A fantastic new Magic Lantern Canon EOS 5D Mark II firmware version is right around the corner and it has some amazing new features thanks to AJ Newman and others working on the update. We've been talking with Moira O’Brien whom we met on the Trammell Hudson planet5D live interview and she's kept us up to date with the latest… please take a few minutes to watch Moira's overview video and then down to the mini-review I've posted and finally, at the bottom, you'll find the download links. With thanks to Moira and AJ, we're proud to be the first in letting the planet know about this significant Magic Lantern update!
Quick overview of enhancements
- Totally redone menus
- Enhanced audio options
- False color for exposure verification
- quick access to ISO menu
- Crop marks no longer in separate file
- Audio enhancements
- New ‘AJ' menu and ML save settings on CF card
- Magic Circle enhancement to check focus with magnification
- ‘help' in the menu system – hints at what the settings do
Update from Moira
This is from Moira's update on Moving Image Cork
Magic Lantern was originally written by Trammell Hudson to overcome some of the deficiencies of the Canon 5Dmk2 when filming video and also to add functionality to stills as well. The development was taken to a certain degree but then Trammell got distracted by the real world and development stopped for a while.
Along came the T2i/550d and a lot of interest in porting Magic Lantern onto this platform (the 7D development having stalled) and a number of developers have worked on this project. The 5D strand however was largely ignored until AJ Newman decided to take up the cudgel and going back to first principles, rewrote the code from the bottom up.
Moira's visual overview of changes
Update from AJ on the ML Wiki
1) AJ MENU: *
Have a play and let me know what you think.
**2) CANON ISO MENU* :
When you change the ISO (using the button) – the Canon menu is now displayed
for about 5 seconds
3) HOTKEY* : Enhancement
More details in the FALSE COLOURS MENU. When you press/hold the Joy-Centre
for a period of time (eg 1 sec) – on release, the false colours is toggled.
4) AUDIO* : Enhancement
When configuring audio – the audio meters are shown.
Options for Microphone source, analogue gain and digital gain dashboard
5) KILL OVERLAY* :
Activatable from GREEN SCREEN MENU.
6) ML CONFIG SAVE* : Enhancement
You can save config either immediately, every time the camera is switch
off, or Once (eg to save the exact state you want ML to start up in).
7) AF-ON* : Enhancement
I have tried to untangle the DryOs spaghetti of ‘events' to enable more keys
to be on the Camera. I didn't have much success (mainly because when AF-ON
and ISO keys is pressed, the Dry-Os has a bit of fit). What I have done is
try and stop these keys from interfering with the keys in ML.
Having a play with this new version for the last couple of days I can say that this is an absolute joy… this feels so much more like a professional version than a hack. Yes, there are still some screen flickers and hiccups in the visual aspects, but the menus and controls are so nicely laid out and easy to see. And there are plenty of features included that give you access to things you've never had on your 5D2. One thing I just love is a visual display of the focus distance. The audio and visual features just blow me away.
If you've never tried the Magic Lantern software, it is a bit confusing when you start up as you're not going to see anything in the regular menus and knowing which buttons to press can be a bit of hit or miss… but here's a couple of quick lessons:
- First, to get into the ML menus, you must be in live view (obvious as heck after you realize ML is all about video HA)
- pressing on the picture styles button brings up the ML menus
- using the 5D2 joy stick scrolls you thru the menus themselves
- once in a menu item, to change the options, press the shutter button… I keep wanting to press the normal select button on the back, but d'oh! that starts and stops recording
- if you have any issues or lock ups where the camera won't respond, don't fret, pull out the battery and reinsert. This causes a reboot of the camera and all should be ok!
First, please remember this is beta firmware – this isn't even the ‘final' version, there are some bugs to be squished… and, there's the usual cautions that this is not supported by Canon or Magic Lantern, but you can try it out now with those understandings.
Moira has set up a special page where you can download the 2.0.4 version of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II firmware as well as the latest version of the Magic Lantern firmware for the 5D2 – NOTE: You download all of these items at your own risk – neither Moira or planet5D provide any warranty or support that these files will work properly nor is there any quarantee that they won't damage your camera. Use at your own peril..
A big note here – this version of Magic Lantern ONLY works with Canon firmware 2.0.4 – so if you've upgraded to the latest version of the firmware (2.0.8) you'll have to downgrade to 2.0.4 (which is nothing more than taking the 2.0.4 version and doing the normal firmware update).
For more info on Magic Lantern itself, of course you should read up on the Magic Lantern Wiki
You can also join the ML Development group for more details – and to get the absolute latest versions and to help with testing!
Our thanks to Moira and AJ for bringing this to planet5D first!
(cover photo credit: snap from Moira's video)