4k kills the photography business? The Canon EOS 1D C shooting stills!

by planetMitch17 Comments

Does shooting 4k video kill the photography business or is it just another tool? Here, we have a guest post from Abraham Joffe showing how he shot stills with the Canon EOS 1D C – but by only shooting video and extracting the stills from the 4k video itself. It includes many comments from photographers and videographers like Philip Bloom, Sue Bryce, and others.

Of course 4k video won't ‘kill' photography, 4k is expensive and requires a lot of resources, but Abraham's post leads to a lot of questions – and it isn't a new concept either. We've seen Vincent Laforet talk about taking stills from a Red back in mid-2011 and it was of course done way before that as well. But are photographers willing to spend time searching thru thousands of frames of video to find perfect stills. Not to mention the massive file sizes we're seeing with 4k video coming off the Canon EOS 1D C and Scarlets etc.

Another interesting aspect of Abraham's video is his use of “vertical video” – I recently was blasted over on youtube because I posted a vertical video that was just an iPhone video of the problems I was having with my new iMac – but some people are aparently very rabid about not watching anything that is vertical – “TVs are designed horizontally” I was told – well duh. But that doesn't mean you can't explore new avenues of expression. In fact, we had several stories back in 2010

You can pre-order the Canon EOS 1D C if you're interested over at B&H.

B&H is also sending us a Canon EOS 1D C for review in early january! Look for plenty of video tests from planet5D.

Micro Expressions: exploring motion image photography

An excerpt from the story by Abraham Joffe – read the entire article on his blog(and see the full size images there as well!)

It seems like technology updates and advances are almost an everyday occurrence these days with yet another new camera, tablet and phone model vying for our attention. It’s easy to glaze over whenever another tech announcement is made. Rarely do we see major shifts like we did with the release of the CD, DVD and iPhone. For the independent film makers and videographers of this world, nothing shook up the status quo quite like the release of Canon’s 5Dm2 camera in October of 2008. Suddenly, and seemingly out-of-the-blue, the look-and-feel of cinema was affordable to the masses. The shallow depth of field of its full frame sensor enabled anyone with a vision to shoot their story cinematically. It’s a well-known part of our industry’s history, but i feel its worth reflecting on again here. That is because i feel that the camera we have had the privilege to shoot with over the past couple of months reminds me of the last “tectonic tech shift” we saw four years ago.

Abraham's Canon EOS 1D C video:

[tentblogger-vimeo 56241602]

Follow Abraham Joffe and untitled film works explore the exciting possibilities of “motion image photography” using CANON's new EOS-1DC.With interviews with such industry leaders as Philip Bloom, Sue Bryce and many more.
Exploring how “photography” can be aided by capturing the moments through the moving image. Photographic genres include the areas of fashion, wildlife, wedding and portraits.

For a long time we battled with all the limitations that DSLR video brought with it – lack of controllable audio and a way to support and stabilize it to name just a couple. We learned to overcome these obstacles because of the incredible payoff provided in the footage we were now able to capture. I remember shooting one of the first DSLR weddings with a 5Dm2 back in early 2009. The resulting film was short and gained lots of adulation, but the resounding voices thought up all the reasons it was impressive, but by no means a realistic alternative to “professional” video. The costly, and small capacity media, lack of time code, handling problems and lack of full manual controls were all problems people focused on. Now just look where DSLR video production is today.. countless commercials, independent films and even features have been produced on DSLR. Like many of you I have looked up to the work of people such as Vincent Laforet, Shane Hurlbut, Konrad Czystowski and Phillip Bloom just to name a few. I think the thing that is common to all these innovators is where many people just saw problems, they focused on creating solutions and using this new technology in ways people hadn’t thought of.

Enter the Canon EOS 1D C.

Ever since my first visit to the annual NAB conference in Las Vegas (where I first laid my hands on the Canon EOS 5D Mark II) I’ve taken time each year to revisit. With the mammoth amount of information online during and after this Mecca of Film, TV + Broadcast expo, many colleagues asked why spend the money and effort to travel from Sydney Australia to go? Anything you’ll see at the show will be online and in forums almost instantly wont it? Well, Yes. But apart from being a great chance to let whatever-hair-i-have-left down, there’s nothing quite like getting hands on and meeting the people at the cutting edge of tech in person.

The 2012 conference seemed to be the dwindling of the 3D craze replaced by the upsurge in 4K resolution offerings. After hearing Shane Hurlbut discusses his remarkably impressive “the ticket” presentation, I shuffled slowly behind the Canon stage to where the new 4K 30 inch displays were being showcased. Suddenly my foggy pre-midday-Vegas-brain became alert – What a picture! Seeing 4K resolution video projected on a screen is a familiar look, however, seeing crystal-clear vision of a steam train chugging through a ravine only inches from your face is completely different. For those who haven’t seen 4K resolution on a display for themselves, it simply is hard to describe. Its true what they say, it is like looking through a spotlessly clean window to the scene beyond. It’s truly remarkable. What was so impressive with Canon’s new 4K camera is the fact that it is a DSLR. 4K resolution (and higher) has been around for some time now through camera’s like the RED Epic, Scarlett and Sony’s F65. But never have we seen this kind of resolution in a DSLR format. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one.

Just a few short months later, I was luckily enough to be present when the first pre-release sample unit was being unwrapped in the Canon Australia offices in North Ryde Sydney. What was even more exciting was being told – “Do you want to take it out for a week and have a go?” Many people celebrate “Christmas in July” in Australia due to our scorching hot summers.. the Christmas spirit was not lost on me at that moment!

