Consider this before you shoot RAW on a Canon 5D mark III

Shooting RAW on the Canon 5D mark III DSLR is still very popular. You get stunning 14-bit moving images for a fraction of the price of a “real” RAW camera and the advantages of a full-frame sensor that is good in lowlight. But like many other shooters I learned that it’s not always a good idea to use the 5D mark III RAW for a project. Here I’d like to share some points to consider.

I recently wrote an article outlining the latest development on the Magic Lantern RAW hack for the 5D mark III: Shooting RAW on a Canon 5D mark III in 2014 – What you have to know
In this article I mentioned that using the 5D mark III as a RAW camera is not suitable for productions with bigger budgets as the workflow will slow you down and it is not laid out for professional production. I’d like to elaborate on that.

Certainly there are many great features Magic Lantern RAW provides aside from RAW itself like it improves the overall usability of the camera, runs independently on an SD card, gives you more camera information (eg.: battery status), zebras, peaking, etc.
If you’re interested to shoot RAW on a Canon 5D mark III then we have a step-by-step guide for that: LINK

Above the text here’s a little advert I recently shot on the Canon 5D mark III with its RAW functionality.

Planning and pulling off this project as a 2-man crew was fun and also challenging. But I didn’t expect the camera I chose would slow down the production so much. After this project I realised that it could be unwise to choose Magic Lantern RAW for some commercial productions, so I thought I should share the experience since we’ve written a lot about that camera on cinema5D so far.

In summary I think out of the 2 weeks I needed to shoot this project I lost about 4 days to the 5D. In other words I think I would have been 4 days faster with an Arri ALEXA for example. In a production environment booking even a small crew for 4 additional days usually costs more than renting a more expensive camera. This is of course a different situation and decision from project to project, so let me just share some of the points to consider.

What to consider:

  • The 5D mark III was not designed to be a RAW cinema camera. It is a photo camera and its ergonomics will not always work for you.
  • RAW means a lot of data, means more time and storage needed. And working with image sequences…
  • Accurately checking data can mean downloading and transcoding first, which can be time consuming. On-camera playback is limited.
  • We had a card failure on a Lexar 1000x card. It fried.
  • Exposure displayed is not always right.
  • No timecode.
  • Bugs. Camera freezes. Resets settings…
  • complicated RAW workflow

Production notes:

image013Above I mentioned the most important things I ran into during my production and now I’ll go into those in more detail.

IMG_2770The idea of this production was to put the bonsai tree into a stylised environment to convey how many factors are necessary for life to work. For that I shot each transition to the next stage as a RAW sequence and merged them in post. RAW gave me the control over colours that I needed which I pushed to the extremes. For example at no point was the tree actually brown as it is shown at the beginning and also it wasn’t as green as it is at the end.

image015The 5D mark III was not designed to be a RAW cinema camera

A cinema camera’s ergonomics work great because its designers spent years to perfect it. The Arri products are a symbol for that approach and the 5D mark III is just a photo camera that lacks exactly this aspect. In a demanding shooting environment it can in my experience not hold up to the standards and will slow you down in one or another way that you didn’t expect.

image014Accurately checking data can mean downloading and transcoding first

One of the biggest issues for me during this production was to check and evaluate recorded data. I had to check that the transitions were seamless and that everything was 100% there before I went on to build the next stage. Even with the new and updated in-camera playback feature it is not easy to tell how well a shot has turned out.
2So what has to be done is ejecting the card, getting the footage into the editing machine, transcoding (which can take a while) and only then you’re able to use the data in your editing software. This was a hassle to say the least. And when you have to do it 100 times a day then you see that you lose a lot of time.
If checking the data is critical, and the built in preview is not enough, then the 5D mark III RAW will definitely slow you down.

There is a new app that allows you to preview RAW files on your computer directly from the card. The app is called MlRAWviewer and we talk about it in the Tips section here. The app might help you preview files more quickly, but it is still very buggy (tried version 1.1.7 and 1.2.2 which still crashed on my machine).

For many shoots the limited new playback functionality mentioned here might be sufficient, but if you’ve got a client who wants to see the results it might be difficult to use the 5D mark III RAW.

We had a card failure on a Lexar 1000x card.

