Questions answered for the Canon EOS 5D Mark III + HDMI video **Updated

by planetmitch42 Comments

UPDATE: When additional answers come in, we're posting them on the bottom…

When Barry Andersson and I were at the hands on preview of the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, we came away with some additional questions and we've also seen some more questions floating around on the ‘net and we've gotten some of them answered.

Chuck Westfall was very gracious to take time to answer the questions we sent in before the March 2nd announcement… if you have additional questions – post them in the comments and we'll forward them and post the answers on planet5D.

By the way, is reporting the Canon EOS 5D Mark III will be available in stores on March 22nd!

Canon EOS 5D Mark III questions

This first question came to me from a reader:
1 There is an issue here that has not been mentioned in the previews I have seen so far.
The specifications on Canon's website tell that 5d3 has a fixed focusing screen, like 7d, while 5d2 has an interchangeable one. How is this fixed screen compared to the standard screen and the Eg-S screen for 5d2? Does this fixed screen on 5d3 show precise focus regarding to depth of field on higher apertures than f:2.8?

CW: The EOS 5D Mark III's focusing screen has about the same overall brightness and depth-of-field characteristics as the EOS 5D Mark II's Eg-A standard focusing screen. This is a brighter screen than the Eg-S with most lenses, but it does not depict depth of field accurately for apertures wider than about f/4. Manual focusing accuracy using the optical viewfinder is about the same, lens for lens, on the 5D Mark III as it is on the 5D Mark II with an Eg-A focusing screen.

It might also be crucial for some of us how the viewfinder is regarding to all the AF-points. Are these points visible all the time, or can they be removed or shut off?

CW: There is a submenu on the LCD screen that allows photographers to choose any one of 5 settings that determine when and how the focusing points are displayed in the viewfinder. They can definitely be shut off for photographers who prefer that option.

planet5D gets a sneak peek at the Canon EOS 5D Mark III

planet5D got a sneak peek at the Canon EOS 5D Mark III

planet5D questions

I’ve seen some notes flying around where people have interpreted the ALL-I to have a bit rate of 91mbps — you quoted me something in the 40s.
CW: It's a variable bit rate as we discussed, but the instruction book spec for approx. 685 megabytes per minute in ALL-I mode at Full HD resolution is correct.

The Canon EOS-1D X has a shutter count function… does the 5D Mk III?
CW: No.

In the preview meeting, Chuck briefly mentioned something about a “dedicated AF microprocessor” – is that a Digic 4 like on the Canon EOS-1D X?
CW: The DIGIC 4 in the 1D X is used for that camera's 100,000 pixel RGB metering sensor. It is not a dedicated AF microprocessor. Both the 1D X and the 5D Mark III use dedicated AF microprocessors; these AF microprocessors are not DIGIC chips.

The new Nikon D800E is sold without an anti-aliasing filter… did Canon consider that for the 5D3 III?
CW: No.

the Canon EOS-1D X has a feature which is a one-touch instant zoom for the magnification – is that on the 5D III?
CW: Yes, this feature is the same on both cameras.

I was kind of surprised the 5D III doesn’t have an articulating screen… is that because pros consider them something easily broken and shy away from them?
CW: The 5D Mark III is definitely sturdier without an articulating screen.

I’m curious about the move up to 22.3 mp – it isn’t that much of a move from 21.9… so why change at all?
CW: There were several considerations, but the biggest one had to do with the substantial improvement of video quality along with overall image quality.

Why hasn’t Canon put 60fps at 1080 HD on any camera yet? is it a processor issue?
CW: There has been no explanation from Canon Inc. on this point.

Does the 5D III have the same new cleaning system as the Canon EOS-1D X or did it stay the old version?
CW: Old version.

Can you record video at the ALL-I compression on one card and the IPB compression on the other card?
CW: No.

Is this the first time that Canon has had noise reduction on the chip?
CW: No. On-chip noise reduction has been used in Canon CMOS sensors since Canon's first CMOS image sensor, used by the EOS D30 in the year 2000. However, our implementation of on-chip noise reduction has improved over the years, and the 5D Mark III and 1D X cameras represent the state of the art as of 2012 in this specification.

(Note: I know we've already reported this, but I wanted to make sure it was noted here as well)

of all the questions, the biggest on my list is finding out if the Canon EOS 5D Mark III has fixed the problem of switching to SD on the HDMI output when recording.
CW: the resolution does not drop when you are connected to an external monitor and hit record. It does still have all of the overlays and the signal is not meant to be recorded.

HDMI evidence!

We were sent a bit of evidence by Gert Kracht this morning showing the HDMI output indeed doesn't down rez to 480 – it stays at 1080! (Note he used the zacuto pro 3.0 evf): [tentblogger-vimeo 38097586]


Additional questions and answers:

do you know if the shutter button can be set to be the start / stop recording button for video on the Canon EOS 5D Mark III?

