Nikon D5200 24.1 MP CMOS Digital SLR has Clean HDMI Out, works perfectly with Atomos Ninja or Black Magic Hyperdeck Shuttle
Nikon really made it with the D5200 this time: the cheapo-camera is every DSLR-Filmers dream. Currently available for $796.95 new and around $600 used, it features clean HDMI out and an awesome color due to a sensor produced by Toshiba (the D600 and D800 feature a Sony sensor).
With the current hype around the Black Magic Cinema Camera, this one might be a gadget to ease the waiting - since i already own a D800E, i ordered the Nikon D5200 as a second camera for filming only. The APS-C sensor of the camera offers a good and affordable solution to double the available optics (crop mode of ca. 2x). I might get additional wide angle lenses to cover 48mm and 70mm with the D5200.
I could not believe it myself, but the Black Magic Cinema Camera is available to order from various sellers, some of them even offering free shipping within 3 days (!).
We already reported various times about the Black Magic Cinema Camera (BMCC) on nanofunk (you can read more about it in our archives) , but officially the camera was very hard to get hands on yet. Blackmagic made lots of local press viewings and there are a bunch of demo-units out, but this is big news. We just ordered an EF-Mount version. Be fast though - the demand is very high on this camera. As EOSHD pointed out: the Blackmagic Cinema Camera can be seen as disruptive technology, since it might be a game changer in terms of production-workflow speed (SSD recorder included), picture quality and especially since it comes with the color correction suite "Davinci", which makes it perfect for independent filmers.
For people in Europe: there is only one Black Magic Cinema camera in Berlin, ready to pick up, all the other offers are international orders.
The first part of our new guide-format has been written together with dslr4video:
The guides are by no means complete, they should be an initial aim to compile all the existing information to said topics - please send us feedback and links to resources or more information you want to see included. Also, if you have ideas or request for other guides, let us know.
Camera Gear Bargains in 2013: Lens Caps, Remote Controls and Lens Adapters for Panasonic, Sony, Canon, Nikon, etc.
I am a photographer and videographer, always trying to get cheap bargains for my cameras. Here is a roundup of super-cheap camera equipment and items that are shipping worldwide for free. Since I am on a budget and always trying to find cheap options, I am sharing my latest findings with you. (thanks to dslr4video for most of the pointers)
I am buying lots of second-hand m42, MFT, Nikon F-Mount and Canon lenses, and most of them come without lens caps. Still Lens Caps, Body Caps, rear and front plates for your optics (also for Sony, Olympus, Panansonic, Leica, etc.) can be as low as $0.09 including shipping, if you know where to search for it: Lens Caps from Hong Kong with free worldwide shipping. If you are getting packs of 5 or 10, it's even cheaper. There are "branded" ones (Canon, Nikon, etc.) as well as generic ones. Make sure to select the proper diameter (52mm, 55mm, 62mm, 75mm, etc.)
Wireless Remote Controls for your DSLR camera can also be a bargain: the RC-6 Remote Control For Canon EOS 5DII 7D 60D 500D 550D 600D is selling for as low as $1.41 (free shipping), while the "Nikon ML-L3 (for 1 J2, 1 V2, D40, D40x, D50, D60, D70s, D80, D90, D600, D3000, D3200, D5200, F65, F75, Coolpix P7000, P7100) already sells for $1.25 (free shipping). There are wired remote controls as well (if you prefer that), which are strangely a little more expensive. Batteries are included in all of those cheap items, I used already two different branded remote controls and cannot complain.
Gorillapad Knockoffs for $2.50
I don't know if you are familiar with the Gorilla Pod - "a bendable, flexible camera tripod that lets photographers attach their digital camera to any surface. The Gorillapod can be wrapped around a railing at a theme park, twisted onto a tree branch, looped around a baby carriage, hung from a doorknob, or perched on a rock during a hike. The possibilities are endless." There are different sizes of the Gorillapod, Knockoffs are selling for as cheap as $2.50 including worldwide shipping. I already ordered 5 of them, since they are the perfect gift for amateur and hobby photographers and filmers. Recommended!
Single or Double Axis Bubble Spirit Level Gradienter on Camera Hot Shoe
This is certainly a lot of fun (and useful): I recently dropped my Hot-Shoe Cap and wanted to order a new one (which is basically like 0.10$), but then I stumbled upon those even better replacements for my original Hot-Shoe "saver": a level gradient (water bubble leveller) for any Camera that actually has a Hot-Shoe. There are single-level ones, which actually have the same size than the original plastic, and dual-axis ones, which are a bit higher. Totally recommended and dead-cheap: they are selling for around $1 including free worldwide shipping.
Lens Adapters: Canon to MFT, Nikon to Micro Four Thirds, Canon to Panasonic, etc.
Lens Adapters can be very expensive, professional ones such as the Redrock Micro M2 Cinema Lens Adapter for Nikon Lenses goes for $199, there are also very cheap ones which are selling for around $14:
* Leica R Lens to Micro 4/3 M4/3 MFT Adapter Panasonic G2 G3 G10 GF2 GF1 GH1 GH2
* M42 Lens To Micro 4/3 MFT G2 G10 GF1 E-P2 E-P1
* Micro Four Thirds 4/3 M43 lens to Sony E NEX-5 NEX-3 NEX-C3 NEX-5N VG-10 or Olympus Adapter
All these Items are with free international shipping, even when shipping to Europe or Australia. The cheapest Lens-Adapter I could find (that I needed, there might be even cheaper ones out there) is the C mount to Micro Four-Thirds Adapter - M4/3 M43 Thin! N172 that sells for around $3. I already ordered lots of those adapters and generally I am satisfied. For professional use (and if you can afford it), the Novoflex Adapters are worth checking out. While they are much more expensive (up to $200 or more), they offer easy and fast lens changing and have perfectly adjusted focus-to-infinity.
There are of course a lot more camera and video deals out there. Let us know via email (audioreservoir_gmail) if you have any recommendations for us.
Two guest bloggers of nanofunk.com - namely dslr4video and earlyadopterdemands recently joined forces in a new studio-space that they are sharing now in Austria. They asked me to promote their current studio-closing-sale, which is intended to raise money for a prototyping lab they are setting up.
dslr4video has lots of items from their previous studio that are for sale now, including various Hackintosh configurations, SLR cameras and tons of other stuff. A partial list is available on ebay.com as well as on ebay.de, though the full list on consumelog is much larger. Please contact them directly for any questions regarding the items.
[Update] after my interview with the group, they clarified that while the HDMI setup was used for initial tests, they were switching to a wireless HD-SDI transmitter/receiver pair. The HDMI solution was quite stable but the HD-SDI version was rock solid even after "filming while moving through the mud".
