jello” effect and completely eliminates aliasing issues/artifacts. This is possible in a similar way how Zoom level x5 and x10 works, but recording on video what you see on screen. This function could be part of the above one.

720p mode at 59.94 and 50 fps   X Removed from final release 2.0.4 (why?)

File Spanning function
A new video file is automatically created when 4GB is reached without stop recording. Very important for lot of users, and very easy to implement.

“EDIT” option in playback mode – for Video mode, like EOS 7D
This would allow Cut and Save part of recorded video clip. It is available on 7D and much cheaper P&S cameras.

Noise Pattern (Stills and Video mode)
FIX. Noise pattern/banding visible on shadows at high (and not so high) ISOs.

More frames in Bracketing mode
For still photography. VERY easy to fix.

Auto ISO with limiters – like much cheaper T2i/550D
For still photography, improved and with selectable limits.

REMAP” hot & stuck pixels function
This will save Canon Technical Support LOT of money and time. It is an essential feature. We still don’t understand why it wasn’t already implemented.

“Clean” HDMI output
A function to Enable/Disable the “white square” on the AV OUT and HDMI output.
VERY easy to do.

Full HD through HDMI output while recording (if hardware possible)
Also fix the delay of 5 to 7 seconds of “black” image after pressing the “record” button

Live Histogram for video mode   Done

Remote Start/Stop video recording using cable release – Like EOS 7D

Audio Manual Gain for video recording   Done
FIX. Very easy, and essential for acceptable audio recording.

LIST of additional FILMMAKING features

Hugely demanded and used (until now only via Magic Lantern)

▪ Control of focus
▪ Focus Assistance
▪ Focus Rack/Presets
▪ Focus stacking
▪ Zebra stripes (video peaking)
▪ On-screen audio meters
▪ Peaking, false-color and edge detection on LCD

Most of these functions have already been proven to be possible (and VERY useful) by Magic Lantern Project.

They are helping thousands of users on filmmaking jobs
, and Canon could do even a better implementation of them via Official Firmware update. That would be another BIG BANG to keep big sales on this great camera.

Focus Assistance System / Focus Detection Area
It would tell (in Live View mode, and in real time if possible) when a specific area of the frame is in focus or not. This feature would be very helpful and very much appreciated by filmmakers.

Magic Lantern’s New Features Request:  Check them here, you will get very good and creative ideas on new features.


As we said before, we sincerely hope Canon Managers and Executives consider this list very seriously for further Firmware Updates.

It will indeed benefit not only Canon customers, but also the company.

It would make this camera unbeatable for a very long time.

December 17, 2009 Posted by | Articles & Tech Info, Campaigns, EOS 1D Mk IV, EOS 5D Mk II, EOS 7D, Special Info, Tech Ideas | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Petition to Canon Inc. – 2

UPDATE (06/26/09): The Full Manual Control was achieved in June 2009, but the Petition to Canon is also requesting many other fixes & improvements, that can be done via Firmware Update. So if you are interested on those improvements, please keep on signing, spreading this Blog link and also please check the latest posts for up-to-date information.

This was originally a Blog Page and later converted to a Blog Post, which is now “old”, but we decided to keep it as a TESTIMONIAL of how hard and how long this process has been…

It also includes related information that may be of interest to all users of 5D Mark II.


  • Announcement
  • The Petition to Canon Inc.
  • Hacking Progress
  • Articles & Comments at external websites
  • Experiences when filming with 5D Mark II


Good news: After many months Canon will release a firmware with “Full Manual Control” in video mode.

The firmware should be available for download since June 2nd:

We want to THANK everyone that contributed in every possible way in this campaign.

There were thousands of people giving their little or big help to achieve this.

And also thank Canon for this action. They will certainly keep lot of customers, and sales.

There are still LOT of improvements that can be made to this great camera (also for “still” mode).

And obviously the question if Canon will give 24p and 25p in this or future firmware updates/upgrades.

So if you are interested, KEEP ON SIGNING and REQUESTING by every possible way. There are still hopes that Canon add those functions too.


There is an International Petition to Canon Inc. suggesting and requesting some improvements (especially Full Manual Control in video mode, but also other functions) to the camera EOS 5D Mark II that can be implemented via Firmware Update.

Some of those improvements are essential to allow professional use of the camera for cinematography tasks.

Check it: www.petitiononline.com/5dmark2/petition.html

It only takes 1 minute to sign it, and you have nothing to loose.

The Petition, although is not perfect, is the effort of a group of Photographers and Filmmakers AROUND THE WORLD for the benefit of all users of this great camera.

If you find that one or more requests would improve the experience with your camera, please sign it.

It is important to fill, if possible, the “Company Name/Freelancer” and “Country” fields, although that information is optional, but it gives more relevance to the petition.

This camera has a huge potential inside that wasn’t still delivered to the customers. That is why we are requesting a Firmware Update that will not requiere any hardware change to the camera, nor big cost to Canon.

If you can, please help to share and spread this information for the benefit of all customers.

Thank you very much in advanc.