We’re not sure how it happened. The Lexar cards are usually quite ok and eventually Lexar replaced the card within a week. But when a card fries on the mark III then there’s no way to get it back as on other more secure systems.

Exposure displayed is not always right.

The image displayed on the live-view screen is not correct in terms of exposure. The RAW recorded actually seems darker.

No timecode.

Developers are working on embedding timecode in the RAW footage, but so far there is no usable method to use it. This can make workflows and syncing sound more difficult. An option is to use the sound that is embedded in the new .MLV format (more on that here).

Bugs. Camera freezes. Resets settings…

It happened sometimes during the shoot. The camera freezes and the only way to get it to work again is to remove the battery. This happened more often than we wished for and slows you down. Luckily it usually happened between takes. Unfortunately when the camera had one of these lockups it also reset some settings, including where it saved the files. So then we recorded to the wrong card, the camera froze again, etc. This slowed me down a lot and can be embarassing in front of a client.

There are other bugs each new firmware version brings. Others get resolved.

Complicated RAW workflow

In your considerations about the right camera you shouldn’t forget the complicated RAW workflow required when you use the 5D mark III. I just mention this because some people forget that shooting RAW means a lot more data and work involved. But this is also true for other cameras that shoot in a RAW format. Since the recent updates and new apps to convert RAW files the workflow on the 5D mark III has been made less complicated. You’ll find more details in our 5D mark III RAW guide.

Final Thoughts

The 5D mark III RAW can certainly be a valid tool to create stunning footage, there’s no question about that. If you’re a single operator shooter and if you have a tight budget, if you do an indie production or just want to create something beautiful with limited possibilities, then the 5D mark III can get you far.

But I would not recommend the 5D mark III Magic Lantern RAW hack to professional and commercial productions. If you’re not specifically in need for a very small, full-frame, RAW camera then I’d recommend to choose a different tool.

I hope you could benefit from the information in this post. If you have any questions I’ll answer them in the comments.


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Markus Haraldsson August 14, 2014

Some response to this article.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber August 14, 2014

Hi Markus, thanks for the info, I responded there.

Markus Haraldsson August 14, 2014

Some thoughts, questions and suggestions on those article:
Checking data: why do you need to download the data to check it? It can be playbacked directly from the card reader using mlvrawviewer. With plugins the mlvs can even be edited directly in premiere to test cuts. You could also record to an external hdmi recorder as an alternative solution.
Exposure not correct: my bet this is due to you not sticking to the real iso values. Multiples of 100. Also it’s correct you can’t judge what you get from the live view picture alone but if you know how to reed the histogram you can.
Why Lexar 1000th? I would recommend komputerbay 1066x 64 or 256gb card for best price and stability. About the card breakdown I would recommend being careful of witch card readers you use since older ones can corrupt newer udma cards.
Raw workflow: ACR or davinci resolve? Resolve 11 exports practically in real time.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber August 14, 2014

I wasn’t aware I could test cuts with plugins in Premiere. I will research and update the article accordingly. I answered on the other point in the link you posted.
Concerning Lexar I would not agree with your recommendation.

Markus Haraldsson August 14, 2014

What about exposure differences being related to you using in between iso modes? 100,200,400,800,1600 etc. Are the real values that have an affect on the sensor/raw stream. The other ones are just digital compensation that applyes to the h264 video files.

Eduardo Aguiar August 14, 2014

Thanks Sebastian, beautiful work by the way. I really wanted ML to work for me but as a documentary filmmaker with scarce resources it really is a nightmare to use this option.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber August 14, 2014

Thanks Eduardo

dio August 14, 2014

have you rented an alexa before?

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber August 14, 2014

Yes I have worked with an Alexa as a DOP.

erimski August 14, 2014

great article! i would totally disadvise from this workflow for commercial work / bigger projects after I’ve been through this process for a series of architectural videos. the results and possibilities are great, no question – but the postproduction workflow is hell when you have to work against a deadline. and I underestimated the amount of disk storage you need after transcoding raw to DNGs/Prores. in the you have to see and decide for yourself if it is worth. maybe for most webvideo work the normal video mode of the 5DM3 is sufficient…

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber August 14, 2014

I agree that everyone has to decide for himself if it works and certainly each project is different. Thanks for the comment.

Kyle August 27, 2014

Thank you for this article. I feel there are some options that others have pointed out that could have made things smoother but an article like this is always a breath of fresh air (real-world impressions).

