As the use of DSLRs for professional videography has become more and more common over the last decade or so, we've seen a sharp increase in the number of cinema-quality features that these cameras are being equipped with. The explosion of DSLRs in the film world owes a lot to Canon, with the company's EOS 5D Mark II sparking the trend back in 2008.
Now, Canon is on to the Mark IV, and over the years the 5D has developed into a truly pro-quality camera for video. Let's take a closer look at what's made the latest in a long line of high-end DSLRs such a popular choice for cinematographers, as well as the latest upgrades to the camera's capabilities.
The 5D Mark IV boasts a 30.4 megapixel CMOS full-frame sensor, as well as 4K video capture.
The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Released in late 2016, the 5D Mark IV boasts a 30.4 megapixel CMOS full-frame sensor, as well as 4K video capture. That's just the tip of the iceberg though, with the camera also featuring some truly innovative features, including built-in GPS and Wi-Fi connectivity – making it a true workhorse for the modern DOP.
Other features of the 5D Mark IV include:
At the time of its release, Digital Photography Review described the 5D series as one of the most recognisable and popular camera lines of the digital era, and went on to conclude that the Mark IV was "a worthy upgrade from the 5D Mark III." Strong praise indeed, considering that the Mark III and its predecessor the Mark II had been used as secondary cameras in films including "Black Swan," "127 Hours," "The Avengers," and "Drive," according to technical data from IMDb.
However, even with all of the rave reviews and incredible features, there was still room for improvement over the Mark III, and that's exactly what Canon has done with it's latest upgrade – the 5D Mark IV.
Bringing C-Log to DSLRs
Canon Log, more commonly referred to as C-Log, is a staple feature of Canon's higher end cinema cameras. Essentially, it's a gamma profile that allows a sensor to capture as much data as possible when recording footage – producing an 800 per cent increase in dynamic range, according to Canon. In turn, this provides far more control over the grading process during post production. As B&H Explora explains:
"By using a logarithmic curve, the profile can reposition the data to cram as much information as possible into the compressed 8-bit 4:2:2 4K or 4:2:0 Full HD files. This results in a much greater dynamic range being recorded, though it does mean that the super flat-looking footage will require a knowledgeable hand when it comes to editing and colour grading."
With the 5D a staple of cinematographers' tool kits, it makes sense that C-Log would eventually find its way into the DSLR's feature set. Not only does this mean that the 5D Mark IV can capture a wider dynamic range, it also means that projects using multiple Canon cameras – say, a C300, with a 5D as a 'B cam' – can more easily match the footage together and achieve a consistent grade.
The Canon 5D with C-Log
The question for DOPs then, is how to get C-Log onto their 5D Mark IVs. It's not as simple as just downloading a firmware update, but Canon has made sure that every 5D owner can easily upgrade their equipment. C-Log is available as a chargeable upgrade service, and all you need to do is send your camera to your nearest Canon-authorised service centre.
The upgrade is worth the investment of time and money – particularly if you're using your 5D Mark IV for video production.
The upgrade is worth the investment of time and money – particularly if you're using your 5D Mark IV for video production, with one review from B&H explaining that: "the advantages offered by having Canon Log as a function in the 5D Mark IV are well worth it. If you are serious about video and want to make sure you can capture the best footage possible, Canon Log is something you will want in your toolbox, without a doubt."
To make things even easier for new buyers of the 5D Mark IV, Canon has also introduced a new iteration of the camera. It's exactly the same in every way, with the added bonus of having C-Log already installed, allowing you to experiment with a wider dynamic range right out of the box.
It's hard to predict what the future of video production will hold, particularly for DSLRs, which are getting closer and closer to the quality of high-end cinema cameras. One thing is for certain though, and that is that the Canon 5D Mark IV with Canon Log is a game changer for the industry, and provides an entirely new palette for cinematographers looking to achieve remarkable results without splurging on dedicated 4K camera.
To find out more about the 5D Mark IV, contact DVT today.
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