Canon has responded to the requests of videographers using its EOS 5D Mark III to shoot professional video, by announcing a firmware update which will allow the camera to produce uncompressed HDMI output. The substantial update will also improve autofocus performance for telephoto photographers.
The firmware update, which is due to land in April 2013, will mean 5D Mark III users can record high-definition uncompressed video data (YCbCr 4:2:2, 8 bit) by plugging an external recorder into the HDMI port (not onto memory cards). Currently, the camera compresses video down to 4:2:0 for HDMI output, meaning less color data can be recorded.
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Many video professionals had been disappointed the 5D Mark III didn't offer uncompressed HDMI output from release as it means video data can be edited with minimal image degradation and that colors can be adjusted more in post-production. It also allows for uncompressed video to be displayed on an external monitor, enabling real-time, on-site monitoring during shooting.
But it's not just videographers who will want to update their DSLR come April, big lens photographers are also in for a treat as the firmware will allow the 5D Mark III to autofocus with lenses with an aperture of f8 or wider, from the current f5.6. This is something particularly of note for fans of super-telephoto lens as it allows the use of big lenses and teleconverters.
For example, a Canon 400mm f5.6 will currently work very nicely on your EOS 5D Mark III … unless you want to also mount a teleconverter and get closer to the action. Putting a 1.4x teleconverter increases the lens to 560 mm, but also pushes the widest aperture of the lens to f8, beyond the limit of the autofocus. With the firmware update the camera's central cross-type points will still work.
The new firmware update will be available to download and install free of charge from the Canon website from April 2013, or from Canon Factory Service Centers.