A press release just reached me via email: the group ArtisticBokeh finished a project, combining a theatre play with a video/film shooting. According to the press release, the used hardware for realizing the piece (and a live stream setup for online viewers) were
Miasma – Call for Reduction was an initial prototype that combined the media/formats of theatre and film: in three days, the performance that took place in the viennese ‘Alte Ankerbrotfabrik’ was interwoven with a movie-shooting. The actual production included the DSLR-cameramen – the cameras were not hidden from the public, but rather included in the storytelling and the stage set. ‘Call for Reduction’ was not only a performative experiment, but also consisted of various experiments with new media technologies as well as new audiences and forms of reception regarding the story-complex and the fictional world of Marie Müller, the main character of the play.
In my opinion, this project perfectly shows how a creative combination of camera and computer hardware can bring new perspectives to rather "old artforms" such as theatre. According to the press release, the group will work on additional prototypes with self-developed camera rigs and settings. You can follow them on twitter and subscribe to their mailinglist directly on their website.
If you are into cinematography or video production, you might have come across terms such as "grading" or "color grading". Color grading and correction are essential in photography when editing RAW files (DNG, NEF and the like) but also in video editing it is essential to know the basics to get the maximum out of your footage. Especially when using the hacked Panasonic GH2 or external recording devices such as the Atomos Ninja or the Blackmagic Design HyperDeck Shuttle 2 SSD Video Recorder.
The upcoming Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera includes DaVinci Resolve, which is said to be "world's most advanced color correction software", but you can of course also grade your footage with Adobe Premiere or Apple's Final Cut Pro.
The Color Correction Handbook: Professional Techniques for Video and Cinema is a very good read for beginners and intermediate videographers that want to get the maximum out of their shoots in post-production. Highly recommended read!
The colorist working in film and video is the individual responsible for breathing life into characters, bringing a mood into a scene, and making the final product polished and professional-looking. This craft is an art form that often takes years to perfect and many trial-and-error attempts at getting it right.
A peek inside the book is available here.
Panasonic 12-35mm GX Vario f2.8 MFT Lens for Micro Four Thirds: Possible Kit Lens for Panasonic Lumix DMC GH3
eoshd writes about the upcoming 12-35mm weather sealed lens that is Panasonic's new top-range Lumix Zoom with a constant aperture of f2.8. While the Panasonic GH3 camera is not out yet, it is rumored to be a competitor to the current weather-sealed and in-body image stabilized Olympus OM-D (EM-5). The Olympus OM-D has the only flaw that it does not output clean HDMI, a shortcoming that the upcoming Panasonic GH3 could address (and solve) since the GH2 also outputs a clean HDMI signal and allows us to use RAW/HiRes external recording devices such as the Atomos Ninja or the Blackmagic Design HyperDeck Shuttle 2 SSD Video Recorder.
The Panasonic 12-35mm GX Vario f2.8 MFT Lens will of course also work with existing Micro Four Thirds Cameras, such as the GH2 or the OM-D, and features four aspherical elements, a 25cm minimum focus distance and Panasonic’s new nano-particle coating. Also the video-optimized image stabilizer (Power OIS) is said to be better.
Expected price is EUR 1100 (approx. 1400$). The original article is in spanish but definitely worth a read (just use google translate to get the information decrypted).
Here are some other sources from the web:
* ePhotoZine: "New Panasonic Lumix G X VARIO 12-35mm f/2.8 Lens Announced"
* dpreview: Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH Power OIS Preview
* dcresource: Panasonic announces F2.8, 12 - 35 mm Micro Four Thirds lens (sample photos available)
[Update] as outlined by commenter dslr4video, there are minimal differences to the two camera models, but they are minimal and can be ignored.
Falk Lumo from LumoLabs made an interesting comparison of the D800 vs the D800e: they came to the conclusion that "the differences between the two models are less than one would expect" and "with ~100% amount sharpening, the D800E should deliver comparable results with ~0.5 pixels less sharpening radius, compared to a D800. This also means that one should not refrain from sharpening when using the D800E. Just use weaker settings".
In conclusion, the Nikon D800 and the D800E are almost the same cameras, with only a pricey difference: the Nikon D800 sells for $2999,00 while the Nikon D800E currently costs $3299,00. As Falk Lumo notes - the biggest difference is the market segment, the different Nikon models approach: while the D800 is meant for APS-C and 35mm full frame SLR crossgraders (coming from Canon, Sony, Pentax or Panasonic, etc), since those cameras already have a Bayer-AA Filter. The D800E is meant for medium format (or Leica M9) cross-graders as all those cameras have no Bayer-AA filter implemented and photographers are used to the moire that can show up on fabrics or repetitive patterns.
"The results are pretty similiar, with a bit more sarurated false colors and false color moiré in the D800E (as to be expected). But the D800 is able to show a bit of false color moiré too (a phenomenon known from the Canon 5DmkIII too)."
Please read the article for yourself on falklumo.blogspot.de (written in english), since they really did a good job in measuring the actual sharpness differences.
Finally, the battery grip for the Canon EOS 5D MKIII is available and can be ordered starting from $358 in the USA. In Europe the Canon BG-E11 is not yet officially available but can be pre-ordered for €379,99.
Besides the obvious possibility of shooting more images (the battery grip can handle two extra LP-E6 battery packs or six AA Batteries with included battery magazine), the grip also offers more comfort for vertical shooting.
Canon describes the power-gain with "double-length shooting time". Also, the Canon BG-E11 Battery Grip adds operating controls such as shutter button, Main Dial, multi-controller, AF point selection button, AE lock/FE lock button, AF start button, and multi-function button.
Overall, the grip looks solid and can not only bring a longer time for shooting photos or video, it can also make the camera more solid and provide a better image stabilisation, because of the added weight of 10.93 oz (310g) without batteries.
The long-awaited and revolutionary camera for digital photographers and videographers is finally shipping in Europe! The Olympus E-M5 OM-D System Camera features a weather and waterproof case, as well as a new in-body image stabilization system!
The camera is perfect for low-budget film and video productions and if the only caveat (currently only HDMI out in "preview mode") would be fixed with a firmware update by Olympus, it could be used together with the Atomos Ninja HDMI Recorder or BlackMagic Design Hyperdeck Shuttle to record RAW video (respectively Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHD).
Evoking the classic design of the original OM Series introduced 40 years ago, and transforming it for the modern age, the Olympus OM-D Series is a new and entirely unique Micro Four Thirds camera system. It combines outstanding features found in the Olympus E-System DSLR line with those of the compact Olympus PEN® Series to meet the requirements of discerning photographers who demand more performance and portability from their interchangeable-lens cameras.
