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Significant Magic Lantern Update, Version 2.3 for Canon DSLRs, Now Available to Download for Free

Magic Lantern, the well-known third party firmware solution for Canon DSLRs that we discussed a few weeks ago, has finally released their newest firmware version 2.3 as a free download. Since it takes a tremendous amount of work to put together these firmware updates, they were asking for a donation in exchange for the download, or you could compile the firmware update yourself for free (which isn’t very straightforward). Check out the video below to see some of the great features that have been added in this version.

Here are just a few of the new features and the cameras/firmware versions that work with the software:

  • Full support for 5D mark II
  • Fast Zebras
  • Customizable menu and shortcut keys
  • Automatic HDR bracketing
  • Timelapse features
  • Advanced ISO control (ISO 80, improved highlight rolloff, ISO 51200…)
  • Advanced FPS control (24.000 FPS and 0.2 FPS possible)
  • New menu design
  • Image analysis tools in photo mode
  • Contrast and saturation adjustments for LiveView
  • Improved Stability
  • Very fast playback zoom
  • Compatibility with: Canon 5D Mark II 2.1.2, T2i/550D 1.0.9, 60D 1.1.1, T3i/600D 1.0.2, 50D 1.0.9 and T1i/500D 1.1.1

One of the most impressive parts of the new update has to be the HDR compatibility. Luke Neumann put together this video showing off that capability:

The team at Magic Lantern have worked incredibly hard, so if you do use your camera for professional jobs, and you install ML on your DSLR, it might not be a bad thing to head on over to their site and donate a few bucks. This stuff isn’t easy, and all of the added features have taken years to really implement. The money also allows them to continue developing updates and possibly get them working with newer cameras, like the Canon 5D Mark III and the Canon T4i.

Head on over to the Magic Lantern to read more about the new features, or download the update using the link below.



We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

Description image 89 COMMENTS

  • VINCEGORTHO on 08.16.12 @ 6:17PM

    Will the bitrate increase hack, have greater effect on image quality on the 5D3 because there is no line skipping?

    • Yes, but the quality increase won’t be that visible, in tests we’ve done, we were able to push IPB to 62Mbps (this is the max value defined by H264 spec) and 151Mbps for ALL-I (max 300Mbps defined by H264 spec). The noise patterns are slightly finer and the image holds slightly better against aggressive grading.

      • vinceGortho on 08.16.12 @ 11:54PM

        So Marvin, you’ve tried the hack on the 5d3? Nice! I can use a slightly better image.
        Is clean hdmi out a real possibility.

        • I did the early tests with Alex and took that “Hello World” photo :-)

          The possibility of clean HDMI on 5D3 is higher than other cameras, because according to Alex, 5D3 uses full HD image buffer.

          • VINCEGORTHO on 08.17.12 @ 1:57AM

            And last… Would you say, image quality boosts are the top priority for the 5D3 research? And aside from upping the bitrate, are there any other means being considered to further it, beside the previous mentioned.

          • According to Alex, on 5D3 we plan to first get all basic ML features to work. Then explore and do whatever has the highest possibility and feasibility.

            There is a chance that M-JPEG 8bit 422 could be possible on very fast CF card, but that’s just a hypothesis.

  • It is another sad day for Canon 7D owners.. :(

    • C’mon, don’t be a cry baby, you just got the audio control last week ; )

      • I don’t think its being a crybaby considering that low cameras like the t2 set, and 60d, all get zebra’s and we are forced to buy an EVF or use that horrid internal light meter, which is good for just about nothing.

        • But with the 7D you also get full 720p out of the HDMI during recording to your preview monitor – so you win some, you lose some.

          • I am glad the sound level issue was addressed on the 7D but I still wish I could use ML’s other great features. Thanks for your positives on the 7D – just bought it early this year and then realized ML wouldn’t work.. that was sad. and now i wish i had gotten the 5Dii – anyway- i need to do with what I have and yes, it is a nice camera. I just need to be reminded of it now and then

    • john jeffreys on 08.16.12 @ 9:13PM

      No way, dude. The 7D is a badass camera. You can gut the shutter area and put a PL mount onto it, it has full HD monitoring during recording, a gyroscope to check balance, 8fps still shooting, the new 2.0 update, and a wicked autofocus system- and even though I dont use autofocus for stills or movies, I tried one out when taking pictures at a party and it makes it 10x easier to take great photos, especially when drunk.

