Know Your Camera: Canon 5D MK II – Turning Your Still Camera Into a Movie Making Machine

We’re sorry! This video series is no longer available.

  1. Marcus Wolschon 3 years ago

    “Know Your Camera” and that it starts right off assuming you have a specific Canon camera?
    The title didn’t say this was some posting specific for the 5D.
    Ever given it a thought that there’s lots of people with Nikon, Panasonic, Sony, Leica,..

    • Author
      Shane 3 years ago

      Marcus Wolschon. This was something I did for free to give back to the community. There are pearls of wisdom in it whether you are shooting a Nikon, Panasonic, Sony, or any camera.

    • Angelo 3 years ago

      Correction on grammar: There ARE lots of people.
      Correction on attitude: Be thankful that you received this information that is very useful with any camera.
      Have a great day and wish you good luck in your future endeavors.

  2. Daniel 3 years ago

    Thanks for going to the trouble of making this video and sharing your settings. It’s so nice to have an accomplished professional like yourself taking the time to share information like this.

    A couple technical comments.

    ISO steps: 160, 320, 640, 1250. I’m afraid there is widespread mis-information about these so-called native/true ISOs.

    Except for the 1D series (and possibly the 5D line), Canon DSLRs have hardware amplification solely for whole, even ISO stops (e.g., 100, 200, 400, etc.), which means they must digitally push or pull from the nearest whole, even ISO to reach fractional ISOs such as 160, 320 etc.

    The reason fractional ISOs appear to have less noise than whole, even ISOs is because when you select a fractional ISO like 640 the camera is exposing at a higher ISO and pulling the resulting exposure. For example, when ISO 640 is selected the camera actually captures the image using hardware amplified ISO 800 and then digitally pulls the exposure to reduce the brightness of the captured image, which helps hide the noise in the shadows.

    However, since the camera is exposing your image 1/3 stop hotter than the ISO you selected you are losing 1/3 stop worth of highlight room.

    See the following links for more information:

    Highlight tone priority (HTP): When this is on, the camera exposes at one stop less than the selected ISO, then applies gain to boost the brightness of the captured image back up to the equivalent of the selected ISO. Obviously this involves the use of a gamma curve which preserves the extra stop’s worth of highlight information gained by shooting at the lower stop.

    See examples of the difference HTP can make at the following links (roll a mouse pointer on and off the images to see the effect of HTP):

    In the first example note the detail preserved in the cloud highlights when HTP is turned on.

    In the second example the highlights on the floor are noticeably kept from blowing out by HTP. Also note the sky out the window. With HTP turned on the sky’s blue tone is completely preserved. With HTP turned off the sky is completely blown out except for a blue fringe around the trees.

    That said, HTP can increase the noise in the image somewhat, at least in darker environments.

    • Author
      Shane 3 years ago

      Daniel. Thank you for the detailed information and sharing. I will have my team look into this.

      • Ziutek 3 years ago

        Hi Shane and team. Any further investigation on this? Especially auto lighting optimiser and iso. Thanks

  3. Ted Ramasola 3 years ago

    Thanks for posting this again Shane. I was trying to look for this at the B&H website but it seems they took it down.

    • Author
      Shane 3 years ago

      Ted Ramasola. You’re welcome, and thanks for the support.

  4. Flain 3 years ago

    Some people say that Canon 5D mark 2 is better than Canon 5D mark 3.
    Canon 5D mark 2 is sharper than Mark 3?

    • Author
      Shane 3 years ago

      Flain. I like the light sensitivity, sensor, and new features of the 5DMkIII. However, the image is sharper on the 5DMkII because it does not have the low pass filter like the 5DMkIII. This helps with line skipping and moire, but does soften the image.

    • Keidrych Wasley 3 years ago

      Removing the low pass filter on the MKIII has shown itself to make no difference, as seen in the tests on eos hd.
      Personally i think the MKIII can appear softer due to it’s lack of aliasing. Edges are now smoother. Whether this is really due to the OLPF who knows, but removing it didn’t change performance.
      You can gently sharpen the MKIII which you couldn’t with the MKII.

    • Paul 3 years ago

      Shane, any other thoughts on the mk iii in action? Are you using it much?

      • Author
        Shane 3 years ago

        Paul, I am using it as a great still camera the most.

  5. Joseph 3 years ago

    I watched this show last year and I loved it, good job Shane. I went back to see the show again a couple of months ago and I to had a problem finding it. It is on the B&H site but you have to do some digging to find it, I remeber it was in a wierd location. You can also find it on You Tube.

    • Author
      Shane 3 years ago

      Joseph. Thanks for the kind words and support.

