Magic Lantern is an alternative firmware that enhances the functionality of Canon SLR cameras. This article describes all the menu items of this program.At the same time, it absolutely does not interfere with the operation of the camera and it can be removed without any problems. The first experiments with the firmware of Canon cameras were carried out back in 2003, when the result of these actions arose the opportunity to reflash Canon EOS 300D unlocking many of the Canon 10D features. Among these features were range expansion ISO, mirror lock, flash power control, and others. They were, to say, sorely lacking in the Canon 300D. Especially, blocking the mirror before the descent shutter and power adjustment of the built-in flash. It's a pity, range shutter operation cannot be extended by flashing.

Description of Magic Lantern

The Magic Lantern project appeared in 2009. At the moment, Magic Lantern firmware is officially supported cameras:

Great theme - descent shutter by timer for shooting time laps, zebra when focusing, mileage view shutter and other functions. The instructions and description of the functions of the Magic Lantern menu I have given in this article below.

Key descriptions of Magic Lantern 2.3 settings

  • Audio: automatic volume control (AGC) off, audio recording level adjustment, manual audio adjustment, selective audio source (built-in, built-in + external, external stereo, balancing), audio monitoring via A / V cable.
  • Exposure assistance: overexposure and overexposure (zebras), Exposure estimation (false color), bar chart, brightness levels - displayed as "Waveform" (waveform), brightness at the focus point, brightness levels as "Vector shape" (vectorscope).
  • Focus utilities: points when focusing (focus peaking), zoom while recording, focus trap (shooting when the subject is in focus), focus shifting (moving focus from one subject to another in a video), focus tracking, bracketing focus (for macro photography).
  • Video recording assistance: bitrate control, video logging (additional data similar to Exif), auto-restart after overflow of card / buffer or 4 GB limit, High dynamic range (HDR) video, additional frames per second (fps) control, RAW video recording.
  • LiveView adjustments: contrast, saturation, brightness of the display for using live view (LiveView) in the dark.
  • Image overlay in Magic Lantern: user-editable on-screen overlays for easier composition and picture frame selection.
  • Exposure control: photosensitivity, speed shutter, color balance in Kelvin and other picture settings.
  • Bracketing: extended bracketing exposition, bracketing by focus.
  • Remote Shooting: face in the frame and triggering on sound, without additional equipment.
  • Working with time intervals: shooting intervals (for stills and movies), exposure time (bulb) of a frame (manual and automatic), video recording with very smallframes per second (FPS) (minimum 0.2 frames per second), silent shooting without triggering shutter; endless bulb timer for very long exposures (up to 8 hours).
  • Display information: focus and depth of field information, matrix temperature, number of shots, time.
  • For strobists: Flash Exposure Compensation, -10 to +3 stops (EV) (camera dependent).
  • Battery saving in Magic Lantern: Turn off the display or dim the backlight in LiveView mode when idle.
  • Features for convenience: fast zoom in view mode, shortcuts for the most frequently used functions, customizable menu, screen screenshot

The list is incomplete and depends on the camera model. I have highlighted functions useful for me in italics. For shooting at long exposure, it is very convenient to have a built-in function in the camera, than to buy an intervalometer (and they cost decently), or to carry a wired remote control with you and press the button for a long time.

Installing Magic Lantern on cameras Canon

Installing Magic Lantern consists of several steps:

  • Go to MagicLantern website

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  • Update the firmware of your camera to the latest for Magic Lantern
  • Select from the list "your-camera-model.-firmware-current-for-Magic-Lantern"
  • Download firmware file Magic Lantern
  • Place files from the archive at the root of the memory card by copying or moving. The firmware file has the extension .fir, the rest of the files and folders are needed for Magic Lantern to work.
  • We insert the memory card into the camera, start the flashing by selecting an item in the menu with the name of the current version of the camera software.
  • Magic Lantern will begin installation. In this case, the memory card will be assigned the "bootable" status. Subsequently, without a memory card, or with another card, ML will not boot, but the camera will function properly.

You do all this, by the way, at your own peril and risk. Therefore, the minimum required for flashing is a fully charged battery of the camera.

Magic Lantern menu buttons and interface

In Canon 60D, the button for deleting photos is responsible for calling the Magic Lantern menu, and in LiveView mode - Info. Variations are possible on other cameras. The interface is a text menu made in the form of system fonts on a black background. The pictograms at the top of the menu show the main sections.