  • Antony Alvarez on 08.16.12 @ 6:43PM

    “Very fast playback zoom” ?? Not sure that I understand what this means. The HDR looks amazing. Is it significantly different then that of the December 2011 update?

    • It speeds up the rate at which you zoom on photos when viewing in playback mode. Just means you don’t have to hold down the zoom button for ages to pixel peep!

    • john jeffreys on 08.16.12 @ 9:15PM

      It means that it instead of going (hit once) —> 5x and then (hit again) —> 10x, it just makes it so one press goes straight to 10x.

  • Just want to second donating to the ML team. They’ve worked incredibly hard over the past couple of years and achieved ridiculously impressive stuff! I don’t know what I’d do if I had to go back to shooting without ML now.

  • How do I install this on my T2i once I head to the website??? I’ve never installed anything like this before, that’s why.

  • Quick query for those who know: is the HDR function actual video, or is it taking multiple photos? Ie, in the video above, is that motion control, or some guy pushing the camera around on a slider?

    I’m having trouble finding out for sure, but from what I’m reading at the Magic Lantern site, it sounds like photo and therefore timelapse only.

    By the way, if anyone’s really keen for HDR video on a DSLR, I imagine you could do this with a 3D rig (rather than trying to do mulitple takes with different exposures). One tedious post process might be to export the videos as image sequences, then use the auto HDR in Photoshop to combine it all. Not sure, though, whether you can create a batch process from within Photoshop to do this, or whether you’d need someone to program a script. Alternatively, of course, you could mess around with masks and blending modes, but the results wouldn’t be as good…

    • And there are cheap 3d rigs available. The cheapest is gaffer tape.

    • It’s video taken using alternating ISO values. If you are shooting at 24fps you would have 12 frames at your low ISO setting (ISO320 lets say) and 12 at your high setting (ISO1600). It is not a timelapse though.

      I was using a slider for those shots.

      • What??? So it is fully functional at 24fps? That’s awesome! so this will improve greatly DR right? You could use it virtualy for any shot with a good result.

        But the motion rendering is fine? No ghosts or blurs?

        • Lot’s of ghosting and blur sadly. The only real world use I could find with it was on a Real Estate job (the HDR video in this post). Still an awesome function even if you can only use it sparingly.

      • So basically like what you did on the house scene.
        If I were to set my final outcome at 24fps, I need to film my HDR shots at 15 sec with ML FSP override and fix everything up in post?

  • I am interested to install this on my new 60D however not sure whether this will render the warranty invalid or not. And , on the website there is also a disclaimer stating that the installation could damage the camera itself. That’s kinda hinder me from installing and let alone donating for this.

    Could someone confirm that if the installation went wrong, can I actually go back to the original Firmware? How? any guide on this?

    • john jeffreys on 08.16.12 @ 11:08PM

      Yes you can. At any time, you can reinstall the original canon firmware from canon’s site and the camera will be good as new.

    • Slight addition to what John says – ML doesn’t replace the canon firmware, it’s a temporary addon. Every time you restart the camera, ML is loaded fresh from the card (or not if you put a non-ML card in).

      There’s only one change it makes to your firmware, which is turning on the bootflag, allowing the camera to boot from the firmware present on the card. You can reset that and then there’s no evidence that ML was ever on there.

  • Do you guys think the 5d3 image quality will ever be pushed to be as good (or close to) the c300? I’ve heard that it is capable of being as good.

    • Luke Neumann on 08.17.12 @ 12:35AM

      With a GH2 type of hack to unlock crazy data rates it would be a lot closer I think!

      • Well that’s good news! However do you think that will actually be created? For example, if the magic lantern people aren’t able too, will anybody? There was a interesting quote I read today on a forum… the guy said that “the Canon 5d3 is just one firmware away from being a monster!” I am just hoping it’s sometime soon! What do you think?

        • I am taking an educated guess here, but Canon Mark III simply does not have the powerful base structure to unlock, like Vitaliy Kiselev has done for GH2.


    • john jeffreys on 08.17.12 @ 1:02AM

      You DO know that the C300 has an entirely different sensor built from the ground up to be optimized for video, right? Data rates are only one part of the picture.