CW: The answer is yes for both the 5D Mark III and the 1D X. The setting for this is in the 5th tab of the recording menu, which only shows up on the 5D Mark III when the camera is in Movie mode, i.e., the Movie Shooting Switch has been engaged. (The 5th tab is always visible on the 1D X.) When the cameras are set up to allow the shutter button to be used for starting and stopping video capture, users can also start and stop video capture with wired remote controllers like the RS-80N3 and TC-80N3 connected through the cameras' N3 remote control socket. The only downside of allowing the shutter button to start and stop video capture is that you can no longer take full resolution stills while recording video.

is there a ‘minimum’ card speed recommended for the Canon EOS 5D Mark III to handle the All-I compression?

CW: We recommend using memory cards with write speeds faster than 30 MB (not Mb) per second for the ALL-I setting. The faster, the better.

Note: wikipedia has a great formula for converting the “100x” kinds of speed ratings over to MBs – for example a 266x card is about 40MBs

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)


    1. Author

      I’m guessing you didn’t watch the video posted eh? It is shown clearly in the video 🙂

      yes, the LCD shuts off

  1. why does the screen still go blanc when hdmi cable is pluged? that´s really not good. i was hoping they fix this. it´s very useful for example when you go on a steadycam to have 2 screen. is there a way to do this in menu?

  2. HDMI involves handshaking between the display device and source. things like res of the display, HDCP, ect. once they are done talking and agree, then the display takes the bits from the source and puts an image on the screen. there is no getting around it as its the nature of HDMI and all devices that use it. to get around it, try a HDMI->SDI converter and SDI display

  3. the screen going blank is really not a problem. Once your cable is plugged, it shuts off for less than a couple of seconds. easy to get around!
    That being said, i’m really looking forward to check on the moire/ aliasing situation. This is the only reason worth of upgrading in my opinion. 1080 hdmi is a good news too though.

  4. I know we can write duplicate photos to the sd card, but can we do the same with video? Will the 5diii record the same exact video file to each card?

    Also, can ds cards keep up with the higher bitrate intra codec?

    1. Author

      No you cannot record video to both cards at the same time. Yes, some SD cards are very fast… you’ll have to make sure to get the high speed ones

      1. so there is NO way to backup video files to the second card? That was a major reason of me pre-ordering. Does the c300 have this feature, or is it only useful for continuous recording?

        1. why would you order a camera based on one thing you haven’t even confirmed it has? I haven’t seen anything that even suggests that was a going to be a feature of this camera or any other DSLR on the market.

  5. I am disappointed in some of the answers given; However, every camera has its downfalls that photographers must learn to work around.

  6. quite disappoing camera, indeed !

    Lets see the real world tests , but i feel one must be fool (or he has made a big investement in the canon system ) to buy this camera instead of d800.

    1. Author

      @PM – ok, I’ll play devil’s advocate… please tell us the features that the Nikon has that kill the 5D3

    2. Disappointing camera?? Have you used this camera or even a D800 to compare it to?
      The 5d2 is an awesome camera- arguably the best for the money for full frame stills and video, how is an upgrade in image quality, lower noise, frame rate, codec, head phone jack, focus system of the pro model + more a disappointment?

  7. oK, let’s start

    1. 500 $ less
    2. built in flash
    3. d4 -pro level af system
    4. RGB metering system
    5. fx-dx choice for still and video
    6. 1080p uncompressed video output
    7. 36 mp sensor with or without AA FILTER
    8. face recognition in the viewfinder because of the 91 kp RGB and……much more !

    1. im a canon man but you have made a point! canon however only seem to care about making money. if they really wanted to they could make a better camera but then what would they do with the 1dx and c300? “it all about the moneyy….”

      1. By the way thought, perhaps Keno earns money, and Nikon sells with zero profit, to help newcomers to the system, and then have them on the full program. That is why the Nikon is a temporary exclusive to such a matrix from Sony.

    2. 9. autofocus during video
      10. autofocus down to f8

      and…the list goes on.

      What reason would you buy 5d3 for? …

      except if you own many canon lenses

      1. wait! the d800 will autofocus during video?

        aw man, i just blew my savings on a 7d cause i had some canon lenses – it has been a real disappontment

        1. Author

          Yes, the Nikon says there is AF in video, but it is still yet to be seen how well it works. I’m trying to get my hands on one!

    3. Ummm, the Canon has 10 more AF points than the Nikon.
      Its metering system also uses chroma & luminance.
      It also allows fx-dx type of resolution choices (ie digital zoom) for stills & video.
      It’s also got user selectable face detection.
      Also, it shoots 2 fps faster.
      Has 2 stops more light sensitivity.
      Can shoot all I-Frames at a higher data rate.
      Both cameras can autofocus during shooting, but both of them suck at it because the real focusing system is out of the optical path during a shoot.

