I was hanging out at the Atomos Ninja booth checking out their new (and beautiful) Samurai Blade when I noticed a 5d mark III on display. I started playing around with the settings and suddenly I had a clean 1080p output. I grabbed one of the Atomos reps and he confirmed that this 5d mark III on display was in fact running the yet to be released clean HDMI firmware update.
The rep also explained that Atomos has been working with Canon to provide time code over HDMI to the Ninja and Blade which then have the ability to transmit timecode via their HDMI to SDI converter. The Atomos rep said that they’ve been using and testing the new firmware update for over 6 months.
It strange to me that there was no Canon announcement about the firmware update at NAB. Nikon has been adding clean HDMI to almost every new camera they release, while Canon keeps dragging it’s feet. It’s obviously possible and something that they could easily do in firmware, but Canon’s interest is in protecting their other markets.
Why buy a Canon C100 for $6000 when you could have a 5d mark III + Atomos Ninja for $3700. Sure your video image might not be quite as good, but with a ProRes 422 codec recorded by the Ninja you’ll have plenty of options to take care of that in post. I think the only reason Canon is even considering providing clean HDMI out for the 5d mark III is from the pressure put on them by Nikon’s D800.
Will we see clean HDMI output on any of Canon’s future releases? I find it highly unlikely, Canon will probably save clean HDMI output as a feature reserved only for their top end models. It’ll probably be another few years before they finally decided to provide it to the rest of their DSLR lineup. Canon could be taking over the market, but instead they keep doing the same old thing, while companies like Blackmagic continue to eat away at their market share.