Ordinary cameras have a 2-axis image stabilization system, and it is not implemented in the camera body, but in the lenses - such as the mega O.I.S. from panasonic. The really awesome part of the Olympus OMD is the built-in image stabilization in the body! Compensating and correcting 5-axes of shaking and shift, this new I.S. is the future of portable digital video: it corrects horizontal shift, vertical shift and rolling camera shake - the gyroscopic sensors in the camera detect the amount of camera shake and the IS unit automatically compensates.
Olympus OMD E-M5: combatting bodyshake for vertical, horizontal, pitch, rolling and yaw. IS compensation is effective up to a maximum of -5 EV.
[Update] Thanks to thayermc for pointing out that currently clean HDMI out is crippled. I hope this will be fixed in a future firmware.
Adobe officially announced the the launch of Creative Suite 6 (CS6) which can already be read about on the Adobe CS6 Website. Adobe also presented a new payment method for the usage of CS6: for $49,99 per Month, the whole Bundle of Software can be used on a subscription basis, which is significantly lower than assumed. Small project-teams and low-budget productions can benefit from this service. Updates of Premiere have some highlights such as "native DSLR and Video Camera support", where Adobe also lists the ARRI Alexa, Red EPIC, Red Scarlet, Canon EOS C2300, as newly supported devices. Adobe After Effects finally supports Illustrator path-import. All in all, the whole Suite is said to be much faster, as the new Mercury Engine speeds up overall usage with improved GPU support.
A Guest Blogger on NikonRumors points out, that lots of criticism regarding the Nikon D800 DSLR Camera is because of lack of technical knowledge.
24 X 35.9mm sensor hosting 36.3 mega pixels
Sensor is 861.6mm squared
Pixel Pitch is 4.88 microns
Nikon D800 in DX shooting mode
16 X 24 sensor hosting 15.4 mega pixels
Sensor used is 384mm squared
Pixel Pitch is 4.88 microns
The Nikon D800 has the largest pixels when compared to the Nikon D7000, the Canon 7D, the Olympus EP-3 and the Olympus OM-D E-M5. According to a commenter on said topic, the Canon 5D MkIII (22.3 Mpx) with it’s full sensor gives a close measure to that size of pixel. Knowing that the full sensor size is 36 x 24 mm and the ratio is 3:2, [...] a calculation gives a pixel pitch approx 6.22 micron.
The Nikon D800 can be pre-ordered for $2999,00 - the Canon EOS 5D MKIII already ships for $3499,00. Nikon D800 second hand price currently rises and is already more than pre-ordering a brand new Camera: current bids go as high as $3.800,00.
Nikonrumors posted Nikon D800 image samples on flickr - and they actually look awesome. The fotos are different takes - from high iso to "normal" shoots, so it should be quite meaningful how the D800 keeps up in everyday work.
The only thing that keeps me from the D800 still is the size of RAW photos: 24 fotos fit on a 4GB card in RAW mode. Still, the level of detail and the overall picture quality is stunning. Hoping to get hands on one myself quite soon.
"Now here we are nearly 4 years down the road from the original 5D Mark II that started it all. What do we have? A 5D Mark III with video quality dated to the tune of nearly 4 years." (eoshd)
I am a big fan of the Panasonic GH2, but since the Canon EOS 5D MKIII and the Nikon D800 were released to the public, I am thinking of switching gear. Currently, there is a fight between the D800 and the 5D3, but the Panasonic GH2 seems to still beat the crap out of Canon. Did Canon finally lose the DSLR wars?
The Panasonic GH2 is a bargain on amazon US:
If you are into second-hand gear, you can get your hands on the Panasonic GH2 starting at $400. Go and get one, while they are still cheap ;)
Canon can still turn the wheel around, by releasing a firmware upgrade. Currently, the EOS 5D MK3 has very poor video quality - only the reduced rolling shutter and moire are worth an upgrade - although the price of the Canon is far too high. I totally have to agree with EOSHD on this one.
Canon 5D MKIII
The Canon 5D MKIII performs better in low-light and high ISO. Sadly it has no clean HDMI out, which is a real bummer. The internal codec is at 90Mbps 4:2:0, which is not much. The available video samples look good, although it could be even better with clean HDMI output - but who is to bring clean HDMI to the 5d3? There are two possible ways:
a) Magic Lantern could bring clean HDMI output to the Canon 5D MK3, if it can be hacked, which is not clear as of now. Also, it will take some time, expect at least 6months to see any usable development (if at all).
b) Canon could release a firmware update to provide clean HDMI out. We could try and contact canon to tell them, that we demand clean HDMI out. Of course, it remains totally unclear if they will ever release such an update.
Although, the Canon 5D MK3 seems to have better Video capabilities, clean detail and no moire (or at least almost no moire) - which would not be fixed by HDMI out anyway. If there is the chance to crank up the codec to 180Mbit (with a hack by Vitaly Kiselev or Magic Lantern) we would see a definite winner in the battle.
The Nikon D800 performs quite well on paper, but in reality the Canon 5D MK3 performs better in low-light and high ISO. First samples of clean HDMI output and RAW Video (Apple ProRes) with the Nikon D800 are online - and they look great. Keep in mind that the Nikon D800 provides 8bit output (not 10bit), and the first RAW Video results are better than the internal codec Canon 5D MK3 Videos. Bundled with the Atomos Samurai and the Atomos h2s connect the Nikon D800 brings you high resolution 800×480 LCD (with focus peaking and zebras via latest firmware) plus 4:2:2 video. This is clearly the best setup we have as of today, maybe only topped by a D4+Samurai (c.f. mike kobal's results with the d800).
Still, the current discussion is about comparing apples to oranges, at least from watching actual results and comparing them:
Comparing photo/stills performance (via canonrumors forum)
1. At ISO100, the Nikon D800 has noticeably superior images out of the camera, due primarily to greater detail and dynamic range.
2. At ISO6400, the Canon 5DIII has noticeably superior images out of the camera, due primarily to significantly less noise.
bobatkins notes: The bottom line is that neither the D800 nor the EOS 5D MkIII sensor is "better". They are different. The Nikon sensor should have higher resolution which will be desirable for those making very large prints or who need to significantly crop their images. On the other hand the EOS 5D MkIII sensor will produce images with lower noise and higher dynamic range in lower light conditions where the use of higher ISO settings are desirable. For smaller prints at lower ISO settings (which is where most amateur photographers will be working most of the time), the sensor pixel count and noise characteristics won't matter.
Comparing video performace
Fact: Video doesn't need a high resolution sensor, it is all about the crop modes and sensor scaling, as outlined by eoshd, when we just look at the surface of the Nikon D800 vs Canon 5D MK3 debate.
