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


On September 1st, Canon has released EOS 7D. It uses Digic 4 (as 5D Mark II) but 2, and it even includes:

1920 x 1080 (29.97, 25, 23.976 fps)
1280 x 720 (59.94, 50 fps)
640 x 480 (59.94, 50 fps)

Canon even fixed the 30.00 fps to the standard 29.97… and also added 720p


– Is that IMPOSSIBLE in 5D Mark II? (NO, according to press report, see below)
– What about THOUSANDS of requests from ALL ARDOUND THE WORLD for the 5D Mark II firmware update?
– Are you still “LISTENING TO CUSTOMERS”?  What is going on?


If you care about 23.976/25/29.97 and LOT of other possible fixes via Firmware Update you can call Canon and make your voice heard:

– USA: 1-800-828-4040  /  1-800-OK-CANON
– CANADA:  1-800-OK-CANON (1-800-652-2666)
– UK: 0844 369 0100
List of European PRO Representatives:

If you contact Canon: be RESPECTFUL and handle the right and solid arguments. For your reference, please read NEXT POST too.

– Ask to register a “Feature request” for the 5D Mark II and to be entered in the system and leveraged to higher departments.
Your call IS important. EVERY effort in the right way can help.

You can still sign the Petition to Canon Inc. wich includes many improvements that can be still implemented in the 5D Mark II (and mention it when you call, BUT keep in mind that calling Canon is MUCH more effective than *only* signing or complaining online)


Check updated “List of Fixes & Improvements”, information and testimonials links at: 5D Mark II Features Request.

– What we strongly REQUEST:

  • FIX “at least” the current non standard 30.00 fps to the standard 29.97 fps as in 7D
  • Add these frame rates as in 7D: 29.97 / 25 / 23.976 fps (STANDARD 30,25 and 24p)
  • Add 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 (like Magic Lantern has done, and proven it is completely possible and extremelly useful). This is REALLY important and useful for video mode.
  • Add “Digital Zoom” and “Crop Sensor Video Mode” (“Sensor Windowing” recording function) allowing to record native 1920×1080 sensor’s area wich extremelly minimizes or even avoid “jello” effect and aliasing issues/arctifacts. This is very possible in a similar way that Zoom level x5 and x10 works to help manual focus
  • Add 720p mode at 59.94 fps if hardware possible
  • Add File Spanning Function (a new file is created when 4GB is reached without stop recording)
  • Allow Audio Manual Gain when recording video (so easy to fix…)
  • Add EDIT option in playback mode, allowing Cut and Save part of recorded video clip
  • Allow more frames in Bracketing mode (so easy fix…)
  • Allow (working) Auto ISO in Manual mode (for still photography)
  • FIX dropped frames bug that happens when aperture changes or in some other situations
  • FIX exposure shift / flashing that often happens when zooming
  • Add function to Remap” hot and stuck pixels. This is VERY important, and will save Canon Tech Support LOT of money and time. It’s an essential feature (we still don’t understand why it wasn’t already implemented)

Until now the 5D Mark II has not even a single frame rate compatible with any other video camera made by Canon, 7D included !! That’s why we “AT LEAST” request the standard 29.97 fps.


From other blog:

“Reader Eugenia commented (..) that she’d called Canon’s product feedback line and politely requested a choice of HD video frame rates on the 5D MarkII.”

If you care about 24p support on the 5D Mark II and would like to see it added in a future firmware update, PLEASE DO THE SAME.

Eugenia wrote:

“I called (800) 828-4040, for the US. I pressed then the 3rd option, and the guy was set up to take feedback immediately…”

She requested both 23.976 and 25 fps modes, as well as the standard 29.97 fps.

Please do call and make your voice heard. There are definitely enough of us who care about this to encourage Canon to take the decision.


According to a Press Conference Report in Japan, a single Digic 4 is capable of handling 24p and 60p:


It also tells that Canon didn’t take a decision yet, regarding the 5D Mark II.

In that conference appears Dr. Masami Kawasaki, President and CEO Canon Marketing and Masaya Maeda Director and Chief Executive of Image Communication Products Operations

Questions & Answers

This is a WORLDWIDE effort to encourage Canon to improve what CAN be improved. It will benefit everyone, Canon included. After all, customers are EVERYTHING for a company. Without customers’ purchases and loyalty, the company wouldn’t survive.

Q: WHAT WOULD CANON GET improving the Firmware?
A: MORE SALES on an already designed camera wich is already in production and has been the best seller over 9 months, so no extra costs needed to keep the profit.

Q: Isn’t that a GREAT deal?
A: Of course!

Q: Would it keep Canon on TOP of DSLR market, also at good place in competition with RED?
A: Absolutely!

Q: How do we contact or let Canon know about what we need and request?
A: You can CALL Canon, it’s the best and fastest way. You can also contact Canon by online support and ask that your request be forwarded to the product manager. Be respectful, explain valid arguments and also what you think.

Read the previous post and the next post before contacting Canon.

September 3, 2009 Posted by | Articles & Tech Info, Campaigns, EOS 5D Mk II, Tech Ideas | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What Canon will NOT give…

Last Update: September 1, 2009

– 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







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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