Canon EOS 5D Mark II firmware update: Video gets manual exposure

Canon has updated the firmware for the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, fixing one of the main complaints about the camera's HD video function: you can now adjust exposure while shooting

Canon has updated the firmware for the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, allowing you to adjust exposure as you shoot video.

Firmware is simply the software built into a gadget, whereas exposure is the umbrella term for the various factors that govern how much light is captured by a camera, each of which create different effects in different combinations. Users will now be able to adjust aperture, change sensitivity from ISO 100–6,400, and shutter from 1/30-1/4,000 second. This frees you to compensate for differently lit areas, or record different types of motion, all within the same video clip.

For example, you'll be able to move from indoors to outdoors and adjust the exposure accordingly, so as not to be too light or too dark. Adjusting aperture also gives different depth-of-field effects.

The 21-megapixel 5D Mk II shoots 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution video at 30 frames per second, with clips up to 12 minutes long, and it has a mono mic built in. Manual exposure adjustment puts the Canon even further ahead of the Nikon D90, the first dSLR to shoot video, while, like the newly announced Pentax K-7 , the Canon boasts a stereo microphone input. You still can't autofocus, however, unlike the dSLR-like Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1.

The Canon EOS 5D Mark II is currently available for just over £2,000 for the body only, or upwards of £2,700 with assorted kit lenses. The firmware update can be downloaded from Canon's Web site from 2 June.

About the author

Rich Trenholm is a senior editor at CNET where he covers everything from phones to bionic implants. Based in London since 2007, he has travelled the world seeking out the latest and best consumer technology for your enjoyment.


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