Thank you Prolost Flat, now it's time for PIXLA HTP

If not Canon Log, then what?

OK, so with the Canon 1Dx mkII, Canon Log is out the window and we have to find what the best alternative picture profile is.
Plenty of Canon users have been shooting for years with the so called “Prolost” settings, myself included. Although, at the time I didn’t use that name.

Prolost.com is the blog by all-around-nice-guy Stu Maschwitz. Stu has been living in and around the film industry for a long time—he worked at Industrial Light and Magic at one point.

When the Canon 5D mkII was released many of us jumped at the camera: full HD video recording on a 36x24mm sensor! Unheard of. The image had aliasing and the codec was seriously compressed 8bit, h.264, but that didn’t matter. To get the most out of the images then, we turned down the contrast of our favourite picture profile all the way down and reduced in camera sharpness too. It was recommended to also reduce saturation by one or two steps. Stu blogged about this and gave name ‘Prolost Flat’ to the following settings: Sharpness all the way to the left, contrast all the way to the left and saturation to -2. I was using similar settings myself, but with saturation at -1.

Now, it’s much easier to refer to the “Prolost settings” than to start specifying where each setting for contrast and so on has to go. That is why I now offer you—tongue firmly in cheek—my Pixla HTP settings.

The Pixla HTP settings

The Pixla HTP settings build upon what we already know, the Prolost Flat settings, but make use of an additional tool in Canon cameras: Highlight Tone Priority.



Highlight Tone Priority, HTP going forward, has been in Canon cameras for a long time. I remember it being marketed towards wedding photographers, offering them assistance to not blow out white wedding dresses when shooting .jpg. It doesn’t do anything to the image data when shooting raw, so it’s often dismissed by serious photographers—but it has its use for video. Here’s how it works:
Dig deeper…

Canon 1Dx mkII as 1Dc replacement?

The king is dead, long live the king

Canon has announced their new pro body, the Canon 1Dx mkII. Apart from expected general improvements to its predecessor—the Canon 1Dx—it also improves on some features found in the more expensive cinema eos version of the same body—the Canon Cinema EOS 1Dc.
The Canon 1Dc was launched at a price of around $12.000 when the 1Dx cost about $6800. It was a hefty difference for a very similar feature set. The main distinguishing features of the 1Dc was the internal 4k video recording capability at high bit rates of 520 Mbit/s as well as having Canon’s cinema picture profile, Canon Log.

Canon’s new camera, the 1Dx mkII, improves the internal 4k recording capability and can record 60 fps at 800Mbit/s. Since it isn’t a part of the Cinema EOS family, it doesn’t get Canon Log at launch. While the absence of Canon Log is a frustration to existing 1Dc users and new hopefuls, the new 1Dx mkII offers Canon’s excellent Dual Pixel auto focusing system—a first for a full frame sensor.

It begs the question: does the improved frame rates and added DPAF functionality outweigh the lack of Canon Log? The Log picture profile is a large contributor to the final look of the image and sets the 1Dc apart from cheaper more accessible DSLRs.

Can the new 1Dx mkII replace my 1Dc?

I have been a Canon 1Dc user since April 2013. I was one of the very first owners in Switzerland. I like the camera very much and shoot my videos exclusively in Canon Log. Since I already have access to the normal picture profiles on my 1Dc—as well as Canon Log—I have started investigating how much it will hurt me if I have to fall back to, let’s say the ‘Normal’ picture profile with all the settings like contrast and sharpness turned down.

In a series of blog posts I will go through my own mental check list to see where I land. I have already ordered a 1Dx mkII, but delivery is not until April or so. The reason being, I already know that the usability features of the 1Dx mkII like DPAF, 4k60p and some GPS functionality will make it my go to camera for personal stuff. I will keep my 1Dc initially and in comparing the two cameras I will call out the differences as I see them. I don’t feel biased one way or another.

It will be fun and educational!