Magic Lantern Manages to Pull 24p RAW Video Out of the Canon 5D Mk III


A couple of weeks ago, the Magic Lantern team announced that they had discovered a RAW DNG Live View output on the 5D Mark II and Mark III. At the time, they could only get 14 frames per second for only 28 frames before the camera needed to buffer, but the team was confident that they could eventually increase the speed to 24p and pull a true RAW video feed out of the camera.

Lo and behold, that’s exactly what they’ve done. According to user lourenco in the Magic Lantern forums, he’s tested the new capability and he can pull continuous 1920×850 RAW video at 24p.

The test videos aren’t anything special in terms of content, but the difference between the RAW video and the H.264 video is huge in terms of both dynamic range and resolution. By cropping the video to 1920×817 he gets a 2.35:1 wide screen aspect ratio, resulting in 1080p RAW videos with black bars on top and bottom.

Here’s the RAW video sample, shot at 1920×850 at 24fps:

And here’s the H.264 version:

It goes without saying that there’s plenty of hurdles still left to get over before these updates are ready to launch to the public.

Firstly, recording RAW video is going to be costly when it comes to storage space. Each frame weighs in at about 3MB, which translates into 72MB per second of footage. Plus, you’ll want a CF 1000x card in order to handle the load, and there’s no mention of issues with sensor heating, which are always at the forefront of the conversation when video is concerned.

But once you get past all of that, the ability to shoot continuous DNG RAW video at 24fps, even if it is limited to 1920×850, is an incredible achievement. Give them another month or two and they may be pulling full 1080p HD out of the camera no problem.

For now, the solution only seems to work with the Mark III, but keep an eye out for updates in the near future.

Update: Since we posted this article, it looks like the Magic Lantern team have pushed the capabilities of RAW shooting mode to and above 1080p. Here’s a sample video from EOSHD:

And as far as heating issues? Here’s what EOSHD had to say about it:

Is heat an issue? Well I don’t know yet – I haven’t shot with it for long enough or in a hot enough place. The card and camera are warmer than normal, but that is to be expected considering the huge data rates generated by raw. I don’t know what – if any – implications for camera life this hack will have, but the sensor is always doing a raw video output in live view mode so sensor heat shouldn’t be any more of an issue than it was with ALL-I H.264 video.

Check out their full hands-on for more info.