I have seen questions about the risks, but what about the rewards.

I have read the wiki, and I can see the features. My question is for those who have tried it out (for Photo)

What benefit did you see? What did it allow you to do that you couldn't before?

If you did install it, do you still use it? Would you recommend it to someone else?


2 Answers 2


From the Magic Lantern User Guide #Features, here is a sample of features that apply to photography:

  • Exposure helpers: zebras, false color, histogram, waveform, spotmeter, vectorscope.
  • LiveView adjustments: contrast, saturation, display gain for using LiveView in darkness.
  • Cropmark images: user-editable overlays to assist framing and composition.
  • Fine control for ISO, Shutter, Kelvin white balance and other image settings.
  • Bracketing: advanced exposure bracketing, focus stacking.
  • Timelapse: intervalometer (for photos and movies), bulb ramping (manual and automatic), recording at very low FPS (down to 0.2 FPS), silent pictures without shutter actuation.
  • Astro- and night photography: bulb timer for very long exposures (up to 8h).
  • Info displays: focus and DOF info, CMOS temperature, shutter count, clock.
  • For strobists: flash exposure compensation, range up to -10 to +3 EV (depends on the camera).

I think it is self explanatory that having features such as those listed above is beneficial. Would I like to have a built in intervalometer, of course! Would I like to have further control over bracketing, of course!

It allows you additional fine tuning and control that you either would need additional hardware to achieve, or simply is not possible without extra manual steps.

If you have a camera that is compatible with it, I see very little reason why not to install it and keep it installed. The additional functionality and essentially free added features are welcomed to me.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, they are pretty good about testing it too. I run MagicLantern on my 5D Mark iii with no issues. I only boot it up when I need it though. I use the Firmware launcher approach (where you can turn it on by loading a "custom firmware" which really just launches the application). Then simply turning the camera off and on again brings it back to stock. \$\endgroup\$
    – AJ Henderson
    Mar 4, 2013 at 16:52
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Here is another big one since july 2013: Dual ISO lets you do HDR in one shot. \$\endgroup\$
    – Duvrai
    Feb 24, 2014 at 9:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ They are also fine-tuning the amplifier gains, which gives currently almost 1 extra stop of dynamic range on the 5D Mk III and new ISOs as low as 66 (sorry too late to edit). \$\endgroup\$
    – Duvrai
    Feb 24, 2014 at 9:19

I use it, though mostly for the video features. I only turn it on when I'm using a particular feature. My 5D Mark iii isn't fully supported yet, but the beta release has been very stable and hasn't caused any trouble when using it. The menu systems take a little getting used to simply because there is so much functionality.

The main feature I have used is the manual focus assist in live view where it renders dots on the points with highest contrast. Some of the live histograms and vectroscope are useful too. It is definitely targeted largely at video features, but the exact feature set depends on the camera.

It is also worth noting that you can turn on and off magic lantern at will with certain types of installation. It is just a program that runs within the camera's normal OS. (Though certain versions do make persistent changes to setting values.) I would very much recommend it if something on the feature list strikes your fancy.


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