Magic Lantern is an open platform development software especially designed for Canon DSLR cameras and it helps in changing and improving the video making experience for film makers. It is not a hack or a modified firmware, Magic Lantern is basically an add-on and runs alongside Canon’s default firmware. The software is stored in the SD card and is run by the camera every time the DSLR is switched on.
Initially Magic Lantern introduced features for video makers but in the later versions, it brought features for both, video enthusiasts and photographers. The key features of Magic Lantern include Focus Assist tools, manual audio, motion detection, zebras and bracketing. Apart from these key features, other features offered by Magic Lantern include HDR options, extended options, built-in time lapse, peak UV meters etc.
The best thing about Magic Lantern is that it is absolutely free for Canon owners and does not require owners to format or re-install the default camera’s firmware. And when you feel the need to delete the software, all what you need to do is format the SD card, and Magic Lantern is gone!
The software can be used on various Canon models including Canon 5D, Mark II and 550D. It is still in development for Canon EOS 70D. Magic Lantern also allows for the use of a wide variety of lenses. Film makers had originally reported a few bugs when using Canon DSLR cameras, but since the introduction of Magic Lantern, all of the issues have been resolved. Enhancements include on-screen audio meters, zebra stripes, manual gain control, control of focus and bracketing plus custom crop marks for numerous formats such as 16:9 and 4:3.
The open source feature of Magic Lantern enables everyday users to download the source code and be a part of developing the code. Similarly, Magic Lantern has a fully documented developer’s API which means the scripting support has extended the API to everyday users.
Magic Lantern has various features to offer for different categories such as:
- Audio – provides tools which users need to capture the cleanest sound at perfect levels
- Exposure – provides quick access to exposure related settings
- Live View Overlays – focus & exposure assistants in movie, play mode and live view
- Movie – provides tools to improve the quality of video
- Shoot – helps in replacing external accessories with built-in features
- Focus – provides various focus tools and custom autofocus patterns
- Display Tweaks – helps in adjusting the live view image on screen
- Advanced Scripting – helps in writing scripts for any type of video
- Developer Tools – provides tools for advanced users such as developers
- In-Camera Hlp – provides a full featured user guide in the camera
- Modules – allows new modules to be added with ease
- Miscellaneous Preferences.