What is Magic Lantern?

on October 6, 2014

First off: What is Magic Lantern?
Magic Lantern is a firmware that install alongside your Canon Camera’s factory firmware. It accesses systems in the camera that are different than what shipped with your camera when it came out of the box. It has become increasingly popular for use by filmmakers that shoot production work wit their DSLRs. While there have been many thousands of people who successfully use Magic Lantern on their Canon Cameras, keep in mind that it is an unsupported feature of your camera and may cause damage to you DSLR including voiding the warranty and/or “bricking” of your camera. For many would-be users, this statement alone is enough to stop them from going any further. Which of course begs the question:
Is it safe? Will it void my warranty?
That depends on who you ask. It is NOT officially recognized by Canon, however, in a recent commercial, they used some “Canon user” shots, and included a few that were shot with Magic Lantern RAW. MLRAW is increasingly becoming a more widely supported format, and there are many color grading platforms that have options specifically tailored to MLRAW. Thousands of people use it. It has a cult like following, and it will take you to an understanding of your camera that you never thought possible. However, it is a modification, You are NOT using the camera at the manufacturer intended. You are using it as it is capable, and that has certain inherent risks:

YOU WILL FREAK OUT AT SOME POINT AND THINK YOU BROKE YOUR CAMERA.

The best thing to do is relax.
Turn it off.
Take out your battery and your card.
Reinsert the battery and turn it on, then reinsert the card.

I have never encountered a problem in Magic Lantern that could not be solved by this manner, however, each cameras firmware and version is different. If something went wrong, chances are you are NOT THE FIRST PERSON TO HAVE DONE IT.

Go to the forums. See who else has encountered your problem. In most cases, it’s what the IT department calls an “ID10T Error”, or simply put, user error.
That being said, all modifications to your camera are done at your own risk. I do not represent Canon or Magic Lantern and bear no responsibility for any damage due to anything written here. Proceed at your own risk. With that in mind, go boldly into uncharted territories and make your own path.
That’s is the only way great things happen.