Magic Lantern Feature: the Debug Menu

on November 7, 2014

The Debug Menu is something you shouldn’t mess around with too much.  Most of the features on this menu are for back-end information, so I will only go through the highlights

DON’T CLICK ME

This is my favorite button in ML.  It embodies the entire spirit of camera hackers everywhere.

If you are the type of person to install Magic Lantern on your camera, you are probably overcome with the type of curiosity that makes it impossible NOT to press a button like this.

It’s your Willy Wonka Elevator moment, and I leave it to you.

BENCHMARKS

This CAN be useful, if you know what to do with the information.

The CARD READ/WRITE benchmark is a test that takes Five Minutes (!) so don’t do it if you are under the gun.  It runs a series of tests on and lays down about 1Gb on your card.  It will tell you your card read and write speeds.

The Shutter Count is an important number to see.  Tis will show you your actual photos taken and also you Live View actuation, which uses the shutter mechanism as well, to give you an approximation of the shutter life of your camera.  The Rebel line lasts around 50k, the 5d MKii is listed at 150K, and the 1DC is listed at 400K- most of their line clocks in at around 100K though.  Keep in mind this is just an expectation, and not a hard and fast rule.  You camera WILL fail you at some point, and if you are approaching your limit, you should look to replacing your camera sooner rather than later.

It has been my experience, however, that if you HAVE exhausted your shutter count (and you haven’t just been taking a lot of timelapse), then you are either a professional earning money taking photos, or you should be.  Getting to 100,000 shutters is an achievement indeed, and you will have EARNED that new camera by the time you have hit that mark.

INTERNAL TEMP

This is also on your Live View display, but you can see it a little more clearly here.  DSLRs can overheat very quickly when shooting video or out in the sun.  This can cause artifacts and noise in your image.  If you are shooting a feature with DSLR’s it is best to have several bodies and rotate them in order to avoid this problem.