What is Magic Lantern?

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Magic Lantern refers to a firmware add-on which was created by Trammell Hudson in 2009. This was originally made for the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, and in July 2010, was ported to the 550D/T2i/Kiss X4 by the same person. Today, there are different versions of Magic Lantern for Canon DSLRs and the developer of this firmware add-on is known as A1ex.

Since the installation of Magic Lantern doesn’t involve the replacement of the stock Canon firmware and doesn’t alter the ROM either, this doesn’t involve too much risk and is also simple to remove. Furthermore, every time the DSLR camera is turned on, the user may opt to disable Magic Lantern.

This firmware add-on includes a lot of features, such as audio controls, audio monitoring through A/V cable, on-screen audio meter, FPS control, HDR video, auto-restart, and bitrate control. There are also Precise ISO, Shutter Speed controls, White Balance, RAW histogram, vectorscope, waveform, false color, and Zebras features. Features such as custom crop marks, Automatic Exposure Bracketing, focus stacking, bulb ramping, and bulb timer that is up to 8 hours are present, as well.

Additional features of this firmware add-on include trap focus, follow focus, magic zoom, motion detection, and rack focus. Magic Lantern also involves customizable scripting, menus, and “P” Program mode. Aside from those mentioned, this has a Dual-ISO feature which can enhance the dynamic range of up to around 3 EV, and an Auto-Dot-Tune which is used for automatic microfocus adjustments and for the calibration of the lens and the body on some DSLRs.

There are no official statements made by Canon with regards to this add-on firmware, its features, and on the subject of warranty. According to Canon, although their product warranty doesn’t cover any possible damages caused by a third party firmware add-on, the warranty will cover unrelated issues (e.g., buttons that are malfunctioning) even if there is a third party firmware installed.

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