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... for Canon 550D, 60D, 600D, 500D and 50D

Magic Lantern pre0.2.2 -- User's Guide


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Features Edit

Important notes Edit

  • If you have a bootable SD card and have the BOOTDISK flag set in the camera (which the installer does), and you do not have an AUTOEXEC.BIN file on the card the camera WILL NOT BOOT! It will hang and not wake up until the battery is removed.
  • If you encounter a "locked up" camera, quickly remove the battery.
  • When in doubt, remove the battery and reboot.
  • And, remember that this software can damage or destroy your camera.

FAQ Edit

Does Magic Lantern completely replace Canon firmware? Edit

No. Magic Lantern runs from the card, as an add-on over standard firmware. You will still be able to access all Canon functionality.

To go back to Canon firmware, you may:

  • Press and hold SET at startup to bypass ML only once (for the current session).
  • Format your card in the camera and choose to remove Magic Lantern.
  • Disable the bootflag (this will uninstall ML from the camera; to do this, run Firmware Upgrade and follow the instructions).

How do I erase all of the images without removing ML? Edit

Canon menu -> Format -> Format card, keep Magic Lantern.

How do I record for more than 12 minutes? Edit

  • Lower the bitrate (CBR 0.4 will let you record continuously for 30 minutes).
  • Use Movie restart, but you will lose a few seconds when a new file is created.
  • To record continuously for more than 30 minutes, you need to use a HDMI recorder. Select Clear Overlays: Always to hide all graphical overlays and enable Half-press shutter: Every second to prevent the camera from shutting down.

Technically, there's no 12 minute limit. There's a 30 minute limit and a 4 GB limit, whichever comes first. With default bitrate settings, the 4 GB limit is reached after around 12 minutes (more or less).

How do I get exposure times longer than 30 seconds? Edit

You may use:

How do I see shutter counter / CMOS temperature? Edit

Look in Debug menu.

Does ML eat batteries faster, or cause overheating? Edit

No. Even with zebras and focus peaking active, the power draw only increases by 5%, compared to standard firmware. You can do your own tests if you have a 60D.

Magic Lantern can reduce power consumption by dimming or turning off the LCD screen, or by pausing LiveView without moving the mirror. See Power saving for details.

Tip: batteries are not expensive; however, third-party models may last less than original Canon batteries. See this topic.

Does ML do any persistent changes to my camera? Edit

Yes. Besides the bootflag (which is required for auto-boot), there are a number of other changes which are saved into NVRAM. These are:

  • ISO, shutter, aperture, white balance;
  • Exposure compensation, drive mode;
  • Picture style and associated parameters;
  • Flash settings (enabled/disabled, exposure compensation, red eye reduction);
  • AF points, AF mode in LiveView, focus box position;
  • Exposure simulation setting (in Expo menu; disabled temporarily when using 5x/10x zoom modes);
  • Backlight level (for example, it's lowered temporarily if you use Dim display for power saving);
  • Autofocus is moved temporarily to back (*) button whenever ML has to take a picture without autofocusing. This includes HDR bracketing and bulb exposures.
  • Autofocus is moved temporarily to half-shutter when you use AF patterns, while changing the AF point;
  • Sound recording is disabled temporarily when you use FPS override;
  • On 600D, video mode may be changed via ML shortcut key;
  • On 60D, INFO button function may be changed if you enable DispOFF in photo mode;
  • On 50D, movie recording function is changed from ML menu (yes, this is a persistent Canon setting, but it's not present in Canon menus).

With few exceptions, these settings can also be changed from Canon menus or controls.

A few settings are changed temporarily during certain operations (for example, autofocus for bracketed shots), but these settings are saved by Canon firmware in NVRAM. If you take the battery out in the middle of the operation (for example, in the middle of taking a picture), ML won't be able to restore these settings back to your initial values, and you'll have to change them back from Canon menus.

To the best of our knowledge, all these settings are restored to default values when you run "Clear camera settings" and "Clear custom functions" from Canon menu.

All persistent changes can be seen in ML source code by examining the calls to prop_request_change. Some of the changes are not persistent (for example, LiveView zooming), and they were not included in the above list.

Why the audio is so quiet / noisy after disabling AGC? Edit

You will have to adjust the volume manually; use the audio meters to determine the proper level.

