Updated 7:16 a.m. PDT with further details from Canon in Europe, and 9:20 a.m. with further details from Canon USA.
Canon plans to release firmware June 2 to address a common complaint about its EOS 5D Mark II, a $2,700 digital SLR that's generally been lauded for its image quality but criticized for its lack of manual controls when shooting video, the company said.
SLR cameras give photographers close control over settings including shutter speed, aperture, and ISO sensitivity, and the enthusiasts and professionals who buy high-end cameras often understand and use those options. Since the 21-megapixel 5D Mark II was introduced a half year ago as Canon's first SLR to feature video abilities, the video operated in a fully automatic mode in which the camera selected those settings.
That became a common cause for complaint. For example, people couldn't select a wide aperture, or F-stop, to ensure a shallow depth of field that would direct attention to a video's subject while making the background an undistracting blur. The lack of manual controls contrasted with two big video advantages of the 5D Mark II, the ability to shoot 1080p video at 30 frames per second, and a large, full-frame sensor that's particularly good at dealing with difficult low-light conditions.
"This new firmware will accommodate a great number of user requests for manual exposure control in the EOS 5D Mark II video mode. Manual exposure control while shooting video on the EOS 5D Mark II is expected to make a big impact with cinematographers and videographers using the 5D Mark II for high-end HD video production," Canon said.
A customer newsletter said the feature will permit control over ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. Canon's European press release was more forthcoming, saying that shutter speed would range from 1/30th of a second to 1/4000th and that ISO would include the camera's regular span of 100 to 6400 and also the extended H1 setting of 12,800. … Read more