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Magic Lantern v2.3 for Canon DSLR adds great features!

magic lantern hack firmware canon intervalometer timelapse

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#1 Drew

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 07:43 PM

First of all, I have to put this disclaimer: This is still a hack of the Canon firmware and there's a possibility that you can damage your camera. Canon will NOT honor warranty on firmware fried cameras if using non-Canon firmware. SO CAVEAT EMPTOR and understand the risks.

I first have been trying the latest version of Magic Lantern V2.3 on the 5D2 for a week before delivering it to its new owner and it has impressed me. All the features I wish I had on the 5D2 is now in this firmware, including the intervalometer, zebra, focus peaking and HDR mode. While the sensor performance doesn't even get close to the 5D3, it does certainly breath new life into the 5D2 (which is discontinued) and other Canon DSLR. Best of all, many of these new functions can be used in Photo mode as well, displaying it after the pic is taken.

The one feature I most look forward to using is the intervalometer, which Nikon users have. There's an exposure ramping mode where the timelapse will correct for exposure without turning night into day due to metering issues and there're even sunset/rise modes. Here's an example:

[vimeohd]44372899[/vimeohd]



Another tool is the automatic HDR bracketing, which I'll just show the video below, what is possible:

[vimeohd]36863089[/vimeohd]


I didn't have too much time but I can't wait for the 5D3 firmware to be available. I may just go get a 60D just to start shooting! Remember, this is still a hack so understand the risks! Enjoy

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#2 HDVdiver

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 10:15 PM

Magic lantern is not a firmware hack but is an "overlay" that runs alongside the original firmware...i.e. from the CF card. It in no way alters the original firmware. Remove the card and Magic Lantern is gone.

Thus it's not analogous to the GH2 hack...or what it can do to image quality.

#3 Drew

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 11:16 PM

Well they themselves called it a hack until V2.3 came out. The overlay hacks the CHKDSK on the firmware so it can overlay the existing firmware and change settings set by Canon firmware. By definition, that's a hack. Plus I don't think pulling the card out underwater is an option! :)
There is a minute risk that values set up by the layover can be written to NVRAM and thus can brick a camera. Important to note that they have a guide to "unbrick" a camera here.

There is also the HDMI overlay kill, which allows the capture of 1620x1080i out of the Canon HDMI. From what I understand it's still 8 bit 420 but uncompressed. From the D800, the noise is increased but one can record in ProRes HQ (220mbps).

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#4 HDVdiver

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 02:35 AM

I never thought of it as being a hack even when I used ML with a Canon 5D2 since it never altered Canon's firmware. Not meaning to be pedantic but I think the term firmware "hack" is a bit of puff-up for what ML actually does (compared to Ptool). Certainly a lot less to worry about in terms of really bricking one's camera. Posted Image

From the ML Firmware Wiki:

"Magic Lantern is a custom firmware add-on for Canon dSLR cameras. It is not a hack, or a modified firmware, but it runs alongside Canon's own firmware, booting from the card every time you turn the camera on. The only modification to the original firmware is the ability to boot software from the card."

For those interested there's a new (real) hack that's just been released for some of Sony's NEX cameras. http://www.nex-hack.com


"From the D800, the noise is increased but one can record in ProRes HQ (220mbps)."

I tried it for myself a few days ago with a Ninja (must have the latest firmware and no cards in the camera)...not bad at all. The best, genuinely clean 1080p HDMI out I've yet seen from a DSLR. Recording directly to ProRes certainly gives a better image when there's movement and more overhead for post work. It's good enough to convince me to buy a D800 and a Ninja2...but my hacked GH2 still produces a far superior image (and a lot less digital artifacts).

Edited by HDVdiver, 16 August 2012 - 02:50 AM.


#5 Drew

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 07:23 AM

That quote you are using is about v2.3. It was a hack since they had to reverse engineer the firmware to understand the values and settings for each function to modify and one has to upload the overlay as firmware. It has changed significantly from the days of pulling the battery out for resets etc. Highly functional and makes the supported cameras much more versatile.
From the release notes:

Magic Lantern v2.3 represents an important milestone - professionals from all around the world are already trusting it for their paid work. We can safely say it's no longer a hack, but it's strongly heading towards a solid piece of engineering that you can trust.