BUT (as discussed on dvinfo) the Nikon D4 could be the real deal, beating both the D800 and the 5D3: It would seem to me that as a micro-budget filmmaker without access to as much lighting as one would like - the fatter pixels of the d4 would provide better low light shooting outside at night, dimly lit night interiors etc. When moving about with only a china ball and a c-stand I think I would want the sensor of the d4 on my side to maximize the lack of additional equipment. So while it seems like the d800 is better suited because of the price tag - my thoughts are that the d4 with one more crop setting than the d800 [fewer lenses], and better low light, and wireless control [small crew] that it is the d4 that will actually be the indie-filmmakers choice.
There is no clear winner to the war, and Canon could still turn around and release a firmware update that provides HDMI out. Further, the actual results of the D4 vs D800 have to be compared to crown the king of DSLR video.
In the meanwhile, it might be also worth to invest in a Canon 5D MKII still, since it is selling quite cheap those days (selling for $2,199.00 new) and can be used with RAW Video (HDMI) output with Magic Lantern Unified soon.
Sony unveiled the Sony Alpha SLT-A57K 16.1 MP Exmor DSLR HD Video Camera with a CMOS Sensor, Translucent Mirror Technology, 3D Sweep Panorama and 18-55mm Zoom Lens. The midrange d-SLR features a 16-megapixel, APS-C-sized sensor and is positioned to compete with Canon's EOS Rebel T3i and the Nikon's D5100. It can be pre-ordered on amazon already, for a price of $699.
Sony has announced the SLT-A57, a replacement for the original A55 fixed-mirror, electronic viewfinder DSLR. The A57 still features a 16MP sensor and LCD viewfinder but incorporates them into essentially the same body as the more expensive A65. Use of the latest Bionz processor means the A57 offers a wider-than-ever selection of photographic features and image processing modes. There's also an optional HVL-LE1 video-lighting LED panel.
16.1MP CMOS sensor
Latest Bionz processor
Larger, FM500H battery (same as A65 and A77)
Auto ISO 100-3200
1,440,000 dot LCD electronic viewfinder
920,000 dot bottom-hinged rear LCD
10 frame per second continuous shooting mode with AF (12fps at 8.4MP crop)
Picture Effects processing options
Clear View Zoom up-sizing digital zoom
Peaking manual focus guide overlay
1080p AVCHD 2.0 movies at 60 or 24 fps (50 or 25 in Europe)
Sadly, neither the Atomos Ninja 10-Bit Uncompressed to Apple ProRes Field Recorder nor the Black Magic HyperDeck Shuttle Raw Video HDMI Recorder supports 50frames and 60frames in Full-HD (1080p), so we are limited to the internal recordings on the camera. The Sony Alpha SLT-A57 supports AVCHD 2, so the video output should be decent. We are looking forward to example videos and will keep you posted on updates.
Lots of photographers are still using old film cameras. Tough times, since Kodak slide films are not sold anymore. Kodak dropped and already removed all slide films from their stores.
Eastman Kodak Co has recently agreed to sell its online photo services business to Shutterfly Inc for $23.8 million.
There are still ways though to get Kodak analogue slide films on ebay:
If anyone knows of additional sources on where to get 35mm Slide Film in the web, please add your comments below.
Canon EOS 5D MKII MK3 is here and can be pre-ordered on amazon. But: no clean HDMI makes D800(E) a strong competitor
The long awaited Canon EOS 5DMKIII is here, as correctly predicted by canonrumors and the best news: it can be pre-ordered on amazon. This means that we won't only have to see if the Canon 5D MK3 will be hackable and can use Magic Lantern, it also has to face a direct competitor: the Nikon D800.
Why would anyone switch lenses and go down the Nikon Road when the new Canon EOS 5D looks so promising? Well, it has one small but serious flaw: it does not support clean HDMI (uncompressed HDMI) output.
This small fact means, that external HDMI recorders (see the RAW VIDEO comparison on nanofunk) such as the Black Magic Hyperdeck Shuttle or the Atomos Ninja will not work with the Canon EOS 5D MK3. Still, if the camera gets hacked by the Magic Lantern Project, or a firmware update gets released by Canon, the situation could change. After all, the 5D3 is a very capable camera, and in some points even superior to the Nikon D800.
What are the new features of the Canon 5D MKIII for filmers/videographers?
The new 5D3 produces 90mbit h264 files out-of-the box. This is a significant improvement over the previous 5D2. Also, the negative rolling shutter effect is reduced by half, as outlined by a japanese blog. ISO performance is almost clean at ISO 3200, and much improved at 6400 and 12,800. Aliasing and moire are reduced. There is less false detail and the codec improved a lot.
improvements roundup (via eoshd)
* 91Mbit high bit rate video support
* possible "movie crop mode" (similar to the Panasonic GH2 Extra-Tele Video Mode)
* Audio controls and on screen meters
* Clean ISO 12,800 and full resolution JPEGs
EOS 5D Mark III ISO 12800 MOVIE
Please add your comments below. It looks like with that specs, we might not even need the 5D MKIII to be hacked, as it performs quite well out-of-the-box. Still the Nikon D800 is a worthy competitor and we have to wait for both cameras to be delivered, so we can crown the future king of DSLR Video. Until then, why not get both cameras? :)
[Update 2012-3-11] The Canon EOS 5D MKIII (MK3) can be pre-ordered at Amazon.com. Also, the Canon EOS 5D MKII (MK2) is currently selling for 1.599€ as B-Ware on Amazon Germany.
After years of waiting it finally happened: Canon will present the 5D MKIII in the upcoming days. Canonrumors reported, the camera will be announced Friday, March 2, 2012.
The Camera will be 22megapixels qnd feature an improved auto focus system with 61 points AF. 5D mark 3 also will have 100% viewfinder coverage, slightly larger LCD screen and dual CF/SD card slot. This camera is targeted for professionals or enthusiasts who want a lighter and more affordable cameras.
Dual CF/SD Card Slots
Price: Around $3500 USD
The release of the Canon 5D MKIII might bring down the price of the Canon EOS 5D MKII which is still at 2399$ in the US and EUR 1.756,42 in Europe. I will post more information as it becomes available.
A new camera from Olympus will be released soon: the Olympus OM-D, styled after the classic OM-1 manually operated 35mm single-lens reflex camera. The Olympus advert features the words "Oh My Goodness", with the O and the M highlighted in bold. The OM-1 is a 35mm SLR film camera harking back to 1972. It's likely that the new camera would directly compete with the Fujifilm X Pro1, which was announced at CES, and also features retro styling and interchangeable lenses.
