Can a Canon 5D Mark III Shoot 4K?

Can a Canon 5D Mark III Shoot 4K?

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. 

Download the Magic Lantern Files here.

[via EOSHD]

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Lane Shurtleff's picture

You answered your question right at the beginning. Canon knows, it can't sustain the 4K data transfer speeds, and as any big manufacture knows, you tease with this DSLR stuff and promote the purpose built (C300 etc and self contained video cameras) for those that need it.

I've always wondered what the consumer thought behind using a DSLR for video production (I know it;'s about size and weight blah blah blah) but the trade-offs and fighting all the limitations of the format aren't worth it.

Stephen Kampff's picture

"it's real and you've been played by Canon all along"

Brilliant line!

William Bond's picture

Ive never used Magic Lantern myself but have been aware of it for years, Always been a little nervous about third party firmware. However, If I can shoot 3K at 24fps I would be pretty happy and just crop at 2k to have that buffer for stabilization/panning/etc. I wasn't too impressed with the 5DMKIV specs and this news just shows the possibilities in how the 5DMKIII is still relevant today.

Nuno Caldeira's picture

link posted is to download the module for "4K raw video recording" on the 5D MKIII, which wont work if you dont have ML on your card. Actual ML link is through here

Kemal Onur Ozman's picture

Thanks a lot dude!