Hacking your Canon 5D MKII

Chris Dodkin

West Coast Correspondent
It's a brave new world, and just like computers and cellphones, you can now 'hack' your camera!!



Magic Lantern is an enhancement atop of Canon's firmware that makes your 5D Mark II into the 5D Mark Free. It adds new features like onscreen audio meters and zebra stripes, as well as disables the audio AGC. It is an open (GPL) framework for developing extensions to the official software, tailored for film making needs. It does not replace the existing firmware, but instead runs along side of it.

Magic Lantern is an open platform for developing enhancements to the amazing Canon 5D Mark II and 550D/T2i digital SLRs. These cameras are "game changing" for independent film makers:

It allows the use of a wide range of lenses (anything that can be adapted to the EF mount).

The 5D's 35mm full-frame sensor is larger than the RED ONE's sensor, Super 35 film.

It is approximately the size of VistaVision. This means shallower native depth-of-field than anything on the market, except for the Phantom 65.

The dynamic range and latitude are close to the capabilities of high-end HD cameras.

The low-light performance is currently unrivaled, even by the RED ONE.

But, the software in video mode has limitations, even after the recent 1.1.0 upgrade from Canon that fixed the most glaring manual exposure "bug".

That's where Magic Lantern comes in -- it turns your 5D Mark II into a 5D Mark Free. We've written extensions and widgets that fix many of the annoyances in working with the 5D Mark II on a film or video set. Our first set of fixes are targeted at the audio limitations of the camera, but there are some video enhancements included, too:

  • On-screen audio meters
  • Manual gain control with no AGC
  • Zebra stripes (video peaking)
  • Custom Cropmarks for 16:9, 2.35:1, 4:3 and any other format
  • Control of focus and bracketing

Beyond those features, however, is the ability to write your own extensions or to commission new ones. Within some limitations, we can fix many of the Canon firmware problems and plan to write widgets to address the requirements of the film users of this amazing camera.
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Interesting & very controversial..........!!

I believe this is also doable for the 7D as well.

It may offer some advantages but i am presuming it would invalidate your camera warranty should anything go wrong.

Saying that i jail broke my previous phone which is kind of the same thing as above and was trouble free. I have yet to gain the courage to jail break my I phone 4.
Yes - almost certainly