Magic Lantern and You

Magic Lantern and You


…is how my colleagues expect me to open this post. And to be honest? That’s fair. I love magic lantern. It’s basically the reason my t3i is still in service. While I love my rebel, ML really opens it up and takes it to another level.

So, what is magic lantern? Before we continue, we have to mention: Installing Magic Lantern is done at your own risk! We cannot guarantee success, no issues, full functionality, etc. and Canon does not approve of using it. 

Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 3.49.16 PM (2)So now, on to the fun stuff.

  • First off, according to the ML team, it is not a hack.  We don’t necessarily agree with them, but it’s important to note their stance.
  • It is a firmware you add on your SD/CF cards. It only takes up about 10mb, so don’t worry about reduced space on the card.
  • It allows an insane amount of customization and tools for your Canon camera. Most DSLR’s produced by Canon can have it installed.
  • If you remove the SD card, your camera functions without it. If you want to use the Canon menus while it’s running, that works too. It is useful to think of it as a parallel firmware.

Here are few of the tools we find to be the most useful/fun on ML, as to detail them all would be silly. If you are comfortable adding it to your camera, go for it and test it yourself! While we have never had any issues with it, there is always a risk when you use a non-verified 3rd party installation on your equipment. That being said, if the ML team has showed us anything, it’s that Canon’s cameras are capable of much more than they let us have out the box.

Hooray moire!

Woot! Digital zoom! (Sorry, it can’t solve moire)

  • Intervalometer. That’s right, a built in intervalometer. You can take high-resolution, raw stills for a good time-lapses. We use this regularly.
  • Live-view/Rec. picture style. If you use FLAAT, CINESTYLE, or another picture style designed to flatten your image for coloring, you can set your pre-record view to a more saturated look to get an idea of what your image will end up looking like at the end.
  • Zebras/Focus Peaking. Self-explanatory, for the most part. You can set your camera to show what’s over-exposed and get a solid feel for what’s in focus on the fly.
  • Digital zoom while recording. You are able to zoom and check focus while recording, a feature needed for way too long.
  • Lastly, one of the simplest and most useful features: Audio metering. At the top of your liveview you can see your audio levels (a feature only recently added by Canon with the 5DIII).

Here’s the install guide from the ML Wiki. Basically:

1) Make sure camera firmware is up to date (UNLESS IT’S A 5DIII)
2) Download the files
3) Low Level Format your card
4) Drag and drop ML files onto the SD card
5) Go to “M” mode. Do the Update Firmware process on your camera and voila!

Used Magic Lantern before? Have any questions on it? Give us a shout!

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