We really hope that Canon adds lot of the requested features to further firmware update, but there is big uncertainty about that.That’s why a tiny group of programmers (without even a piece of the firmware’ source code) are trying to add those and even more sophisticated features to the camera This is just the beginning:

– More FILMMAKING features added: check Magic Lantern Website

– HACK in Progress #3 : Zebra Stripes

– HACK in Progress #2 : Onscreen Audio Meter

– HACK in Progress #1 : AGL Disabled Firmware (the 1st goal achieved)

For updated information please check Magic Lantern Project.


– DigitalVideo
Canon EOS 5D Mark II Firmware Update In Works

– Planet5D
Confirmation of Firmware patches coming?
There was an interview done with Tim Smith from Canon at the NAB conference last week. In the video, Tim makes several interesting points. Here are a few things Tim mentions (see the video):

. The Canon 5D mk II was made for AP and Reuters as cameras for the reporters to be able to shoot photos as well as video.
. The video is so compelling, the 5D2 is ‘getting dragged’ over into film and television production (this seems to have been a surprise to Canon)
. There were lots of accessories that instantly sprang up 5D Mk II is in heavy back order – demand is huge
. Canon has heard about the 24fps request – “yes we are working on that”… “we are seeing what we can do to this camera and obviously, in future product as well.”

– Digital Cinema Society
VIDEO Interview with Tim Smith from Canon at NAB 2009
Direct link to video:

High Definition magazine
Canon 5D MkII DSLR Owners Sign Petition For More Control

Sign the PETITION to GET MANUAL CONTROLS on Canon 5D Mark 2

– ProLost
NIKON Speaks Up about Manual Control

– FreshDV
NAB 2009 Video – Canon DSLRs and Panasonic 3D
Comment here.

– DailyConnect
“Canon exhibits a range of broadcast lens solutions at the 2009 NAB Show”
“In the Canon booth, #C4325, the Company will be exhibiting its portfolio of HD lenses, Free Space Optics, robotic pan-tilt cameras, professional camcorder equipment as well as the EOS 5D Mark II Digital SLR camera.” Article and Comment here.

Q&A: Canon helps usher in the video SLR era
Interview with Chuck Westfall, technical adviser for Canon’s professional products marketing division.
Comment here.

– Photography Bay
Zacuto Gunstock Mount for DSLR Video
Comment here.

Fix my 5D Mark II
Post:Keep On Signing Petition


Comments telling the Difficulties and Workarounds needed to use 5D Mark II for serious video tasks

FEATURE FILM SHOT ON 5D Mark II: “Searching for Sonny”

Searching for Sonny April 15, 2009:
NEW WEBSITE AND 3 NEW TRAILERS from “Searching for Sonny”

“So, it’s been a crazy couple of weeks. We never expected to get this kind of coverage on the internet. 127 Countries Over 100,000 Hits Names upon names on our petition Interviews from Gizmodo, Filmmaker Magazine, and Popular Photography

Here’s a link to our new website SearchingForSonny.com

Here’s three new trailers.

March 31, 2009:
OUR CANON 5D MARK 2 Method on Searching for Sonny

“(…) the (Canon) lens was fully automatic in LIVE MODE. This is a huge problem with many 5dm2 video users. If you can’t control the aperture, then you can’t control depth of field. The big thing everyone is looking for is that softness in the foreground and the background. That has always been the big differential between video and cinema. A few years back, 35mm adapters came out and changed everything. Finally an indie filmmaker could get that depth of field and use nice 35mm glass. So the big workaround with this problem is to use nikon lenses on the canon camera via a nikon adapeter.”

“The next big workaround was the light sensitivity. For every shot, you want the the lowest ligh sensitivity so you’ll have the least amount of graininess and noise. The problem with shooting with the Canon 5d is that this is also automatic. The camera choices for you.”

“(…) But i think all these methods and workarounds with the camera will be obsolete pretty soon. The Panasonic GH1 should hopefully fix it all… I think that’s what we’ll shoot the feature on.”


GIZMODO.COM “Before doing so, however, Disney and his crew had to figure out how to workaround a few of the 5D Mark II’s most annoying limitations for filmmakers: no manual control over exposure settings during capture, and a lack of an efficient focusing system while shooting.

“Very fascinating stuff… you’ve got to admit it looks mighty fine”

ENGADGET.COM “Not only did we see the first official presidential portrait shot with a DSLR this year, but we’re also seeing the first feature film to be entirely shot on one as well. Searching For Sonny has grabbed the rights to that latter claim.” WIRED.COM “If you had told me it had been shot on film, I would have believed you.”

“(…) The posts go into full production details, too, and the director (named, appropriately enough, Andrew Disney) comments about the amazing image quality you get from the Canon:

“The blacks are deeper, truer, fuller, than most any other camera I’ve shot on.”

So is the 5DMkII the best video camera out there for indie filmmakers? Nope. Andrew is already looking at the next one: “

“But I think all these methods and workarounds with the camera will be obsolete pretty soon. The Panasonic GH1 should hopefully fix it all… I think that’s what we’ll shoot the feature on.”

Last edited: June 26, 2009

April 17, 2009 Posted by | Campaigns, EOS 5D Mk II, News & Info, Special Info | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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