Magic Lantern brings the gift of Raw video to Canon 50D


posted Tuesday, May 28, 2013 at 11:19 AM EST


First announced way back in 2008, the Canon EOS 50D had a long run as Canon's premier mid-level DSLR. And this rather old camera may soon be getting a new lease on life thanks to the addition of a feature that it was never intended to have: video recording. The ongoing work of Magic Lantern has resulted in a software hack to get Raw video out of the Canon 50D, giving people the ability to record high-quality video in a DSLR that can be had for a couple of hundred dollars on the used market.

This comes in the wake of Magic Lantern first getting Raw video out of a Canon 5D Mark III, and since then the functionality has spread to a number of other Canon DSLRs. What makes the case of the Canon 50D special is that unlike other Canon cameras that have been overhauled with Magic Lantern's software enhancements, it never had video to begin with — and now it can not only shoot video footage, but can do it in Raw, too.

The discussion of this video enhancement has been going on in the Magic Lantern forums, which have presented the hack with some serious caveats. For one, since the 50D was never intended to record video, there's no microphone, and no playback. You also need at least a UDMA 6 CF card to be fast enough to capture the footage. But once you have those, the users have managed to coax 1592 x 1062 video at 30 fps.

If users are willing to put up with the restrictions of not having an associated audio feed, the 50D could prove to be a serious boon to filmmaking on the cheap. The 50D had excellent image quality, and you'll get access to the substantial Canon body of lenses. But if you're interested, you might want to get on board quick. If all this attention continues, it could be pretty hard to get hold of one soon.

Meanwhile, other Canon DSLRs are also getting some attention from Magic Lantern, with a 60D version expected to roll out soon.

(via NoFilmSchool, EOSHD, Engadget)