TOOLZ: Magic Lantern is Finally Available for Canon 7D DSLR Cameras

Posted by Anthony - October 23, 2012 - Announcements, Cameras, DSLR Cameras - No Comments

As most of you know from many previous posts, I’m not the biggest fan of DSLR shooting, but I’m not a DSLR hater either.  I just prefer all video equipment to be to be as user-friendly and hassle-free as possible, regardless of whatever it can do technically.  And generally speaking, DSLR’s still have not crossed that threshold for me.

But one digital tool that I think has done more than anything to help push DSLR’s toward the threshold of real user-friendliness and less hassle is the popular 3rd party firmware for Canon DSLR’s known as Magic Lantern.  Up until just a few days ago, Magic Lantern has not been available for one of the most popular and widely-used DSLR cameras – the Canon 7D.  (*Magic Lantern is already available for Canon’s 5Dmk2, 50D, 60D, 500D, 550D, 600D models and soon will be for: 5Dc, 1100D, 5Dmk3) 

Now if you own a Canon DSLR camera and you’ve never heard of Magic Lantern before, let me pop a breath mint before I tell you what it does, because you’re gonna want to kiss me in gratitude when you find out…

In short, by modifying the firmware (the mini-operating system that runs the camera), Magic Lantern adds in a bunch of features that make DSLR’s perform more like traditional video cameras by adding some simple, but crucial functions:

  • Focus peaking  (This is worth installing it alone!)
  • Audio meters while recording
  • Zebra Stripes 
  • Cropmarks
  • Spotmeter
  • Histogram, Waveforms and Vectorscope
  • LiveView settings (brightness, contrast…)
  • Live HDMI out (coming soon)

And that’s still not everything that Magic Lantern can do, just some of the key features.  This is a brand-spanking new “ALPHA” release. The ”BETA” release and subsequent upgradeswill ultimately include even more functions.  Installing Magic Lantern firmware is like a mini-camera make-over that will make it much easier to do those minor little filmmaking tasks such as setting proper focus, exposure and audio levels.

Oh and I haven’t even told you the best part…it’s completely FREE to download.  Of course nothing like this is ever “free” to develop.  Many people in a large community spent many hours writing, developing and testing this firmware, so if you download it and like it, please leave a donation.  And if it’s really helpful to you, I say leave a big donation to support those that support us.

Check out the quickie installation demo video below to see Magic Lantern in action.:

Magic Lantern in 7D from Helder Filipe on Vimeo.

…Now you may wonder why the hell were none of these features included in the DSLR’s to begin with if it’s technologically possible?  Simple- these cameras go for cheap, so the manufacturers didn’t want to make it too easy to shoot great video on a DSLR when they sell other video cameras that cost many times the price.  However, just like any other technology that’s artificially stripped down, resourceful indie maverick’s have found a way to unlock the full potential of the technology.

Withholding key features on inexpensive cameras makes perfect business sense for a camera company, so I don’t fault them for that, but I ain’t in that business.  I’m in the business of making filmmaking more manageable and affordable for anybody that wants to do it.   So if you weren’t before, you’re now officially down with Magic Lantern.  Tell two friends and put the word on the street – DSLR shooting is becoming a little bit easier – thanks to Magic Lantern.


 Download Magic Lantern for the Canon 7D for FREE right HERE.

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