Canon EOS 5D Mark III Dynamic Range - Magic Lantern vs plain 5D3

Magic Lantern increases Canon EOS 5D Mark III sensor dynamic range by 1/2 stop!

by Charlie Locke4 Comments

(planetMitch note: this is a new blogger for planet5D Charlie Locke – he's currently working on a new ebook we'll be featuring – so keep your eyes peeled on the planet5D universe! I talked to Alex at Magic Lantern about this and frankly, diving into this Magic Lantern forum thread trying to understand it all is a bit over my head as the ML team gets into some deep sensor level stuff in there! Charlie's tried to boil it down for us. I also took away from the ML thread that this may only work on the 5D3)

Magic Lantern have gone and done it again!

First it was “Hello World!”.

Then we had digital peaking, HDR video and even 14bit RAW video!

Now, Magic Lantern have ‘cracked’ the code, and been able to unleash more power from the Canon sensors, by increasing the DR (Dynamic Range).

(Note: Alex posted this image on twitter showing the test results)

Canon EOS 5D Mark III Dynamic Range - Magic Lantern vs plain 5D3

Canon EOS 5D Mark III Dynamic Range – Magic Lantern vs plain 5D3

So far all we know is that the Canon EOS 5D Mark III is soon to be getting this ‘sensor upgrade’, we don’t know which others (if any).

The Magic Lantern team do such great things for us Cinematographers and Photographers. This is just an incredible achievement even by Canon standards!

Some ISO values have unlocked 0.5 (half stop) of DR or more! This may vary from camera to camera, sensor to sensor. But the statistics look outrageously encouraging.

Tests have been done by ‘Marsu42’ of CanonRumors, which show numbers of up to 15 stops of DR when using this feature combined with the ‘dual_iso’ module that Magic Lantern already includes in their nightly builds.

Marsu42 said:

This means that for example on 5d3, iso 800 with ML has more dynamic range than iso 100 with Canon :-> … and at high iso you're getting 7% more dr which is nothing to sneeze at, esp. since it builds upon Canon's advantage vs. Nikon: d800@6400 = ~8.3 & 5d3@6400 = ~9.4 ev. According to the 6d should add another 2/3 stop (once the code is adapted for it) making good ol' Canon the superior sensor for low light high contrast shooting.

This new breakthrough is being crowned under the name of ‘ML ISO’ in comparison to normal ISO which has been conveniently labeled ‘Canon ISO’. ML ISO is said to be as easy as turning it on, and benefiting straight away. But only time will tell when further testing has been done, how good and or how efficient this feature really is.

This new feature works for both stills and video! (Amazing!)

Of course as always, with these third-party developers, I encourage you to donate to the kind people at ML, as little and as much as you can! After all, they give us all these amazing features for free! (Key word: FREE)

As a disclaimer: This is very early days. The announcement was made not even a week ago as of the time I am posting this. Proceed at your own risk, as with ALL Magic Lantern implementations.

(cover photo credit: snap from ML)


  1. Pingback: Magic Lantern Boosts Dynamic Range For Canon Cameras. As Easy As Flipping A Button - DIY Photography

  2. Pingback: Magic Lantern Increases Canon EOS 5D Mark III Dynamic Range By 1/2 Stop (up to 15 stops) | CanonWatch CanonWatch

  3. I do have one question, is it yet possible to shoot RAW using Magic Lantern on the 5D Mark III but be able to monitor on an external monitor while still keeping the on-camera monitor active?

  4. Pingback: Magic Lantern Improves Canon 5D Mark III Dynamic Range up to 15 stops

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