Will the Canon EOS 5D Mark II get 24p video?

by planetmitch19 Comments

Will the Canon EOS 5D Mark II get 24p video? The answer is unfortunately no.

We’ve heard rumor after rumor about some people in Hollywood beta testing a version of the firmware with 24p, but it just doesn’t seem like it is going to happen. In the last couple of days, more and more tips are floating in that it is just too difficult.

This morning, I had a nice video iChat with friend of planet5D Kip Beatty (@kipb on twitter) about the Canon Live Learning EOS Essentials Mini-Conference. Vincent Laforet (Reverie) was presenting and told the story of how he got the 5D mk ii in order to film Reverie. You can read the story over on Vincent's blog.

After the presentation, Kip asked Vincent if there were any chance that Canon was going to be releasing a 24p version of the firmware. Vincent didn’t answer other than to point to Chuck Westfall and said ‘ask him’. (Note: since this story was relayed to me second hand, the quotes aren’t exact – they’re there to give you the flavor of the conversation without the expectation that they’re exact).

Collision Conference

Kip related that Chuck was very polite and offered his opinion. “I doubt you’ll see it” Chuck stated. He went on to tell about how the recent firmware upgrade was tough, but necessary to add features that were missing. But the issue isn’t with the software but with the Digic IV chip. It was designed with 30fps in mind. It does all the heavy lifting of the processing of the video – video capture, throwing out some of the sensor data (since the video is smaller than the full size stills), compressing the video at 30 frames per second and then writing it all to the card. “It is just too monumental to expect that they can change all of that in the firmware” he said.

“I’m not saying we’ll never see it, but it is very difficult to do.”

We’ve also heard these things on twitter today:

5tu said “Talk on the CML that a Canon rep stated no 24p update coming for 5D MkII. 24p will come in the replacement for the 1Ds Mk III.” And also this: “I think it's Canon clutching at any opportunity to make a $$$ pro body desireable over the popular 5D2.”

And a couple of replies to @5tu: @timescapes said: “@5tu someone i know very close to canon also told me recently there will be no 24p on the 5D2. they are saving it for future cameras. :(”

Training guide

@mikeseymore replied to @5tu: “spoke to Canon too, got “1D is the Pro camera – 5D is not, 1D will have more ‘Pro video features”. I see a 1D in my future!”

So, like Chuck Westfall, I'm not saying it isn't gonna happen, but it sure doesn't seem likely. I believe that Canon wanted to make the 5D2 a better camera by fixing the manual video issues with the latest firmware patch, but if they were to put 24p in the 5D2, then there isn't that much that separates it from the more expensive cameras. There may be a “5D Mark IIs” (as Kip called it), where they release an new 5D2 with a different Digic chip, but don't count on a 5D2 firmware upgrade.

But what you will see in future cameras is video! You can mark my words, all new Canon DSLRs will be DSLRVs and you can count on planet5D to watch the future progress!

(Photo credit: snap from an earlier story with @timescapes with a panavision lens on the 5D2)


  1. Hey Mitch, it was nice chatting with you yesterday. Nice write up!

    John, I don’t see where the ball is in Nikon’s court. Canon designed the 5D Mark II for photographers. In particular, they aimed the video capture at photo journalists that more and more are asked to supplement their shots with video. For this reason and this intended use, they went with the more television/web friendly 30p.

    Now the fact that Hollywood has been blown away by the camera, the lens selection, and the quality of the video doesn’t change the fact that it wasn’t designed as a “movie” camera. Canon was admittedly caught off guard by the huge uptake in the film industry of the 5D Mark II. They are listening to the film makers. They are working with the film makers. However, they can’t reengineer a chip that’s already inside the shipped cameras.

    There isn’t a Nikon out that can touch the 5D in video quality yet. By the time there is, I’ll venture we’ll have a 1D Mark IV with full 1080/24p. It wouldn’t surprise me to see an updated 5D with it as well in a year or two. Until then, Hollywood seems to be working just fine with the current limitations of the 5D. They’ve developed several specialized rigs for it, and I gather they’ve been buying Canon lenses by the truck load. It may have been a surprise union for Canon, but they’re thrilled with it.