According to 43rumors, the "New Olympus OM video quality is better than on the GH2!" - but what does that mean exactly? First of all, Olympus is said to have reduced the "jello effect" as well as improved the dynamic range of the sensor. The question remains, what's the new sensor that could achieve such specs?
Here is a roundup of the rumored specs:
* 16 million MegaPixel Sensor
* Micro Four Thirds Mount and Sensor
* built-in electronic Viewfinder
* weather sealed magnesium body
* new AF System
* ISO range: 200 - 25600
* EVF which will simulate the pentaprism design
* The built-in flash will have a GN=10 (Guide Number)
* 5-axis shake reduction
* Fast AF & 3D tracking
* Two colors will be available: black and silver
* Weather sealed magnesium body
* Camera width: 121mm
* Weight: 425g
Rumours suggest that the OM-D will be presented on February 8th, during the CP+ photography show, taking place in Japan (home of Olympus).
Still, the Panasonic GH2 is a good choice for film makers and photographers alike (starting at $650 in the US and €695 in Europe), since it is currently cheap and has the same mount as the upcoming OM-D. If the OM-D firmware can be hacked remains unclear - it is a fact though, that hacking will take its time, since the Panasonic GF3 hack is also not even done yet.
The sensor sizes and resolution for digital video and film increase, but what displays for editing can be used when exceeding the full HD (1920x1080) resolution? Here are some opinions and examples.
1920x1080 Full HD (comparable to 2K)
For the penny saver: you could use a Full-HD LCD Television (LED) with HDMI to monitor your edits. You can get them starting at $600 via Amazon US (starting at around 500€ in Europe). Since you might produce for TV or youtube anyway, this might be the best way to go, since it is also a cheap solution.
If you need to have a higher resolution (~2.5K 2560 x 1440) the Dell UltraSharp U2711 27-inch might be the Monitor you are searching for.
3K Footage (e.g. from the RED Scarlet-X)
There is a 22.2" LCD Monitor with the resolution of 3480 x 2400 pixels - the Viewsonic VP2290B-2 22.2" and it's twin: the IBM T221. That's 9.2 Megapixels (!). The Viewsonic VP2290B-2 is available as Refurbished for $3.500 on Amazon, the IBM T221 is available used for $1.675.
You might still be lucky and get a bargain via eBay, though:
4K Footage (e.g. from RED Scarlet, RED Epic, Arri Alexa, etc.)
The EIZO DuraVision FDH3601 with a 4096 x 2160 resolution (2160p) sells for around 36.000$. You might be cheaper off with a 4K Beamer (Projector).
While the Sony VW1000ES 4K Beamer sells for around 28.000USD, the Christie Mirage S+4K 3D DLP Projector with 5000 Lumen sells used for $5,980.00 on Amazon. Still, the question is if you care about a second hand beamer: if you own 4K production equipment, you most likely have the moolah to get yourself a brand spanking new 4K projector as well.
5K Footage and above, up to 8K (e.g. from 5K RED Epic or 2x RED Epic)
If you want to go all way up to next-level 8K, you can get the recently announced 85 inch 8K Monitor. Make sure to already start saving some bucks, though.
Strangely, the trend of the past years seems to be in decreasing the pixel resolution on the displays (since there are mostly mobile screens deployed). We can expect a pixel bump in 2012 though, since the upcoming iPad 3 (and it is said also MacBook Air and MacBook Pro) will most possibly have Retina Screens with 2880x1800 pixel resolution (source: ArsTechnica).
Recommended Reading: make sure to read "The Truth About 2K, 4K and The Future of Pixels" for some background information on pixels and sensors.
Magic Lantern, the alternative firmware for Canon cameras is currently running on 550D/T2i, 60D, 600D/T3i, 500D/T1i, 50D 5D Mark II and 1100D. The Unfied Version is not running on the 5D MKII yet (although you can get early access by donating via paypal) - but the long-term plan is "merging the AJ 5.x firmware with the unified one currently running on smaller cameras". This is good news indeed (see the HDR-Video option of ML Unified). You can also read the review of ML Unified on EOSHD.
here is out only wanted feature:
* more work on HDMI output for the 5DMKII so it is fully usable with the Atomos Ninja
You can support the development by sending them a small donation: http://goo.gl/gvD8Q. Here is the original sendout from the magic lantern user group:
Following the small, but positive feedback from this thread [ http://bit.ly/ml-unified-5D2 ], I'm glad to announce the next long-term direction of Magic Lantern: merging the AJ 5.x firmware with the unified one currently running on smaller cameras.
I need your help. As explained in the previous post, a good port (one suitable for paid jobs) requires me having a camera for testing. On 550D/60D ports, crashes are almost non-existent, audio meters are calibrated, HDMI monitors are fully usable and so on. So, if you like this idea, you may help me buy a 5D2 by:
- a small donation (you don't need a PayPal account for this): http://goo.gl/gvD8Q
- or by spreading the word, since right now there are not many users familiar with both ML versions
Feature-wise: I'd like to ask the users who have tried both AJ and Unified ML (especially those using both versions in a regular fashion) to comment on this. Main question: what's the best of both worlds? What do you like better in AJ 5.x and what do you like better in Unified? Big thanks to all ML community for making it possible!
Magic Lantern Unified looks promising: High Dynamic Range VIDEO for Canon cameras:
============== UPDATE ================
available for download now!
Demonstration of the new and free High Dynamic Range VIDEO feature for control over ultra contrast situations.
Discussion, workflow, RAW footage, FAQ:
Magic Lantern is a custom firmware add-on for Canon dSLR cameras. It is not a hack, or a modified firmware, but it runs alongside Canon's own firmware, booting from the card every time you turn the camera on. The only modification to the original firmware is the ability to boot software from the card.
HDR Video: what does it mean? It does not output pre-processed HDR video from the camera, rather it blends the alternative high ISO / low ISO frames together in post (see this discussion thread at Vimeo). There is of course a difference if you use two Canon 5D MKII for generating a HDR movie (as this guy did) compared to this "hack", although the development of Magic Lantern continues to impress!
Keep on rocking! We can't await clean HDMI output for the 5DMKII to use it with the Atomos Ninja (if this hack is possible at all...)
Just as Canon announced the C300 DSLR Video Camera - RED, the company behind the legendary RED EPIC camera, announces the RED SCARLET-X with Canon EF or Arri PL mount: a 4K camera with a price starting below 10.000US$. While the Canon C300 is a 1080p camera that uses 4:2:2 sampling, (50 Mbps MPEG2) and captures a total of 3840x2160 pixels with its Super 35mm image sensor, the RED has other specs: 440Mbps RED REDCODE RAW format at 444 , 12fps at 5K, 25fps at true 4K, 30fps in 3K and 60fps in 2K.
