Save up to 60% on all Fstoppers tutorials

Magic Lantern Turns the Canon 50D Into a Video Monster

The Canon 50D doesn’t get a lot of love much anymore. The system is 5 years old, and was among one of the last DSLRs to come out without video capabilities. When searching through the firmware, it was later found that video functions existed for the 50D, but were disabled by Canon. Upon opening these features, EOSHD forum member Julian has found a beauty hidden in this old beast.

The sensor used in the 50D allows for some very clean and high detail RAW video footage to come out of the camera, far higher quality than you'd expect from a Rebel series. Also, the 50D was also known for its ability to handle low light with ease, a feature that inevitably moves to its new video functions as well. So good infact, this screenshot of RAW video was taken at ISO 12,800 --


Aside from the excellent low light performance, what makes this great news for all video DSLR shooters is the price. The 50D, at 5 years old now, can be found on eBay and similar markets for around $400. That gives you a capable cropped body video camera with RAW functionality (thanks to Magic Lantern), with a UDMA 6 card slot, and all the bells and whistles Magic Lantern can unlock.

The cheapest next best thing for RAW video is the 5D Mark II with a custom firmware, which will still set you back over $1,000.

Check out eBay to find the latest prices on the Canon 50D.

[via EOSHD]

Log in or register to post comments


Alik Griffin's picture

I currently have the 5Dmkii and even the stable release of the firmware is amazing. So much is added to its functions, like improved HDR, an intervalometer, a longer shutter, etc etc. I feel like I have a brand new camera with all the features added to it.
I did a write up on my blog.
I hate posting links in comments but I was excited about this. I've been playing with it all week and realize there are so many features everyone is overlooking with all this hype about RAW video which 99% of people and 100% of photographers will never actually use.

Bruno Inácio's picture

i got the alpha 2 for 7D and I felt the same!
Zebras, Focus points, intervalometer... :O
10X more confortable workflow.
Now, I'm 'praying' for this raw skill! :D

Alik Griffin's picture

It's like having a whole new camera. I love it.

Jayson Carey's picture

The 50D is not part of the rebel series.

Mustaf333's picture

you said " far higher quality than you’d expect from a Rebel series"
that sounds as if the 50D belongs to the rebel line of cameras......

Fred's picture

Hey Mustaf, it really isn't Zach's fault if you can't understand written English well.

Archie Campbell's picture

Have to agree with Mustaf333 makes it sound like it’s part of the Rebel line...

Kyle Sanders's picture

It is confusing in this context, whereas in the source article the full thought is that the 50D is a much higher quality camera than the 60D, which is more similar to the Rebel line. In particular, the media type (CF), buffer size, and high-ISO capabilities of the 50D are much better than the Rebel-like 60D.

Janjan's picture

well it´s not your fault that you are retarded.
your whore of a mother should not have smoked crack....

Klaas Fisser's picture

LOL +1

Doug Birling's picture

Really? Sub-human.

Nicholas gonzalez's picture

Long live Magic Lantern!

Spy Black's picture

I thought Nikon fanboys were sad.

Nicholas Edwards's picture

Been using Lightroom 4 and LR Timelapse templets to skip a step in processing of the Raw DNG files for the Magic Lantern Raw hack for the Canon 5D Mark III, think it is also a superior grading tool compared to adobe camera raw. Saves a step, give it a try!

louisleblanc's picture

This video might give a better idea of the image quality.

Keep in mind it's shot through an anamorphic filter which might be the reason the footage seems a bit soft.

But damn, Magic Lantern is awesome. I'm planning on going from my Canon t2i to a Sony Nex 6 but I'm afraid I'll miss Magic Lantern!

Edward Duckitt's picture

I have tried the ML firmware on my 50D a few times and was amazed at the 1080p output. Very clean and crisp with almost no moire. I just wished there were more frame rate options...

What concerns me about this news is all the "50D has excellent low-light performance" statement that has been included in most of the re-blogs of this news. IMHO the 50D has one of the worst sensors for anything over ISO1600!! Just compare the RAW noise graphs on and you will see what I mean. Now I am not going against this great discovery of RAW video on the 50D, what I am against, in my opinion, I believe to be an unsubstantiated fact.

I think the quality of the video at ISO12800 can more likely be attributed to the excellent noise reduction algorithms found in the Camera RAW processing software. Apply enough NR (50 luminance and 50 chrominance according to the first take in the video) to most high ISO shots from a camera, resize the image to 1592x720p and the image is bound to look great.

Robert London's picture

I agree I own the 50D and thought anything above 800 was unusable, however the 7D is not much better. Low ISO performance go with Nikon.

Edward Duckitt's picture

Yes the 7D/60D/600D (same sensor..) are about 10% better than the 50D. What the 50D definitely does have is detail retention. The amount of fine detail from some of my lenses blows me away sometime!

Brian Hursey's picture

FYI canon 60D now has raw video also.. 14 bit is pushing it at 720p. able to get about 300 frames. Lower resolutions work. Once 10bit and 12 bit are working higher resolution video is going to be more possible hopefully. Only down side is size this 6 second video is over 500 megs.. It was just a quick test.. Down side is the 60D's sd interface is limited to around 20MB/s See the 60D raw thread here. my test video is here

Another feature that has been opened up by this is silent picture raw for the time lapse people. Works well tested it got a 22 second video out of stills about 700+ stills ended up with an AE render video of 4.0gigs LOL

Tijmen Dal's picture

Don't be a douche and admit you worded it wrong.