Canon 50D takes RAW video thanks to Magic Lantern

Magic Lantern is a firmware modification that gives Canon SLRs extra bells and whistles. Now, the hack can pull out RAW video from one of Canon's older models.

Magic Lantern is a firmware modification that gives Canon SLRs extra bells and whistles. Now, the hack can pull out RAW video from one of Canon's older models.

(Credit: Canon)

The boffins at Magic Lantern have certainly had a productive few weeks. First, they announced that it was possible to eke out RAW video from the 5D Mark II . Then, they successfully modified the firmware to get almost Full HD footage at 24p .

In an unexpected turn, Julian Huijbregts has managed to extract detailed RAW video from the almost five-year-old EOS 50D . The camera, which was released in 2008 just before the 5D Mark II, always had a video functionality, but it was locked out through Canon's own firmware.

Considering that a used 50D can be picked up for just under AU$500 on eBay, the Magic Lantern mod could present some incredible value for money for anyone looking to shoot cinema-quality footage. The camera's APS-C sensor might be physically smaller than the full-frame models used on the 5D series, but because it features a resolution of just 15 megapixels, it performs better in low-light than Canon's other crop-sensor models released afterwards.

The 50D uses Compact Flash cards with support for UDMA-6, for transfer speeds of up to 133MB/s. This actually makes it better for pushing out RAW video than the newer 60D, which uses class 10 SD cards (not UHS-I compatible SD cards though), making the minimum attainable speed 10MB/s.

The footage below was taken by Huijbregts at an unbelievably high ISO of 12,800 to show the detail and noise profile of the RAW video using a number of different lenses. You can follow the development of the mod in this thread at the Magic Lantern forums, and find out more about Huijbregts' hack here.

Canon EOS 50D raw video test - ISO 12.800 (H2) from Julian Huijbregts on Vimeo.

 

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