Canon also announced a real 4k Camera to be available somewhere in the next year. So 2012 could become the real year of DSLR Video.
Here is the original press release from RED.COM
RED STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD, Hollywood, Calif., November 3, 2011 – RED Digital Cinema has officially released its third industry-changing camera, the Scarlet-X. With burst modes up to 12 fps at full 5K resolution alongside 4K motion capture from 1-30 fps, the camera allows professional photographers and cinematographers to simultaneously capture motion footage and still content. Never miss a shot. Ever. Scarlet-X’s compact design, endless modularity and advanced feature set provide a future-proof solution catering to every shooter’s needs, leaving one-dimensional DSLRs and 1080p camcorders in its wake. Priced at under $10,000, Scarlet-X advances RED’s vision to democratize superlative cinema and professional photography.
Scarlet-X comes standard with a Canon EF or PL mount, which can be swapped easily using Scarlet-X’s interchangeable lens mount system. Panavision, Anamorphic, and Nikon lenses are also compatible with the camera, providing ultimate freedom when it comes to creative decision-making. The addition of HDRx reaches up to 18 stops of dynamic range, bringing digital images closer than ever to the natural perception of the human eye.
With the innate ability to capture 5K REDCODE RAW stills and true 4K motion footage, Scarlet-X produces visually lossless files that can easily be graded and finished. Combining all of the finest qualities of cinema and photography into one camera, Scarlet-X allows the customer to have the best of both worlds. Compromise nothing. Shoot everything.
“The future is dependent on those who push… not those who react,” said Jim Jannard, founder of RED Digital Cinema.
RED is now taking orders on RED.com for Scarlet-X.
Since delivering their first camera – the RED ONE – in 2007, RED Digital Cinema has jumped ahead of the pack over camera companies that had dominated the market for decades. Feature films shot with RED cameras such as the Academy Award-winning movie “The Social Network” and the more recent “Contagion” have contributed to a lineage of cinematic success. Since the 2011 introduction of DSMC (Digital Still & Motion Camera) technology, photography icons like Bruce Weber, Greg Williams and Inez + Vinoodh have used RED cameras to shoot covers and spreads for the some of the most influential fashion magazines in the world.
Follow the announcement at REDUSER.net/SCARLET.
[Update 20.11.2011] Philip Bloom posted a balanced take on the Scarlet. Worth a read.
Recommended reading on this topic: The Truth About 2K, 4K and The Future of Pixels
Canon recently unveiled its C300 cinema camera at Hollywood's Paramount Studios, in front of a huge crowd. Cameras such as the Arri Alexa and RED EPIC dominate the digital filmmaking world - the Canon C300 aims at people that are into professional DSLR Video and want to take a step further.
It will cost somewhere in the range of $20,000. It contains a Super 35mm CMOS sensor and delivers up to 4K resolution with the outfit's new "top-end" EF zoom lenses, which come in four flavors: two 14.5-60mm lenses and two 30-300mm. And the lenses keep on coming, with three EF prime lenses in 24mm, 50mm, and 85mm variations. That CMOS sensor offers 1920 x 1080 pixels for the reds and blues and 1920 x 2160 for greens.
Adobe Photoshop CS6 has leaked and various sources start to offer a download from the prerelease version of the latest version (13) of the popular image editing software.
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Canon announced the company’s newest flagship professional DSLR today, the 18 megapixel full-frame Canon 1Dx. The 1Dx will sit atop Canon’s model line as an update to both the Canon 1Ds and the 1D Mark IV, and is expected to debut for $6800 body-only in March 2012.
The 1Dx will feature dual DIGIC 5 processors, which Canon claims offer approximately 17 times more processing power than the previous generation DIGIC 4s.
Those looking for an upgrade to the 5D Mark II for video capture may find a friend in the 1Dx, as it is capable of 1080/30p/25p/24p HD video capture, with options for 720/60p/50p as well. The image sensor has been designed with video in mind, meaning that downsampling errors and the resultant moire effect should be significantly reduced. The file system’s 4GB limit has also been worked around, with an automatic file splitting functionality enabling up to 29 minute and 59 seconds of continuous video capture.
The camera also supports two methods of SMPTE-compliant timecode embedding, Rec Run and Free Run, to ease syncing up multiple cameras in post. The 1Dx will also support both intraframe (ALL-i) and interframe (IPB) compression, to aid post-production and editing workflows, depending on need. The camera also offers manual audio level control both before and during video capture with the internal monaural mic or an external stereo microphone.
Canon's all new full-frame CMOS sensor ensures that video footage captured on the EOS-1D X will exhibit less moiré than any previous Canon model, resulting in a significant improvement in HD video quality. A desired feature for many documentary filmmakers using Canon DSLRs was to enable recording beyond the four gigabyte (GB) file capacity and the EOS-1D X is the answer. The new camera features automatic splitting of movie files when a single file exceeds 4GB. The new file splitting function allows for continuous video recording up to 29 minutes and 59 seconds across multiple 4GB files; no frames are dropped and the multiple files can be seamlessly connected in post production, providing filmmakers the recording time they want in the same convenient DSLR form factor. The camera records Full HD at 1920 x 1080 in selectable frame rates of 24p (23.976), 25p, or 30p (29.97); and 720p HD or SD video recording at either 50p or 60p (59.94). SD video can be recorded in either NTSC or PAL standards.
The Canon EOS-1D X also includes manual audio level control, adjustable both before and during movie recording, an automatic setting, or it can be turned off entirely. A wind filter is also included. Sound can be recorded either through the internal monaural microphone or via an optional external microphone through the stereo mic input.
The Canon 1Dx offers USB transfer, but will also sport a wired gigabit Ethernet port for stable wired transmission of video and still images at up to 1000BASE-T transmission speeds. That should allow not only faster transmission of files, but longer, more practical connection solutions for professionals. For on-camera storage, the 1Dx will eschew SD storage in favor of dual Compact Flash cards.
The low-light capability of the EOS-1D X is evident in its incredible ISO range and ability to photograph in extremely low-light conditions. Adjustable from ISO 100 to 51,200 within its standard range, the new model offers a low ISO 50 setting for studio and landscape photography and two high settings of 102,400 at H1 and 204,800 at H2, ideal for law enforcement, government or forensic field applications.
A great bargain for m34 (Micro Four Thirds) users (Olympus, Panasonic, etc): the Fujian 35mm F1.7 CCTV TV lens +Mount for MFT m43 (Micro Four Thirds) which sells for $48,99 including free worldwide shipping. We just ordered two of them, so expect photo and video examples soon. In the meanwhile, you might want to take a look at some youtube example footage.
