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FORUMS General Gear Talk DIY & Customizing 
Thread started 17 Mar 2016 (Thursday) 04:33
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raccase
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Mar 17, 2016 04:33 |  #1

I've heard many things about Magic Lantern, mostly good, and I was wondering if it is something I should consider doing. I very often need to operate my camera very quickly, and worry that it might take a while for me to get accustomed to new software. However, the additional functionality that ML offers seems to be very appealing.

So my question is, how good is Magic Lantern? I know this is a hard question to quantify, but more specifically I'm looking at:

Speed Performance - Does it take a while to boot up? Do any of the builds randomly freeze up? And if so, does turning off the camera and back on fix it?

Bugs - Ubuntu Linux is my primary OS, so I know quite a bit about Bugs and bug reports, but for ML, I curious as to whether there have been any cases where bugs in the ML firmware have ruined cameras...I know this usually is from a stupid mistake on the user's part, but you never know...

Finally, has anyone ever had a serious issue with ML that ruined a camera, and if so, what happened afterward? Did Canon agree to fix it, did you fix it yourself, etc.

Please don't just tell me to try the firmware: I've learned from other fields (i.e. computers) that it is much smarter to get other users' opinions and advice on software before using it, otherwise I might botch something up and ruin a perfectly good piece of hardware. Thanks.




  
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SailingAway
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Post edited over 2 years ago by SailingAway. (3 edits in all)
     
Mar 17, 2016 17:20 |  #2

raccase wrote in post #17938241 (external link)
...I very often need to operate my camera very quickly, and worry that it might take a while for me to get accustomed to new software. However, the additional functionality that ML offers seems to be very appealing.

There's little to justify that concern, IMO. Yes, it might take you some learning. However, ML is easy to turn off or uninstall. So, if you ignore ML you're as fast as you ever were. If you're having difficulties learning its, um, not-quite-commercial-grade controls turn it off or uninstall, and you're no worse off.

Speed Performance - Does it take a while to boot up? Do any of the builds randomly freeze up? And if so, does turning off the camera and back on fix it?

Bugs - Ubuntu Linux is my primary OS, so I know quite a bit about Bugs and bug reports, but for ML, I curious as to whether there have been any cases where bugs in the ML firmware have ruined cameras...I know this usually is from a stupid mistake on the user's part, but you never know...

Finally, has anyone ever had a serious issue with ML that ruined a camera, and if so, what happened afterward? Did Canon agree to fix it, did you fix it yourself, etc.

Please don't just tell me to try the firmware: I've learned from other fields (i.e. computers) that it is much smarter to get other users' opinions and advice on software before using it, otherwise I might botch something up and ruin a perfectly good piece of hardware. Thanks.

*No noticeable increase in boot up time.
*Can't say about any of the builds, but it's never frozen on a shoot for me (see below).
*AFAIK, only a couple developer's cameras have been ruined, but, here I'm going by the same internet reports that you can access, and I've not looked lately. Do your own research.
*AFAIK if you load non-canon firmware on your camera, Canon will not honor the warranty if breakage is attributable to the firmware.

My feeling about ML is that when I want something that it, only, does, it's well worth it. Let's see, Zebras, intervalometer, more HDR bracketing options, audio controls, a BIG "recording" indicator, WFM, focus peaking... lots of little things that help a lot. Those are the functions that are top of my list.

If it freezes, which has only happened to me at home once or twice over the years, when I was fooling around, popping out the battery does the trick.

My personal history is that I ran it on a 60D and was *very* pleased. When I upgraded to 70D, I found that the audio headphone out wasn't present in this version - that's a big deal to me, but, the developers can only do what they can do. I continue to run it on the 70D, but am looking forward to Canon's headphone solution on the 80D.

There are some shooters who are crazy for Raw video. I've seen beautiful examples, but haven't experimented with it.

To sum up, it really depends on how valuable specific features are to you. And, do realize that not all of them work on every camera.


From the upper left corner of the U.S.
Photos, Video & Pano r us.
College and workshop instructor in video and audio.
70D, Sigma 8mm, Tokina f2.8 11-16, Canon EF-S f2.8 17-55, Sigma f2.8 50-150 EX OS, Tamron 150-600VC. Gigapan Epic Pro, Nodal Ninja 5 & R10.

  
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maverick75
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Mar 17, 2016 17:45 |  #3

I've been using it for 3 years, not a single hickup. I mostly use it for the improved ISO performance and Focus peaking/magic zoom.

My Sony actually has all of those from the Factory which is nice. Having them on my Canon is mandatory for my work.


- Alex Corona Sony A7, Canon 7DM2/EOS M, Mamiya 645/67
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raccase
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Mar 17, 2016 21:32 as a reply to  @ SailingAway's post |  #4

I think I might give it a test run this weekend. Is there any user advice/tips that you think would be worth for me to know before setting it up? Thanks.