The final product looks phenomenal.

Can you detail more about the seamless transitions? Being seamless, it is hard to know exactly what you did! Thanks.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber August 27, 2014

Thanks. Basically whenever there was a light change it was in fact a transition to another setup.

Markus Haraldsson August 14, 2014

I would agree the file sizes present a challenge though one possibility there is to develop prores or dnxhd files from the raw negatives and throw them away. Throwing away the originals offcurse is traditionally a big no no but if you have to choose between internal codec and developed prores/dnxhd files it might be worth it.

Patrick Murray August 15, 2014

I was tempted to spend my money on a Mk3, but the margin of error with the Magic Lantern hack, as gorgeous as it is in RAW, worried me. I have two paying clients in the coming months, including one for a narrative piece of fiction, I can’t take that kind of risk. I’ve got a Black Magic 4K showing up in the next 24 hours. I look forward to testing the tried and true ProRes codec on it for a commercial gig.

Markus Haraldsson August 15, 2014

Problably a wise choice. Even though there are great tools out there to set up a good and a effective workflow for ml raw the learning curve can be quite steep to get there.

Raoul August 15, 2014

If one used a Ninja Star for recording, what would the file format options be … I assume not RAW, but ProRes?

Would this result in a larger ProRes file – due to the fact it was recording RAW output from the 5D?

Would the IQ be higher in that scenario – compared to not using ML RAW and just recording the regular 5D3 output into an external recorder like the Ninja?

Markus Haraldsson August 15, 2014

The format would be the same as without ML Full hd 8 bit 422. But these files could be useful as instant “proxies”/backup and if you need instant playback and don’t have time /access to a computer on location to preview the mlv-files.

Raoul August 15, 2014

Oh, so that would be the only advantage to using an external recorder like the Ninja.

Sebastian: Although I appreciate this exercise, why put yourself thru the stress of trying to shoot RAW with ML on a paying commercial project? Using the 5D3, Why not just record ProRes on an external recorder like the Ninja 2 — as opposed to the headaches with ML/RAW? Do you feel you get that much more headroom for grading with RAW which you could not have achieved with ProRes?

Raoul August 15, 2014

I should add that I am a one man band documentary shooter using a 5D mk iii and contemplating the purchase of a Ninja 2 and recording in ProRes LT (as I just upgraded to a new 12 core Mac Pro and love the ProRes format).

So just interested in hearing any “real life” end user experiences of the mk iii and ProRes file format recorded externally.

mannfilm August 15, 2014

I’m sorry, but this article is totally useless for 99.5% of all production. It was a two week, studio, FX video shoot requiring seamless transitions. Very unusual, has nothing in common with almost all production.

Note that all his complaints are even more applicable to film acquisition, so I guess film is not a professional medium???

He himself admits to hard re-sets and then forgetting to check his settings on re-start? On a paid, 2 week, controlled studio shoot???

MLraw exposure sometimes not right? This issue, and solution, has been known for months. Did not know about MLrawviewer, which has been out for months?

So apparently he went into a paid 2 week shoot on an unfamiliar camera without doing basic research and prep, and also not doing a single test?

Not surprising he had problems.

The 5dm3 can give you an image very close to the arri at a 1100% lower price point. But the 5dm3 is not a point-and-shoot camera like the arri. To get that quality, you have to put in the work, jump through the hoops, and maintain basic discipline.

Hisham August 18, 2014

totally Agree with You

dio August 19, 2014

the expense of using an Alexa is huge and you might as well shoot on film at that point.

Oscar August 15, 2014

Nice work anyways :)

Kevin August 15, 2014

Agreed. I have done only 2 projects in ML RAW simply because of the potential of losing data, no playback and time.

One project I did a couple takes in RAW and a couple with h.264 as backup and playback.

For those who have no choice, you really have to carefully gauge if RAW is the right medium for the project.

The two that I did were projects where the budgets were low, crew was minimal and we had some serious lighting challenges. Dynamic range was paramount for any chance at a decent image.

With clients you know well and they understand you are doing them a favor by doing it cheap, you have more flexibility if you have glitches in your workflow.

Again, you have to be very selective when you use it but it can be a powerful tool when the options are thin and you don’t have the money for an Alexa.