This CCTV Lens is a high quality lens with alloy casing. It is ideal for use in bars, shops, parking lots, houses and warehouse, etc. It gives you the widest field of view image avaialble with a C mount lens. This CCTV Camera Lens provides ultra clear vision for your camera. Incorporates advanced optical elements to ensure all-around sharpness and efficient light conductivity. Its iris can be manually adjusted according to available light levels.
Specifications Fujian 35mm F1.7 CCTV TV lens
Mount type: C mount
Focal length : 35mm
Iris/ Focus operation: manual
Angle of view: 13.8
Object distance: 30cm -infinite
Compatible with cameras including:
Panasonic: G1, GH1, GH2 GF1, G2, G10
Olympus: E-P1, EP-2, E-PL1 fits C Mount Movie Lens
C mount M4/3 Camera lens Adapter to EP1 EP2 GF1 GF2 GH1 GH2
With a C Mount Lens to Micro 4/3 Adapter you can use C Mount lenses on your MFT system. You can use this camera adapter ring in conjunction with the camera adapters to complete the connection to a digital camera supporting a filter thread.
Fuji will make a mirrorless system with an ueber-large sensor that will deliver an image quality higher as any full frame system. The resolution and Signal-to-Noise ratio will top all current full frame sensors.
Fuji president and CEO Shigetaka Komori said they will create a mirrorless, interchangeable lens camera built around a larger sensor with ‘resolution and low noise [that] will surpass the 35mm full size sensor’. If Canon does not come up with the EOS 5D MKIII fast, people will start to switch.
Nikon Rumors is reporting a 36mp D800 coming in the next 30-60 days at a 99% probability. As Canonrumors pointed out, this can be a great thing for Canon users: New full frame sensor cameras, as well as a 5D MKIII or a 6D could be possible. Well, we are desperately waiting, currently equipped with two Panasonic GH2 Cameras that are hacked to the extreme. See an example Video on Vimeo (66Mbps Hack). If there is no alternative coming out soon, lots of people will stick to their GH2s, as they are currently the best there is, especially when using the Atomos Ninja (see a great Example on the Atomos Ninja with the Panasonic GH2).
[UPDATE] Nikonrumors posted More Nikon D800 bits and pieces: 100% Viewfinder coverage, improved AF with face recognition, SD+CF dual memory card slots as well as a USB 3.0 possibility. The question remains, why not CFAST? On another post, the ISO range is said to be 100 – 6400, ISO LO @ 50 and ISO HI-2 @ 25600. We can only wait and see...
Everyone's talking about the new iPhone 4S that was announced by Apple recently. But is there more to it than improved optics? Even if not, the camera is a huge improvement over the previous model: 1080p video recording, 8 Megapixel photo sensor, f/2.4 aperture.
Behind all the updates, the most interesting is HSDPA support. In countries such as Austria or Japan, where HSDPA is widespread, this is a very welcome hardware upgrade. Still, why is there no HSPA+ support? In cities with a weak broadband coverage (everything above a few MB upstream) - such as Vienna, this is really akward. We still have to fall back to the Samsung Galaxy S2 i9100, which offers HSPA+ among other great features. So the "only" killer feature of the Apple iPhone 4S remains the greatly improved Camera - which is to question, concerning the price of such a gadget. An Amazon Search for the iPhone 4S yields no results, obviously, since the device is said to be available from mid October.
Our recommendations: wait for the iPhone 5 and get some real gear instead.
Redrock Micro has created a Canon EF to Micro Four Thirds lens adapter which adds the electronics required to control the aperture on the mounted EOS lenses - 9V battery and a touch-panel allows the adapter to specify the lens aperture in 1/3EV steps. The adapter (LiveLens MFT) costs $442.50 and is available directly from the manufacturer's website.
The Redrock Micro LiveLens, Active Lens Mount for Canon EF Lenses currently sells for $495 on amazon, while the manufacturer has an introductory pricing at $442.50.
Redrock Micro's LiveLens MFT provides the required power and electronics to control Canon EF lenses when attached to a micro four-thirds camera body. With the LiveLens MFT's control touchpad, the EF lens' aperture can be open and closed in increments as small as 1/3 stop. The LiveLens MFT works with virtually every EF lens available today, including variable aperture zoom lenses, prime lenses, consumer-level lenses, professional L-series lenses and most third party EF-compatible lenses. A marvel of advanced design, the LiveLens MFT is incredibly compact and weighs less than 6oz. (via dpreview)
Mosaic Engineering showed a filter that it said to remove lots of annoying issues with the Canon 5D MKII: The filter can be easily removed for standard photography and requires no modification of your hardware (which means no voiding of warranties).
* Optically corrects most aliasing and moiré artifacts in 5D Mark II HD video.
* No reduction of 5D Mark II 1080p video resolution for most lenses.
* True optical correction before video image capture – no postproduction software filters or processing.
* Easily installed or removed in less than 20 seconds.
* 5Dmk2 H.264 codec compresses with better quality with the VAF-5D2, because false, high-frequency, aliased image components are eliminated before compression.
Moire, caused by the downscaling from the image information from the huge 21MP chip affects by line skipping, manifests in issues on fine fabrics, hair, bricks, water, lines. This filter removes all that, and more.
PLUSSES: Removes most of the visible moire, only the most stubborn stuff it cannot remove. Big success on aliasing. A massive improvement on image quality for video compared to shooting without it.
NEGATIVES; Not good with wide angle lenses. Some lenses work better with it than others. Not parfocal. Slight image softening. Close up focus changed. Be careful with old Nikon lenses with the bit of metal that sticks out. It can damage your filter and if you are not careful like me…your camera too! (Update: this issues seem to be fixed in the production version.)
[Update 2012-03-11] I was asked if this filter can be used on the Canon EOS 5DMKIII and I actually think it can, while it remains to be tested if it actually makes sense to use it. The Canon 5D MK3 still has moire: its processor doesn’t line skip anymore but it still has to process the image down from 22.3 MP to 1920×1080 which may create some minor moire or aliasing issues.
RAW Video for DSLR with Magic Lantern and Black Magic Hyperdeck Shuttle (vs. Atomos Ninja): 5D MKII, 550D, Rebels
[Update] Black Magic Hyperdeck Shuttle 2 as well as the Atomos Ninja 2 Recorder are already out. We are reviewing them shortly, as we have used both already in production. Both are capable of DNxHD as well as Apple ProRes.
SLR Film making got even more exciting: with the availability of HDMI recorders, RAW Video footage can be recorded to get the maximum out of your Canon 5D MKII or other camera compatible with Magic Lantern. Standard Firmware does not output a "clean" HDMI signal, at least not for Canon cameras; the Panasonic GH2 produces a clean HDMI output, as noted by Philip Bloom (!).
