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Thread: Magic Lantern

  1. #1
    Andrew76's Avatar
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    Magic Lantern

    Hello all! I just wanted to update you with a quick FYI. I realize I'm quite far behind on the technological side of things here, so this may be old news, but for those who it's not,

    I have just recently downloaded, and installed Magic Lantern on my 60D. Not only is it ridiculously awesome, but it wasn't nearly as scary to install as people made it out to be. In fact, I wouldn't have put it off this long if I had known then what I know now.

    I am truly, incredibly impressed. The features, and functions are just amazing - it's like having an entirely different camera with all of these options available to me.

    I am, of course not soliciting this in any way - as Canon doesn't approve the use of it, nor does Magic Lantern even recommend installing it - so heed their advice if you wish. But, if it's something you've been sitting on the fence about, like I have been for the last 6 months, give it a try - you'll be glad you did.

    The automatic 'Stack Focus' option is more than worth the download, all on it's own. And, it's incredibly accurate. All you have to do is set the camera in front of an object, open ML, select how many photos you'd like it to take, (which in turn determines the distance between each focus point), and click the shutter release. Done. Totally amazing.

  2. #2
    ktuli's Avatar
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    Re: Magic Lantern

    Are you able to go back to stock Canon operations?

    - Bill

  3. #3
    Andrew76's Avatar
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    Re: Magic Lantern

    Yes - that's the great thing! There are several ways to access the standard Canon menus. One of them is to use an SD card that does not have Magic Lantern loaded onto it, then your camera will operate as if it just came out of the box, another way is to simply 'not access' the ML menus.

    For example - when I turn my camera on, and hit MENU, the standard Canon menu appears - it's not until you physically access the ML menus (by pressing the trash can), that they even appear! Even at that, you can toggle back and forth between the two with no issue.

    Also, if you choose to uninstall it, they've made it even easier than the install procedure - simply update to the current Canon firmware (which you should all know how to do), and format the SD cards to which you've installed Magic Lantern on. Done.

    I am definitely having a blast with it!

  4. #4
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: Magic Lantern

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew76 View Post
    ... Not only is it ridiculously awesome, but it wasn't nearly as scary to install as people made it out to be. In fact, I wouldn't have put it off this long if I had known then what I know now.
    Yes, but may I just state this latest release is a LOT more stable than previous ones have been. At least on my models (50D/5DMkII).

    But yes. ML is awesome and totally worth the small amount of time/risk of bricking it encompasses. The fact that it lives on top of the Canon firmware and doesn't replace it is something most folks haven't quite wrapped their heads around--they just know that updating firmware is scary. I will say, however, that you DO want to pay attention to the ML caveats--I have run into a completely drained battery because I pulled the memory card too soon after turning the camera off a few times. And there have been times I've had to pull the battery to get the camera to power up. So there are some side effects to using ML, depending on which camera you're using. You do want to read the Best Practices section of the wiki.

    The automatic 'Stack Focus' option is more than worth the download, all on it's own. And, it's incredibly accurate. All you have to do is set the camera in front of an object, open ML, select how many photos you'd like it to take, (which in turn determines the distance between each focus point), and click the shutter release. Done. Totally amazing.
    Ah. For me, it's the focus peaking & magic zoom for manual lens use, the auto HDR bracketing, and intervalometer that make me a happy camper. Everybody tends to gravitate towards different features.

    Also, if you choose to uninstall it, they've made it even easier than the install procedure - simply update to the current Canon firmware (which you should all know how to do), and format the SD cards to which you've installed Magic Lantern on. Done.
    NO DON'T DO THIS!!! Use the standard Canon format menu command--ML has modified it so that you can tell it to not only format the card, but also wipe ML from it. This will set the boot flag back the way it needs to go.

    I reiterate. Read the Best Practices page.

  5. #5
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    Re: Magic Lantern

    Quote Originally Posted by inkista View Post
    Yes, but may I just state this latest release is a LOT more stable than previous ones have been. At least on my models (50D/5DMkII).
    So I've been told - I understand that it wasn't always this easy, or stable - but it is now!! Lucky me!