      There are plenty of reasons to buy the Mark III over the D800, although the D800 does have it’s advantages (such as the higher MP count or the uncompressed output).

      But it’s definitely not a slam dunk & depends on what you’re going to be using it for.

  8. Im not really into this camara, and I can say that a cannon is not all abou making money, is a lifetime of picture taking. But every camara is a different world for a different person…..

  9. If you can contact back Mr. Westfall, I would very much like to ask him:
    1. are 5D3 / 1DX spot metering only with the center AF point or all of them
    2. if exposure compensation is allowed in M mode + Auto ISO


  10. As an event shooter, the 5d3 was exactly what I was looking for. The ability to change audio levels while recording is a very big deal for me. The camera didn’t blow me away but it is everything I wanted my mark II to be. It seems to me that the 5d3 is a wedding photog/video dream camera. I don’t need uncompressed HDMI, 36mp, pop up flash, and the price doesn’t bother me. However I wish the markIII had the D4’s crop modes.

  11. I think the Canon still have the advantage of being able to use a lot of different lenses of different brands through adaptor.

  12. Pingback: Updates on the 5D mark III » cinema5D news

  13. Let’s take a look at what is declared as a weakness of Canon 5DMkIII specifications. The absence of the pure HDMI. I want to draw your attention to the fact that Nikon also has no video RAW/ But judging 5DMkIII by the bitrate, when using recording with all reference frames, we will have a minimum of errors visible to the eye. In any case, they will be visible no more than the flaws associated with the interference pattern. Relative to the last problem Canon, the use of several pixels to build one dot of the image, clearly must go further than its competitors, and in addition Nikon has no announced the special CPU algorythm to decision moire problem, or the jelly problems. As in the previous models Nikon is noticeably inferior to the Canon, about that problems. Finally D800 as not writes pure video as a video with all reference frames on the memory card, but this is neded more than the use of an external burner in real life. As for the focus during the video recording, that incarnation as the Nikon D7000, brings more problems than good – hands it turns a times faster and more accurately. Even SLT autofocus inadequate in more than half of the subjects of a wedding cinematography because of the shallow depth of field. I even keep silence about the unacceptability of the autofocus at art shooting or use during sound recording to the camera. If you are an operator that cannot hands control the focus, then why do you need such an expensive camera? As for the detail of the image, the 5760 x 3840 against 7360 x 4912 is only 20%, and it is only under the conditions of perfect optics. This is not a tricky operation allows you to see what’s in reducing the size of the picture will not remove chromatic noise, if they appear in the Nikon even a one-stop earlier. By the way, raise your hands, who really need to 36 megapixels, and now lower, those who do not have the large-format camera for this. The built-in flash or free transmitter? And what the “experts” talk about the necessity of 600EX, when you can even work with 270EX II? Further on the costs of the system. For PC remote control, data transmission, etc. Canon have free software, and Nikon requires $ 180. Battery for Nikon will be more of a problem, if you want to save money, since it has a built-in chip. Yes, and from the old camera did not take. In General,I, on the sound and careful reasoning D800 has not the special prizes before 5D Mk III. I beg your pardon, for my pure English:)

  14. in the video i see the output is 1080i not 1080p… that means that it uses a lower resolution out signal and just doubles (by cloning pixel lines) the lines in order to fit in as 1080…

  15. aleksdat, you mentioned free transmitter. I have been trying to verify this, but does the 5diii have built in transmitter to fire off camera flash??

    1. I apologize for the fact that mislead you. Of course The new digital camera there is only the ability to control wireless systems, both types, and the built-in transmitter have 7D, 60D & 600D (Rebel), but just wireless, and not the radio, as the 600EX

  16. This seems to have become a huge debate between Canon and Nikon. Let me clear things up… Canon is better!

  17. Hello,
    ?It will be possible to record in a external hard drive with one of these cameras 5D mark III or 1X.

    Apparently with the 1d C, is possible.

    1. Author

      You can record externally with the 5D3 and Canon EOS-1D X, but you’ll get all the data from the screen tho – it isn’t “clean” as they say. Only the 1Dc will do that in the Canon line.

  18. Ive scoured the manual and can’t find a way to get the LCD screen to shut off after I focus, when I hit the AF button OR push the shutter half way. In Tv or Av, the LCD stays on making it very hard to compose a night shot. Is there any way to shut it off?

    1. Author

      Jonathan, try pressing the “INFO” button once-that usually turns the LCD off – tho it won’t do it in live view

  19. OK so the 5d mark2 HDMI out does some funky stuff when you start recording: it breaks the signal and then re-initiates the signal at a lower resolution.

    This causes havok with most all video equipment downstream connected to the HDMI out.

    SO my question is if the mark3 has a nice 1080i out in preview monde, what happens when you hit record?
    1. Does it stop and re-initiate the hdmi link?
    2. Does it still output 1080i when recording?

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