      • Well I’m not to tech savvy. I am just hoping the 5d3 resolution gets pushed to look as clean and sharp as those other cameras. Just trying to capture the opinions of you all who actually know what your talking about! haha

        • john jeffreys on 08.17.12 @ 2:50AM

          If you wanted something cleaner/sharper, you could have spent your 3500 + a little more on a sony fs100 or something. The 5D3 isnt a video camera lol, its a high end dslr that happens to shoot video fairly well. Not exceedingly well, but fairly well.

          • I personally think the C300 is priced $9,000-$10,000 too high though. It doesn’t excite me in any way. The Missionary position of cameras.

          • john jeffreys on 08.17.12 @ 3:54AM

            Yeah, its a shame. The high price tag is probably the reason why there isn’t much fanfare/hype around it now. I haven’t heard of any major/festival/indie films that are using it

        • It will never get as sharp as the C300, you’re stuck with the way the sensor deals with resolution, but you could potentially get a cleaner picture with smoother gradients thanks to higher bitrates – which really starts to show up in post-production during color correction/grading. Somehow getting 4:2:2 color would actually also be very helpful.

          • Agreed. I just see the before and after of what a bit rate hack does to the GH2 image (a lot) and think with something similar, the 5D Mark III would produce a really nice image!

      • And I think the sensor in the C300 is the main reason for it’s price tag. Just from an image stand point though, if the Mark III could improve on it’s (arguably) biggest weakness (resolution) then it would be a lot closer to the C300 in terms of pure image quality.

        I would argue that a Mark III with high data rates and sharp video would be borderline “exceedingly well”. That’s just coming from seeing the difference between a hacked GH2 vs. a non hacked. Unhacked Mark III has a LOT more going for it than an unhacked GH2. Now people are talking about the GH2 and the Sony f65 in the same breath (which is a bit of a stretch…)

        • john jeffreys on 08.17.12 @ 3:52AM

          I tend to ignore the GH2 propaganda, because at the end of the day its a plastic consumer toy and has no place on a real film set.

          • Ditto, the C300 is a very specialised camera but it does deliver beautiful beautiful images. Been shooting extensively on the FS100 the last year and the 700 adds that unreal high speed performance too. That’s one seriously powerful piece of kit. For an indie shooter that’s some serious hardware at a properly affordable price. Luke, you rented it and did a monster piece of work with it which I loved. It’s a proper video camera, it has XLR inputs, you can shoot moderately flat, so go shoot! Peepers will peep though I guess and while it’s nice to talk about definable, knowable numbers and tech, wouldn’t it be nice to see some people spend a bit more time on technique?

            GH2? Film camera? Give me a break!

          • My point is that resolution and clarity go a long way in overall image quality. I don’t give two f bombs about how it looks. All I care about is the video it spits out and for the price I would suggest a GH2 over a Mark III every day of the week.

            Sony FS700 was a great cam. I loved it. That just shows you how overpriced and boring the C300 is. The FS700 is HALF the price and spanks it in features and specs. I’m not saying features and specs are everything because they aren’t, but they are the bar a company should use to price their stuff IMO.

            Half the price, you could potentially end up with a 4K/Raw FS700 for the price of a C300…hmmmm, I know what camera I would choose.

          • john jeffreys on 08.17.12 @ 2:09PM

            The C300 is overpriced, but it certainly is not boring. If lit and exposed and graded correctly, it looks almost as good as an Alexa.

  • @john jeffreys “I tend to ignore the GH2 propaganda, because at the end of the day its a plastic consumer toy and has no place on a real film set.” And a 5D MII or any Canon DSLR is?

    • I get your poitn Vas, but you have to admit that the GH2 praise and comparison to the F65 is, a bit over the top.

      • You can ignore “propaganda” without saying pointlessly inflammatory things like “The GH2 doesn’t belong on a real film set”, whatever a “real” film set is.