    Quote Originally Posted by inkista View Post
    Ah. For me, it's the focus peaking & magic zoom for manual lens use, the auto HDR bracketing, and intervalometer that make me a happy camper. Everybody tends to gravitate towards different features.
    I do like the auto bracketing - how could you not!?!? I also like all the little techy/nerd add-ons like the raw temperature gauge for the sensor, specific battery life indicatory, memory left on card function, etc, etc, etc.....

  6. #6
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    Re: Magic Lantern

    Sounds like a different version of CHDK: http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK Not that it's useful for DSLRs, CHDK is made mostly for the Powershot series.

  7. #7
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    Re: Magic Lantern

    Yes, Jim. It looks very similar - with a few extra options for the dSLR.

  8. #8
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: Magic Lantern

    Quote Originally Posted by binsurf View Post
    Sounds like a different version of CHDK: http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK Not that it's useful for DSLRs, CHDK is made mostly for the Powershot series.
    Yes, ML acknowledges that CHDK paved the way and was a major inspiration for their project. But it is distinct and separate. From their FAQ:

    Does it work with CHDK?

    We have used some of the CHDK tools to learn about Canon firmware files, but this is all new code. They have done an amazing job of supporting hundreds of different camera models across multiple architectures and operating systems. At some point in the future chdk might be ported to the 5D Mark 2, but this project is much more focused on just the 5D Mark II and the needs of film makers. CHDK is a great project for Canon's Point-and-Shoot cameras. Without their initial effort in understanding DryOS, Canon's firmware files and the boot process, I wouldn't have been able to make as much progress as quickly as I did. While I was able to use modern tools to analyze dump files of ROM images thanks to their efforts, they got started bitbanging a UART via the status LED on a camera body. That's truly hardcore.
    The best geeky bit of ML is that you can write your own scripts and load them up into the camera (yes, you can "hello, world" from ML). And I love that when you do the HDR/enfuse/focus stacking deal, ML will automatically generate scripts for enfuse/align_image_stack, etc. for you, so if you've got those command line tools on your box, you can just run the script vs. having to faff about with GUI apps.

  9. #9
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    Re: Magic Lantern

    Quote Originally Posted by inkista View Post
    The best geeky bit of ML is that you can write your own scripts and load them up into the camera (yes, you can "hello, world" from ML). And I love that when you do the HDR/enfuse/focus stacking deal, ML will automatically generate scripts for enfuse/align_image_stack, etc. for you, so if you've got those command line tools on your box, you can just run the script vs. having to faff about with GUI apps.
    CHDK also allows scripting using LUA.

  10. #10
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    Re: Magic Lantern

    Welcome to the club, Andrew.

    I was a bit freaked out when I did the initial installation. Totally worth it for the focus peak and live histogram features. Mainly useful for tripod shots, but ML is the best $0 I've ever spent on gear. It seems to fill all the gaps in Canon's firmware that people gripe about. Very clever. However, I still want something that'll tell me the Kelvin temperature derived from a custom white balance (helpful when adding color-correction gels to flashes).

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    Re: Magic Lantern

    Thanks Lex! I know I'm a little late to jump on board, but I was leery, of course for no good reason.

    And yes - it's the best $0 I've ever spent too!

  12. #12

    Re: Magic Lantern

    One of the quietly cool features of ML is that you can entirely skip it on startup. Just hold the SET button while powering up, and the official firmware will be loaded instead. As ML uses a bit more power, this can be useful for battery savings.

  13. #13
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    Re: Magic Lantern

    Yes, 'cpc'. I did read that - I haven't really run into any issues with battery power - yet. But I also haven't used ML to it's full potential either!

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    Re: Magic Lantern

    resurrecting this....
    ....I've seen Magic Lantern mentioned on few Blogs. Most recently on their latest version. I've been reading up on it and I'm about to try it. What I found interesting is that with ML, you can bracket more than 3 exposures! My one grip is that there is not enough instructions.

