Magic Lantern Achieves Super 35mm 4K On The Canon 5D MK. III

Image: EOSHD

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

Now I know what you’re thinking, this has to be an April Fool’s joke. But a1ex assures us they’re serious as a heart attack. Magic Lantern has managed to create a 4K spec for the Canon 5D MK. III. And if that’s really the case, I wouldn’t be selling your rig on eBay just yet.

“Thought our 4K announcement was an April 1st joke? It’s real! Download + source available!” – Magic Lantern on Twitter

canon-eos-mk-iii-canon-5dx-300x225There’s an old axiom in NASA that you don’t care what something was designed to do, only what it can do. That’s pretty much the mantra for Magic Lantern, as well. Since 2009, a1ex and his team of hacking rocket scientists have been slowly but surely mining every pixel of resolution and opening up new features for the Canon DSLR platform.

But the holy grail has always been 4K on the 5D MK. III, and not only has Team Magic Lantern finally accomplished this (with some caveats), but it’s managed to do it with Raw, to boot.

Here’s what you can now get on the 5D MK. III:

  1. 1920×960 @ 50p (both 1:1 crop and full-frame – 3×3 pixel binning)
  2. 1920×800 @ 60p (same as above)
  3. 1920×1080 @ 45p and 48p (3×3 binning)
  4. 1920×1920 @ 24p (1:1 square crop)
  5. 3072×1920 @ 24p (1:1 crop) 
  6. 3840×1600 @ 24p (1:1 crop) 
  7. 4096×2560 @ 12.5p (1:1 crop)
  8. 4096×1440 @ 25p (1:1 crop) 
  9. Full-resolution LiveView: 5796×3870 at 7.4 fps (128ms rolling shutter)
Image: EOSHD

How have they managed this? Well first off, they’ve had to take the full-frame real estate of the 5D3 and crop it down by 1.5x to Super 35. But hey, considering that RED is making some stunning work with the Super 35 8K Helium, and the 5D MK. III is five years old, you have to admit that it’s pretty damned impressive.

Other features include a widescreen apect ratio that’s pretty darn close to an anamorphic 2.66:1. It’s also not completely ‘pure’ 4K, since the resolution falls short at 3840 x 1600 at 24p. But if you want to boost it to over 4K, you can by selecting the 1.4x crop for 4096 x 1440, or you can go 1.9x and get 3K.

But the real kicker is that Magic Lantern has accomplished the damn near impossible by including 14-bit, 12-bit and 10-bit Raw, as well. So you can choose your poison depending on how large you want the file sizes to be, and how much noise you’re willing to put up with in the shadows. But at 14-bit, you have the best possible dynamic range you can get (unless they find more).

Now I did mention caveats… This is a highly experimental development that isn’t without its quirks, which is why a1ex and company have kept the 4K option in the nightly builds for now and not in the official release. So if you decide to download and try it out for yourself, you’re taking your camera’s life in your hands. Additionally, when shooting in 4K mode, your live view LCD switches to black and white. You’ll also need too use the fastest memory card you can find to keep up with it all.

But let’s not sugar coat it, this development is HUGE, and you’d think Canon had to see it coming. Remember when the Canon 1D-X was released, and Canon pretty much threatened to sue Team Magic Lantern if they tried to open up 4K? Well now that Canon has finally brought 4K to the 5D MK. IV, it looks like all bets could be off, and I’m thrilled by it. I can’t wait for it to make the stable builds!

And if they can do it on the MK. III, can the MK. II be next? Or even better, how about that mammoth 50 MP sensor in the 5D S/R?!


About doddle 16414 Articles
Doddle is a leading online resource for filmmakers, covering news, reviews and tutorials for the video and film industry, along with movie and TV news.

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