  
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pulsar123
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Mar 19, 2016 09:56 |  #5

For a number of years I've been trying occasionally to use ML, but every time I ended up not using it for anything serious. (My camera is 50D). My impression is ML can be quite useful for video (which I'm not interested in), but with photo it's much less obvious. Recently I was trying ML one more time, this time after discovering that they now provide full resolution electronic shutter mode (FRSP), which is very useful for extreme macro focus stacking I'm into these days. I managed to come up with a good setup and now use FRSP all the time for my extreme macro projects. So it looks like for the first time in years I'm using ML for serious stuff on a regular basis.


6D, Tamron 24-70 f2.8 VC, 135L, 70-200 f4L, Laowa 15mm 1:1 macro, 50mm f1.8 STM, Samyang 8mm fisheye, home studio

  
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Picture ­ North ­ Carolina
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Mar 20, 2016 08:10 |  #6

Good points. I've looked at Magic Lantern many times over the years. Each time I passed it by because I evaluated it as little help. I don't do video with DSLRs at all. I have a converted (IR) 5D, a 5D2, and a T3i. I haven't considered ML for a year or two. I am wondering, once again, if it has changed and has anything more to offer still photographers.


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Immaculens
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Mar 20, 2016 08:37 |  #7

I'm in the same camp of trying it various times and end up ousting it. It is my perception and certainly not a scientific survey - but I figure maybe less than 20% and maybe closer to 10% of members on this forum have ML installed currently, and a good deal less use it weekly.... just a wild guess. I have had it on 3 different bodies - always posting in advance if anyone else finds it useful and the response is akin to what you see in this thread. No talks about it in the 70D thread - except for a few of us who saw a beta was available... we tried and it and dumped it.


Will immaculens.com (external link) gear
Learn to love to do well, and you shall. ~ C. Poseidon

  
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SailingAway
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Mar 20, 2016 17:17 |  #8

As above, I continue to use it on a 70D. Guess I never found "the 70D thread" to learn that I shouldn't ;-)a

But, it's true, most of ML's functions skew towards Live View monitoring. Still photogs who don't use Live View much won't find anything in ML unless there's a specific function (like better control of HDR bracketing) that they really need.

Use for video offers some extremely useful monitoring... but I can't quarrel with Immaculens' numbers, they may be generous.

ML will appeal to:
dSLR owners who want more video-camcorder-like functions, especially focus and exposure monitoring.
Still photogs who *specifically* benefit from the *specific* functions, like advanced bracketing, intervalometer, motion triggering, sound triggering, auto-ettr, etc.
The geekier-than-average, who appreciate it because it's cool (it is!).
Video shooters pursuing video raw.
Macro still shooters who use Live View a lot.
Instructors wanting to take snapshots of the Live View image, including overlays.


From the upper left corner of the U.S.
Photos, Video & Pano r us.
College and workshop instructor in video and audio.
70D, Sigma 8mm, Tokina f2.8 11-16, Canon EF-S f2.8 17-55, Sigma f2.8 50-150 EX OS, Tamron 150-600VC. Gigapan Epic Pro, Nodal Ninja 5 & R10.

  
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CheleA
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Mar 20, 2016 22:19 |  #9

I installed it on my 70D as soon as it was available for my particular model( there are A & B versions). I then installed it on my 6D literally within two hours of buying it:) So you can say I am a big fan. With all that said, there are actually very few features I use in ML, mostly because I don't do video and shoot strictly manual exposure. Favorite features: Exposure lock : you set the exposure and it will adjust the shutter speed to maintain the exposure value when adjusting the aperture.
RAW histogram: Standard histogram is based on JPG
Highlight alert : it shows when the highlights are getting clipped, I use ETTR so it comes in very handy.
Dual ISO: expands the dynamic range.
GPS shut off: I just started using the GPS, ML has a setting that shuts off it off when the camera goes to sleep extending battery life. The GPS is active by the time I take the second shot.

I had been using ML's focus peaking but like Canon's screen magnification better.

There are several features that I keep telling myself I'll start using/exploring but never get around to it:( ML is just like everything else, it's a tool and not all tools are for everyone. I for one, am glad it exists.




  
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mfturner
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Post edited over 2 years ago by mfturner.
     
Mar 21, 2016 07:40 |  #10

I've only had ML on my 60D for a couple of days now, but my early observations are:

1. Installation was very easy if you follow the instructions.
2. I think focus peaking will be useful with my MF lenses, it is only somewhat useful with my AF lenses. I'm not sure the exposure aids are really any better than uniWB. The auto_expo module is a great programmable "P" mode for walking around though.
3. dual_iso (my main reason for installation) will take some experimenting to understand the best ISO setting ranges and exposure settings. You are trading shadow-noise vs highlight-recovery tradeoff when you use this. But the resolution loss is non-existent in mid-tone areas, and artifacting is low until you try to push the ISO spread too hard.
4. It does seem to take 1-2 sec longer for initial power on to load the FW, after that it is immediate (no shutter lag etc).
5. There is a whole sub-section of the forum on suspected bricked cameras, with a lot of posts. you should go find that and read some of them. Most are user error or failed hardware rather than the FW itself. I decided that my 60D was far enough out of warranty that it was worth a try.
6. Some power drain, at least while the camera is on. Also, to take advantage of focus peaking I have the picture review set to stay on until I press a button, which adds even more power drain.

