Thanks to Alex of Magic Lantern I have been testing an advanced beta (not yet public) of the new Magic Lantern Unified on the 5D Mark II.
This version takes all the features of the latest 600D / 60D version and ports them to the 5D Mark II, including HDR video and variable frame rates.
Since this is of course pre-release software, not all the features are final. They’re being tested by the test team on various 5D Mark II bodies so that Alex can see what works the full frame beast from Canon and what doesn’t.
Currently variable frame rates don’t go quite so high as on the 600D. On the 5D Mark II the sensor is 22MP full frame so it is a bit more challenged for high speed stuff. But you can go for the trippy slow ones. These can be very useful when doing time-lapse sequences in 1080p in low light with a slow shutter, which I have done quite a bit of on the GH2.
HDR video alternatives between low ISO / high ISO frames and then you blend them in post. Brilliant feature. On fast motion you can get a bit of ghosting, I recommend a faster shutter speed to avoid that. More on this feature on EOSHD soon.
This is the first time the new Unified Magic Lantern has been available for the 5D Mark II. Before this 5D shooters could only run the older versions by the great AJ Newman and Trammell Hudson.
To access the Magic Lantern menu, you press the ‘delete’ button at the bottom left corner of the camera (as on the 600D though it is differently placed on the 5D). The menu on the 5D Mark II is easy to navigate with the joystick. The set key toggles a setting and the picture style key accesses a sub-menu. There’s also a very handy built in user guide and tool tips for each option.
Magic Lantern Unified runs on the 5D off the card, if you take the card out you go back to the official Canon firmware which I find very intuitive. For example you can have one compact flash set up to boot Magic Lantern and one normal one.
The current build works with the latest 5D Mark II firmware – which is 2.1.1. The previous ML by AJ Newman works on 2.0.9. Of course we have all these key guys to thank, Alex, AJ Newman and Trammell, for what the latest Magic Lantern has become.
Features wise, Magic Window gives you a Leica M8 style split screen focussing aid – very nice. It can also confirm focus with green bars, and of course it is windowed so the full shot remains on the LCD. You can turn of AGC, get on-screen audio meters and full manual control over audio. There’s crop marks and black bars for post-crop anamorphic shooting, false colour, waveform, peaking, built in intervalometer operational in movie or stills mode… the list goes on!
I also enjoyed the follow focus using AF motors like the Oki USB controller, where you can use the arrow keys on the back of the camera to rack focus.
Bitrates with a fast card can apparently go to 3x the original 38Mbit…. That is over 100Mbit 1080/24p, though I haven’t tested this yet as I’m waiting for a 90Mb/s compact flash card to arrive. I’ll definitely be comparing it to the hacked GH2 at some point soon.
All in all the pre-release firmware is looking great and works just as the latest 600D Magic Lantern does.
In terms of availablility please note this is not yet released publicly for the 5D, it is still in beta.
But the HDR video function will be coming to the 600D ML Unified tomorrow.
Very impressive work guys. I can’t wait to get shooting with it. I’ll have some hacked 5D Mark II vs hacked Panasonic GH2 high bitrate footage in the next few days.