    My questions:
    On installation, it says to unzip ML to the root of the card. I'm assuming they mean the main directory as in d:\. (if d is my card directory) some instructions outside of ML page, have additional steps. Possibly old instructions?

    relating to stacking and the generated scripts: Can this be useful if you have enfuse in lightroom? or is the script only for stand alone enfuse?

    Does anyone have photo's they've used with ML?

  15. #15
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: Magic Lantern

    Quote Originally Posted by orlcam88 View Post
    ... My one grip is that there is not enough instructions.
    Yup. Written by geeks for geeks. Geeks don't read documentation. There is a full copy of the help in ML itself, though. And that can sometimes see you through. When you're in an ML menu, hit the INFO button, and the help text will appear.

    My questions:
    On installation, it says to unzip ML to the root of the card. I'm assuming they mean the main directory as in d:\. (if d is my card directory)
    Yup. That's what they mean: root = the top-level directory = /.

    I'd highly recommend using information on the magiclantern.fm site, rather than the older Wiki site.
    E.g., use these installation instructions: http://wiki.magiclantern.fm/install

    relating to stacking and the generated scripts: Can this be useful if you have enfuse in lightroom? or is the script only for stand alone enfuse?
    The script is for command-line usage of enfuse, not through a GUI. And it pretty much just does what the plugin does, so I'd say don't worry about the script and just use LR/Enfuse instead. The only reason to use the script is if you're a Linux user, or you want to batch process a ton of images. You can run the scripts natively from the command line of UNIX boxes like OSX or Linux flavors, but on Windows, you may need to use something like cygwin, and that's a whole 'nother level of weird if you're not a UNIX geek.

    If you wanted to use enfuse for focus stacking, just reweight the three "selection" parameters in LR/Enfuse so that contrast is the main selection criteria (in focus => higher contrast). With enfuse, the selection parameters of contrast, saturation, and exposure are all relative to each other, so 1:1:1 is the same as 0.5:0.5:0.5.

    Does anyone have photo's they've used with ML?
    Magic Lantern
    Canon 5DMkII. EF 40mm f/2.8 STM. auto-HDR bracketing via ML, combined with LR/Enfuse

    You could also check out the ML Flickr group pool.
    Last edited by inkista; 20th May 2013 at 08:57 PM.

  16. #16
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    Re: Magic Lantern

    Interesting thread. I've been aware of ML for some time, but I use a Canon 7d.
    They recently announced a version for the camera but it seems very much a beta version.
    Has anyone any experience of it ?
    James

  17. #17
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    Re: Magic Lantern

    Quote Originally Posted by James G View Post
    Interesting thread. I've been aware of ML for some time, but I use a Canon 7d.
    They recently announced a version for the camera but it seems very much a beta version.
    Has anyone any experience of it ?
    James
    I don't have a 7D, so no. And if I did, I'm not sure I'd risk it, yet. AFAIK, they're up to Alpha 2, but they haven't even hit beta.

    The difficulties with the 7D are that it has two processors, not one, and up until then, they'd only worked on single-processor versions of the firmware. Sussing out which processor does what and when has been their big challenge.

    Just me being overly cautious, but I'd at least wait until there's an RC (release candidate) version out there, and leave the alphas and betas to the folks willing to risk their cameras as test platforms.

  18. #18
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    Re: Magic Lantern

    Kathy thanks.
    I check ML pages fairly infrequently and was aware of the 2 processor issue. I too am cautious. My 7D is my workhorse so I'm very leery about compromising it. That said, what Ive seen an read about ML makes me want to try it. Just have to be patient a bit longer..... James

  19. #19
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    Re: Magic Lantern

    Thank you very much Kathy! I'm going to try it today. I'll have to upgrade my firmware first.

  20. #20
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    Re: Magic Lantern

    Quote Originally Posted by inkista View Post
    You could also check out the ML Flickr group pool.
    Wow, I just got on to Flickr and it's all changed! Also, we now get 1tb of free storage!!! As for the pictures, fabulous!

    Thanks again.

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