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Canon to give 5D Mark II a cinema boost

A firmware update coming in 2010 will be able to shoot at 25 and 23.976 frames per second, making the camera fit better in the video and cinema industry.

It counts only as a footnote compared to today's announcement of the professional EOS 1D Mark IV camera, but Canon also had a nice nugget of news for those who've invested $2,700 for the 5D Mark II SLR.

Canon's EOS 5D Mark II
Canon's EOS 5D Mark II Canon USA

Specifically, through a firmware update due to arrive in the first half of 2010, the SLR will be able to shoot 1920x1080 video not just at today's rate of 30 frames per second, but also at the 25fps rate used in European TV and the 23.976 fps rate used in cinematography, videography, and U.S. TV.

Lisette Ranga, program marketing specialist for Canon USA, confirmed the change Tuesday.

The 5D Mark II isn't a cheap camera, but it's an affordable option in some circles--documentaries being one example. "The Battle for Hearts and Minds," a documentary on Afghanistan by independent filmmaker Danfung Dennis, was shot with a Canon 5D Mark II. In some situations 30fps is fine, but a lot of the videography industry is built around a rate of 23.976 frames per second.

However, there's no word on whether the firmware update will also enable 60fps video at the lower 1280x720 resolution--a feat possible with the new EOS 7D, an 18-megapixel camera with a smaller sensor and lower price than the 5D Mark II.

The firmware update reflects how software updates available over the Internet can significantly change a camera after it's introduced, something that gives camera makers some new flexibility to fix cameras and adapt to customer desires. The 5D Mark II arrived in late 2008, but through a firmware update in January, Canon fixed a "black dot" problem that afflicted high-contrast areas of some images, and in June, Canon added manual controls for video.

Via Planet5D