Best audio is obtained by use of a preamp system fed to the camera. As a general rule, the use of a quiet preamp to send the signal to the camera will result in better the sound recorded in camera. Use of a preamped XLR adapter like the JuicedLink CX231 or a field mixer will give superior results. You may also use a recorder like Zoom H1, H2 or H4n, but since the line out level is much higher than the mic level, you will have to turn the output down from your recorder or use a pad cable.

For more info, check out the Canon DSLR Audio thread on dvxuser and AGC Disable - Magic Lantern vs. Juicedlink? on dvinfo.

Why does the camera take pictures when pressing the shutter half-way? Edit

Trap focus may be active.

My camera freezes / I get ERR70/80/99 / I get corrupted files. Why? Edit

  • Format your card. Some of these problems are caused by filesystem corruption or cheap card readers. Always use the safe removal feature before you unplug your card from your computer.
  • Run the stability test from the Debug menu. If it fails, upgrade Magic Lantern and run the test again.
  • If you still have problems, report an issue.

What about ERR20 when taking pictures? Edit

This problem is not related to (or caused by) Magic Lantern.

You will get this error when your shutter mechanism no longer works properly. Contact your Canon service center.

Consider entering your shutter count in the Camera Shutter Life Database.

Why feature X doesn't work properly? Edit

  • Read the manual. In many cases you will find the solution.
  • Try upgrading to the latest build. In some cases, downgrading to an earlier build will also help.
  • Search the Vimeo ML user group, the issue tracker and the mailing list.
  • If you still have problems, report an issue (if you've found a bug) or ask on the forums.

Known issues Edit

  • First second of recorded audio may be very loud.
  • Sometimes, rack & stack focus simply refuse to work, and you need to restart your camera.
  • SD monitors are NOT supported. Image format is not YUV422 (unlike with built-in LCD display and HDMI).
  • Not all ML features are available on all compatible cameras (go to Unified/Features to see what works on each camera).

Key shortcuts Edit

PLAY mode shortcuts Edit

  • Q (550D), UNLOCK (60D), DISP (600D) or FUNC (50D): show exposure tools (zebra, false color, histogram, waveform, spotmeter) and cropmarks (as configured from LiveV menu).
  • LV: create a transparent overlay from current image (when Ghost Image is active). You can use it for panoramas or for repeating shots.
  • SET + Main Dial (Wheel) in PLAY mode: see SET+MainDial.
  • MENU: open ML playback menu.

LCD sensor shortcuts Edit

This feature is only available on 550D and 500D.

LCD sensor can be used as a simple remote (see LCDsensor Remote ), as a simple wireless follow focus, or as shift key (see also SensorShortcuts option).

  • LCD sensor + UP / DOWN: adjust LCD backlight level.
  • LCD sensor + LEFT / RIGHT in LiveView: adjust audio gain (volume for recording).
  • LCD sensor + Arrows: see Follow Focus.
  • LCD sensor + Zoom In: activates Magic Zoom.

Flash/Disp button shortcuts Edit

This feature is only available on 550D (Flash button in Movie mode) and 600D (DISP button).

Misc shortcuts Edit

  • SET pressed at startup: loads vanilla firmware (does not load Magic Lantern).
  • ISO -> LV: switch to Movie mode (from photo mode). To switch back to photo mode, you need to turn the mode dial back and forth one notch.
  • ISO -> DISP (550D) / ISO -> INFO (600D) / Metering (60D): change current display preset.
  • Zoom In while recording: it does just that :) (Magic Zoom)
  • MENU while recording will clear the screen and force a redraw of ML elements.
  • SET in LiveView: center AF area (the little rectangle).
  • Q followed by SET, while ISO speed dialog is active: go to ISO item in ML menu.
  • Activating AF mode dialog when Manual Focus is active will toggle Trap Focus.

Magic Lantern menu Edit

  • Press ERASE button (exception: Picture Style on 50D) to bring up the Magic Lantern menu.
  • Use arrow keys, joystick or scrollwheels to navigate.
  • Use SET and PLAY to toggle values.
  • Use Q to open a submenu with more settings.
  • Press INFO or DISP button to get help.
  • Press MENU to display the advanced menu.
  • In LiveView, press Zoom In to display LiveView behind ML menu.

For cameras without Q:

  • 5D Mark II: press the Picture Style button.
  • 50D: press the FUNC button.
  • 500D: press the LiveView button.

AudioMenu-550D

LiveVMenu-550D

MovieMenu-550D

ShootMenu-550D

ExpoMenu-550D

FocusMenu-550D

TweakMenu-550D

DebugMenu-550D

ConfigMenu-550D

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