        • VINCEGORTHO on 08.17.12 @ 10:56AM

          It’s okay. These guys are just showing what type of artist they are.
          They feel their work is only special, as long as the equipment they use is overpriced so others can’t do it. They have to feel safe, that their multi-thousand dollar investment is some how justified and to reinforce that feeling by puting down other hardware that is smartly comparable.
          But truth is, A hacked GH2 shot side by side a Red, has red users scratching their heads on which video belongs to which camera.
          The 5D/7D/t2i are all used along side higher priced cameras.
          And that any person with common sense would just rent a c300, because the on paper specs list only makes it a glorified FS100 at 3X the price.
          I hear the sony A99 is going to be the first DSLR made for video. And the GH3 will no longer need a hack for it’s awesome video quality.

        • john jeffreys on 08.17.12 @ 2:03PM

          So, how many large budget films have used the GH2 as a b-camera? Oh, none? Cool. Because I can name at least 3-4 that have used Canon DSLR’s. Not to mention moderately successful features that used Canon DSLR’s as the A CAMERA. Rubber, Like Crazy, Tiny Furniture, etc.

          Just face it. The GH2 has a cult following, a very annoying, non-professional one that is very loud and very dumb. They only care about specs and totally disregard a camera’s ergonomics, design, inputs/outputs, and build quality.

          So shut up and go film some bad youtube video of your backyard, you little troll.

          • john jeffreys on 08.17.12 @ 2:05PM

            Also, I’m really sorry that you guys are just too poor to afford a better camera. Maybe you should get a job at McDonalds or something.

          • Any more renting is the best option IMO. Why keep buying new cameras when tech is moving this quickly. It’s almost as bad as buying a new car. Loses value the second you drive it off the lot. Buy a personal use camera (GH2, Mark II/III, Black Magic) and then rent as needed for professional gigs. Just add the price of the rental into your quote. That’s what I’m doing anyways. Couldn’t justify dropping over $10K on a camera regardless of how much money I make. Renting will always be the financially sound option, it’s how big budget productions do it.

          • vinceGortho on 08.17.12 @ 3:15PM

            If you can’t see why canon dslr are used in mainstream, then you are blind.
            its without a doubt, canon has a marketing strategy of the cinematographers at their disposal. All saying how great canon is, and how lucky we are they give us what they do.
            the gh2 was something that wasn’t meant to exist..

          • vinceGortho on 08.17.12 @ 3:20PM

            Also, if i need a new camera, ill just ask your wife or your mum.
            Oh, yeah! Tell them thanks again for the gh2, IM LOVING IT!

          • john jeffreys on 08.17.12 @ 4:12PM

            @luke: yeah, thats what I was thinking too. unless you have tons of cash or do commercial/event work with lots of jobs every week and hella cash flow that lets you get a cinema camera every few years, its smarter to just have a basic camera and then rent as needed per project. Thats what I’m doing right now, I have a personal 5d 2 and some leica r primes and basic gear (tripods, lights, shoulder rigs, sound, etc) and for my next short I am debating over either renting a scarlet or c300, or possibly even shooting on 16mm reversal. Also, I have noticed that original red one m bodies are going for 5-8k right now so in a year or two I might be able to snag one for 4-5k, and that would be a godly personal camera to have.


            • Why would you ever shoot reversal? You’ve got like 5 stops of dynamic range to work with. It’s just as easy to shoot and process negative – unless maybe you own your own film scanner.

          • Exactly. I don’t know about you but I always debate shooting stuff on a rented 35mm film camera. Black Magic just bought Cintel, who knows maybe they could start offering more affordable ways to do the film transfer! Wouldn’t that be something.

          • john jeffreys on 08.17.12 @ 7:13PM

            Abelcine has fairly cheap 35mm and 16mm packages- but buying film stock is very, very expensive. And getting it scanned into 422 or whatever is even worse.

          • john jeffreys on 08.17.12 @ 7:48PM

            Because it looks so pretty <3

            • Haha it also looks pretty when you’re off by a stop somewhere and the negative can’t be recovered. There are actually some pretty crazy things you can do with color reversal.

          • I don’t have a GH2. I don’t personally like the GH2, for image and other reasons. But I don’t flippantly disrespect those who do. How does me telling you to stop hating make me a troll exactly?

          • John Jeffreys on 08.18.12 @ 5:06PM

            Because you just are.

          • Excellent reasoning. You might want to look up the definition of “troll”.

    • Who cares what people think? The people who dismiss a camera that produces images consistently rated as subjectively better as well as having measurably more detail just because “no PROFESSIONAL would ever use it” are exactly the kind of people who I’m thrilled to compete with.

