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Canon 5d3 with Magic Lantern vs Canon 5d4?

Trevor Butterworth

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Apologies for a newbie-ish question. I'm going to be shooting video in the future—mostly interviews and features—so I can expect 50-50 video vs stills. My budget isn't unlimited—so the 1,000 dollar difference in price is a factor. But I'd love any insight on the difference in vid quality between what ML can get out of the Mk3 versus the Mk 4's iteration of c-log, 3.5k, vs 4k, relative crop factors etc. I guess the improved AF in the Mk4 would be useful, but I don't anticipate a huge amount of action shooting...

I have Canon glass btw.

Thanks in advance for the guidance.


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EOSHD Pro Color 5 for Sony cameras EOSHD Z LOG for Nikon CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

It’s my understanding that the 3.5K  Raw from the 5D3 isn’t a hundred percent refined yet, so for paid interviews it may not be your best bet, but I would have no problem using the 1080p Raw for paid gigs.

I’m in the middle of shooting a short film in 1080p ML Raw and I couldn’t be happier. I’d take it over any consumer 4K any day of the week.

With that being said, I am one of the few fans of the 5D4’s 4K on this site... I think it looks absolutely stunning and the Touch AF seems magical.

But unless I had a client that asked for 4K, I would just shoot 1080p ML Raw. But since I am a hobbyist that shoots zero budget films... well working on my first zero budget film, I don’t have clients to answer to.

Another thought would be a 1DC. In my opinion it is the best 4K image out there. The 5D4 is similar with the great AF, but the 1DC has that unquantifiable “mojo” I hear people talk about. But so does ML Raw.

Hope that helps, but after rereading it... it may not have...

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To add, I’m sure someone will post for you to buy a GH5 and a Metabones speed booster for your Canon glass. And that is an option.

But since you asked about the 5D4, I will say that there is a 4K crop and it is somewhere between 1.64 and 1.74 depending upon what site you read. This crop puts you just on the edge of the Super 35mm format but you may require wider lenses. Some aps-c Canon lenses will work if the shield is removed. Other lenses like the Sigma 18-35mm will work with no vignette... so some lens options open up.

With the 3.5k ML Raw, the crop is similar to get constant recording... so that aspect is a wash.

The problem with the C-Log on the 5D4 is that it is Canon installed, which means there is a chance that if the Magic Lantern team ever cracks the 5D4 for effortless 4K and plus Raw, it may not work with models that have C-Log.

Good news is Canon Log is a great Log profile that really expands the dynamic range in an easy to grade Log profile. So if you’re only worried about today and not a hypothetical Magic Lantern 5D4, then Canon Log is a great profile.

File sizes will be large with either choice so expect to buy some cards and hard drives. Good news is that CF cards aren’t horribly expensive and hard drives are cheap.

Now with ML Raw you get a lot of other benefits like focus peaking and exposure tools. Although with the 5D4 and its DPAF you won’t need focus peaking.

So I would say that you need to decide how much you need 4K? If you can get by with a majority of 1080p Raw and then some 3.5K for specific projects, then the 5D3 may be enough for you. But if you need 4K for everything, then the 5D4, 1DC, or if you can stretch it, a C200 may be your best bets.

And I guess I’d be remiss not to mention the GH5 as an option. For the money... maybe even twice the money... it is an amazing camera.

Good Luck. 

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hi @Trevor Butterworth!

i have a 5d3 and im really happy with ml raw

i think the choice is about the image. if you prefer the higher resolution of the 5d4, great. i prefer the more analogue-y filmic image of the 5d3. horses for courses tho, totally depends on the project

but $1000 is money, i get that. so in general i guess id say that if you view 5d3 raw as an option, and youre prepared to deal with the data, etc., and youd prefer those 1080p raw files to the compressed 4k of the 5d4... great, go for the 5d3 and spend that $1000 on other stuff thats more important

for me personally, im just not into a dslr with touch screen dpaf on a screen that doesnt move. thats the #1 thing id change about my 5d3 if i could – flippy screen!!!

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@kaylee that’s a better reply than mine, well said. 

58 minutes ago, Trevor Butterworth said:

Thanks for those detailed comments. I've been moving more and more towards full frame in my photo work, so going back to 43 is not for me. Although I do have a GX85 and a Sigma 18-35 though...

No problem, after shooting FF Raw, it’s hard to even conceive going back to shooting aps-c... let alone something smaller. The GX85 is a fun little camera though.

For the money ML Raw on the 5D Mark III, even in humble 1080p, is the most effortless, cinematic image around for $2000. The experimental builds for 3.5K Raw in 12bit crop mode is just icing on the cake.

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I'd get the MK4.  For ML RAW you can pick up a used 7D for around $400 now.  7D RAW is very close to the 5D3; indistinguishable to me.  I wouldn't use RAW for interviews though.   And I wouldn't invest a lot of money in a camera for RAW until you're sure you want it.  

If you're going to do more video, expect to invest another $1,000 in audio equipment.  And lights?  So if you don't have that stuff already...


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