    In my opinion, with the depth of field you get with the camera/lens combination, the 24p issue is a bit overblown. DoF is 90% of what we associate with the “film look” versus “video look.” Would I like 24p as an option? Absolutely. Does it kill the camera for me? Absolutely not. It’s not nearly as critical as the missing “manual” mode was before the recent update.

  2. The only thing that is going to get me to switch from the 5D is not 24fps. It’s the rolling shutter.

    Get that going properly and I’m in.

    By increasing the shutter speed on the 5D and bringing it into a 24p time line it actually does enough to look like film.

  3. Kip, you nailed it, brother! Spot on!

    From my perspective (a relatively new Indie Film Maker), the 5D Mark ii represents a game-changing tool for getting the attention of gate-keepers in the Film Industry; the folks who say “No” to seemingly EVERYTHING they see… The same folks we desperately need to pry a “Yes” out of, so we can get our Production completed on a level where an audience actually gets to see our Film. * Believe it or not, I’ve found that the Studios are NOT the devil that they’re so often portrayed as… some of the people who work for the Studios can come close, but hell that’s true anywhere you work.

    I would be shocked if an Agent or an Exec actually recognized that something I was showing them, shot with the 5D Mark ii of course, was actually 30p instead of 24p. That’s assuming of course that I managed to use the 5D Mark ii to at least half of its potential ability during production, and I took the time to properly edit together a “finished” cut of whatever I was showing them. And even assuming that they DID recognize that it’s 30p, I still couldn’t use THAT as an excuse for why I didn’t manage to close the deal. Seriously.

    Now I should clarify, I’m a far cry from a Cinematographer (or even a “good” photographer for that matter), but I understand the camera and how it needs to be used as an artistic instrument. I’m probably about as far away from the natural abilities of someone like Conrad Hall or Robert Elswit as anyone can get. But I still absolutely love the prospect of getting my hands on this tremendous tool in the very near future. Being able to invest in and use Canon’s wide array of pro-level L-Series lenses… on a full-frame sensor… shooting at full 1080/30p… at the ridiculously inexpensive price point it’s all available for (at Amazon.com anyway)… well, that’s just about the wettest of dreams come true for a poor gear-geek who’s trying to become a legitimate Film Director.

    And I could even use a Tilt-Shift Lens!!!
    …oh man, now I gotta go shower again…

    While I agree that the lack of 24p is disappointing, it certainly is NOT a deal-breaker on this camera.

  4. I think what a lot of people ignore is that PAL users still don’t have 25p which is where I see the real issue here. At least those in the US have a framerate at broadcast (29.97-30fps issues aside), what do we get in the PAL world?

    I do understand why it gets ignored but it does tend to get on my nerves how a lot of people in the NTSC world, and more importantly Canon themselves, completely ignore what is an issue of necessity. I’d love to be in a position like those in America, being able to ask for an extra framerate to allow for expanded usage but as it stands, the camera fails at an inherently basic level.

  5. Would it be possible to deceive the camera directly with time. I mean to slow down the clock (or clocks) 20 % . All the processes would be a 20% slower, but at 24p.

  6. Ed,

    People speak to the issues that confront them directly. Living in an NTSC country, I’ve never encountered PAL issues. I’m not ignorant of PAL, nor do I completely ignore it, but I’m not going to wave the PAL flag when it’s not something I have to deal with in my own usage. Those that do deal with the PAL problem, like yourself, should speak up, speak up often, and speak up loudly.

  7. I totally agree with Kip, to me, the DOF is more than enough and it makes the 5d2 a good camera, no matter if you can do 24fps or not with it.

    Of course, having the option to use 24fps couldn’t be bad.

    Wow I’m just repeating what he’s saying.

    Yeah, I agree.

  8. No 25P is an insult to most of the world. Unfortunately until another manufacturer has a competitor that does it Canon will do nothing.

