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May 27, 2013

Non-Video Canon 50D from 2008 Hacked to Shoot RAW Video with Magic Lantern

This is something you don't see everyday: a camera that couldn't even shoot video back in August 2008, is now shooting RAW video with the newer Magic Lantern hack! It seems the APS-C Canon 50D, which contains a CF card slot, is a much more capable video DSLR that it would have appeared at first glance. The tech inside the 50D looks like it borrows a lot more from its higher-end siblings, like the 5D Mark II, and it's possible we may actually get better RAW video quality out of the 50D than we do out of any of the non-CF Canon cameras. Check out some samples below.

There has been a lot of development in the Magic Lantern Forum, here is Julian's first test with the 50D. He's getting reliable recording without frame skipping at 1592 x 720:

Julian mentioned in the forum that he's getting plenty of aliasing and moire, which is no surprise considering only the Canon 5D Mark III has been designed to avoid that. He has also made some RAW DNGs available, so be sure to download them to try out yourself. The camera doesn't have playback or audio recording as it was never designed to shoot video, but this isn't too different from the RAW recording on the other Canon DSLRs at the moment. You'd still have to record audio separately and manually sync. Here is the second test -- he mentions the skipping is not from the camera but from his DNG conversion during the editing phase:

Julian mentioned what's possible on the Canon 50D in terms of resolutions right now:

There's no 1440 or 1366.

Options in the build i'm using:

Width: 640, 720, 960, 1280, 1320, 1920 (this resets to 1592 automatically).
Height: 320, 360, 480, 540, 720, 840, 960, 1080 (this resets to 1062).

Would be nice to have some more resolutions. Especially something between 1320 and 1592. Is this possible?

Just realised I should try 1320x840 with 1.5x anamorphic. That would make 1980x840 = 2,36:1

[Update]: I've added this test from Bert:

In the current build it looks like the hardware itself maxes out at 1592 x 1062, so it may never be possible to get full 1920 x 1080, but the amount of information contained in the RAW files is such that it shouldn't be too much of a stretch to upscale a few hundred pixels in both directions. There have been many tests online showing that upscaling even very low resolutions is still better than the native H.264 recording.

This is pretty remarkable either way, and it's certainly a testament not only to the hardware inside the cameras, but to the Magic Lantern testers for pulling a few rabbits out of theirs hats to give us video recording on DSLRs that never had it before.

You won't be able to find any Canon 50Ds for sale new, but they seem to be running around $400-$600 on eBay, so if you were interested in getting one, now might be the best time!

Links:

[via Canon Watch & EOSHD]

Your Comment

65 Comments

bought one this afternoon, did some really short testing because i haven't got a fast cf card, but it looks good! https://vimeo.com/67078549

May 27, 2013

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Bert

Thanks! Looks great, I've added it above.

May 27, 2013

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director
232

amazing! my 60d has got plenty of moire and aliasing! :(

May 27, 2013

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Luix90

June 1, 2013

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driftwood

in the anamorphic clip, is it me or i dont see any obvious rolling shutter at 1:22 when the bus passes by?

May 27, 2013

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Ionesh

:( 7d is now officially the dumbest video purchase of life.

May 27, 2013

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LOL, I feel ya. I never stop thanking my friend who made me go for the T2i instead. But take heart, there's an ML alpha out for it right?

May 27, 2013

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fiftybob

Patience (or forbearing) is the state of endurance under difficult circumstances, which can mean persevering in the face of delay or provocation without acting on annoyance/anger in a negative way; or exhibiting forbearance when under strain, especially when faced with longer-term difficulties. Patience is the level of endurance one can take before negativity.

May 27, 2013

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David F

Or you could consider a GH3.

May 27, 2013

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Gene

+1 for the GH3, i rented one for a weekend because I was bored and made a short and the footage is incredible. really fine "noise" which is more like grain honestly, really sharp image, decent dynamic range. the menu system is stupid though.

May 27, 2013

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john jeffries

There's a video on vimeo that I thought was made with an AF100. I looked in the description after watching it and saw it was made with a GH3. A GH3 costs about 40% of what a 5D3 costs. I know a GH3 can't match a 5D3 in stills. But it's really not that far behind a 5D3 for stills. GH3 for video--it's wonderful! Like I've already said, I'm waiting for a GH3 hack.

