Super 35mm 4K comes to Canon 5D Mark III in a new Magic Lantern module. They announced it on April Fools which might have had you thinking they're playing around, but actually, it's real and you've been played by Canon all along! Why have this capability in a camera and not give it to your people?
Now this is an early release, so pro videographers and photographers looking to use it on the job might be best advised to give it a while so all the bugs get squashed. It's there for testing, not production. It's a proof of concept and not even in working alpha yet.
The main problems are that the Mark III writes to memory card with a maximum of 100 Mb/s which doesn't allow for 4K at 24fps. That, and overheating. It can however do 3K at 24fps and 14 bit, and push through a data rate of about 90 Mb/s which the camera can handle.
Here are the video modes and resolutions available in-camera with the latest Magic Lantern hack:
- 1920×960 at 50p (at a 1:1 crop and full-frame and 3×3 pixel binning)
- 1920×800 at 60p (same as above)
- 1920×1080 at 45p and 48p (3×3 binning)
- 1920×1920 at 24p (1:1 square crop)
- 3072×1920 at 24p (1:1 crop)
- 3840×1600 at 24p (1:1 crop)
- 4096×2560 at 12.5p (1:1 crop)
- 4096×1440 at 25p (1:1 crop)
- Full-resolution LiveView: 5796×3870 at 7.4 fps (128 ms rolling shutter)
The data transfer rate is high and you'll need fast cards though, and again,
14-bit Lossless Raw
Another added surprise is the 14-bit lossless raw that we can try out and experiment with. It reduces file size by up to 58 percent without a visible loss of image quality. The previous lower bit-depth modes of 10-bit and 12-bit modes reduced dynamic range with more noise in the shadows. With the 14-bit lossless mode, this is not the case.
This is a surprise. I have been shooting with the 5D Mark III for the last couple of years and realizing the power it had but wasn't able to provide. It's still in development stages and not completely reliable, and it isn't perfect. If you want to shoot 4K, you're going to have a live-view display in black and white, but I think it's still a lot of power they are literally unleashing. I've never used Magic Lantern, but this shows that the guys really want to provide great tools to the photographers and videographers, and I'm considering it, even just for testing and checking what the possibilities are.