  9. I don’t believe the “DIGIC4 was designed with 30 fps” story. The T1i has the DIGIC4 and supports 20 fps. Clearly there are variable frame rates available out of the chip. There are vestigial mentions of frame rates in the firmware as well.

    As I wrote over at prolost:

    What is clear to me is that Canon runs a very tight ship and is very concerned with ensuring quality software products. Based on my analysis, the version of the firmware that was tested on film sets was built in December of 2008, around the same time as the 1.0.7 update. They were silent about any coming upgrade for six months while rumors ran wild, until they were satisfied with it and made the official release of 1.1.0 in June. That is a long time without any leaks beyond third-hand rumors.

    So if they are working on a 24p upgrade for the 5D Mark II body, we won’t hear it from them until they are confident enough to ship it.


    George Lucas, from 2000-present all his film shot on Sony F900-F950 1920x1080p CinAlta digital video camera (a $115,000 price tag) made with Sony and Panavision technology.
    Mark II surpass the low light shot of these cameras! REDONE, hm… If light set up to suit the MII, the quality produced stuning but if the REDONE shot on light that setup for MII, the quality of the RED one will be dark and look like shit. On the other hand, light setup for REDONE, if shot with MII, the quality will not look shit but only over expose by 2 to 3 stop (this can be compansate lower the ISO of the MII). You get more work done with MII on the field then bulky REDONE setup! The winner is the MII for me! LOW PRICE GOD, LOW LIGHT GOD! STUNING PICTURE!

    I want to emphasized George Lucas crop the 1920x1080p to 1920×817 to fool you guys that it was shot on super 35mm! LOL. He makes billions of dollars without the Film or the RedONE between the 2000-2006!!!

    If you are shooting 2k, MII surpass Red ONE, Sony F-900 and F-950! Human eyes cannot see anything beyond 2k. Ok, if any of you want to shoot at 4K, don’t expect Red ONE 4K to be close to film. In order to shoot your shot to be close to film, you have to shoot it at 8k minimum! No matter what, it will not rescue you from shit low light shot of those cameras withouth the MII from Canon!
    I want to emphasized George Lucas crop the 1920x1080p to 1920×817 to fool you guys that it was shot on super 35mm! LOL. He makes billions of dollars without the Film or the RedONE between the 2000-2006!!!

    If you are shooting 2k, MII surpass Red ONE, Sony F-900 and F-950! Human eyes cannot see anything beyond 2k. Ok, if any of you want to shoot at 4K, don’t expect Red ONE 4K to be close to film. In order to shoot your shot to be close to film, you have to shoot it at 8k minimum! No matter what, it will not rescue you from shit low light shot of those cameras withouth the MII from Canon!

  11. The whole 4K thing is a joke anyhow. The Red One is not 4K. Its in the low to mid 3K range and almost everyone shoots it at 2k anyhow so you can deal with the footage without losing your shirt.

  12. A lot of people don't get the importance of 24p because you don't understand it. 24p Video is a Master format that can be easily converted to Film, Broadcast (1080 60i) and left as is for viewing on a Computer. You watch 24p all the time when you watch a movie shot on Film then converted to play on a Television Set (Broadcast, DVD, Bluray etc.). To achieve this they use a 3-2 pulldown in order to achieve 30 fps (with 60 Fields – 60i). One of the worst Formats to convert for Broadcast or Film is 30p, there is no perfect way to do it, you will always loose some quality. In most cases (the simplest way) each frame of the 30 fps is doubled in order to achieve 60 fields required by Broadcast Devices (Televisions DVD Players etc.) which causes very bad stuttering of the Image during Pan & Tilt and objects that are moving in the Frame. There are however 'Work Flows' that are used in order to maximize what the 5dMk2 delivers but require specialized software and are time intensive. Philip Bloom (philipbloom.co.uk/) is a great resource and goes into a lot of detail through text and Videos.

  13. Guess what… Canon just anounced today that the 24P firmware will come early 2010…

  14. Pingback: Studio Daily Blog » Canon 5D Mark II 24p firmwire upgrade video

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