UPDATE: According to Canon Rumors, the most recent news on the expected C-Log update may not come in a firmware update now, but would require bringing your 5D Mk. IV in for service to install it. Stay tuned.
By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
One of the chief beefs I’ve had with Canon over the last few years is that they seem to have been giving their prosumer DSLR platforms the short end of the stick when it comes to shooting video, in an effort to protect the market for its higher end Cinema EOS line. I get it, you want professionals to use pro level gear, and the DSLRs are mainly for photography. But there’s a great rumor out there that Canon may be reversing course, and bring support for C-Log to the 5D MK. IV. Could Canon be going back to its roots? Most Canon DSLR shooters sure hope so.
“We reported back at the beginning of March that we were going to see new firmware for the EOS 5D Mark IV … We’ve now been told by a couple of people that there has been active communication within Canon about C-Log being added to the EOS 5D Mark IV and that an announcement could come at NAB 2017 next month… ” – Canon Rumors
Now of course, this is a rumor and as such, should be considered with the appropriate grain of salt. But bringing C-Log to the 5D Mk. IV could be a boon in closing the gap between the prosumer platform and its competitors. Canon users already have to deal with the price difference between the 5D MK. IV and the Panasonic GH5 or the full frame Sony α7 II when deciding to shoot at the 4K level. Adding to that Canon taking its time to bring 4K to the 5D platform, and when they finally did, it was only with crop, well, it’s already behind the curve.
So to bring C-Log to the MK. IV would be of huge benefit to the faithful who resisted temptation to list their Canon rigs on eBay and make a switch to its competitors. It would also allow them to bypass having to image they video using Motion JPEG, which is a tired codec, especially for shooting in 4K.
Log is also a popular choice with Canon’s professional Cinema EOS platform, as well as cameras like ARRI, RED and Sony who have their own flavors. But what is C-Log anyway? Simply put, C-Log is a codec that enables the sensor to write the maximum amount of image data across the the MK. IV’s dynamic range spectrum. C-Log does this by remapping the image and brightness values and its exposure levels to be able to get what the standard video settings would merely toss out.
The result at first blush is an extremely flat image with very little contrast. Then, in post, you “de-log” the footage and make it a workable image during color grading by bringing out details in the shadows and ambient bright areas. The result is a far more natural image that’s really appealing to the eye and offers as much detail as the sensor can provide.
The challenge though, is to expose properly for it, and that’s something that takes a little practice, as well as some standard tools including a good light meter, and a set of gray cards. Familiarity with your camera’s ISO performance doesn’t hurt either. Canon has a great white paper on C-Log here.
The rumor says that Canon will announce a major firmware update as part of their NAB announcement package next month. I really hope this rumor bears out. It would be a welcome feature for shooters who have been relying on the 5D platform for shooting cinematic video since the MK. II.