For all Canon users wanting to get that extra bit of performance and functionality out of their DSLRs, the amazing MagicLantern firmware is a one stop solution that not only adds a host of major features to your camera, but also saves you money and space by replicating features that you would otherwise need extra gear for. This essentially gives your everyday DSLR camera some awesome super powers.

Primarily developed as a firmware to add extra video features for the initial crop of Canon DSLRs with video functionality, MagicLantern now boasts features for video, photo and even sound. It also supports a wide range of Canon DSLRs and is particularly useful for people who shoot with the low/mid range models like 7D, T2i, etc. I have personally found it really useful to shoot timelapses and HDR photos. It is also a great tool for testing and learning new techniques without having to buy the hardware first.

The best thing is that it is non-invasive, easy to install and use (runs form the SD/CF Card) and is also totally free and open-source. It does not replace the official Canon firmware but acts as a feature add-on on top of that.

David Kong has done an excellent series on Working with Less, and here is the video where he specifically goes though his workflow and how using Magic Lantern has helped him to refine his art.

Filmmaking Tutorial: Part 3, Magic Lantern from David Kong on Vimeo.

The sheer number of features/benefits that one gets with MagicLantern can be overwhelming at first but one you go through the initial phase of working with the interface and define your own workflow, it becomes second natuire, just like using your camera’s original interface. I would highly recommend anyone with a supported Canon DSLR to try this out. It may not be the one solution that fits all needs, but it definitely is a step in the right direction.

Although, it is not clear whether using this firmware voids any warranty, it is distributed with NO WARRANTY and NO GUARANTEES. However, it has not been known to destroy any camera and I have been using it for a few years with no negative impact to my camera whatsoever.