That is all for still photography though, I don't do video yet.

[edit] another week of usage tells me I'm wrong about #6, power usage is indistinguishable once you quit playing with the menus and LV, and leaving the picture review on all the time.




  
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CheleA
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Mar 26, 2016 23:44 |  #11

mfturner wrote in post #17942896 (external link)
I've only had ML on my 60D for a couple of days now, but my early observations are:
3. dual_iso (my main reason for installation) will take some experimenting to understand the best ISO setting ranges and exposure settings. You are trading shadow-noise vs highlight-recovery tradeoff when you use this. But the resolution loss is non-existent in mid-tone areas, and artifacting is low until you try to push the ISO spread too hard.

6. Some power drain, at least while the camera is on. Also, to take advantage of focus peaking I have the picture review set to stay on until I press a button, which adds even more power drain.

#3, I like ETTR and have had great results with ETTR and dual-iso. There is a plug-in for Lightroom. I have the plug-in installed in LR5 and it works really well. I have honestly tried to find the downside to Dual-ISO and haven't found it yet:) ML has a setting where it will take two shots, one with dual-iso and the next without it -- just don't take the shots too soon one after the other because it will skip the one with dual-iso. I used to turn it on and off before I found that setting, now I just leave on most of the time. The zebras for the highlights is just great for ETTR in manual mode! I just wish there was a way to use the zebras in the viewfinder, you have to use Live View -- but still, it's a small price to pay.

#6. I haven't found it to drain the battery any more than before I installed it on the 70D. Don't know on the 6D as ML was installed on it within hours of buying it so I don't have a before/after point of reference. On the upside, I have just started using GPS and ML has a setting to shut the GPS off when the camera goes to sleep. Initially the battery drain due to the GPS was noticeable.




  
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mfturner
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Mar 27, 2016 18:00 as a reply to  @ CheleA's post |  #12

Another week, and I totally agree with you about the power drain enough to have edited my earlier post. Now that I'm not fooling with the menus and LV mode all the time, it's indistinguishable from pre-ML days. I guess if you take 1000 pictures in the first day after installing it to play around, you'll run your battery down LOL. I've left my camera on all week and when I'm not using it, its sleep mode is the same as before, no real battery usage.

I've played more with auto_expo than ETTR so far, but I can see a home for both of them. Raw histograms with zebras are really nice, and I'm even warming to the waveform display when I have questions about what is really clipped or crushed. Dual-ISO worried me (prior to actually using it) about the theoretical loss of resolution in non-overlapping areas, but here's a 100% crop from a shot from walking around the other day using Dual-ISO and auto_expo, at f/2.5 on a lens designed in the '90's. If there's resolution loss, it's not due to Dual-ISO, with this camera/lens at f/2.5 and 100% it is as good as I hope for. I don't know that Dual-ISO was needed in this shot, but as you say, there doesn't seem to be much down-side to just leaving it on. The reality is that the only parts of the image that might lose resolution would be exactly those parts that would be blown out (or crushed, depending on how you set the recovery ISO and exposure) which would have zero resolution otherwise. Exactly how I'm going to set it is taking some experimentation though, and the alternating mode may wind up being something I use for a while until I have absolute confidence in it.


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To the OP though, no regrets installing ML for still photography so far.



  
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Meanie
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Post edited over 2 years ago by Meanie.
     
Mar 27, 2016 20:40 |  #13

My apologies for hijacking the topic.

I've had ML on my camera for a few years but rarely used it and the camera. Now I want to get back into the swing of things and start shooting again. I noticed ML has a new built from last month. I assume that's a newer version than what I have. Can someone confirm that and is there a method to upgrade or should I do a simple reinstall?

Thanks




  
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CheleA
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Mar 28, 2016 00:36 |  #14

Here is a dual-iso sample I took this morning, it has not been fully edited but it's enough to give you an idea. I think the EXIF data doesn't show on dual-iso images, settings were:
6D
ISO 100
1/160th sec @ F16 -- set on a tripod.
16-35F4, set at 16mm.
ETTR using ML highlight zebras
Full manual mode

One of my screens is calibrated the other is not, it shows washed out in non-calibrated screen.


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Fred ­ Meebley
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Post edited over 2 years ago by Fred Meebley.
     
Mar 29, 2016 21:35 as a reply to  @ CheleA's post |  #15

Nice shot, what is this lightroom plugin you are talking about?

Never mind, I just did a Google search and found it.




  
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