Michael August 15, 2014

Definitely nice work.
I agree with most of Sebastian’s points -having shot an indie short film on 5D3 raw, we ran into similar problems.
The camera freezing up was a very minor issue and didn’t cause any issues.
However, we fried two out of six Lexar cards costing us entire scenes.
Still loving the format though: Capturing a winter camping scene at night lit partially by a campfire worked out beautifully with a minimal lighting setup.

Markus Haraldsson August 15, 2014

That makes me wonder if the lexar price really reflect the quality you are getting. I have pushed my KB cards hard. On my latest shoot we shot over 3h of footage each day for three days strait with my two 256gb Kb cards. One 1066x and one 1200 x. No damaged or lost footage.

Michael August 15, 2014

yes, I’m wondering too. It prompted me to finally talk to Lexar and as Sebastian mentioned, their customer service is good. My two busted cards will be replaced.
The tech on the phone gave a ‘non-UDMA7’ compatible card reader as a possible cause for the broken card.

I was using a Lexar UDMA7 dual slot card reader, but supposedly you might require a firmware upgrade for it before it’s really UDMA7 compatible.

That’s a bit odd. All other cards were definitely fine in all sorts of other card readers.

Anyway, that’s almost another thread.
Back to 5D3 raw: Grading the footage in DaVinci Resolve is absolutely incredible.
That being said, I’d never use 5D3 raw and magic lantern on a commercial project.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber August 15, 2014

Hi Markus,
I’ve heard that Lexar and Komputerbay come from the same manufacturer. The ones that pass quality control are branded Lexar and they have much faster replacement service.
We’ve been using Lexar with other cameras, so I believe the frying issue might lie in the ML firmware.

Markus Haraldsson August 15, 2014

Yes but have you tryed them in another camera with that high data rates? Over 80mb/sek is really pushing the cards hard.

Michael August 15, 2014

Hi Sebastian,
I second that. It definitely is important when stopping recording, opening the card bay door or after inserting a card to wait until the camera and ML are ready again.
I’ve had the suspicion that if you’re even a second to fast, things can go south.

Thanks for the article!

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber August 15, 2014

Hi Michael,
Thanks for sharing your experience with the firmware. I believe in our case it really happened during recording, but I couldn’t say for sure.
I’ve read a lot of user reports about ML and CF cards and it seems that while Lexar are good the SanDisk still provide the best overall stability and I haven’t read anything about a card dying there.

Jonathan Pearson August 15, 2014

you should use light room and convert them into jpg…..your failure to select the correct card not ml-canon fault sdd cards fail too
use cinema profile and ett you won’t need to check exposure

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber August 17, 2014

Tried that approach too.
Not selecting the correct card over after crashing is my fault, but the crashing is not.

Andrew Baldwin August 16, 2014

Hi Sebastian,

As you know, I am the main developer of the MlRawViewer tool.

The tool is in active development, and I try to follow, respond to, and resolve all issues people have with it both on the relevant Magic Lantern forum thread ( and the open project issues tracker (

During the last 6 months, I have made 10 new update releases for it, for Mac and Windows.

I am, naturally, a bit sad that you didn’t try to take advantage of all the easy and free support opportunities to resolve your problems with the program before you came to the personal opinion that it was “very buggy”, and then published that opinion here.

However, as you will see from the Magic Lantern thread and the download statistics, there are hundreds of users of the program who seem to think otherwise.

I would just like to request one thing – that you update the article to mention explicitly inline in the text the exact version you were using (was it 1.1.7? – the latest version is 1.2.2) so that your article does not implicitly and permanently label all future versions as “very buggy”.

I would also be keen to get all the details of the problems you experienced, and help you to resolve them. I have already tried to reach out to you on twitter & on the ML forum about this. But I understand if you’ve already decided not to try using it again in future, and hence no interest in helping to improve it.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber August 17, 2014

Hi Andrew,
I appreciate your work and effort you put into the app. Will be glad if it can be advanced further and work more stable. I’m sure it will, but I know creating apps can be an effort.
I updated the article and also tried v 1.2.2 as mentioned in your forum post on the ML forum.

ddwilfork August 18, 2014

You rule.

George Sealy August 16, 2014

Thanks for posting your review and your work is really great.

