Atomos CEO on 5D mkIV video specs: “It’s Canon that I think is really holding back to this market”

Atomos had some updates at IBC 2016 in Amsterdam, but that wasn’t all CEO Jeromy Young wanted to talk with us about. While he mentioned some encouraging things about Sony with their Alpha series, and Panasonic with the GH4, he didn’t have as many positive words about Canon and their decisions with the C700 and 5D mkIV.

Canon 5D Mark IV with 24-70 f4L
Canon 5D mkIV with 24-70 f4L

The C700 does not feature internal RAW recording, but instead requires an add-on Codex recorder, which will be expensive (and the media will not be cheap). Canon will support RAW recording externally, but they’ve made the format different from their previous cameras. This seems like quite the obstacle, and it means we might not get any inexpensive external recording for some time (if at all). The Convergent Design will not support the C700 RAW (at least right now), but Jeromy said he might be open to talks about the possibility.

Canon C700 with Lens Top Handle Full
Canon C700 with 35mm CN-E Prime Lens

In regards to Canon’s Codex decision, Jeromy commented that the camera reflects the market from a few years ago, and not the current one we live in today where an add-on 4K external recorder doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg (at 47 seconds):

But now it’s moved on, it’s two grand, and you can own it, as opposed to being twenty thousand dollars, or even 15, or 10,000 dollars, and it’s out of reach for people, and you have to go and hire it.

Why don’t we have RAW video recording in a DSLR or mirrorless camera yet? Jeromy had some comments about that (at 2:25):

Cannibalization man, that’s what it’s all about, they’re trying to protect their own markets. I don’t think it’s the right move, I think you’ll see whoever comes with the first capability to do so — IE we saw that with the 5D mkIII and the Magic Lantern hack that internally you could record some form of cinemaDNG, and people were pretty happy with it. And I think that spiked sales for that. So I don’t know why they’re not learning from that.

Canon 5D mkIV

The Canon 5D Mark IV (Right), next to the 5D Mark III
The Canon 5D mkIV (Right), next to the 5D mkIII

The 5D mkIV was particularly disappointing for Jeromy, especially because they are a recorder company (at 2:54):

We’ve been pushing, for example, the latest 5D mkIV, we assumed would have log output. It doesn’t. We assumed it would have 4K output. It doesn’t.

As companies like Sony continue to push the limits with their mirrorless models, he doesn’t see Canon doing the same with their cameras:

3:35: Sony’s giving everything they can inside their cameras, I truly believe it’s their best play.

3:58: It’s Canon that I think is really holding back to this market. I think they believe the photography market is a better market for them…It may very well be a bigger market for them, but I think they’re going to lose traction, they’re going to lose that, I guess, the prowess and the market share that they gained with the 5D series early on.

4:15 Because right now I see people going to the a7R II with our product with a 4K recording in HDR. The theme for us at the show and from those cameras is if they’re not outputting Log or RAW in order to be able to shoot HDR, then you are behind the times. You are not future-proofing your productions. Just like people need 4K 60 probably starting from this year.

His Thoughts on VR and HDR

Jeromy also had some things to say about VR and HDR, and where he thinks the market is headed:

5:27 on VR: I don’t think it’s as big of a flop as 3D…my personal opinion is it’s somewhere in between a real pickup and 3D.

6:40: HDR is absolutely the future, I’ll stake my reputation on that. The reason is because we were blown away by it, as video people. Do you remember SD to HD? We all loved that. You ran out and bought a TV immediately because it was so good. We feel like HDR is better than that. 

7:01: I don’t think it’s an HD to 4K revolution, I think it’s an HD to 4K HDR revolution.

What do you think about what Jeromy has said? Will Canon get left behind due to these decisions? What about VR and HDR?

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