As for the D800, no matter what you say, it's still a 36mp sensor trying to squeeze out a 1080 image out. It's not going to be all roses. The D4 is much cleaner and if anyone wants 35mm FF video, the D4 is definitely the one to go for. The lack of noise is just astounding even up to 25600ISO and the HDMI out delivers clean detail and better dynamic range, taking advantage of the sensors own superior dynamic range. But that D800 HDMI out does have great latitude under 400ISO, far better than any other camera short of the HDRX of Red. I wish I liked the D800 more but the UI just isn't friendly for me.

Personally, I'm going to house my Sound Device Pix240. 10 buttons to push to control the unit vs the Ninja 2 touch screen nightmare for housings.

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#6 blaisedouros

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 07:37 AM

I think the distinction is moot. Getting access to otherwise-inaccessible functions via a user-generated software patch qualifies as a hack. The degree of danger to the camera isn't relevant to whether it qualifies as a hack, just the end result.

I've been too chicken to try ML on my t3i while I've still got a warranty, but there are sure some features that look pretty interesting--focus trap for shooting birds could be VERY handy. Not to mention intermediate ISOs, especially for video; I've found that my t3i's video gets noisy pretty quickly at ISO 400 and up.

#7 HDVdiver

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 02:36 PM

As for the D800, no matter what you say, it's still a 36mp sensor trying to squeeze out a 1080 image out. It's not going to be all roses. The D4 is much cleaner and if anyone wants 35mm FF video, the D4 is definitely the one to go for. The lack of noise is just astounding even up to 25600ISO and the HDMI out delivers clean detail and better dynamic range, taking advantage of the sensors own superior dynamic range. But that D800 HDMI out does have great latitude under 400ISO, far better than any other camera short of the HDRX of Red. I wish I liked the D800 more but the UI just isn't friendly for me.

Personally, I'm going to house my Sound Device Pix240. 10 buttons to push to control the unit vs the Ninja 2 touch screen nightmare for housings.


Yes...a large MP count sensor is totally counterproductive for clean video output. The D800's "algorithm" for interpolating down from FF 36mp to 1080 is impressive (much better I think than what I was getting out of the Canon 5D2)...and even better when via HDMI...but there are still quite noticeable artifacts in the video.

That's why I'm mainly using the D800's for landscape panoramic work (with shift lenses). Stunning results! For this purpose the D4 doesn't compare. The video via Ninja is a bonus for topside shooting...and I rarely use higher ISO than 800. I wouldn't waste the time and effort to use the D800/Ninja underwater when I'm getting much better video image quality out of the hacked GH2.

Speaking of dynamic range (and the advantages of genuinely hacked HBR acquisition for color grading), have a look at what can be done with hacked GH2 by virtue of the amount of information that's stored in the HBR footage...even though it might not be obvious in the image straight out of the camera. It's certainly better than anything out of the D800 HDMI or probably most other DSLR's. Trying to do that with video from a FF Nikon or Canon would result in way too much noise and magnify the moire and other artifacts.



#8 escape

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 04:42 PM

That's why I'm mainly using the D800's for landscape panoramic work (with shift lenses). Stunning results! For this purpose the D4 doesn't compare. The video via Ninja is a bonus for topside shooting...and I rarely use higher ISO than 800. I wouldn't waste the time and effort to use the D800/Ninja underwater when I'm getting much better video image quality out of the hacked GH2.


OT but How do you deal with moire/aliasing from D800? AA filter or PP?

Edited by escape, 17 August 2012 - 04:44 PM.


#9 HDVdiver

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 09:07 PM

OT but How do you deal with moire/aliasing from D800? AA filter or PP?


I'm mainly using the D800's (two) for side-by-side still photography of panoramic landscapes. Unlike the D800e which has no AA filter and thus shows slight moire/aliasing even in still photos, the D800 has a mild AA filter so there's virtually no artifacts when taking high res still photos. This then allows careful USM in Photoshop to sharpen up the photo nicely...and end up with a better result than from the D800e.

