Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Magic Lantern raw video test results on 5D Mark II

Lucy RAW test from John Ha on Vimeo.

I've been testing the Magic Lantern raw video capability on my 5D Mark 2 and 5D Mark 3 cameras. Well, I first tried loading it onto the Mark 3 and promptly bricked it. Oops, that's going back to Canon for repair.

So then I loaded it on my Mark 2 and it's been working fine. I installed the June 29th nightly build.

On the Mark 2 currently, here are my findings for shooting resolution (for 16:9 aspect ratio and 23.976 frame rate override, 180 degree shutter equivalent):

1880x1058 is the max resolution for the 5D2 and even with my Sandisk Extreme Pro 90MB/s card, I can only record for a limited time (maybe 1000 or 1500 frames).

At 1728x972, I can record continuously with my Extreme Pro 90MB/s card, but not with my Extreme 60MB/s card.

At 1600x900, I can get about 1500 frames out of the slower 60MB/s card. And of course continuous recording with the faster card.

At 1472x828, I can get continuous recording with the slower Sandisk Extreme 60MB/s card. I'm using the 64GB version and I estimate I can record about 22minutes of footage on that card.

At 1280x720, I estimate I can get about 28 minutes of footage on that slower 64GB card.

This is great news. I've seen tests comparing 720p raw vs 1080 H.264 and the 720p raw wins. So I think if you want to shoot raw on a job and don't want to buy or rent the faster 1000x cards (which are pretty expensive right now), this is a great compromise.

I am going to do a test of shooting the Mark 2 at 1472x828 and at 1280x720 and then uprezzing the files to 1080p.

Currently, the limiting factor of shooting these cameras using Magic Lantern raw at 1080p resolution is not the camera, but the acquisition media costs. The reliable 1000x 128GB cards go for $600-700, and you will need at least 2 or 3 for a job. At full resolution, you get about 25 minutes of footage per 128GB card. That is a pretty steep price. Of course you could rent the cards, and for a job that is probably a good idea.

But a good compromise at a lower production cost could be to shoot at 720p or 750p or 820p.

I will run some tests and post the results later. In the meantime I hope you enjoy the Lola and Lucy video above, shot in RAW on the 5D2.


  1. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    thank you :)

  2. Say you record a minute clip and want to erase it. Can you do that? Or are you stuck with all frames shot until you go to your computer/card reader?

  3. You can erase ML files if you load the file manager module. It's easy.

  4. Hi, what about the crop factor when using 720p? Is there any way to preview it in real time? (Also shooting with a Mark II) Thanks.

  5. is worth hanging onto the 5d2 for some moire free shooting situations since it doesn't have an olph for a sharp image (i have 5d3 also)