Monday, 19 January 2009

Editing HD Video from the Canon 5D Mark II

I've bitten the bullet and bought a new PC to allow me to properly edit the High Definition (HD 1080p) video from the Canon 5D mark 2 camera. My current setup is more than adequate for photo editing work as I have dual core processor and 4Gb of RAM but this just isn't enough for HD video. The recommended minimum spec is Quad Core with 3Gb of RAM so my new PC will be substantially better spec than that.

As a separate issue it appears that there is a known problem with playing the HD video from the Canon 5DII using Apple QuickTime on a PC running Windows XP. The frame rate is very jerky with dropped frames which doesn't happen with Canon ZoomBrowser EX software.

The specification of the new PC is

Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 8Mb cache (2.4GHz) Processor
Asus Motherboard
ATI Radeon Sapphire HD3650 512Mb RAM Graphics card
16Gb RAM
3 x SATA hard drives
12 (!!) USB ports

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Canon 5D Mark II High ISO Test

Having had the Canon 5D mark 2 for over a week I decided it was time to put it through its paces and test the high ISO performance and noise levels showing. I was fortunate to be having a shoot with new model Bekki and took a number of shots in sequence ramping up the ISO between them.

The results show that noise is very controlled up to ISO 6400 but beyond that the images would only be suitable for emergency use. As a sign of both the quality of the full frame sensor in the 5D mark II and the improvement in camera design I looked at the images from my first digital camera, the Nikon Coolpix 775 back in 2002. The noise levels at ISO 100 are higher than those at ISO 6400 from the Canon 5D II.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Canon 5D Mark2 Camera Shooting HD 1080p Video

I've now purchased a Canon 5D Mark2 camera and am currently testing the HD (high Definitiion) video capability at 1080p. Over the next couple of weeks I hope to show some example movies shot with the camera that demonstrate its stunning high ISO performance.

The initial impressions of the video from the camera are that it is stunning quality but very unforgiving of anything but the fastest computer and graphics cards. In many configurations the video can show dropped frames but considering that 1080p HD video is 1920 x 1080 pixels at 30 frames per second the volume of data being processed is massive.

The movies are stored as MOV files that can be opened by Apple Quicktime software but this appears to drop more frames than the Canon ZoomBrowser software that is bundled with the camera. I have tested this with a variety of graphics cards and it certainly appears that the Canon Zoombrowser software is far more reliable and plays the movies much more smoothly than Apple QuickTime software.

I've retested using an upgraded graphics card in the PC I use for editing but it still appears that QuickTime drops frames but Canon ZoomBrowser does not.
(Note : The PC used is dual core 64 bit processor with 4Gb RAM, SATA drives running Windows XP Service Pack3 with nVidia Quadro NVS290 graphics card, with lower spec nVidia GeForce 6200 card the number of dropped frames is noticably higher)