Discussions ‘on-going’ at Canon about extent of video functionality on DSLRs

I have just arrived in Shanghai and earlier in the week Canon brought their new 1D X to London. I didn’t get a look at it since I was busy travelling but Dan Chung has this excellent look at the camera with Mike Burnhill of Canon Europe discussing its various aspects.

I interpreted the ALL-I mode as something which has been done for editing on lower power machines rather than for a gain in image quality.

Mike says that the sensor outputs a full resolution image at up to 30fps for descaling on the DIGIC 5+ chip, so no line skipping malarky this time around happily.

Interestingly Mike let slip that Canon are still discussing how far they can allow the DSLRs to butt up against the professional video business especially now Canon are on the verge of entering the digital cinema arena of RED and Arri. The HDMI feed on the 1D X has icons which can’t be removed. The pre-production GH2 had the same issue but they fixed it for release. Personally I don’t think crippling the HDMI output is the solution Canon is really looking for here. A few icons on the screen of your otherwise excellent pro DSLR HDMI output is not the answer to selling more $16k digital cinema cameras. Make the digital cinema camera good enough and it will sell itself. I think the mere suggestion that a clean HDMI recording from the 1D X threatens Canon’s digital cinema camera means we are in for a disappointing digital cinema camera. I’d rather invest in DSLRs and spend the money on the script.

Footage from the 1D X is expected to come out early in the new year or in late 2012. None of the footage from the 1D X in London was allowed off the camera.

The 1D X is of course too expensive for most artists unless you see it as a professional / commercial investment for your business. I don’t.

Hopefully the sensor and image processor will be similar if not the same in the 5D Mark III for half the price. It was the case with the 1DS Mark 3 and 5D Mark 2, in fact the MkII had a better image processor and video. No wonder they discontinued the 1DS line!

The rig in the video to which the 1D X is mounted is by Sam Morgan Moore at Half Inch Rails. I have the handlebar in the video, build is superb and I prefer the elegant British simpleness to most of the convoluted over-the-top American rigs.

Another thing that caught my eye in the video was the Cinematics USB follow focus. The build and design looks superb, much needed since the OKI seemed to have minimal effort put into its design.¬†Cinematics are a Chinese company whose matte box I have seen previously. The GH2 hacker Vitaliy Kiselev recommended it on his site. They’re producing some high end stuff rather than going for the El Cheapo solutions. The Cinematics follow focus costs $312, pretty good when you consider the extortionate price of less convenient mechanical follow focuses from the US. Watch the video to find out if it works with the 1D X.

I hope they do one for the GH2 as well. The video optimised lenses are far better suited to it, with silent stepless AF motors which are more modern than the ones found in Canon EF lenses.

Now let’s see what comes on the 3rd November, not long to wait now.