Good whereas it lasted: does the Canon 5D mkIV mark the top of DSLR video?


When the Canon 5D mkII burst onto the scene in 2008, it was nothing in need of a revelation for video shooters. I by no means use the time period recreation changer, however the 5D mkII actually was. Canon added video recording after a request by AP and Reuters for a digicam that was able to capturing each stills and video. Little did they know that this small addition to a stills digicam would change our business perpetually.

The Sony F35
The Sony F35

Again in 2008, your choices for digitally capturing cinematic progressive video with a shallow depth of area had been each restricted and really costly. Sony had launched the Tremendous 35mm CineAlta F35 with a whopping worth level of $250,000 US, and a yr earlier a small firm of entrepreneurs in a warehouse launched the RED One. It had a 4K Mysterium sensor and will seize 4K photos at as much as 60 frames per second within the proprietary Redcode format. The Purple One was arguably the primary semi-affordable digicam that offered filmmakers out-of-the-box performance with the “characteristic movie high quality” identified to way more costly 35mm movie cameras, however it was nonetheless hundreds of {dollars}.

The 5DmkII set up for video with an Sound Devices audio mixer
The 5DmkII arrange for video with an Sound Units audio mixer

The discharge of the 5D mkII out of the blue allowed shooters to seize a full body look, in a tiny digicam utilizing inexpensive stills glass. For the primary time, an possibility capturing cinematic trying video was out there at a worth level that most individuals might afford. At launch the digicam might initially solely file in 30P; it wasn’t until 2010 that Canon enabled 24P and 25P functionality.

On the time the 5D mkII was launched I used to be capturing for Al Jazeera utilizing 2/3” Sony broadcast cameras. I had been trying on the RED One and 35mm DOF adapters, however on the time I believed they had been both too costly, or too impractical to make use of. The 5D mkII was nice, however the lack of 25P recording meant it was completely unsuitable for broadcast in PAL nations. I waited patiently and on the first September 2009 Canon introduced the 7D. Whereas this digicam wasn’t full body and was solely APS-C, it was potential to pick out body charges from: 30p (29.97), 25p, and 24p (23.976), in addition to 60p (59.94) and 50p at 720p. The 7D, just like the 5D mkII, was a revelation for me and opened up a wholly new world of inventive potentialities. In late 2009 I shot what was arguably the world’s first ever worldwide broadcast information story utterly captured on a DSLR.

Shooting the Sword Maker and the Swordsman using the 7D
Capturing the Sword Maker and the Swordsman utilizing the 7D
Shooting Al Jazeera correspondent Steven Chow using the Canon 7D
Capturing Al Jazeera correspondent Steven Chow utilizing the Canon 7D

Utilizing DSLR cameras wasn’t with out its issues. in 2009 there have been solely a handful of equipment out there and the audio recording capabilities had been difficult to say the least. For the primary broadcast information story I shot on a DSLR, I used my Sony XDCAM digicam to file all of the audio, which I then needed to sync up manually to the imaginative and prescient captured on the 7D. For capturing information such a workflow was hardly very best, however I persevered with it due to the imagery I might receive.

The 7D and the 5D mkII (as soon as it received 24P and 25P in early 2010) quickly grew to become my cameras of selection, and finally I used to be capturing 90 per cent of my information jobs on a DSLR. I continued utilizing a DSLR up till the Sony F3 grew to become out there in early 2011. I believe, like {many professional} shooters, that the DSLR was only a stopgap answer, till one thing higher got here alongside.

The DSLR revolution wasn’t with out its critics. Shooters who had invested closely in skilled tools out of the blue in some circumstances discovered themselves having to compete in opposition to a 20-year-old with a $3000 digicam. Some manufacturing firms and producers noticed this as a possibility to vastly lower budgets and rent somebody for lots much less cash. By making it inexpensive, Canon put an expert digicam inside attain of a complete new market. Whereas we are able to debate the deserves of what this has performed to competitors and charges, it’s clear that the digicam modified the whole lot.

The 5D mkII and C300 side by side
The 5D mkII and C300 aspect by aspect

Canon deserves a whole lot of credit score. With out the introduction of the 5D mkII, who is aware of what cameras we’d be capturing on at the moment? The 5D modified the panorama and compelled a whole lot of producers to provide you with inexpensive giant sensor cameras. It additionally spawned an enormous equipment market, and numerous firms emerged making the whole lot from digicam rigs to sliders and dollies.

Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 5D Mark III

The sluggish loss of life of the 5D for video work started the day Canon introduced the Cinema EOS C300. From that time onwards, Canon’s technique was that in the event you wished a video digicam that used a Tremendous 35mm sensor, had correct XLR audio inputs and SDI in/out then you definitely shouldn’t be shopping for their 5D. Nonetheless, followers of the 5D mkII waited patiently till 2012 for the discharge of the 5D mkIII. Most customers had been disenchanted by the specs and had been anticipating the digicam to be an enormous enchancment on the Mark II, however sadly it wasn’t. What some folks overlook is that Canon is a enterprise, and companies are designed to generate profits. It could have made no sense for Canon to supply options and performance within the 5D mkIII that had been the identical as these discovered within the way more costly C300 and C100 Cinema EOS cameras.


This brings me to the current announcement of the Canon 5D mkIV. Nearly eight years after the preliminary launch of the Mark II, lots has modified and the digicam market has turn into more and more crowded and aggressive. The video specs for the Mark IV are fairly underwhelming, regardless of it having the ability to file 4K internally. With devoted Tremendous 35mm cameras out there for marginally more cash, the times {of professional} video shooters utilizing DSLRs as their fundamental digicam are clearly numbered.

There’ll at all times be a spot for the DSLR, and we shouldn’t overlook the digicam that, prefer it or not, modified our business perpetually. For multimedia shooters, a digicam just like the 5D mkIV nonetheless makes a whole lot of sense, however in case you are simply capturing video there are lots higher choices. The 5D is probably not the goto digicam it as soon as was, however we owe it lots, and like several nice pioneer it deserves our respect.