What are currently recommended HDMI field recorders?
1. Black Magic Hyperdeck Shuttle (RAW Video)
2. Atomos Ninja - Portable HDMI Recorder (ProRes)
Unless you are super-rich and have tons of money to spend for Solid State Drives and a RAID Array, you should get the Atomos Ninja. Besides the actual device, you also get a monitoring solution and have a true portable device, that creates files usable with normal hard drives. Overall cost is much lower and there should not be a really visible difference from ProRes to RAW footage. If you are into Bokeh Porn, you might want to spend your money in the Black Magic Hyperdeck Shuttle.
Keep in mind, there are currently some issues with HDMI out an Magic Lantern: there is a video on the 5D MKII's 1080i out and also some discussions going on in the Magic Lantern Forums, because some processing needs to be done to get actual usable files. Actual resolutionis 12-19% less (depending how you do it) but still the results are awesome - especially in low light situations. Maybe we will get real clean HDMI out with the Canon EOS 5D MKIII.
Since lot of people ask me, which (photo) cameras to buy which also work for filming, here is a short roundup of cameras that I find worth mentioning. All of the cameras mentioned will work with Magic Lantern:
Canon Rebel T1i|
Canon EOS 500D
Canon Rebel T2i|
Canon EOS 550D
Canon Rebel T3i|
Canon EOS 600D
Canon EOS 60D
Canon EOS 5D MKII
Europe: 449.00€ (used)
|The Revel T1i was a great camera, although we cannot recommend it, since its successor is the 550D and the 600D. If you can get a cheap second hand alternative at ebay, you might get a deal, though. (Seen on ebay for $199 used)||The 550D is a great camera, although the 600D beats it in price/value. If you can get your hands on a cheap second-hand 550D, you might be able to even save some more bucks. (Seen on ebay for $399 used)||The 600D is our definite winner in price/value: feature-rich, reasonably priced, enjoyable to use and, most importantly, takes great pictures. It's relatively small, but is fully supported by Magic Lantern and you should be really happy with that camera if you use good lenses and fast Compact Flash Cards.||The 60D is a great camera, although almost in the same range as the 7D (which has no Magic Lantern support yet). If you are only shooting photos, go for the 7D - if you are doing video, save some bucks and go for the 600D. Invest the spare money in good lenses.||The best of all the cameras compared, if we leave out the price. While this is also the most pricy camera, it certainly gets beaten by the 600D when it comes to price/value. The Canon EOS 5D MKII is the best camera for digital video out there, although with the 600D and with fast enough SDXC cards, you will almost match the quality of the 5D MKII.|
Conclusio: get the 600D if you need to save money, get the 5D MKII if you have some spare 3000$. Invest in good lenses, such as the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM, even if you are using it on the 600D (it will get converted to a 38-168mm, though). The Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS is a cheap but quite good alternative. Make sure you get a really fast SDXC card, since you will want to increase the Video Bitrate with Magic Lantern to make your videos quality increase as well. Recommendation: the Lexar Media 64 GB SDXC Flash Memory Card LSD64GCRBNA133 stores 64GB (!) and is blazingly fast.
Random Info via canonrumors:
- Canon Australia has sent CPS management to Singapore for product training. [CR2]
- Any Canon announcement will come after Nikon’s announcement on August 24, 2011. [CR2]
- 5D Mark III’s are in the wild and an announcement is imminent [CR1]
- 1D Mark IV’s are out of stock or hard to come by in certain countries. A retailer in New Zealand actually said they won’t be getting any more. [CR1]
- 1Ds Mark IV resolution correction, I’m told it will actually be 36mp.
Since I was planning on getting a 5D Mark II these days, I hope to see increasing price drops on the camera kits very soon - since there are already visible price drops around the globe. On Amazon.com the price for the Body still is $2499,00. Canon Australia already lowered the price for the premium KIT from $4899 AU$ to 4499AU$, so we can hope for price drops on the international market as well. On the German Amazon Marketplace, the currently cheapest price for the 5D MKII Body (new) is 1924,90 EUR, while the Premium KIT (EF 24-105mm L IS USM) is at 2619,99 (a light price drop is already visible).
Commenting on the current question, if it is still a good idea to buy a Canon 5D MKII: YES. Why? The Canon 5D MKII is a great camera and also there won't be any new Lenses coming up so fast (at least when we talk about EF 24-105mm L IS USM), so if you need one now, go and get one. Also, if you are in DSLR-Video, "Magic Lantern" is a great and stable system, which will not immediately run on the MKIII. Some people even suggests that there might be a 1000$ price difference (at least) for an upcoming 5D MKIII.
Still the 5D Mark II is a good buy, when compared to the Canon EOS 7D, since an announcement for a Canon EOS 7D MKII won't be around the corner until end of 2011, if we believe the rumors. A 5d MKIII won't be available instantly after release, so one way or the other, before 2012 you won't be able to get your hands on a 5D MKIII - and if so, then for sure not for a reasonable price. The current price difference for the 5DMKII to the 7D is 700$ - if you are into DSLR Video, that's a clear GO for the 5DMKII.
[Update] Canon Rumors has a new Blog post "5D Mark III & The Rest [CR2]" which indicates, that there could be a 5D Mark III announced in October 2011
CHDK offers some additional features to Canon Consumer Cameras such as
Professional control - RAW files, bracketing, full manual control over exposure, zebra mode, live histogram, grids, etc.
Motion detection - Trigger exposure in response to motion, fast enough to catch lightning.
USB remote - Simple DIY remote allows you to control your camera remotely.
Scripting - Control CHDK and camera features using ubasic and Lua scripts. Enables time lapse, motion detection, advanced bracketing, and much more.
(more on the CHDK Wiki)
The book addresses "geeky" owners of Canon consumer cameras who would like to explore the possibilities of their cameras, and eventually tweak them to do things way beyond their original specifications, such as
- RAW file (or DNG) support in addition to the camera's JPEG output - Manual control for aperture, shutter speed, and ISO - Expand shutter speeds way beyond the specification limits - Enable bracketing
The hacks are based on the Canon Hack Development Kit (CHDK), a free software maintained by a group of enthusiasts. Many scripts are already published on the web. The book teaches how to use existing scripts and how to write new ones.
Canon cameras, especially their consumer lines of PowerShot/IXUS cameras, allow the user to temporarily upload so called add-ons into the camera through the memory card. The next time the camara is switched on, the add-on is active, when the camera is switched off, the camera returns to its original state, so there is no risk of loosing the manufacturers warranty.