Canon 5D Mark III: Video compression test

The new Canon 5D Mark III comes with two compression options when recording video at 1920 x 1080 and 30 fps. They are IPB and ALL-I. The latter compression actually increases the file size by about 35% to 65%, depending on the ISO you use. The higher the ISO, the more storage savings you get by shooting with IPB instead of ALL-I compression.

Since the storage savings can be enormous, it begs the obvious question of whether IPB noticeably degrades the quality of the recording or not. See for yourself!



Videos from both cameras were acquired using the exact same settings:

  • f/8.0
  • 1/30s
  • 50mm
  • 1920 x 1080
  • 30 fps

I used the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens. Any in-camera sharpening and noise reduction was disabled. There was no post-processing done to any of the videos.

The white balance was set at auto, and the white balance was not off; the wall was orange, not white.

The ISOs tested are 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 10000, 12800, 16000, 20000, and 25600.

Please note, the higher-compression IPB is on the left, and the highest quality ALL-I is on the right.



Some comments

Until ISO 1600, there is no discernable noise in the videos. At ISO 1600 and above, the ALL-I compressions seems to have slightly lower noise. Whether that’s significant or not is really a judgement call and probably depends on the type of video being shot. Both compression methods seem pretty good though.

ISO 1600 seems to be the cutoff, where you first start noticing a discernable difference in noise between the two compression schemes. ALL-I seems to perform ever so slightly better at higher ISOs, but is that slight benefit really worth it?

I leave you to decide what you think of these compressions schemes. Honestly, I feel like you can easily use the IPB compression for most videos and save a lot on buying larger memory cards and storage space. We appreciate your comments on this video and suggestions for future ones!

Until next time!



  • April 22, 2012 at 4:56 am // Reply

    Hi ther, I am new to 5D Mark III video and I have been wandering wether using IPB or the other. Thank you for showing the test I think I am going to use IPB. Regards Clem

  • Just curious–have you tried green screen with the new mark III? Have not had good luck with the mark II and so I have steered clear; I’ve heard that one of the compressions, I suspect the IPB, is better off of the mark III? Your thoughts would be appreciated.

  • Hi, I am a virgin in the world of video recording. I’ve been doing exclusively still photography. Just fiddling with it since I figured I should use this capability on the Canon 5D Mark III sometimes. Your video really enlightened me on which video recording size to use. I am sure now I can just use IPB and save myself precious recording space. Thank you so much.

  • No matter what, i will always use the less compressed version of any technology, the results are always in some way apparent one way or another to discerning eyes.
    It’s the same argument for audio compression codecs. Some say they can’t hear a difference between a 3mb 320kbps AAC file compared to an uncompressed 55mb WAV file, but i can hear the difference. The AAC file at 3mbs stripped down from the WAV files 55mbs; now do you really think a file one tenth the size of the original is no gonna display some artifacts?
    I could see slightly more legibility and density in the ALL-I footage compared to the IPB file.
    Don’t compromise if you wanna be serious about your art, you have to be a perfectionist, DO NOT USE COMPRESSION if there’s no real need to, compression is your enemy! There is always some side-effect from using compression, unless it is stated as a loseless compression scheme, then yeah, maybe.
    By the way, the Canon 70D is using the same video spec as the 5D MK III, albeit the 70D has brand-new state-of-the-art full-time continuous autofocus, yippie!

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