Canon Log – What is it?

What is Canon Log?

Canon Log is a staple feature in Canon’s Cinema EOS range and is designed to deliver an 800 percent increase in dynamic range, minimising the loss of detail in the darkest and brightest parts of the image. When using Canon Log on the EOS 5D Mark IV, an ISO setting of 400 will deliver the largest dynamic range of 12 stops, perfect for shooting in difficult lighting conditions

Ensuring maximum freedom in post-production, Canon Log alters the image processing data after the image has been captured. As a result, videographers and filmmakers will find it easy to colour match with footage shot on other cameras.

You can take advantage of a CMOS’s native ability by shooting in a RAW mode, where available, but this produces huge file sizes and has significant processing overheads. A more effective option is a log gamma mode, which preserves much of the dynamic range without the hassle of RAW.

The most obvious use for Log is when shooting in tricky lighting conditions where there are high contrasts between bright and dark areas because it reduces the chance that important detail is missed out by over- or underexposure.

Canon Log also reduces noise, particularly in shadow areas that can appear during colour grading

But there is a downside, or at least something that must be considered. Because of the way a mode like Canon Log picks up more detail in shadows and highlights but flattens the contrast, it makes the job of grading more involved. Virtually all footage will need to be colour corrected in some way during post-production, but Log footage needs much more sophisticated attention than simple adjustments of low, middle and high levels.

The benefits of Log far outweigh this extra labour, however. Whilst relying on “doing it in post” is not a recommended strategy, Log footage provides a maximum creative potential at the grading stage.

Canon Log also works with and complements several EOS 5D Mark IV camera features including 4K shooting, Dual Pixel CMOS AF, high speed 119.9p shooting in HD and 59.94p shooting in Full HD. 4k 4:2:2 8bits HD 4:2:0 8 bits

Use with LUT’s (look up table) a colour matrix used for converting the images Gamma and colour space.


Setting the Camera to Record Log

Navigate to Canon Log Settings in the menu and enable. A warning message will flag up, prompting you to turn off peripheral illumination to reduce noise. Canon Log icon will flash on the screen to remind you.

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The image will be flatter and darker on the LCD. There is a view assist mode in settings to help with this.


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This adds a wide DR monitoring LUT to the LCD, this doesn’t affect the internal recording just displayed image.


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View assist doesn’t affect HDMI output so if you using an external recorder it will always include Canon Log Gamma when enabled, bare this in mind!

Metered middle grey in Canon Log should fall at around 40% this would be 50% if not in Log!

You can still take 4k framegrabs (8 Mega Pixel stills) they will also have Canon Log applied if enabled
Important Note: Features not supported in Canon Log on the 5Dmk4 include:

In camera HDR

Time Lapse movies

Auto Exposure and Auto ISO

Peripheral illumination is not available in 4k

Picture styles will also be greyed out

Here’s a list of the main features of the 5DMk IV:

  • 30 Megapixel Full Frame CMOS sensor with ISO 100-32000 (Lo: 50 and H1:51200, H2: 102400) sensitivity range
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF in live view and movies
  • 61-point High Density Reticular AF II – AF points over wide area, 41 cross-type sensors, EOS iTR, AI Servo AF III, 61 AF points with 21 cross-type at F8, and -3EV
  • 7 frames/second with selectable burst speeds and silent shutter mode
  • DIGIC 6+ Processor for outstanding image processing speed and camera responsiveness
  • 150k pixel RGB+IR metering sensor
  • Built in GPS
  • Built in WiFi with FTP option and NFC
  • Compatible with Canon Camera Connect App (iOS and Android)
  • 1.6 million dots 3.2inch LCD monitor with full touch screen operation
  • EOS Movies – 4K video up to 30p, Full HD up to 60p, HD up to 120p with Canon Log via chargeable upgrade service
  • 100% magnification Intelligent Viewfinder II with electronic overlay
  • Mirror Vibration Control System to reduce mirror vibration blur
  • CF + SD (UHS I) dual memory card slots
  • Digital Lens Optimizer, Peripheral Illumination and Chromatic Aberration Lens Correction in camera
  • Multiple Exposure and HDR mode
  • Improved Weather resistance
  • Built-in timer functionality – bulb timer and interval shooting timer
  • Timelapse movie function
  • Built in IPTC support
  • 150,000 shutter cycle life
  • Compatible with most 5D III accessories (Not USB cables and WFT-E7 must be firmware updated)