  6. Steve Lampen 3 years ago

    Hope you know about the ETS PA-911 and PA-912 baluns for HDSLR cameras. Helps turn that audio track from just an unbalanced guide track into a fully professional audio track.

    • Author
      Shane 3 years ago

      Steven Lampen. Thanks for the info.

  7. Baron 3 years ago

    Hi Shane, I saw the video the first time and this is great for a refresher. Some features like Peripheral Illumination I leave on but have disabled since. The ISO 160 increments are also a good tip.

    Do you personally use Neutral picture style or Cinestyle?

    • Author
      Shane 3 years ago

      Baron. Thanks for the comment and support. I have my own cocktail of custom picture profiles for different types of lenses I use. Other than that neutral is the best way to go, and save cinestyle for extreme lighting conditions.

  8. Matthew Myers 3 years ago

    Hi Shane,

    Thanks so much for providing great educational videos — for free! I’m currently putting together an open source (read free) e-book on the basics of cinematography for the students in my Introduction to Cinematography class. May I provide a link to your videos in the section on DSLR photography? We currently use DSLR, Panasonic 200 & 570 and Arri SR2 cameras in the beginning class and RED in the advanced class so good, specific information is greatly appreciated.

    Best regards,

    • Author
      Shane 3 years ago

      Matthew Myers. Thanks for the kind words and support. Sure, love it. I made the video to give back to the community.

      • Matthew Myers 3 years ago

        Thanks a bunch. I’ll make sure to credit you on the e-book.

        Thanks for all of your good work.


  9. saeed 3 years ago

    such a good chance to have pro cinematographer like you that share your information about DSLR camera.

    good luck

    • Author
      Shane 3 years ago

      saeed, thank you so much for your kind words.

    • Author
      Shane 3 years ago

      saeed, thank you so much for your kind words

  10. Mike 3 years ago

    Will the mark II shoot in 1:85.1 or is it 1:77.1?

    Thanks for giving out all the info you do. We all appreciate it.

    • Author
      Shane 3 years ago

      Mike, it shoots 1:78 or 16:9. But you can put a 1:85 crop or a 2:35 crop on it. That is what I did on Act of Valor.

  11. Earl Nottingham 3 years ago

    I noticed that you recommend disabling the Peripheral Illumination Correct in the menu but you don’t mention why. This would seem to be a useful feature.

    Thanks for going above and beyond to help us guys out here in the trenches.


    • Author
      Shane 3 years ago

      Earl Nottingham, First off thank you so much for your kind words. The reason I turn it off is because this is a still photography function. I have found that these all effect the video in bizarre ways, either adding noise, more aliasing, etc. I just stay away from it and do that little added correction in post.

  12. Oshilaja Stephen 3 years ago

    Thanks Shane for the tips. I use a Canon 600D I’ll try to apply these tips wherever I can. Much appreciation.

    • Author
      Shane 3 years ago

      Oshilaja Stephen, you are very welcome. Thank you for your support

  13. Jeremy woods 3 years ago

    Hi Shane!!
    I am a huge fan of your support to the community and the wealth of knowledge you give us access to out here..
    I’ve often wondered this, as i have a hacked Gh2 that seems to resolve better than a 5D2, what your thoughts on a hacked
    Gh2 were.. I’m sure you’ve had to have been asked this question before, but i searched high and low for it and couldn’t find anything. You’re the guy to ask also, since i’ve been seriously considering the 5D2 since they’ve went down under $2000 and you can get a Mosaic Filter that removes moire/aliasing for $385… Magic Lantern is no chump on my T2i & i imagine it rocks on the 5D2.. Any thoughts on Magic Lantern? Out of all the Canon announcements this year, i have to say my favorite image they ever produced was the 5D2 image… That even includes the new Cinema EOS line. I think they all look very, very digital to me.. And despite the Dynamic Range quirks of pixel peepers, i’ve seen plenty of movies shot on celluloid that blow out windows..

    • Author
      Shane 3 years ago

      Jeremy woods, thank you for your wonderful words and support. The GH2 hack looks a little digital to me. I am a big fan of the 1DC right now. The 4K resolution is what the DSLR world needed. It has amazing range. Yes, I agree with you about the windows blowing, I do it in all of my films, shot on film but it is the video clipping that I find looks digital if it goes too much.