For video even the D800 shows significant artifacting (forget the D800e)...but it's due to the process of going from 36mp to 1080. Can't do much about it but shooting HBR Prores at least helps bypass the low bit rate limitations of the internal codec. I didn't intend shooting much video with it but the Ninja is so cheap I could't help myself. Posted Image

Bottom line as far as I'm concerned...currently only the hacked GH2 produces video that I'm happy with. The Canons and the Nikons aren't quite there yet.

Edited by HDVdiver, 17 August 2012 - 11:14 PM.


#10 Drew

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 10:47 PM

EunJae

http://www.mosaiceng...s/vaf/d800.html
The D800 is in prototype now but it worked well on the 5D2.

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#11 HDVdiver

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 11:28 PM

If this is anything like the one I've used on a Canon 5D2 (friend's camera) I wouldn't waste my time. It simply does what the original AA filter does. It might visually appear to reduce artifacts ...but at the expense of an even softer image. It also seems to work better with some lenses than others.

To quote Glen Przyborski of Mosaic:

"As the info about the VAF-5D2 filter clearly mentions, the filter was designed for 35mm and longer focal length lenses. There is softening of the image on the far left and right of the screen when using a 24mm or wider FIXED lens. Specifically, the Canon 24mm F1.4L."

#12 Drew

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 01:12 AM

Sure but if you are shooting something and need to get rid of aliasing, it works. It's not made for underwater use snce there are no real line structures except maybe on wrecks. Only fools try a product without reading up on the feedback. :)

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#13 HDVdiver

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 02:11 AM

Only fools try a product without reading up on the feedback. Posted Image


LOL...I'd rephrase it as: Only fools buy a product without reading up on the feedback.

Unfortunately the way the net works there are also too many "fools" out there giving good reviews to crappy products...so, if possible, trying before buying isn't such a bad idea. Posted Image

Edited by HDVdiver, 18 August 2012 - 02:21 AM.


#14 Giles

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 11:10 AM

Why can't canon just put this stuff in the firmware anyway .. glad to know it is out there .. will have a play with it.
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#15 HDVdiver

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 10:38 PM

Why can't canon just put this stuff in the firmware anyway .. glad to know it is out there .. will have a play with it.


Sometimes Canon (or another camera maker) genuinely underestimates the importance of certain features that most users in the real world regard as desireable. On the other hand, it's often a cynical attempt to limit those very features...which with a slight firmware change suddenly becomes a "must have" spec of the next model.

To Canon's credit I remember they eventually released a firmware update for the 5D2 which incorporated some of the useful aspects of ML.

Generally the hardware of the current vidDSLRs is capable of doing much more than the factory firmware settings allow...the GH2 being the best example.

#16 escape

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 03:56 PM

Is it stable enough for underwater? Before I was using it on 550D but often it make camera to freeze.

#17 wagsy

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 07:34 PM

I use Magic Lantern on my 60D, use it all the time.
It works great for both video and stills from CBRing the video compression, HDR's, timelapse, manual audio meters and displaying more details on the screen.
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#18 Drew

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 03:59 PM

Wags, are you using QScale or CBR only? What speeds are you getting the 60D up to for video?

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#19 wagsy

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 06:13 PM

CBR 1.2 but you got to turn off they audio else it runs out of buffer even with a fast card.
Comes out like 50mbps+
Found its best to crank up all you picture settings etc as once you try to do it in post it falls apart.
Does not matter what codec you convert it too, still falls apart cause it's there in the raw footage to begin with.
Limitation with compressed H.264 DLSR footage.

Here is a little timelaspe using Magic Lantern with the 60D.
Jpeg Still images straight into VirtualDub then out as a 1920/1080 Canpous HQ or better still full size 5184/3456 Canopus HQX codec, into EDIUS and here is the result.
With the lager HQX codec you can pan and zoom the image around heaps cause of all the resolution.
There is some fireworks right at the end, kind of came out neat.

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#20 Drew

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 07:14 PM

Interesting. I guess CF cards work better cos with the 5D2 I managed CBR 2.5x with no audio for about 1 minute, but worked well at 1.7x (80+mbps) but no audio and ISO under 640. The Similaar 12p Portrait profile I tried did kick up the bitrate by a bit vs Cinestyle and Marvell. Weird!

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