I have considered ML with the 5DIII over the past several months. Anyone who looks at the video it produces has to be impressed. But your article confirms what I thought about it — the work flow can be very tedious and requires a lot of patience. I would give it a try when I have a controlled situation and no pressure. I think I could do some good things.

We do more documentary style video. It is in the field, unscripted, and there are no ‘do overs’. For that reason we went with the Ninja 2 ProRes solution. It works fine all the time, and the file import into the editor is the same as other formats. I would say it is a good compromise for those wanting better quality and yet want an efficient workflow.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber August 17, 2014

Hi George,
Thanks for the feedback and sharing your approach with the Ninja 2. If you’re fine with the image of the 5D being a bit soft, then I also think it’s a great solution. So if you’re final product is 720p, perfect.

Kayode Olorunfemi Reply
Kayode Olorunfemi November 30, 2014

The Softness of 5D Mk3 is easily fixed in post (PremPro + 20Sharpness) which makes it sharper than the 5D Mk2.

ddwilfork August 18, 2014

I don’t know which is worse – the spot or the article.
Of course it would have been easier to use an Alexa. But I’m guessing budget was an issue.

At the end, despite you seeming to have had more problems in a controlled situation than I’ve had in 8 months shooting ML RAW in the field, you had a spot you could use.

I’m glad you always have blissful experiences with camera kit on your ad shoots. I’ve had Epics die, F65s suddenly become white noise generators and Alexa (yes, even Alexas!) fall over and overheat. We still got the ads made.

ML RAW is a fantastic system, if you don’t have the budget to use other RAW shooting cameras costing over $20k. If you know what you’re doing you can get outstanding results. At the end of the day, its the operator as much as the camera….

Hisham August 18, 2014

You are right the hundred thousands film camera had its faults and bugs too and it happened in many big budget films too it happens that much in my career that i cant count but last time it happened we had a Problem with red cam and it delayed our shooting 3 hours !

Hisham August 18, 2014

— simply the Pro Golden rule to solve all Your Problems is to think before You Shoot :) —
thank You for Your review and sharing Your thoughts with us , i am very new to using ML
” almost one month now ”
but i worked in the field for a very longtime 24 years.. so from my little experience in ML and my long one in the media field i can say easly
that ..
You are totally wrong ..wrong in my opinion
first thing i noticed that You wanted a professional results and workflow but You approached Your Project in non Professional way
i build my judge here not for the good reasons said above
but Your words
” Even with the new and updated in-camera playback feature it is not easy to tell how well a shot has turned out/// until You say ” to do it 100 times a day then you see that you lose a lot of time”
// well wasn’t that obvious b4 You Shoot ??????
if not then You was far away from pro cas pro tests everything b4 the real work ,,
and if You tested this and had this opinion before Shooting then this wasnt clever a clever action and what was You trying then all 4 days You stayed with the camera ????? !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Man there is a golden rule in Pro WORKFLOW ” test and judge and get Prepared and the most important word think please think before Shooting ”
that what i know since i was assistant Director in movies ..
i will not comment on the discovery You found after shooting that workflow is complicated !!!!!!
all what You are wrong ” in my opinion of course with all my respect ” came from the unpro way You approached this project with ,,
ALL Your Points does not need a real project to see if they are true or not ,,or if there are a work around it but ……
“” Another Important Rule ,,Pro do not waste a 4 days or 4 hours even from there valuable Preparing time to the Project in trying to learn and figure a new system they do that when they are not busy , can You imagine a DOP at the early years of cinema trying to understand what is anamorphic and how and why to do it just 2 weeks away from shooting and the middle of there valuable time ?????””
Man there is too much in Your Post ,, it seems to me like You may want to use a steadycam smoothly for the first time just 2 weeks away from Your Project how is that sounds ?? :) if You do that You will end like You did telling every one that steadycam is much complicated and not to consider it Pro enough to Your Level
.. there is another rule is called the right tool for the job if my Project is so much complicated and need a shot by shot Pixel Peeping and watching every single take to observe very fine details then as a Pro the first thing i do even b4 camera is Arrange what monitor what trusted connections etc as vincent laforet said once b4 if monitoring is needed to be very Precise then he wouldnt trust a monitor below 10000$
Man You Missed a lot in this Post and You Tortured Yourself in this Project not cas of ML fault but cas You wasnt doing the Pro approach
Last thing i wana ask You did You ever Shoot on 35mm film ?? cas if You didnt that may be the reason ,, and do not try to do it You will hate it it isnt Pro enough and complicated workflow than You ever think it is plus it is amateur the camera does not record sound and can not monitor what You did at all ” You can see what video assist bring to You and that is Lately only ” and You can not record a lot on single reel :) .. i miss super 35mm days it was the days of Pro People !
sorry for my Long Reply and sorry for my bad english as it isnt my main
and sorry if You hated my words i didnt mean to hurt at all
but promise me You will think before You Shoot next time :)
and Promise me that You will never use ML or any raw workflow on Your next News Shooting cas You will be unhappy again :)

