Close up | C-Log on the EOS 5D Mk IV image

Close up | C-Log on the EOS 5D Mk IV

More and more professional photographers are diversifying their skillsets, adding video production to the list of services they can offer their clients. Camera technology is changing accordingly, with video on new models no longer thought of as an optional afterthought, but an essential headline feature.

Few camera lines better exemplify this than Canon’s EOS 5D series, the revolutionary progenitor of DSLR filmmaking. Canon’s EOS 5D DSLRs offer both superb stills performance and exceptional video capabilities, none more so than the latest in the series, the EOS 5D Mark IV.

The ears of every filmmaker pricked up last year when Canon announced that it would be bringing something special to the EOS 5D Mark IV – its Canon Log colour profile from the Cinema EOS range, more commonly known as C-Log.

So what is C-Log, and why does it get filmmakers so interested? Let’s take a closer look.

What is C-Log?

As mentioned above, Canon Log Gamma was first introduced on the Cinema EOS range of pro video-oriented cameras. It’s been around for years, but the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV represents its first appearance in the DSLR range.

Put simply, it’s a colour profile for shooting video. It’s a logarithmic tone curve, delivering an image with 12 stops of dynamic range at ISO 400 or higher, preserving the maximum amount of detail possible in shadows and highlights.

If you were to look at footage shot in C-Log straight out of camera, you might wonder what all the fuss is about, as it’ll look flat, dull and really rather grey. This, however, is precisely the point. C-Log is designed to provide maximum flexibility in video post-production. Those preserved colour details and low-noise shadows mean you can tailor the look of shots exactly as you want it, giving you complete control over the final product.

Another useful aspect of the fact that C-Log has been ported from the Cinema EOS line to the EOS 5D Mark IV is that it ensures continuity between cameras – you can take footage shot on your EOS C300 Mark II and your EOS 5D Mark IV and grade it all to give it a consistent look. This means that if you decide to step up your video production and invest in the Cinema EOS line, your 5D Mark IV will still be useful as a B-camera.

Using C-Log on the 5D Mark IV

Once C-Log is installed on your EOS 5D Mark IV, there are a few tips and tricks that are well worth being aware of in order to use it effectively.

One useful function the camera offers is View Assist. Remember, your footage shot in C-Log is going to look pretty flat and uninteresting on the view screen, as the colour comes out in the grade. This can make it difficult to get a feel for the quality of what you’re shooting. View Assist solves this problem by giving the shot a pre-made LUT (a basic colour grade) in the view screen, making it look more like the final product for the shooter while still capturing that lovely flat Log profile for the grade. It’s also possible to tune your Log image in the settings menu of the 5D Mark IV, turning up the contrast or saturation if you’re after a specific look.


Canon has ensured that some of the EOS 5D Mark IV’s key features are compatible with C-Log shooting. The powerful Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus system can be used when shooting C-Log, allowing for fast and accurate focusing, though it is worth being aware that C-Log may cause the AF system to struggle a little more than usual in low-light or low-contrast situations. Shooters can also film Full HD at up to 120fps, as well as 4K at 25fps.

It’s worth knowing that there are a few modes that are not compatible with C-Log shooting – these are: Picture Style, Auto Lighting Optimiser, Highlight Tone Priority, Time-lapse Movies and HDR movies.

Watch out for banding

While the vast majority of the time your C-Log footage should come out beautifully, Canon notes that there are a few situations and settings that could cause some horizontal noise patterns when using the profile. Canon says, “The colour gradation of the sky or white walls may not be reproduced correctly. Irregular colours, irregular exposure or noise may appear.”

As stated by Canon, the presence or absence of banding in C-Log footage will depend on a number of factors – the lighting, the nature of subject, the movement of the subject or camera, and just in general the environment you’re shooting in. This is why you always want to do some test shots before you start filming in earnest.

If you do encounter some banding, there are a number of ways to remedy it. Shooting at a lower ISO is a good option if possible (Canon generally recommends an ISO setting of 400 as being optimal for shooting in C-Log), and you can also correct the problem the old-fashioned way by simply adding some more light if you have it. Another potential solution is to delve into the menus and disable peripheral illumination correction, though of course, you always have the option of handling correction in post.

Getting C-Log on the 5D Mark IV

So, you’ve got your 5D Mark IV and now you need C-Log? Well, it’s a little different from a normal firmware in that you can’t simply download and install the update yourself – you need to get it done by professionals.

The good news though is that your friendly Fixation techs can get the update installed for you, for the same price as the official Canon team – just £69.25 plus VAT! Head to our Canon repair page and we’ll get you all set to go.



Canon EOS 5D Mk III vs. 5D Mk IV

London based portrait photographer Nyla Sammons pitches the Canon EOS 5D Mk IV against her trusty 5D Mk III.

My first substantial investment as a professional photographer was a Canon EOS 5D Mk II, which later I upgraded to a 5D Mark III. I found the upgrade of the 5D Mk II to the Mk III to be a significant difference due to the photo quality, sharpness and adaptability to photos in low light with the increased ISO capabilities. I’ve been impressed with my Mk III for three years now, however the thought of a new camera upgrade will always make my heart skip a beat! Would the Canon 5D Mk IV be a game changer?

I had a sports shoot lined up and Fixation kindly lent me a 5D Mk IV to test. It looks pretty much the same as its predecessor; the button layout is nearly identical and a lot of the menu options are similar, so it felt comfortable having the camera in my hands. The battery and charger are the same as the Mark III, so no extra expenditure there, if you are upgrading. Music to my ears…

The camera has Dual Pixel AF at 30 megapixel resolution, a noticeable upgrade from 22.3 megapixels, giving you a lot more room to create very large, high-quality prints. Other noticeable improvements include the touch-screen, GPS and built-in Wi-Fi. The video capabilities have also been improved significantly, but I’m a stills photographer at heart, so I was less interested in the improvements there.

With the introduction of Dual Pixel RAW in the Mark IV you can use Canon’s digital photo professional image micro-adjustment to help increase sharpness in detail areas and reduce flare & ghosting. There has been a lot of fuss over this, and at some point I should take a crappy photo and see how well it can be salvaged in post-production.

For those who are interested, the specifications can be seen here

I can’t say that I saw much difference in the final images compared to my Mk III, but what I particularly liked about the Mark IV, is the built-in Wi-Fi. I’ve been on jobs where the client has asked to see some of the photos while on set, which has meant me downloading the images to my laptop, selecting the best ones and then emailing them over to the client. The Wi-Fi capability, allowed me to transfer the images without any fuss, using the Canon Camera Connect app. A huge bonus in my books!

However, one of the downfalls of the Mark IV – and possibly thanks to the WiFi –  is the battery life and I found it seemed to drain a lot quicker compared to the Mk III. We all know how essential it is to carry spare batteries and the three I own are always in my camera bag. I would say as long as you own at least three batteries, that should be enough to see you through a day’s shoot; I went through two batteries during my test.

Overall I’m still happy with my Mk III. It delivers clean images, I can shoot in low light and not worry about noise and I can print large images and not lose quality. When I switched from the Mk II to the Mk III I saw a huge improvement in most areas, but nowhere near as significant on the Mk IV. I have my eye on a new lens, so for now I’ll probably stick with my Mk III and invest in the glass. Ask me in six months time, after I’ve bought that ridiculously expensive lens and the answer would probably be yes, my next investment will be the Mark IV. There is no denying the technology has improved both in terms of photography and video capabilities.

The Canon 5D Mark IV is currently available with 24 months interest-free credit. Contact our sales team for more info.
It is also available to hire from our sister company Wex Rental


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