Why I hacked my Canon DSLR / by brasscollective

Hello everyone. 

If the title brings you here to this post, that means you're probably the same as me. 

You're pissed with your current Canon DSLR. 


Let's just recall why from my point of view. 


1. Dynamic Range. Out of the few major brands in the market, Nikon, Sony etc, Canon has the one of the lowest dynamic range.  

2. Megapixels. I'm not a huge fan of this, since too much megapixels potentially means more noise for video, and since I'm a hybrid(photo/video) guy, I'm pretty much okay with my 20MP. I did wish for a lower count with higher sensitivity like C100 or a7s, but generally it's okay.

I know of some Canon fanboys who would complain about this, so there's a new model Canon is coming out with, the 5Ds. I'll elaborate that more probably another time. 

3. Intervalometer. God fuckin' damn, they have to capitalise on every single thing. 

Wanna do timelapse? Sure, buy our intervalometer at 130USD. Other companies have already inbuilt in their bodies, why can't you do that Canon. Of course, there are cheaper 3rd parties, but the point is, well inbuilt intervalometer.


4. 1080HD in 50/60. Yes I know that the newer 7D Mark II has it. Just that all the older bodies don't. I'm not an expert on this, but I believe a firmware is able to encode that in. 

But NOPE. You have to buy a god damn new Canon camera to have 1080HD 50/60, or the super amazing(pricetagged) 1DC. 

5. Focus Peaking. Not exactly a must, but not exactly hard to input that in for a DSLR, since mirrorless cameras are famous for it.

6. Bit-Rate. For the first brand that created the epitome of DSLR recording, the 5D Mark II, having one of the lowest bit-rate 7 years later in 2015, is a complete joke. 

7. 4K. Okay, this is a bit too much, off topic. 

But yes, we are moving towards the 4K generation, and having 4K makes it so much easier for cropping, post-stabilizing, details etc. 


Okay. So I'm pissed. 

Not that I can do anything much about it. 


Until one fine day, I found out about Magic Lantern and it totally just blew me away. 

I tested Magic Lantern on Leonard Soosay's 5D Mark II in Snakeweed Studios, and my own 60D during that time. Both were still beta stages for Magic Lantern. 

We were both skeptical at first. Well, who wouldn't be, it's a free hack by engineers who are equally pissed, it has no liaising with Canon, and they can't be sure whether your Canon DSLR will get bricked after using it. 

Leonard stopped there, he was happy with his 5D Mark II, I wasn't. I wanted more out of the capabilities of the DSLR, I was greedy. 

The ability to shoot RAW video, got me sold. 

The rest is history. 


Magic Lantern pretty much solved a lot of the issues I was facing with my 60D during that time, but after changing over to 6D there were some slight issues, due to the fact that it's still in a nightly build. 

The SD card which had Magic Lantern in it, tends to slow down the whole camera. So practically, usually it takes 0.5 sec to "wake up" your DSLR from sleep, with Magic Lantern SD card it takes probably 1.7 sec. But, it's a 1.2 sec liability that I'm willing to pay for. 

I got pretty much everything that Canon was capitalising on; namely the intervalometer and some HDR capabilities, but you probably get the point. 

Canon has came to a long way since the film eras, and their name is really there where clients wanna see, "oh you got a Canon, you must be good". I don't blame them, it's the branding which got Canon to where they are here today. 

But to ride on the success of decades ago, and keep fooling your fanboys, is just pure arrogance. Magic Lantern is the only reason why I'm still stuck with Canon. 

"YAYA PAPAYA", is the best word to describe them. 

At this rate they are going, it's only a matter of time before Samsung or Panasonic replaces them as the next Triple Threat camera battle, because in my opinion, Sony is already a contender in the Triple Threat match with Canikon.

I'm guessing Canon won't be endorsing me any cameras(not like they will anyway) in my lifetime the moment I press publish, but oh well. 


- Henry



P.S. Again, I stress on the fact that Magic Lantern is entirely free. BUT, whether or not it bricks your Canon DSLR, they can't be held liable for that. 

But to have all that cinematic capabilities, I think it's worth a gamble.

And in my honest opinion, the engineers behind Magic Lantern are the true heroes who are saving Canon's ass. 


I'm already starting to miss the family in Nara, will get the photos up once these two ongoing projects are done.