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber August 20, 2014

As it seems to make you happy to call me unprofessional, you can certainly have your shout.
I think the project turned out nicely and that’s always my goal and the priority for me. In my experience you can’t know everything beforehand as filmmaking is a process and I learn with each new tool and project. Some things you cannot know before you shoot as it would just require too much effort to test and forecast it all. If you have the budget to spend a lot of time testing then be happy about it. I didn’t have that luxury and I know many others don’t have that either nowadays, so I shared the experience I gathered from the project.
It seems I’m not as impressive and pro as you are, you made that pretty clear. Hope it brings you peace.

Markus Haraldsson August 20, 2014

Trial and error can in many instances be the best way too lern. I also use that approach even on “real” projects however if I choose that approach I expect things to brake, not work and take extra time. I think what made me react to the article was that you seemed suprised that that would be the result. Also I didn’t feel you went back afterwards and analysed/researched those things that went wrong to see if there were solutions to be found for those issues. I guess you might say that you don’t have the time or interest in spending the time doing that if you feel you have another solution you are comfortable with but if you had done that your article could really have been helpful and informative.

Ulrich A. Sterling August 22, 2014 id be very interested to hear the behind the scenes story of how well/not well MLRaw worked for these guys. the workflow kinda sucks until you hget the hang of the roundtrip through resolve.. funnily i never had any issues with Lexar Cards but my KB64 is totally bugging out even just shooting h.264 these days. just ordered two new 64 1066 lexars

Marius September 5, 2014

Thanks for the tips, very useful materials.

Bader September 13, 2014

” Exposure displayed is not always right.
The image displayed on the live-view screen is not correct in terms of exposure. The RAW recorded actually seems darker. ”

That is beceause you guys have exposure feedback based on JPEG data, i had the same problem until i found out that you need actuall feedback from the actuall RAW stream, its on JPEG on default so switch it to RAW and you will exposure correctly

John Thompson Reply
John Thompson May 7, 2015

No, really..???

Alfonso Generoso Reply
Alfonso Generoso June 17, 2015

Mmm, yeah, thanks. I think you should always use gear suitable for every single proyect, but for a lot of people out there, it’s a great production value resource. I think this setup it’s part of the indie movement, more accurate, to the non wealthy kind, let them have fun, but hey, thanks for your thougs, usefull and well exposed.

Adriano Castaldini October 13, 2015

Hi, thanks for your review. A question: which are the alternatives to have a good low-light camera + RAW? Thx

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber October 13, 2015

That is definitely FS700 + Odyssey RAW recorder + Speedbooster and Full frame lenses. Best RAW combination for lowlight hands-down.
FS7 + VMount Module + Odyssey is also a good option. Haven’t compared, but I think a little worse in lowlight, but better quality video.

Adriano Castaldini October 13, 2015

Thanks a lot, really Sebastian. But FS700+O7q means a lot money more than the 5D3+ML. 5D3 is 2500$, while FS700+O7q = 4000$+2300$, so almost 3 times the price. I’m searching for an alternative around the range of 4000$.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber October 13, 2015

HI Adriano,

I’m not aware of something that can shoot RAW + lowlight sensitivity at that pricepoint. Maybe the GH4 with SDI module can help, but it is not RAW and then the Blackmagic 2.5K (the first one) will do RAW at around ISO 800 max.