This is the video I was referring to: http://vimeo.com/groups/panasonicgh3/videos/60391931

Another nice GH3 for close-up detail: http://vimeo.com/groups/panasonicgh3/videos/61787415

May 27, 2013

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Gene

The 7D was a great purchase at the time, and is still a good camera. You have to buy based on the cameras on the market, and not the mythical ones that are coming out next year.

Speaking of the 7D, though, any chance this RAW crack will come to that camera?

May 27, 2013

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Ben Lancaster

I've paid back the 7d at least 20 times over in the year and a half I've had it - dumb purchase? C'mon mate, until ML find a way to externally record the RAW files, these cameras might look amazing, but are not a viable option for most people. - if you're doing nature doco's and want to get short bursts of cinematic looking landscapes, then maybe it's worth the hassle...

May 27, 2013

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Lloyd

The 7D is still a great photo DSLR, which is the main reason I bought it in the first place instead of the 60D.

May 27, 2013

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Heiko

This give me hope re raw on the 7D (from the Magic Lantern FB page):

Question:
"I heard somewhere that later on you fellas will be creating this hack for the canon 7D, is this true? And if so, how long? I dont have enough money for a 5D MK3 but I have my trusty 7D."

Answer:
Magic Lantern: "It is in the works, but due to the more complex architecture in the 7D, the implementation is a bit more complicated."

May 28, 2013

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David

My 7D has made over 32x the money I paid for it in two years (just did the math). Helped get me the cover of an international music mag, and helped shoot a feature that played in theaters! Helps pay my rent, my bills, and takes me out to breakfast, lunch, and dinner every once in awhile. Not to mention the 100's of people I have met while out shooting and having a good time! Dumbest video purchase??? HAHAHAHAHAHHAAA!! That's a good one.

RAW will be a nice addition to the already very good 7D toolset but you certainly don't NEED it to make a living with a 7D. 50D seems like a good idea if you already have one but I don't think it would be smart to buy one just because of ML. With a Mark III it makes sense but a 5 year old camera that can't shoot video without being hacked? Personally I'll pass, but that's me.

The Magic Lantern team should develop their own camera maybe? It seems like they could with the right funding. Something that records to CF cards... hint hint

GO ML!!!! You guys are freakin geniuses. And for the record if I could shoot RAW on a 7D it would keep me from buying a Sony F3 for just a litttlllleeeee while longer :)

May 29, 2013

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Miles

Magic lantern is just rocking my world. I've been using it for years and loving every minute of it but these new developments are absolutely draw dropping. The 50D is 5 years old! That is almost 76 in digital camera years!

As soon as someone can figure out how to adapt the CF card to SATA and use the full bus speed this is going to be even more exciting and I'm glad to see some people working on it. http://www.schweinert.com/blog/files/2e4aedc81316f0487751d67bb12b5b01-36...

I am also really hoping the magic lantern magicians will figure out a way to get the 14 bit raw down to 12 or 10 bit to up the resolution or increase frame rates. People are discouraged because they haven't figured it out in the last 7 days but come on naysayers have got to get tired of being so wrong when it comes to the ML team.

May 27, 2013

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Dan

Nobody mention that this camera doesnt have any mic, so it cant take any audio.

May 27, 2013

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Nelson

It's mentioned in the story, u have to use sync sound.

May 27, 2013

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fiftybob

Quoting from above:
"The camera doesn’t have playback or audio recording as it was never designed to shoot video, but this isn’t too different from the RAW recording on the other Canon DSLRs at the moment."

May 27, 2013

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director
232

Nobody mention that you read can not ...

July 2, 2013

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DamenS

Is that purple rain or purple haze in that first video? ;-P

May 27, 2013

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Gene

May 27, 2013

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Hampus

lol @ prince purple rain reference

May 27, 2013

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jay clout

Does this mean that 1080p 24p raw for the t3i is around the corner?

May 27, 2013

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Pianohero

just sell your t3i you could probably still get 400 to 450 out of it, save up and go a buy a refurbished mark 2 from canon for a nice decent price, by the time you save up the money, hopefully there would be a more stable firmware update

May 27, 2013

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jay clout

This is really cool because I'm a 50D owner. The images look great and the high ISO performance really surprised me. If you would try to take a photograph in raw with the 50D in ISO 12800 it will look terrible... but for raw video it looks fantastic. The 50D has some chroma noise but it's easy to remove when you develop the raw files and it won't affect the sharpness. Very cool development! Thanks ML!

