For those of you who have dealt with Canon DSLR video, have no doubt felt limited by some of the features that the camera offers, BUT, you very likely haven’t yet tried Magic Lantern!
DSLR image quality is stellar, and the ability to switch between multiple lenses is highly convenient, however, the lack of being able to monitor audio is frightening and the 4gb file size limit is inconvenient.
Enter Magic Lantern. Magic Lantern is a free firmware upgrade developed by ordinary folks like you and me, and has no formal affiliation with Canon. It opens the door to tons of features and improvements that would be otherwise unavailable. Here are the top 4 advantages I’ve found so far after playing with Magic Lantern for a short period of time on my 60D.
1. With Magic Lantern you can see live audio meters while you shoot at the top of the lcd screen. No more blind audio recording, and no more need to carry around an external audio box. You can also now monitor your audio directly from the camera using earphones and a small adapter!
2. Magic Zoom. This one is great! Magic zoom shows you a zoomed in area of your focus point as picture in picture on the top left your lcd screen. I find this much handier that having the whole screen zoom in and allows you to focus on the fly with great ease while being able to keep track of your subject.
3. Built in intervalometer. Magic Lantern has an intervalometer built in, so there is no need to spend extra money and have to shlep around any extra gear to achieve great time lapses. The best part of it is, that at the bottom of the LCD screen, you can see how many shots it will take based on the space available on your memory card, how long it will take to reach that many shots, and how long your resulting time lapse will be based on 30 frames per second.
4. No more 4gb file size limit. Magic Lantern allows you to continue rolling past 12 minutes! This happens by automatically creating a new file (causing a small skip in your footage) or by giving you the ability to lower the bitrate of your video.
These are just a few of the main features I’ve noticed and liked, but there are plenty more including HDR video, Bulb timing for sunset/sunrise time lapses, the ability to map the movie button to ‘C’ on the mode dial to avoid having to turn the dial all the way around and lots more!
Everything you need to know about Magic Lantern can be found here.
Make sure to read all the info and the instructions very carefully before installing!
Happy magical shooting!