WHY to release Firmware Updates?
Adding and improving functions and features via firmware updates on current Canon cameras would be a very smart and important action from a business point of view.
Please note that many of the features mentioned here were already requested in the Petition to Canon Inc. since early 2009, signed by more than 3,000 amateurs, professionals and studios around the world.
- Update #1: Non-free Upgrades
- Main factors & reasons for updating the firmware
- List of Fixes & Improvements collected from thousands of users’ feedback
UPDATE #1: NON-FREE UPGRADES
There is a huge amount of users willing to pay for Firmware Upgrades with enhanced movie/video features like those ones listed below (also for some improvements on photography functions)
QUESTION TO CANON: If there is the need of giving resources to programmers and engineers to work on such improvements, then why not to give that option to those customers who really want and are willing to pay for them?
That would be another way to keep these cameras more featured and competitive for longer time, without any kind of hardware change and the obvious benefit that they are already in production.
Make a survey, do marketing research and read what customers write on dedicated HDSLR forums like www.cinema5d.com.
Most software companies do offer special upgrades for a fee. Why manufacturers of expensive devices, with a “long” life cycle like EOS 1D Mark IV and EOS 5D Mark II couldn’t offer the same? We would all benefit from it, since replacements for these models will not appear in near future.
This option should be considered very seriously.
• 5D Mark II has huge potential inside not fully exploited yet, that leaves lot of “room to move on” whenever you (the manufacturer) want.
• Canon has a product that has no competition (until now): a Full Frame sensor camera with Full HD capabilities that can really be used for serious Video and Cinematography purposes (along with its great still capabilities). Canon has been in this situation for more than 1 year. This is very significant and also a unique case in a very long time.
• With firmware updates incorporating improvements customer satisfaction will increase notoriously. But what is even more important to any company: when customer satisfaction increases, sales are bigger and the loyalty to the brand also increases. Loyalty is a key factor for the long term company profit. Especially in a high competitive market area such as digital SLR cameras.
• It is much more convenient to “refresh” a camera (of this level) and then get more profit from it (already designed and already in-production model) adding features and functions than “leaving it as is”, getting lower value over time and being surpassed by competition.
• This “refresh” can be easily made via firmware update, because the camera does have the possibilities inside, with insignificant costs to the company when compared to designing a new whole camera with its own firmware (and all the processes and very big costs that imply).
• Customers have already demonstrated the huge interest on this camera and these improvements. Just remember all the requests for Manual Control, STANDARD 24/25/30p modes and frame rates, and all other features being requested to Canon. Please check here and here.
• The Filmmaking Community (Amateurs, Professionals and even Studios) has adopted the 5D Mark II far beyond anyone could have expected (Canon included). This camera has been selling like almost no other camera in the past for over 1 year at the same price since its release date. So, improving and adding features will broaden the usage scope, keeping big sales on it.
• The addition of FILMMAKING features (like Preset/Rack Focus, and all those achieved by Magic Lantern Project) is a hidden “card” that Canon CAN use if they want to make this camera more competitive, especially when competition arrives.
We sincerely hope Canon Managers and Executives consider this list very seriously (and before competition) for further Firmware Updates.
This is a big and free list of ideas that has been elaborated from thousands of users’ feedbacks on how to improve the camera with all the benefits mentioned above. Including them would make this camera unbeatable for a VERY LONG time.
LIST of FIXES & IMPROVEMENTS
• Frame Rates as in EOS 7D < Done
29.97 / 25 / 23.976 fps: STANDARD 30/25/24p video modes.
• 720p mode at 29.97 fps
It will allow LONGER video recording time before reaching the 4GB file size limit.
• Improve AF contrast detection algorithm and/or add Focusing Aids
Magic Lantern has done a lot on this, and proven it is extremely useful, even essential. See additional Filmmaking features.
• Digital Zoom Video mode
To record on video a smaller area of the sensor as “digital zoom”. Very useful.
• 1:1 Crop Sensor Video mode – Like much cheaper T2i/550D
To record a native 1920×1080 area of the sensor (or 1280×720 or even VGA), which minimizes “jello” effect and completely eliminates aliasing issues/artifacts. This is possible in a similar way how Zoom level x5 and x10 works, but recording on video what you see on screen. This function could be part of the above one.
• 720p mode at 59.94 and 50 fps X Removed from final release 2.0.4 (why?)
• File Spanning function
A new video file is automatically created when 4GB is reached without stop recording. Very important for lot of users, and very easy to implement.
• “EDIT” option in playback mode – for Video mode, like EOS 7D
This would allow Cut and Save part of recorded video clip. It is available on 7D and much cheaper P&S cameras.
• Noise Pattern (Stills and Video mode)
FIX. Noise pattern/banding visible on shadows at high (and not so high) ISOs.
• More frames in Bracketing mode
For still photography. VERY easy to fix.
• Auto ISO with limiters – like much cheaper T2i/550D
For still photography, improved and with selectable limits.
• “REMAP” hot & stuck pixels function – Especially important for Video Mode!
This will save Canon Technical Support LOT of money and time. It is an essential feature. We still don’t understand why it wasn’t already implemented.
• “Clean” HDMI output
A function to Enable/Disable the “white square” on the AV OUT and HDMI output.
VERY easy to do.
• Full HD through HDMI output while recording (if hardware possible)
Also fix the delay of 5 to 7 seconds of “black” image after pressing the “record” button
• Live Histogram for video mode < Done
• Remote Start/Stop video recording using cable release
• Audio Manual Gain for video recording < Done
FIX. Very easy, and essential for acceptable audio recording.
LIST of additional FILMMAKING features
Hugely demanded and used (until now only via Magic Lantern)
• Control of focus
• Focus Assistance
• Focus Rack/Presets
• Focus stacking
• Zebra stripes (video peaking)
• On-screen audio meters
• Peaking, false-color and edge detection on LCD
Most of these functions have already been proven to be possible (and VERY useful) by Magic Lantern Project.
They are helping thousands of users on filmmaking jobs, and Canon could do even a better implementation of them via Official Firmware update. That would be another BIG BANG to keep big sales on this great camera.
• Focus Assistance System / Focus Detection Area
It would tell (in Live View mode, and in real time if possible) when a specific area of the frame is in focus or not. This feature would be very helpful and very much appreciated by filmmakers.
• Magic Lantern’s New Features Request: Check them here, you will get very good and creative ideas on new features.
As we said before, we sincerely hope Canon Managers and Executives consider this list very seriously for further Firmware Updates.
It will indeed benefit not only Canon customers, but also the company.
It would make this camera unbeatable for a very long time.