Along with our commercial and documentary project, untitled film works covers many weddings around Australia and abroad. The nearest shoot we had was a wedding in the beautiful Hunter Valley wine region that weekend. We decided to bring the body along and where possible shoot some test footage. Initially, apart from the extra size being a 1 Series Canon body, the look and feel of the camera was quite familiar. We rattled off several shots during the photo shoot, and apart from being super impressed by the quality of the LCD screen, we couldn’t tell in the field how the image compared to that of our Canon EOS 5D Mark III cameras.

Read the entire article: Untitled Film Works – it is well worth your time!

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)


chief astronomer at planet5D LLC
Mitch "planetMitch" Aunger is the creator and mastermind behind planet5D.com

He's incredibly happy running planet5D and sharing so much joy of photography and filmmaking with his readers.


  1. I want it so bad… makes me wanna cry 🙂 I think it is a new (awesome) tool, but it is not a replacement for photographers. For live events such as weddings you need super precise focusing and very fast! Focusing manually you may miss some important shots- like those spontaneous shots.

  2. Ridiculous headline. Stick to writing information and leave the tabloid tactics at home.

    Why write that headline if you are going to dismiss it in your article?


  3. mmm ok as a wedding pro we now have the choice of –

    18.1megapixel RAW still capability with the option of up to 12/14 frames per second

    vs 24frames of blury 1/50th sec jpg stills for weddings for example…

    – hate to say it but we call these types of shooters machine gunners hoping for the right moment – that moment that we have been trained as still shooters to anticipate ahead of the scene knowing in advance which is the right moment to get that single perfect snap…. and then again you get no shutter noise in the church – that’ll be loverly actually..

    interesting times – might wait for the raw/dng motion stills of 4k camera? something like the BMCC at 4k/8k raw/dng with a larger chip – that’ll be the rig to use if your heading in this direction i’d say.. and shoot your film at 1/125 or 1/200th to stop the blur… see i use my flashy to stop motion at 1/20,000th sec on my weddings to stop blur.. can’t do that with motion footage.. yet!.. mm someone needs to invent a light strobe for this at 24frames/sec or 60frames sec better and this would rock for stills haha.. epileptic fits be damned haha

    1. Author

      Tony – some excellent points there!

      I too laugh at people who do the ‘spray and pray’ method of shooting – encountered one at a Christmas presentation of “The nutcracker” a couple of weeks ago… just hilarious.

      I understand both sides of the issue and being a photographer at heart, I tend to be shocked at the idea of taking a still from a movie (and all the work that entails) – but again, I can see the appeal in certain situations.

      Brave new worlds ahead!

  4. Its all a means to an end.

    I checked the full article and video.

    Maybe the guy should consider recording the ‘clean’ HDMI out from the 1D C and then would be using an uncompressed file rather than the compressed mjpeg format. This would surely offer him more ‘latitude’

  5. That is interesting, and i have no doubt will be the topic of many opinions. I do see both sides of it, but if I were a sniper shooting at my target one thousand yards away and I had a new weapon that could fire six rounds simultaneously at six different spots within one foot of each other, why fire one shot when I can fire six.

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  7. I could care less what you call those types of shooters! When the bride is walking down that isle or has a quick kiss at the alter – good luck pulling that focus, and explaining her why you did not get that shot. How about receptions lit only with candles and people are dancing? Besides, if I’m getting paid what- just sit around and eat? We have a name for those type of shooter too… All i’m saying is that it is an interesting concept and it may work for some, but it is a huge risk (in my opinion) to do wedding photography that way.

  8. I’m excited to read that you are going to have a chance to test the 1DC. I’m really interested to see how the full frame and S35 1080p footage holds up. If Canon gives us IQ comparable to the C cameras rather than their DSLR’s, this could be a really useful camera.

    Also, I take production photos for theatrical productions. Trying to get dynamic photos that capture the emotion and action of the actors is extremely difficult. This technique could be the solution. Take 5 to 10 seconds of the actors performing the scene with a shutter speed around 1/200s and then scrub the footage for that perfect moment.

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  11. Seriously? What are we talking about here? Basically crossing your fingers and hoping to extract an image? That is not photography, not sure what it is. To me a photo is more than just an image. It is a craft, it is the ability to capture a moment in a single shot, thats right a single shot, not 24 shots a second. It also means being technically sound, thought out and most importantly nice to look at. Some over exposed, blurry shot from a wedding is not photography. That is a jocks approach to photography.

  12. Extracting an image from a movie is just another tool in the box for photographers who have the equipment and inclination to do so. It won’t replace or kill anything in Photography. The art of Photography is fundamentally the same be it film or digital. It’s about capturing a precise moment in time that probably won’t happen in the same way again. And that means nailing the exposure triangle as best you can.

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  14. I could see this being useful in very controlled environments, like a model shoot or something…maybe even studio children photography or something.

    There are however problems. If it isn’t raw, I’m not shooting it. Period. You’ll need a high enough shutter speed to stop blur. In a studio, not a problem (other then maybe squinting eyes from all the light), but in a real environment…good luck. If you want to crank the ISO up to an ungodly amount, I guess you could, but good luck explaining to a paying customer why their image looks all grainy. You could tell them “Well, turns out I’m just a sh!t photographer so I did video mode on my camera and grabbed stills from the video”. I’m sure that will go over just fine!

    That’s not to say that if the technology was really “there” I wouldn’t use the hell out of it, because I totally would. But it just isn’t “there”…yet. However, going back and pulling images from all that footage would be a nightmare.

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