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Framerate upgrade for 5D Mark II

Canon has announced a mid-March update for its EOS 5D Mark II, full-frame 35mm HD DSLR, writes David Fox.

Canon has announced a mid-March update for its EOS 5D Mark II, full-frame 35mm HD DSLR, writes David Fox.

The free firmware update adds 24 and 25 frames per second recording to the camera’s video functions (it had been limited to 30fps previously), as well as several other improvements.

Users will now be able to shoot full 1920×1080 HD footage at 24fps (actual 23.976fps for cinema compatibility), 25fps at both HD and 640×480 resolutions for European broadcast use, and the update will also change the existing 30fps option to the NTSC video standard of 29.97fps.

Users will also get a new histogram display while shooting their movies in manual exposure mode (rather than having to hope it is correct and checking the histogram when they stop recording – it doesn’t have video exposure aids such as peaking or zebra stripes, which require an add-on HDMI monitor, such as those from Marshall). Shutter-priority (Tv) and aperture-priority (Av) for video have also been added, and exposure modes will now be available in movie mode.

Audio has also been upgraded, to allow users to set sound recording levels manually using a sound-level meter displayed on the LCD screen. The audio sampling frequency has also been increased from the 44.1kHz CD standard to the 48kHz broadcast standard. However, the camera only has a mini-jack connection (typically requiring an add-on box, such as a Beachtek, to add XLRs, or a separate audio recorder).

The key attraction of the EOS 5D Mark II (besides its price) has been its full frame CMOS sensor, excellent low-light ability, and the wide range of lenses it can be fitted with (giving users the choice of minimal depth of field if needed). It had only been the lack of 24/25p that frustrated European users who wanted to shoot for broadcast or cinema.

Extreme sports photographer Richard Walch was one of the first to use the new firmware, shooting a snowboarding video at Lax, in Switzerland. “The addition of the new framerates opens up a whole new range of possibilities. If you’re a cinematographer, independent filmmaker or just enthusiastic about making your own movies, get out there and give it a try,” he said.

The video is viewable on the Canon site (, along with a ‘making of’ video showing off the camera’s new features. The firmware will be available to download from mid-March from the Canon website.