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Author Topic: Magic Lantern 550D  (Read 3101 times)

CanonCameraFan

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Magic Lantern 550D
« on: March 27, 2012, 04:27:48 PM »
I've been toying with the idea of installing Magic Lantern on my 550D to increase its creative possibilities (and mainly because, after reading all the posts about the 5D mark iii, I want to be able to use zone focusing). Is it as easy as it looks to install and what experience do people on here have of using it. Whilst it seems simple to install I found the uninstall instructions slightly more ambiguous and I really don't want to ruin my camera if it's not for me if I try it and don't like it. I know the easiest thing would be to do nothing and leave it as it is but I'm wondering... it would be a hell of a lot cheaper than a camera upgrade and I would like to see what other cameras Canon pulls out of the bag this year. Although I'm tempted by the 5D Mark iii it's not really an option and I would like to see if there is going to be another good high ISO Digic V stills camera at a lower price point.

I shoot mainly stills usually in RAW and use the Canon picture styles downloadable files a lot (have a collection of over two hundred that I've gathered from various sources). I know ML is aimed more towards the video community but things like fine ISO, colour temperature and zone focusing control are important to me.

Any contributions welcome!  :-\
« Last Edit: March 27, 2012, 04:48:24 PM by CanonCameraFan »

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Magic Lantern 550D
« on: March 27, 2012, 04:27:48 PM »

skitron

  • EOS 7D Mark II
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Re: Magic Lantern 550D
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2012, 01:20:54 PM »
I installed it on a CF I use with my 50D in order to enable video on that camera. I like the stills features, especially the "peak focus" in Live View that paints the areas thta are in focus. It runs as additional code that is accessed upon bootup, so not that risky as compared to if it were a true firmware replacement. I thought it was simple to install. You can just swap cards if you don't want to use it, or of course just reformat the card if you know you'll never want to use it again. Also, you can hold down the select button (for 50D anyway) on the camera as it boots and ML is disabled.
5D3, 70-200 f/2.8L IS II, 100L, 24-105L, Sigma 50/1.4 DG, Rokinon 14mm Canon TC 1.4x III

CanonCameraFan

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Re: Magic Lantern 550D
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2012, 03:43:59 PM »
 :) Thanks for that Skitron. Pleased that you recommend ML. Is it really that easy to unistall? There's a lot of out of date info on the internet some of which conflicts with that on the ML site. Can you really just format the card. I'm a bit worried that it might make the camera hang if the card is no longer bootable. Then there seems to be stuff about changing the number on the end of one of the strings to disable the boot file.

The bit I'm particularly concerned about is how to entirely remove ML, not just disable use. My camera is still under warranty and I hope nothing happens to it, but if I ever need to send it back for repair under warranty I will need to completely remove ML. None of the camera buffs I know would dream of putting ML on their camera; they're all purists. I'm one of those people who likes to get the most out of a gadget but is not very computer savvy - hence the dilemma. Are the instructions saying to disable ML on the card and then it is safe to format the card completely? In camera or on the PC? I have read the instructions soooooo many times and am beginning to feel rather thick.

As today was a day off and the weather was nice I spent some time in the park photographing the squirrels and how I wished for the zone focusing and peak focus capabilities of ML, not to mention the ISO fine tuning.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2012, 04:10:52 PM by CanonCameraFan »

skitron

  • EOS 7D Mark II
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Re: Magic Lantern 550D
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2012, 01:11:23 PM »
The current ML that runs on a 50D or 550D is basically an "application" whereas the Canon firmware is the "operating system". Fortunately this means ML installs on its own folders on your card and it does not alter the camera's internal flash memory that is dedicated to storing the Canon firmware.

So it's dirt simple to remove this version since it resides entirely on the card. Just delete the files and just to be sure, reformat the card. The easiest is to pop the card in a PC card reader and use Windows file manager to delete everything. then put the card into the camera, turn on the camera and reformat it via the menu commands. The reason you want to do this in the camera is because it also builds a couple of default folders required by the camera. Plus I've heard some card readers cause problems when formatting.

Now there are versions of ML that are specific to 5D2 that I believe are actually replacement firmware (or "operating system") as opposed to "application". I've been reluctant to install those on my 5D2 for sake of caution, and the fact the guy behind the "application" version is adding 5D2 support.

All to say I'm completely comfortable with the "application" version that runs on 50D, 550D and soon 5D2 but not so comfortable with the "firmware" versions. The rationale being that a firmware is basically the operating system for the camera and it resides on the camera's dedicated flash memory - so a bit invasive for my tastes to replace that with non-Canon code if I don't particularly need the features it has. Hope this helps clear things up for you.

All of this said, for me the focus peaking is the one thing for stills that I find useful. The auto-trigger on focus thingy doesn't really work for me - have never gotten an infocus shot with it despite my AF MA being spot on - but that was always testing with shallow DOF. But the focus peaking is awesome as long as lighting is such you can see the screen.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2012, 01:31:53 PM by skitron »
5D3, 70-200 f/2.8L IS II, 100L, 24-105L, Sigma 50/1.4 DG, Rokinon 14mm Canon TC 1.4x III

CanonCameraFan

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Re: Magic Lantern 550D
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2012, 06:38:34 PM »
So...... installed ML and tried it out. Works well after a few teething problems. To begin with I pressed something - not sure what - and all the still images displayed in play back on the camera screen as panoramic with a flickering upper screen. Eventually I ran the compatibility tool, which seems to have fixed the problems. There's loads of stuff I'll never use so a steep learning curve ahead. The tools I really wanted are easy to navigate so thanks Skitron for your input and I've tried the focus peak which seems great although I don't use LV a great deal. Also I seem to be able to get stills at ISO 25600 now :-D

Only time will tell if I decide to keep it on the camera. After having only a Canon interface for years I'm not sure about the Canon/ML display purely a but that's purely a cosmetic thing. To completely remove any residual ML firmware do I need re-flash the camera with Canon 1.09 firmware. Without the ML card the camera says 1.09 is the current firmware, but I'm slightly concerned that if it ever went back to Canon there might be something left on the camera. I still think the ML uninstall instructions are ambiguous

CanonCameraFan

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Re: Magic Lantern 550D
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2012, 06:33:29 PM »
To make sure I could actually do this I removed ML from the camera and disabled the boot flag. All was well. Having done that I checked the audio on video back on Canon's firmware as I read something about possible problems. I seem to get a bit of hiss that I didn't before. Wondering if I need to enable or disable before uninstalling ML? I cleared all the settings before reboot and again afterwards so the defaults should be loaded. Have now reloaded ML and will spend some time playing with it over the rest of the weekend.

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Re: Magic Lantern 550D
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2012, 06:33:29 PM »