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Known Issues

  • The first seconds of the video being recorded can be very loud.
  • Sometimes, moving focus (rack) and bracketing focuses (stack) can just stop working. You need to reboot the camera for them to work again.
  • External monitors are not fully supported (magic zoom and RGB utilities will not work).
  • Magic Lantern does not have audio controls for Canon 600D / T3i and newer cameras. You can disable AGC from the menu.
  • Not put on new cameras Canon

Magic Lantern removal

To remove the alternative firmware, it is enough to format the memory card through the camera menu. At the same time, formatting the card by default leads to the loss of the firmware. To format without deletion, just before formatting, you must press the Q button. In other words, the camera itself will kindly tell you about this on the page for formatting the memory card.

Nightly builds

Previously, on the ML download page, you could select either fresh compilations of the program (nightly builds), but not tested, or the so-called Stable (stable) releases. Currently, only Nightly Builds are available for download by default.

Magic Lantern setup instructions
(Canon 60D)

Here and below are the Magic Lantern settings in Russian. Now let's start describing the sections and settings in them.


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  • Analog gain - is responsible for the analog amplification of the input signal from the microphone, has values ​​from 0 to 32dB, the higher the value, the greater the gain.
  • Digital gain - turns on separate digital amplification of a digital signal to the left or right channel. Has subparagraphs R-Digitalgain, L-Digitalgain и AGC (automatic gain control is useless in most cases). Disabled by default.
  • input source - the item is responsible for the choice of the sound source. Has the following subparagraphs: Auto Int \ Ext (auto select the sound source), Internal Mic (built-in microphone), external stereo (recording stereo sound from an external source), L: int R: Balanced (the left channel is recorded from the built-in microphone, the right is balanced, usually used in conjunction with concert microphones), L: int R: ext (left channel from built-in microphone, right channel from external source)
  • Mic power - when this option is enabled, the camera will serve as a kind of amplifier for an external microphone, however, if the microphone has a low impedance, the function should be disabled.
  • Headphone Monitor - sound reproduction in headphones
  • Headphone Volume - amplification of the sound transmitted to the headphones
  • speaker volume - volume of the built-in speaker
  • Beep, test tones - setting the warning signals that the camera gives in one case or another (for example, when the recording is interrupted)

Section "Exposition" Magic Lantern

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There are the following items here:

  • White Balance - setting the white balance manually, the temperature of the light is set in Kelvin, with a step of 100K. It is also possible to adjust the color shift (color bracketing), and a color factor.
  • ISO - setting the sensitivity with a shorter interval than the default in the camera (it works in manual modes, the values ​​change in 1/3 stop increments). Equivalent value adjustment possible ISO, in this mode the camera settings will be overridden by the ML adjustment from this menu item.
  • Shutter - speed setting shutter with a step smaller than the default in the camera (if the camera supports it), it is possible to automatically adjust to the shooting conditions using Magic Lantern, for more accurate exposure.
  • Aperture - manual aperture setting. The pitch is slightly different from that displayed in the camera menu. A useful trick for cameras that have a firmware-limited change of parameters by 1/2 or 1/3 stop.
  • Picture style - selection of a picture stylization preset for both photo and video mode (! RECpicturestyle).
  • Exposure Lock - aperture setting \shutter\ISO without changing the exposure. It is possible to support the preservation of the relationship between the parameters of the exposure triangle. Works in manual mode.
  • Exposition Presets - exposure presets. You can use several for work.
  • Exposition Override - Bypass Canon firmware for working with exposure parameters in movie mode.
  • Exposure Simulation - enables exposure simulation directly for display on the camera display in live shooting mode. The function turns the camera display into a digital viewfinder. Can be turned off, can be switched to photo and video modes. Zebras and histograms are not displayed in this mode.
  • dual ISO - using this parameter increases the dynamic range of the camera, but requires additional post-processing tools. In this mode matrix the camera shoots with alternating lines of the base value ISO and extended.