May 27, 2013

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Martin

Any hint as to when will a stable ML release for raw video with the MarkIII be availabale?

May 27, 2013

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I am the only one not terribly impressed with this footage?

It's neat and all that a 5+ year old camera has been "resurrected" for this limited feature, but I don't see how this is relevant to most users. I certainly wouldn't go out of my way to pick up a 50D for this.

May 27, 2013

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Hummer

It's not like you should go buy a 50D for shooting video - but the fact that it can actually shoot RAW video in 1592x720 while Canon didn't even give it a video option at all shows how much we are as consumers limited by product politics.

May 27, 2013

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Heiko

Well, I wouldn't go as far to say this is a case of "product politics". Back when the 50D was released, shooting in RAW (heck, even shooting VIDEO on a DSLR) was completely unheard of at the consumer level. I'm not even sure there were CF cards in existence fast enough to support it at the time.

I'm more inclined to think this is a reflection of the genius of the ML team rather than a deliberate ploy by Canon to keep their cameras crippled. As for the mk III, though...

May 27, 2013

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Hummer

Canon has a rich history of "crippling" their cameras to ensure their product hierarchy remains intact. There have been numerous hacks available for their "low-end" cameras prior to Magic Lantern to restore the features which are available in hardware yet crippled by the firmware - please do not underestimate Canon's ability and willingness to make you their consumer bitches.

July 2, 2013

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DamenS

Dont blame Canon, its not their fault the 50D didnt come out with video on an DSLR. Nikon had to invent it first ;)

May 29, 2013

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This is yet another example of how cynical Canon really is.

There's such a gap between what it can provide ....and the dumbed down products it is providing. At least Blackmagic will give the Japanese techno-dripfeeders the kick in the a*se they deserve.

May 27, 2013

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Fedup

Nice bit of racism there

May 28, 2013

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Fresno Bob

How is that racist?

May 28, 2013

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David

Its a sign. This easily tops turning water into wine.

May 27, 2013

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LOL!!! hahahahahahaha :-)

May 27, 2013

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Gene

I still say Canon's behind this. Just look at the timing. Trying to knock BMD off the block.

May 27, 2013

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D

I've had the same thoughts from the beginning, as X-Files as it may sound.

May 27, 2013

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While I wouldn't say they are "behind it", I'm sure they have realized that staying quiet and letting the ML folks do their thing is a good brand strategy.

May 27, 2013

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Hummer

No way they're behind it. If they were, they'd release it themselves!

May 28, 2013

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I'm sure Canon know's that the limits of the current hardware's not presentable for primetime (i.e. sustained recording to CF cards). It's just putting the hope out there that maybe Canon will jump in and start releasing RAW cameras within our reach soon and keep us from jumping on the new BMD cameras. I'm still waiting to see what the 2 new Cinema cameras are between the C100-C300 and C300-C500 that were supposed to be announced. I think BMD caught them off-guard at NAB and they had to go back to the drawing board.

May 29, 2013

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D

No they wouldn't - because then they would have to support it ... and it is not like they will be getting much profit out of selling 50d's anymore, is it ?? In fact, would this actually reduce the number of current model cameras they could sell ?

July 2, 2013

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DamenS

I hope Magic Lantern will get the hack working on the original 5D (mk I). If I remember correctly it has a native 4K full frame sensor. Maybe it's possible to record the full frame in 10 bit raw without any downscaling?

May 28, 2013

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Eric

No.

Without Live View in the camera, it won't have the raw feed to pick up data from.

Also, most older cameras have far slower data rates for cards.

May 28, 2013

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TAKE DOWN THE PAGE! I'm buying a 50d and if the seller sees this he may have second thoughts! For the love of God take it down! lol

May 28, 2013

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Tim

Lol, you took the words right out of my mouth!
I've still got to unload some unused gear on ebay first before I can start bidding.

Help me out NFS - TAKE IT DOWN!

May 28, 2013

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Another Tim

Serious question though, how is the regular 50d ML footage. How well does it intercut with a 600d?

I wouldn't normally dive right in to buying but I figure if it can be a decent B cam with extra functionality every once in a while - why not?

Good plan?

May 28, 2013

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Another Tim

What do you mean by "the regular 50d ML footage"?

The 50D doesn't record video apart from the raw hack, so there is no regular footage, as such.

May 28, 2013

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Brian

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