Which version of Magic Lantern is right for you?

on October 8, 2014

WAIT- what’s with all these different version? Which one do I want?
Start off with the latest stable release. After you get comfortable with that, feel free to start experimenting with the nightly build.

As of this writing of this book, the latest stable release is v2.3 and is available for the following cameras:
Canon 5D Mkii 2.1.2
Canon 50D 1.0.9
Canon 60D 1.1.1
Canon 500D 1.1.1
Canon 550D 1.0.9
Canon 600D 1.0.2

Will the Stable Release let me shoot RAW Video?
No, the raw Video functions are part of the nightly releases (these are the versions that the developers are actively working on and releasing as they make improvements. They can have some every cool advanced features but can be a little buggy.) Eventually all the bugs get ironed out and you have the next stable release. Until then, it’s unstable- but these bugs don’t get ironed out until people use them in the real world and report back to the developer of any problems. Them they become stable, get it? So if you can, and are feeling adventurous, help these guys out. You take a little adventure with your camera and make this whole project more enriching. Remember- MAGIC LANTERN IS FREE, and these guys are doing it out of their love for the project. This is a program that changes your prosumer level camera into something that you can shoot AMAZING video on. Support them if you can, and donate to the cause if you are able. They really are an amazing team.

Wait- my camera isn’t listed- but I saw someone using Magic Lantern on it! How come I can’t find it?
What you saw is known as a Night;y Build. These are the versions tat are in development and the programmer is tweaking the features ti improve stability. Most of the time there are features in the nightly build that are not in the stable release, but they can be buggy and sometimes not work 100% of the time.

What the heck is the Alpha Build.
These are the very experimental versions. If you are just starting out with magic lantern, I recommend you hold off on these for now. Once you have exhausted everything you can from the stable release and the nightly build, go ahead and go crazy experimenting with the Alpha versions. These are mostly just “proof of concepts” and aren’t really fully functioning. It’s just kind of the basic foundation for what will eventually become a nightly build.

OK. I want to start off with the stable release- for now…
Smart call. You are going to have your hands full with the new features. Having to deal with bugs may frustrate your more than it s worth. The first thing you need to do is FIND OUT WHAT VERSION OF CANONS FIRMWARE YOUR CAMERA IS RUNNING
This is easy.

Go into your cameras MENU and look under update firmware
Double check this against what Magic Lantern lists as the compatible version of ML they have for your camera. You might need to update your firmware through Canon first. In SOME cases, you might need to downgrade your version because the team at Magic lantern hasn’t gotten around to that specific version of firmware on that version.

What if my camera isn’t listed?
Congratulations! You got yourself a brand new camera! You must feel pretty good! Well, the bad news is, your camera JUST CAME OUT, and the guys over at Magic Lantern haven’t had a chance to REVERSE ENGINEER the thing that was just invented. Chances are, you’re having trouble importing your Raw images into Lightroom and Photoshop. Your camera is SO NEW, no one knows what to do with it. #firstworldproblems.
Chances are, however, that there is a nightly build for your camera that is pretty functional. These are pretty good to go and how MOST of the functionality of their stable release brethren. As of this writing, the following Nightly Builds are available:

Canon 1100D 105
Canon 500D 111
Canon 50D 109
Canon 550D 109
Canon 5Dmk11 212
Canon 5Dmk3 113
Canon 5Dmk3 123
Canon 600D 102
Canon 60D 111
Canon 650D 104
Canon 6D 113
Canon 700D 113
Canon 7D 203
Canon Eos-M 202

Say WHAT?! The Eos-M?!! Isn’t that, like a $250 mirrorless camera?
Yes. It’s dirt cheap and it can shoot RAW video with the nightly build. What this camera lacks in autofocus, it more than makes up for with its enhanced video modes in Magic Lantern. IN my opinion, it’s the best deal for shooting video today.