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.
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 1320×840 with 1.5x anamorphic. That would make 1980×840 = 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!