T3i Magic Lantern – My Top Five Anticipated Features

Since Canon’s release of a firmware update for the T3i, I anticipated the Magic Lantern team’s eventual attempt to hook into the T3i’s firmware. They did manage to lay the initial foundation for full Magic Lantern (ML) development on the T3i, and there are a number of people actively developing. We won’t see a full-featured roll-out any time soon, but I expect incremental ML firmware releases to progressively roll-out features. Here is a list of the features I am most interested in seeing – hopefully they’ll enjoy early spots on the feature release timeline.

  1. More stops – I really want to see a more robust set of stops for the shutter-speed, ISO, and aperture. Better yet, how about letting me input the exact value that I want? Currently the camera only allows you to select shutter speeds in varied increments, skipping some of the “optimum” stops for film (like 45). The ISO selections are even worse. I see a lot of the film-techs saying that increments of 160 are best – I don’t know the “why” of that, but I sure would love to be able to select ISO stops at these increments to try out these “pro” settings. The aperture stops are similarly sparse.
  2. Fully selectable frame-rates – The T3i, has 60fps, 30fps, and 24fps (yay!) – but you are locked into certain resolutions for those rates – not all rates are available to all resolutions. Sure, most NLE’s allow you to convert frame-rates, but they don’t quite look the same. Also, with some of the big name directors vowing to shoot in really high frame rates, it would be nice to experiment with them. Besides, I just hate being locked-in.
  3. Auto-Restart for Video Recording – Due to to file-system limitations, DSLR’s (not just the T3i) are limited to about 4GB’s or 29 minutes of recording. This function automatically restarts recording when the limit is reached. You’ll suffer a few seconds of missing video while the stop-restart is occurring, but it’s better than not realizing you’ve stopped recording and losing a lot more than just a few seconds. For shooting scenes, you’ll never hit this limit. But auto-restart will be nice to have when I want record a live event.
  4. On-screen Audio Level Monitoring – I will usually record secondary sound, but even so, I’d like to have decent scratch audio on the camera. The T3i already allows you to adjust the audio gain, but does not give you any visual feedback. I’d also like to see a way to adjust the gain during recording. Currently, you have to stop recording and enter the menu system.
  5. Focus Assist – This feature gives you visual clues to help you get proper focus. As an item comes into focus, you get some red-ghosting around the object. I can see this being of tremendous value to a focus puller as the camera operator concentrates on movement and framing.

So, there you have it – the five things I am looking forward to the most when Magic Lantern is released for the T3i.

UPDATE! Magic Lantern for the 600D/T3i is finally here!

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