Adriano Castaldini October 20, 2015

Thanks for your reply, I still need your precious help because I’m still in doubt between 5D3 and BMCC2.5K. Both do RAW and also “easier” codec (H264 vs Prores). Both are heavy and both cost +/- the same (considering body+card+lenses+battery…) 5D3 is better in low-light, less noisy, does stills, and can mount stabilized lenses (while the faster BMCC version – mFT mount – has no stabilization at all). 5D3+ML can handle 2.5K in 3X crop mode, so with a single 35mm lens you can shoot wide and tele. Both cams involve similar RAW workflows (correct me if I’m wrong). So it seems that the RAW battle between the old 5D3 and BMCC is won by 5D3. BUT… But with BMCC you can simply point and shoot, while (correct me…) 5D3 is a lot more complicated, and up to now ML is still unstable (correct me…)
Said this, I’m not a videographer with clients or deadlines, I’m (going to be) a video-artist for experimental works: I can choose my projects and take my time.
Now, by your great experience, which is your advice for me: BMCC or 5D3? Thanks really a lot.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber October 20, 2015

Hi Adriano,
Really really hard to say. The cameras certainly have a different kind of quality to their images. The Blackmagic seems less “organic” to me, while the 5D I think can’t reach the resolution (detail) as the Blackmagic. I think you should really test both cameras and see how they work for you. The Blackmagic certainly works much better “out of the box” and the workflow will always be easier I think. This is something you shouldn’t underestimate, it can take a lot of time playing around with the 5D.

Adriano Castaldini October 22, 2015

Dear Sebastian, I finally decided to go for 5D3 + ML for RAW workflow.
It’s my very first DSLR, then I’m very doubtful about what I really need for my “minimal kit” shopping bag. So, I need – once again, I know… – your precious and kind advices.
This is the shopping list I’ve thought:
-BODY: Canon EOS 5D Mark III (2400€
-MEM. CARD: SanDisk Extreme Pro CompactFlash 256GB 160MB/s (460€
-SSD DOCK: Lexar dual-card reader USB3 (50€
-BATTERY: Canon LP-E6 (60€
-BATT. CHARGER: Canon LC-E6 (60€
-VIEWFINDER: Varavon Multifinder for Canon 5D Mark 3 (280€
-WIDE LENS: Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM (500€
-TELE LENS: Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro Canon EF (435€
-PROTECTIVE Canon: Tiffen 67mm Digital HT Ultra Clear Filter (55€
-PROTECTIVE Sigma: Tiffen 62mm Digital HT Ultra Clear Filter (75€
-ND FILTER Canon: Tiffen 67mm Variable ND (150€
-ADAPTERS: Xume 2lens+2filters 67mm adapters (95€
-CAP: Sensei 67mm Screw-In Metal Lens Cap (10€
-CLEANING KIT: Zeiss Lens Cleaning Kit (40€
-MIC: Sennheiser MKE 400 (170€
-DEADCAT: Sennheiser MZW 400 (40€
-MONOPOD: Manfrotto 685B Neotec (175€
-HEAD: Manfrotto 234RC (45€
-LIGHT: Cowboy studio 320 LED dimmerabile bi-color (205€
-REFLECTOR: Phot-R PRO 56cm (22″) Gold and Silver (25€
-COLOR CHECKER: X-Rite MSCCPP ColorChecker Passport (90€
TOT. 5420€ (damn…)

Varavon Multifinder for the possibility to see the display from above (and from the loupe, of course).
Canon 35mm and Sigma 105mm for the following reasons:
1. they are the fastest EF-fullframe lenses between stabilized ones;
2. stabilization is useful when you’re shooting handheld (both video and stills);
3. 35mm becomes an all-in-one lens thanks to Magic Lantern because you can shoot in both FF and 3X crop mode (35-85mm);
4. a “real” short tele-macro is another useful hybrid because you can focus on something far or very near;
5. stabilization in a tele lens is a even more crucial feature.
I plan to hold protective filters always on (even with ND filter).
Tiffen vND – and not the better vIRND – because of ergonomics and practicality: vND is 67mm while vIRND is only 77mm.
Xume to avoid lens/filter damaging when screwing.
I hate all 3.5”-toy-mics, but I don’t actually like even pseudo-pro-on-camera-XLR-preamps… So, all in all, MKE400 is light, should sound clean, and could be useful in point&shoot situation.
Neotec is the fastest monopod I’ve seen, and a monopod itself seems to be a good compromise between stabilization (a tripod) and flexibility (in handheld situation).
I’d like to use natural light as much as possible, but for any case I hope a little bi-color dimmable 320 LED + a portable reflector are sufficiently practical even for one-man-crew.
(Please, if you don’t agree on any point above, it’s helpful for me to know your reasons.)