Overlay menu Magic Lantern

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Adjust the different blend modes of Magic Lantern. There are the following sub-items here:

  • Global Draw - enables or disables the display of various overlays, included in the items below.
  • zebras - display of underexposed and overexposed areas in Live View (hereinafter LV) and on the finished image. It contains several profiles for displaying overexposures and under-highlights (Luma, Luma Fast, RGB), as well as additional settings, such as the percentage at which the program starts to display a zebra for under-light / overexposure.
  • Focus peak - the item allows to enable display of depth of field in LV. It helps to navigate perfectly and view the depth of field on the camera screen when using manual lenses. Has subparagraphs Filter Bias (selection of the algorithm for determining the focus area), image buffer (settings for night shooting and daylight), Threshold (sets the percentage of pixels by which the focusing accuracy is determined), Color (color, to display the mode Focus peaking), gray scale image (Discolored image in LV mode).
  • Magic Zoom - display of the enlarged part of the image to determine the focusing accuracy, can be used during video recording. Has subparagraphs trigger mode (display mode setting, Always On - always on), Size (window size Magic Zoom), Position (square position Magic Zoom display in LV mode), Magnification (magnification factor of the displayed area) and Focus Confirm (setting for visual confirmation of focus. Points of interest split screen и SS ZeroCross, the inclusion of which ensures the display of the square MagicZoom in the style of dual-image focusing screens)
  • cropmarks - Magic Lantern cropping frames. By default, 5 preloaded frames are available. It is useful, for example, to use cropping frames to make it easier to compose when shooting stills and videos. Loading your own frames is supported.
  • Ghost image - overlaying a translucent image over the image in LV. Useful for panoramic photography, for example.
  • Spotmeter - exposure meter, displays the default brightness metering module in the center of the screen, as a percentage. You can change the display mode of values ​​to EV, or others (RGB - color temperature, IRE), as well as select the metering area (center, or focus window)
  • false color - used to estimate the exposure using the palette of the difference in brightness of the white channel.
  • Histogram - turning on the display of the Magic Lantern histogram (the graph of the distribution of halftones of the image). It is possible to display both the luminance as a whole (Luma Color Space) and the luminance of an individual color (RGB). Used in difficult lighting conditions. The choice of calculation is possible, both logarithmic and linear (the logarithmic mode is used in cases when any color prevails in the image). Enabled Clip Warning (overabundance of information on any channel).
  • waveform - is responsible for displaying the incoming signal in the form of waves. Replaces the histogram in some cases, gives a little more information about the exposure.
  • vector scope -enable display of the Magic Lantern vectorscope in LV mode. Vectorscope helps determine the value of the hue and saturation Images.

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Video Tab Magic Lantern

In this section, you can change the video bitrate, and some other settings:

  • Bitrate (CBR) - bitrate control. When using the constant bit rate (CBR) parameter, you can change it both up and down. The unit is the standard 45 megabits / second stream for the camera. The maximum value is 3. Using the parameter Qscale VBR is a constant quality with a variable bit rate. The values ​​to change are from -16 to +16. The lower the number, the higher the bit rate. In this mode, the bit rate increases when the amount of information in the frame increases. FW default - reset to factory values. In the same menu item, you can set a warning about the buffer filling during video recording.
  • REC key - setting an additional function to enable / disable recording for the REC button.
  • Gradual Exposure - for video mode. Using smooth transitions when changing exposure, by compensating with a value ISO.
  • FPS override - here you can change the number of recorded frames per second. Recommended to use without audio recording.
  • HDR Video - HDR video recording. It is recorded as a sequence of frames with different sensitivity, and requires additional processing in post-production. Suitable for shooting static subjects.
  • vignetting - vignetting. Either remove or add as an effect.
  • Image Fine Tuning - this mode allows you to adjust the image quality of a movie directly by changing the register values ​​of the Canon Digic processor.
  • creative effects - an experimental function, it configures the effects for video shooting - colors, channels are inverted. You can also record video in grayscale mode by toning the image with Picture Style.
  • Movie tweaks - various video mode settings. Remaining time indicator, saving video metadata, resuming recording after its interruption (due to buffer overflow or exceeding the file size), informing when starting / canceling video recording, blocking shutter when shooting, as well as disabling the absence warning lens.

