Magic Lantern RAW video kills H.264 for high ISO video! Are multiples of ISO 160 still right?

by planetMitch4 Comments

We've talked a lot about the new Magic Lantern RAW video enhancements lately (and I'm afraid you're going to keep hearing about it because it is a significant enhancement to the Canon DSLR video line) but you have also got to see this test!

It has been shown you get a lot more dynamic range and sharpness with the Magic Lantern RAW video, but how well can you handle higher ISOs in video? This video from Dustin J Tolman shows just how amazing this is! Here's a screen grab I made from the downloaded original size.

High ISO sample (6400) from Dustin J Tolman's test. Look at the difference between RAW and H.264! Click for larger view

High ISO sample (6400) from Dustin J Tolman's test. Look at the difference between RAW and H.264! Click for larger view

You'll notice when you watch the video and you can see it in the sample above, there's some additional ‘halo' around the candle flame as compared to ISO 100 – but the total noise surrounding the flame is so much lower than H.264 video from the Canon EOS 5D Mark III!

While I've included the video below, if this sparks your interest, you should download the original video since Dustin has allowed downloads on vimeo.

Read also below what Dustin had to add when we asked him more! Plus, see what our forum moderator Squig has discovered about ISO 100 vs 160 in H.264 vs RAW below as well!

The past 2+ weeks have been pretty amazing! Just look at this coverage we've had!

Recent coverage

Magic Lantern vs H264 ISO Shootout

[tentblogger-vimeo 67175997]

An ISO test comparing Canons H264 compression vs Magic Lantern's 14 Bit RAW hack.
• First I converted the RAW files with ML's raw2dng.
• Next I dragged the files into Photoshop which opened up Adobe Camera Raw.
• I selected the first image and used the auto white balance setting which got rid of the heavy magenta tone.
• Then I synchronized the additional files, and exported them as 16bit tiff files.
• First I tried to use QuickTime 7 to create an image sequence, but it render the video with incorrect color.
• So instead of QT I ended up using Final Cut Pro X to create an image sequence to a ProRes 422 HQ output.
Canon 5dmk3 @ F8
Canon 70-200 2.8L IS II @ 200mm
Technicolor Cinestyle
Music – Soundgiant

From Dustin

Hey Mitch,

The ISO test was amazing. I didn't know what to expect at first, I really just wanted to do a video that I hadn't seen yet within the ML RAW arena.

Couple notes I took during the process.

  • keep a charged battery because frames will start dropping once the battery is around 20-30%.
  • there's an important comment on the Vimeo from squibs (with ML link) about the ISO being the best in increments of 100. I found that very interesting.
  • in post, I noticed lots of magenta over the whole video, but was able to get rid of it easy with ACR (adobe camera raw) as simple as using the auto white balance. DO NOT USE QT7. The output had the iso's at 640 looking like 12,800 for some reason, and basically threw off the whole process maybe a setting?

I really can't wait to see where this RAW bis goes. Imagine if canon were to let developers and testers create products the same way ML is. Imagine if the world was run this way…

Dustin J Tolman
Photographer | Videographer

Squig tests ISO – are multiples of 160 still valid?

In one of the comments on vimeo, our planet5D forum moderator Squig made this comment:

Keep in mind that the “clean” ISOs are the opposite of what they were with H.264. I'm seeing much less noise with multiples of 100.

Here's a small section of the sample Squig posted on the ML thread… (it is cut off by the Magic Lantern template itself)

5D MK3 Raw sensor ISO noise samples

5D MK3 Raw sensor ISO noise samples


What do you think? Isn't the Magic Lantern team doing some amazing stuff?

We encourage you to comment about this — and we're offering big incentives! So, please join the conversation in the forums!

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)