A source told me that canon have indeed created a raw video option for HDSLR’s. It will utilize the HDMI port on the cameras to output full uncompressed HD content for recording on an external device. Apparently the current 720P output is limited by firmware not hardware so all they need to do is change this setting in the firmware.
This could be one of 2 things:
- The HDMI output would be an uncompressed and downconverted (18MP to 1920×1080) output of the imaging block (which I doubt).
- The HDMI output would be full 1920×1080 with no overlays, but still use the pixel skipping employed by the processor to create a 1920×1080 image (which doesn’t look as good as a true downconverted image, and can result in aliasing artifacts).
The whole idea is to bypass the internal recorder, which uses a highly compressed version of H.264, to record directly to a computer or a recorder like the Convergent Design NanoFlash or AJA KiPro. If you try this now with one of the Canon DSLRs, you will get a windowed image that’s just above 720p in resolution, with a record light in the upper right. This is lower resolution than what is being recorded to the Compact Flash cards, but it’s bypassing the H.264 compression and color space. Assuming number 2 is true, this would change so you can record a full 1920×1080 image out of the HDMI port. If this happened, I think these cameras would start to fly off the shevles at an even faster rate than they are now, and companies like Convergent Design will see their recorder sales explode. Outboard recorders are gaining in popularity because they are allowing the cameras that they are attached to to effectively jump classes. The XDCAM EX recording from a Sony EX3 won’t be accepted for many high end HD programs, but if the EX3’s live output is recorded to an HDCAM SR deck or NanoFlash (at a high enough bit rate), then the camera is acceptable for really high level image capture. Older Varicams and F900s are also getting a second life in the tapeless world using these recorders.
Of course, if number 1 is true, which I doubt because that would require processing close to the level of the RED One, the Canon DSLRs (along with a recorder like the NanoFlash) will become THE video camera setup to own. Everything on the market will become virtually worthless if a $5k combo like this can shoot 1920×1080 uncompressed HD with a 35mm-sized imager with no aliasing. Theoretically, this combo could match or beat any camera that doesn’t shoot a RAW format (RED One, Phantom HD, Panavision Genesis, etc).
Of course, this is just a rumor combined with my opinion.