Video aliasing issues with the Canon hybrid DSLRs

by planetmitch12 Comments

It appears that our friends the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon EOS 7D, and the Canon EOS-1D MKIV have some aliasing issues when shooting video. We've seen some discussions about it in the past and we haven't experienced it ourselves, but it appears to be something you should be aware of before you go out to make the most epic video ever. Stu Maschwitz over at the ProLost blog has posted a very informative article on aliasing that you really must read.

Redrock Micro

Here's a snippet or two:

“The article by Barry Green is about the oft-reported “aliasing” artifacts in video from the Canon HDSLRs (5D Mark II, 7D, 1D Mark IV). Barry does a great job of backing up a few steps and defining the term aliasing.

Aliasing occurs when you sample something infrequently enough that you create an impression of something that wasn’t there. Imagine a blinking light in a room with a door. You must open the door to check the status of the light. If you open the door often enough, you get a pretty good picture of the status of the light, maybe something like on, on on, off off off, on on on, etc. Your samples are frequent enough to accurately represent the light’s activity.”


“The current crop of HDSLRs cheat in a big way to make video. Their sensors are not designed to blast an entire, full-resolution image out every 30th of a second. So Canon’s engineers (and Nikon’s and even Panasonics to some degree according to Barry) did what stills camera makers have always done with the “good enough” video modes on point-and-shoot cameras; they grab something less than every photosite. They look at the blinking light less often, and as a result they can pull off a whole picture at a rate speedy enough to make video.”

Let's be cautious about blowing this all out of proportion tho – there are thousands upon thousands of movies being made with these hybrid DSLRs with no problems… and if you're aware of some of the limitations of the camera as you use it, then you'll be a lot better off. I see some of the comments posted in Stu's blog indicating that the sky is falling and video on these cameras is trash, but we all know that isn't true… so let's take this information and be better filmmakers with our cameras ok? 🙂

Please rush over to Stu's blog post to read it all!

(Photo credit: snap from stu's blog)


  1. THE SKY IS FALLING OMG ALL CAMERAS SUCK! how could they do this to us.

    Nikons Sucks!!
    Canon Sucks!!

    I can’t even begin to record an acceptable video now!!

  2. LOL! W, you crack me up, that was priceless.

    Mitch is right when he said ” there are thousands upon thousands of movies being made with these hybrid DSLRs with no problems”. After 14 months, NOW we have this issue?

    Yeah, I’ve ssen some of it in my footage and my response is “who cares?”! Look at all of what we can DO now. The 5D Mark II may lag in that area, but it gives the Red a huge run for the money in low light situations, using lenses that cost a tenth of video lenses.

    It’s just like the re-entry of Apollo 13… remember in the movie that there was a concern that the spacecraft was slightly off course because it was underweight (they never collected moon rocks). The Flight Commander asked, “is there anything we can do about it?”, and the answer was “no”. So, fine, we move on and get the mission accomplished! Alias Shmalias, get out snd shoot!!

    1. Author

      Paulie, as Stu said, it isn’t “new” but this sure is some of the best info I’ve seen on the issue – and education is always best – if you know about it, you can maybe shoot a little differently – but 99.9% of the viewers won’t notice.

      I was watching Philip Bloom’s training again this morning (I was actually exercising and didn’t have anything entertaining to watch so I was watching training – yikes! HA) and I noticed a bit of aliasing in a water scene – but the question came to me, was it because of the camera or because of the transfer to DVD?

  3. You actually exercise? That’s great, I’m so bad at staying consistent. I always heard it gets harder in your 40’s… why did they have to be right??

    ANYWAY, I guess I’m just worn out on all of the “bad” things getting pointed out, but as you said, we can adjust our shooting style to minimize where necessary. At this point, I’m just forging ahead and learning the trade (that 5DFilmSchool is excellent!). As far as my 5D2, It Is What It Is and I’m enjoying it, exactly as it is! 😉

  4. This is not a new issue. Why is it being reported like it is? Much has already been said and illustrated. Take a look at Laforet’s 1D4 video, and you can see it in action.

    1. Author

      Sorry – didn’t mean to make it sound like I thought it was a new issue. if you read Stu’s blog, you’ll see they’ve been talking about it for over a year.

      Sometimes it is really hard to decide what to report. In this case, I thought that Stu’s informative post was something that planet5D readers should be notified about and so I went ahead with the post. I feel it is important to be sort of a news gathering service and there are plenty of our readers who probably wouldn’t have found Stu’s post on their own.

  5. I find it somewhat absurd and alarmist when I see a term like “unacceptable” tossed around in these discussions. In the original article there is a post about “disastrous” aliasing on a shot on the beach.

    I find this kind of hyperbolic language completely unacceptable and it will surely lead to disastrous results!

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