Still a pair of things:
-Which camera-bag for this set?
-Which dry-box? (if you think I need one.)

Thanks really a lot!!!

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber October 22, 2015

Hi Adriano,

Sorry I cannot help you on this. Your questions are very specific and you will have decide on which parts of the gear you need for your shooting and working style!
Note the camera includes a charger.
Don’t rely on the “crop mode”, artistically it’s not always ideal to use this and I don’t know how well it works either.
Also don’t get too much stuff right away. Get the camera and some accessories and see what you need, maybe rent stuff before and by and by you will learn and see which items are required.

Adriano Castaldini October 31, 2015

Hi Sebastian, hi everybody,
I can’t find a solution to this Magic Lantern issue:
I had a “movie recording stopped automagically” message (when I tried to shoot in crop mode).
This is my set:
-firmware downgraded to 1.2.3;
-2015Apr28 Nightly Built;
-SanDisk Extreme Pro CF 256GB (ExFAT formatted via OSX Utility Disc – NOT in camera) and this is the UNIQUE card in the camera (ML files are stored in the root directory) so the card is in SLOT 1 (so no Low Level Format option possible);
-Canon Menu: Movie rec. size 1920×1080 24p ALL-I;
-Magnification: x5 (ISO and STOPS change into red on the screen);
-ML Menu: Movie > RAW video ON, 3584×1320;
-lens: 35mm f/2.0 IS USM (in ManualFocus mode, but with stabilizer ON).
I press Start button (camera icon on the screen is red) and immediately arrives the message: movie recording stopped automagically.

I tried other resolutions (always with x5 magnification): 2048×1152 gives me 8 or 9 seconds, then again the stopping message (ISO, STOPS and Camera icons always red).

I tried also 1920*1080 in crop mode: 30 seconds with Camera icon yellow, after that icon becomes red, and at 40 seconds again the stopping message.

Only in FullFrame mode (simply without magnification activated) the Camera icon is green and all works fine.

What could be the issue in crop mode? Perhaps the CF card is not fast enough? (But it declares 150MB/s writing.) Could it be the NOT-in-camera formatting method I used? Perhaps 256GB is too much for the CF card? Could it be something I didn’t set correclty in ML menu? Something else?

Please, I hope you want to help me. Thanks a lot.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 1, 2015

Please consult the Magic Lantern forum. We cannot help you on this issue here. Thanks

 Zakk Fairley Reply
Zakk Fairley November 19, 2015

Hi Sebastian, I having doing some work with RAW on Mark iii as well (mostly scenic outdoor montages). I have used some tips from other video producers and mixed in my own steps as well.
I am curious to know what you use to transcode the RAW files, what format you transcode them to, and finally what/when you use for grading the clips?

For myself, I first use the ML RAW2DNG.exe from their site. I convert the RAW files to DNGs. Next I bring them into LightRoom to do grading. Finally I bring the the files into AfterEffects as image sequences and export them as MOVs to edit in premiere.

There has to be a fairly quicker workflow that involves less processing of the files.

I would appreciate your input, thanks!

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 20, 2015

HI Zakk,
Yes that sounds tedious. Today I’m not shooting on 5D anymore, but I think I’d do it differently.
The RAWmagic app for mac is quite useful and then I’d try to get the files into Premiere directly to colour in the included Lumetri Panel.

Reply Bubathy November 30, 2015

All the points you said is correct. But to rectify these for some extent if you try connecting ATOM NINJA ASSASSIN monitor and try external recording in 4K. You get time code , 5hours raw continues recording. Pls go in the web site of

 Ugarte Carlos Reply
Ugarte Carlos April 24, 2016

Hi Bubathy.
Atomos Ninja Assassin can record 4k footage but cannot record raw unless you purchase the Atomos Shogun or the latest “Atomos Shogun Flame” with HDR capabilities.

Jules Oille November 6, 2016

What a brilliant article. Kelvins are more relevant in this application then I have ever scene. I own a camera XF300. What do you recommend as my next upgrade with RAW?