    • Author
      Shane 3 years ago

      Jeremy woods,Thank you for your kind words, I have not used the hack on the Gh2. Not a big fan of Panasonic’s color space and science. Blowing out windows is where it is at with film, though many of these digital cameras blow out very clippy and look like video, the 5D blows nicely because of the compression smoothing the edges. The Canon 1DC looks absolutely stunning. The dark horse, the sleeper car in Canon’s 4K arsenal

  14. jeremy woods 3 years ago

    Shane, thanks so much for your response. So many times the 5D2 and the GH2 have come into conflicting conversations as to which one looks better and almost always the GH2 is favored… After having shot with it for over a year now, I couldn’t agree more with you on the digital clipping. It may have a one up on the resolution factor, but in the end I absolutely hate how fast it clips, how digital it does it, and how the colorspace looks like it’s been dipped in milk the further up it goes. Every one of these DSLR’s has an 8 bit limitation, but it seems Canon is the only one that gets it right… and honestly, compared to the 5D3, I think the 2 looks better. I’d love to get a 1D-C, but that’s a money issue, lol. I love the form factor, and the fact that it really is the camera I want… A jailbroken 5D2, lol. I’m interested in what they have to bring to the table this year… Alas, I may just start saving for a 1D-C anyway. regardless of what may come out this year, it just seems like the kind of camera that will get out of the way and let you tell a story.. Without compromise

    • Author
      Shane 2 years ago

      jeremy woods, one looks like video the other looks like film. I chose FILM and the 1DC looks the closest I have ever seen. WOW, its the dark horse, you should ride this baby. Just saying.

  15. des ohara 2 years ago

    Hi Shane,
    Great work you are doing. Really loved The Last 3 Minutes. Beautiful.
    I have just bought the Sekonic L-758 Cine light meter. I have the canon 5d mark ii shooting on the cine style. I have been testing the meter with the Exposure Profile Target ii but getting really strange results in the highlights.
    Can you tell me the best way to calibrate the Meter with the 5d, i.e. Is it best practice to use the meter with another picture profile with less a flat profile (neutral) or do I keep it Cine Style?
    If I calibrate with different picture profile styles, does it mean that my 5d and the light meter calibration readings vary?
    I read the book DSLR Cinema by Kurt Lancaster and it mentions that you find the style that you want the look of then dial in your exposure readings then switch over to the flatter style to get as much latitude in post production. Does this mean you then that the exposure readings in the camera are not affected with this switch to a flatter profile?
    I hope you can help.

    • Author
      Shane 2 years ago

      des ohara, thank you so much for your kind words. this is correct, light to the neutral picture style and then throw it over to cinestyle and shoot.

  16. Geoff 2 years ago


    Thanks for posting the video. They are very helpful. Do you prefer the Mark III over the Mark II given that the Mark III has better low light capabilities, but less sharpness due to the low pass filter. Would you recommend removing the low pass filter or have a video tutorial for that?


    • Author
      Shane 2 years ago

      Geoff, I like both in their unique ways. The MK III bugs me with the softness, especially when you blow it up to the big screen.

  17. Jimmy Doyle 2 years ago

    Thank you so much for posting this information! Great article, and very generous of you to take the time to help others get up and running with their cameras.

    • Author
      Shane 2 years ago

      Jimmy Doyle. Thank you for the kind words and support.

  18. RobG 2 years ago

    Hi, Shane

    I recently purchased the 5DMkIII and set it up to record Adobe RGB. However, when I look at the info after recording, it says sRGB. I tried different profiles thinking one of my custom picture settings might be the problem but, it always records in sRGB. I called Canon and the tech said it always records video in sRGB and always has even on the MkII. Do you have any knowledge on this?



  19. des ohara 2 years ago

    Hi Shane

    Brilliant work.
    Can you tell me if you had any exposure problems with the Canon 5d Mark 2? I have been trying to match the camera with the sekonic L-758Cine but I am out by a stop or so (always overexposed).

    • Author
      Shane 2 years ago

      des ohara, I could never use a light meter with that camera unfortunately. It was so counter intuitive. Because you have to underexpose the camera. Towards the end I started to understand it a little more associated with a light meter, but my Dreamcolor was my best bet.

      • des ohara 2 years ago

        Thanks Shane….thought I was loosing my mind.

        • Author
          Shane 2 years ago

          des ohara, ha ha, Nope

  20. Dana Nentjes 2 years ago


    Thanks for all this information! I own a canon 60d myself and was wondering if iso 640 and 1250 still look good on a cinema screen? Or will it look noticably less good than 320 and 160? I am working on a documentary and don’t have this experience yet. But when shooting moving people i need to know how high i can go, so that i can get more depth of field. If anyone has experience with this on cinemascreen, tips are very welcome!


    • Author
      Shane 2 years ago

      Dana Nentjes, You are very welcome. I think you comfortably go up to 1600 ISO on your doc. It is very clean

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

[et_social_follow icon_style="slide" icon_shape="rounded" icons_location="top" col_number="auto" counts="true" counts_num="0" total="true" outer_color="dark" network_names="true"]