      I don’t have a GH2, but I do have a Canon DSLR, and I like it a lot. That doesn’t change the fact that if I had to pick one to run around with and then intercut with a higher-end camera, all things being equal, I’d probably use a GH2 instead, just because the details are more consistent.

      • Vince wrote: “A hacked GH2 shot side by side a Red, has red users scratching their heads on which video belongs to which camera.”

        As someone with a 60D and that has acess to a RED Epic and RED ONE I must say I don’t quite see how that could be true. I don’t think people are trying to belittle the GH2 users, it just so happens that the majority of its users don’t do great work with it, just keep raving about its subjective better image quality. There is this website and the owner of that blog keeps raving about the GH2 being this and that better than this and that camera yet I’ve personally not seen much great work coming from him with his GH2.

        I’m not trying to personally attack anyone, I just think it’s a bit preposterous to compare a GH2 to a Red Epic or F65, it really is.

      • John Jeffreys on 08.18.12 @ 5:08PM

        I think its in everybody’s best interest to just ignore the GH2 community. They talk a lot of shit, and none of it makes any sense. Comparing it a RED or F65 is really foolish and immature.

        • vinceGortho on 08.19.12 @ 1:21AM

          Red users are funny. They become uneasy when a $700 dollar toy nips at their heels.
          The only thing holding the gh2 back is: size and no flat image profile/dynamic range

          • What I find is really foolish and immature (and astonishingly close minded) is writing things like John Jeffreys does and calling people names like we were in grade school. You might be a good technician, or artist, and know your stuff when it comes to cameras, but boy oh boy it looks like you need to go through a serious introspection as regards to your interactions with others as well as people whose opinions might differ from yours. People are here to learn and share experiences and opinions, and as long as it does not personally disrespect anyone, why attack or pass negative judgment ? If you believe that people are wrong technically, then politely and accurately make your point, and people might gain from the more accurate knowledge you claim to possess. It always amazes me to what point some people get worked up and narrow minded when it omes to certain things…

        • john jeffreys on 08.19.12 @ 4:06PM

          You guys are just poor and bitter that you can’t have access to better equipment. Admit it. Maybe if you were a better artist/filmmaker you would have made better work, and you would have gotten paid more to get better stuff.

          Go cry in the bathtub with a toaster you plebe

          • Maybe if you were a better filmmaker with “more work”, you’d have better things to do that sit around all day and troll on a niche filmmaking blog.

            Equipment is just equipment, people. 99% of the population doesn’t care and can’t tell if footage is from an iPhone or an Alexa, as long as the content is compelling and the basics are covered.

            People like the GH2 because it is economical and offers a better feature set than any of the Canon DSLRs below the Mk III. It’s great for indie work, where budgets are small or non-existent. And John Jeffries, you should be well aware that popularity of a product, Canon or otherwise, is not necessarily a reflection of its worthiness.

            But the bottom line is that ANY of these cameras put filmmaking power that was unavailable to anyone but high end studios 10 years ago into your collection for less than a typical paycheck. That’s incredible.

          • john jeffreys on 08.22.12 @ 3:19AM

            I have to sit around here and troll though, your tears of frustration give me the proper nutrients to live. And I have to keep Joe busy by making him delete my comments all the time.

  • I’d so love to see this on the Mark III!!

  • I’m bout to install this ML 2.3 on my Canon 7D

  • Still no 1100D…



  • Can someone comment on how well the bulb ramping and time-lapse features are working with ML2.3?


  • Has anyone had any problems with installing and running this version of ML on a Canon 600D?

  • JEFF DEMIAN on 08.23.12 @ 8:41PM


  • I am interested in the HDR photography capabilities. In the video above, the three exposures are ‘morphed into one’ to create an ‘even’ exposure of inside and outside. Can this be done on the photo side, so one doesn’t need 3 exposures to create an HDR image to get the dynamic range, but just one and the camera automatically creates the other two? It should be possible, and that would mean you wouldn’t always need a tripod to take HDR. #Noob

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  • blessing adeniyi on 07.27.14 @ 6:35PM

    i am using canon 60d can i use it on it and it will not destroy my camera. and sometime if i use my camera to shoot it is always have grain and noise. how can i remove it.