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Has the following subparagraphs:

  • Advanced bracketing - Advanced settings bracketinga. Even available bracketing using ISO.
  • intervalometer - built-in intervalometer. You can set the start delay, as well as the shooting time.
  • Bulb Timer - used for long exposures.
  • Audio Remote Shot - shooting can be done remotely by clapping your hands, for example.
  • Motion Detect - descent shutter when motion is detected, or the exposure is changed. You can also set a delay between changing the state of the camera.
  • Mirror Lockup - locking the raised mirror before lowering shutter (with programmable delay).
  • Flash Tweaks - built-in flash settings. Exposure compensation, as well as alternating frames with and without flash firing.
  • Shoot Preferences - advanced settings for intervalometer shooting, focus stack and remote release shutterlaunching scripts.

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A very interesting section:

  • Trap Focus - trick trap. The picture is taken when the subject is in focus. Mainly used for macro photography using manual lenses. Works in photo mode.
  • Follow Focus - Follow Focus software simulation. Using the buttons of the unit and autofocus lens you can make smooth focus adjustment. You can set the step and delay for the focus command.
  • Focus End Point - an option that defines the end point of the smooth focus transition of the Follow Focus mode.
  • Rack Focus - automatic control of the transition between the start and end points of Follow Focus.
  • Focus Stacking - a function that allows you to take multiple shots in automatic mode to increase the depth of field. Used for macro photography, for example. The resulting photos can be combined in post-processing, for example, in Adobe Photoshop. When using this function, the Rack Focus must be configured.
  • Focus Settings - focus settings. Step, delay before the next step, wait before firing. Used in conjunction with Rack Focus or Stack Focus.
  • Focus Patterns - focus pattern. Here we set the focal points by which the camera will orient itself during focusing.

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Section "Display" Magic Lantern

Camera display settings.

  • LV DIGIC peaking emphasizing contours when focusing in LV mode.
  • LV brightness, LV contrast, LV saturation - functions to improve the display of images on the camera screen.
  • LV display gain - amplification of the signal on the camera monitor in the LV mode. Useful when shooting in the dark or when using ND filters. In the photo mode, it does not affect the picture quality, in the video mode, the video is recorded as on the camera display.
  • clear overlay - remove overlays. Configurable to a timer, a button or a combination of buttons, when pressed, additional information superimposed by Magic Lantern is removed.
  • Defishing - used when shooting on fisheye, straightens the image in the preview.
  • Anamorphic - setting for anamorphic lenses. Stretching the picture vertically in LV mode.
  • Advanced settings - additional settings for displaying the interface on the camera screen. Change orientation, color scheme, blending mode.
  • Level indicator - electronic level in LV mode and Magic Lantern overlay. Accuracy - half a degree.
  • magic lantern


Various Magic Lantern settings are hidden here. Such as displaying configuration files, previewing images, LiveView zoom, square focus area, enabling warning of incorrect settings, enabling power saving in LV mode, and menu settings. Nothing complicated so that you can focus on this.

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Section where you can connect additional modules preloaded with ML. There is even a toy and a file manager. This section is useful if you want to activate something like Dual mode. ISO or RAW video, which are disabled by default.

magic lantern description funkcii 13


The technical mode of the Magic Lantern settings, in which you can view both information from the camera sensors, about the mileage shutter, matrix temperature, battery charge, and perform stress tests of iron for failures.

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Screenshots of the camera menu for this entry, and some others on the portal, were taken from this particular menu. The format of the saved file is .PPM, it opens in graphic editors without problems, but the standard Windows photo viewer does not understand the Magic Lantern screenshot format.

Help menu item Magic Lantern

A section that reports on hotkeys for controlling Magic Lantern and contains information about the firmware and its build.

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Should I install Magic Lantern?

The answer here is up to you. Considering that a lot of things are missing on cheaper models of cameras (an intervalometer, for example, or additional focus display settings), then advanced owners are simply a must-have. Thanks to the developers of this add-on, the effect of Canon's marketing policy is smoothed out - there is no point in overpaying for new functions if you already have a camera suitable for your requirements.

I personally have not yet regretted nirazu that I contacted ML. So are my comrades.

Great guide to Magic Lantern in PDF


7 comments on “Magic Lantern. All 11 menu items in detail."
  1. They frightened me with a confused explanation, I figured it out. The question is the following: now the firmware is 1.0.9. Swears, asks 111th. Found. Downloaded. Updated. If you upgrade to the 112th, the last available one, will ML work on it?

  2. It is very sad that 1200D is not among the supported models, while 1100 and 1300 are. I wanted to shoot a video in RAW, but it's not destiny

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