The Canon rumor mill is flying again, as DSLR geeks are still holding out hope that Canon will somehow decide to let them out of the HD world. And if the latest rumor is true, then we’ll soon see a Canon 1D-X Mark II that shoots in ultra high definition. But I wouldn’t sell your 5D just yet.
According to Canon Rumors, which has its fingers on the pulse of just about anything Canon is working on, the MK II version of the Canon 1D-X will be able to shoot 4K video, but that doesn’t mean it’s an ideal replacement for your 5D Mk. III. CR says that while Canon is finally bringing 4K to the 1D-X, it will remain at its core a still camera, meaning that 4K will be there for more of an afterthought with which to fire off a few seconds of video in UHD.
The video may not have killer dynamic range, possibly no high frame rate, or any of the ultra high definition features that shooters can get in, say, the Panasonic GH4 or Sony α7S II. And it just underscores Canon’s intent to keep pushing shooters towards their professional Cinema EOS line, including the C300 Mk. II.
But what it may hint at, as maybe the discontinuation of its near-identical sibling, the Canon 1D-C, which was Canon’s 4K test bed before they released the Cinema EOS line. The 1D-C recently underwent a huge price drop, and that may have been to clear our existing inventory for either an upcoming Mk. II reboot, or the cancellation of the model altogether.
If, for instance, Canon shocks me and does released a 5D MK IV to be their 4K consumer DSLR, then, along with the 1D-X, there really is little need for a high-level 4K DSLR, especially with a price tag of five figures, like the original 1D-C fetched. Currently though, you can pick up a 1D-X for around $4,000. But don’t expect to get a MK II and the ability to shoot in 4K for that.
Trying to figure out what Canon is thinking when it comes to its DSLR line is kind of a reading of the tea leaves. What once showed so much promise and which blazed the trail for digital filmmaking with the 5D MK II in the fall of 2008, is now stuck in a balkanized feature set. This more or less forces DSLR shooters to either leave the brand behind and go with 4K mirrorless options (such as Sony and Panasonic), or take out a second mortgage and upgrade to the professional Cinema EOS line.
I’ve said before that when the 5D MK II launched with quality video and it was showcased by filmmaker Vince LaForet’s gorgeous film Reverie, the tsunami of interest in digital video kind caught Canon and others by surprise. Then Shane Hurlbut shot Act of Valor on it, and all hell broke loose. Suddenly, indie filmmakers saw the future, and Canon simply didn’t expect it. Or, their plan was to create a professional level all along, and they used the high-level DSLRs cameras as a kind of video test bed.
But now, there seems to be a glass ceiling for the DSLR, and I honestly don’t see that changing. I’m not even certain we’ll get a 5D MK IV that shoots 4K. Canon makes much more money with still photographers than it does with filmmakers buying their DSLRs, so it is understandable the push for still photography over filmmaking. So while this rumor is interesting and altogether enticing, I’m not holding my breath. But to be honest, I just can’t get excited about it anymore.
Hat tip: Canon Rumors