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

UPDATE #1: NON-FREE UPGRADES

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.

MAIN REASONS

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.

LIST of FIXES & IMPROVEMENTS

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

CANON: WHAT IS GOING ON?

Edit: Please also check next post  Canon: What is going on? (2)


In the light of the 7D having the features we all (owners of 5D Mark II) want and NEED,  we will say this very clear this time:

1- Canon DID have a Firmware with “full manual control” for the 5D Mark II since many months before their release on June 2009. Actually, the firmware was created around end 2008. So the statement about “big engineering efforts” to bring full manual control to customers due “popular demand” is NOT true, is a farce.

The only truth is that they already had it, and the demand was HUGE. So they decided to give it to customers (after improving the unofficial firmware a bit, to give more accuracy on settings and ease of use)

2- Canon ALREADY has 24/25p firmware for 5D Mark II, it was tested in many productions since months ago.
It seemed it needed to be improved though.

1 & 2 are something that some few more people do know for a fact.

NOW, WE SHOULD ASK CANON :

– Are you still “listening to customers”?
What about all the cinematography/videography market that invested in 5D Mark II and Full Frame expensive lenses?

What about the so long requested 24/25p and some other (very possible) improvements?
And the HIGHLY needed 29.97 instead of the current non-standard 30.00?

– Even more, what about a 720p option, that could help so many customers/professionals a lot in many jobs, which would also extend the current recording time limit (which is in fact a 4GB file size limit)?

– Are you going to offer 24/25/30 at Full HD (1080p) and HD (720p), and even 60fps at VGA (640×480) in a $1,000 cheaper, cropped sensor camera and forget everything you achieved in the market with the 5D Mark II and all your customers?

– Or are you going to put more efforts and improve the 5D Mark II Firmware too ?

The full manual control was publicly released due the HUGE demand and popularity, it was a convenient move in business terms.
If we all (community around the world) hadn’t requested it by every possible way, it could have probably been never released (officially, cause it was already “there”).

– Canon should take care of customers loyalty, even for a matter of business.
So many responses given by tech support when asking about manual control were kind of joke, completely unprofessional, like some statements in the original 5D Mark II White Paper (removed from 5D MK II webpage after a while)

– If Canon does not improve 5D Mark II, we are getting used to be treated VERY unprofessionally, with silence as answers to our questions/request, or with responses that say nothing but “we can not tell anything about what Canon is or is not going to…”

– Customers of a professional camera and professional line of lenses, investing thousands of dollars in Canon equipment deserve respect, good customer service, attention, and clear answers to their inquiries and requests.

We are not talking about a $200 camera, but a $2,700 body-only camera…

– Magic Lantern Project team has proven to be more efficient and creative in few months, than Canon with all their resources in a much longer period of time.

So, WHAT IS GOING ON CANON? ARE YOU STILL LISTENING TO THOUSANDS OF CUSTOMERS AROUND THE WORLD?

We are tired of being a kind of toys in the business topic.
In the facts, customers are EVERYTHING for a company. Without customers’ purchases and loyalty, the company will not survive.

September 1, 2009 Posted by | Campaigns, EOS 5D Mk II, Special Info | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

What Canon will NOT give…

Last Update: September 1, 2009

BRIEF LATEST NEWS:
– Check: Canon 7D and WHAT IS GOING ON?
– New Magic Lantern 0.1.6 released!!


What Canon will NOT give to customers…

Magic Lantern

The Magic Lantern Project:
Improvements for Canon EOS 5D Mark II

– This Blog was firstly created and intended to spread the Petition to Canon Inc. requesting for FULL Manual Control in movie mode and other improvements that can be really implemented via Firmware Update. With the help of thousands of people signing and requesting by every possible way through many months, enough “noise” was achieved to bring Canon’s attention and make them realize the benefits of giving FULL manual control in video mode to their customers.

It was a long and hard task though, that even many people didn’t believe as possible. Canon kept complete silence until the announcement; and there are also some secrets regarding the matter of “manual control” for video that were not revealed to public, and will be probably never widely known…

At least, and at last, the firmware with Full Manual Control in movie mode was released to the public…

– Aside that, while Canon is capable of, but unwilling to make more and very possible improvements (due to business reasons, etc.), there are few people who spend lof of efforts and their valuable time to bring us improvements to this great camera, the EOS 5D Mark II.

What is Magic Lantern ?

It is an open platform for developing enhancements to the amazing Canon 5D Mark II full frame digital SLR. This camera is a “game changer” for independent film makers. This Project will allow every user of the 5D Mark II to freely enjoy and use improvements for the camera that Canon will not include in their Firmware (if any update is still to be released).

It is very remarkable that this very small  group of programmers does not have the source code nor the resources that Canon does have. That means:  LOT of hard work to figure out how the camera system works, how to make changes and how to implement improvements to it.

(Having the source code, or even some kind of guides, would help VERY MUCH indeed. If you can provide some help on it, please contact us. Any help in this regard will be kept completely confidential and private.)

While still in development (this is a work in progress), we want to share this great and exciting project with people who might still don’t know about it. Below is the link to the official website and some screenshots and videos of progress.

Please consider supporting this very big effort, as it will improve the existing features of the camera and more interestingly: is adding new ones that Canon will never include.

Official Website: http://magiclantern.wikia.com

Support this Project:

Rev. 0.1.6 released !:

“After a month of development and testing, Magic Lantern 0.1.6 is finally ready!
Some of the new features:

* Custom cropmarks bitmap file
* Live histogram while recording
* Time remaining estimate indicator
* Automated focus pulls
* Focus stacking
* HDR exposure bracketing
* Lens data (hyperfocal distance, DOF, etc)
* Cleaner, multi-level menus that timeout automatically
* Audio monitoring can be turned off during clip review
* Internal mic can be used (must enable audio.mic-power=1 in config)
* Output audio volume control
* Configuration can be saved into magiclantern.cfg

More info at official site and also at: www.cinema5d.com/viewtopic.php?f=56&t=4589

Focus screen
Curren Features  (rev. 0.1.5):

. On-screen audio meters
. Disabled AGC . Manual gain control
. Zebra stripes (video peaking)
. Crop marks for 16:9, 2.35:1 and 4:3
. To do list for more ideas
. and MORE…
. See the official website for updated fixes and NEW features

Screenshots of Progress and Features:

Pre release 0.1.5

Zoom & Focus info

Pre release 0.1.4

Zebra Stripes

On Screen Audio Meters


VIDEOS:

intro

zoom-focus-info-1

audio

zebra

onscreenaudio


Last Edit: September 1, 2009

September 1, 2009 Posted by | Articles & Tech Info, Campaigns, EOS 5D Mk II, Special Info, Tech Ideas | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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