Canon Considering Legal Action Against Magic Lantern to Protect 1D-X

Camera company sees third-party firmware as threat

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

Memo to the legal team of Canon… In case you have forgotten, the Library of Congress has ruled that people may their iPhones for the purpose of installing legally obtained software. In other words, it’s our gadget, go away. So, if the geniuses at Magic Lantern want to play with your Canon 1D-X to see what else it can do, what do you care? It’s the consumer’s $15,000!

“I was told by someone at Canon that they would ‘bring the might of its legal team’ to anyone that attempts to modify at the software level, the features of an EOS-1 camera body. So I think the firmware community out there today will probably leave the EOS-1D X alone.” – Canon Rumors

What am I yammering about, you ask? Well, there’s talk that the camera hackers at Magic Lantern could crack the firmware of the 1D-X 4K Digital Cinema Camera, and if they even try, Lake Success is hell-bent on suing them for it.

Why so litigious? Well it may have to do the rumors that there’s little difference, other than a $6,000 price, – between the Canon 1D-X  and the Canon 1D-C. That story broke a few months back and was almost immediately refuted. But Canon Rumors claims the truth is somewhere in the middle… That the two cameras are very similar, save for a beefed up heat sink in the 4k Cinema camera to handle the heat generated by processing that much data.

There are also subtle differences pertaining to HDMI-out ports and no headphone jacks. But the really meaty difference is Canon’s bread and butter… The firmware. And a hack that could potentially turn a 1D-X into a 4K camera at half the price would certainly hit Canon where it hurts, the bottom line. And that’s why sticking lawyers to write C&D letters threatening legal action is so telling. If there was a lot more difference, you’d think the reaction from Lake Success would be more academic… talking about performance and a risk of processor meltdown voiding the warranty, rather than the nuclear option.

So you can’t blame Magic lantern for covering their legal tracks and declaring via Twitter:

Magic Lantern will never touch the 1D series of cameras. – Magic Lantern

Course, that may be due to the expensive price tag to test such a hack and the risk of tossing $18,000 on two cameras out with the proverbial bath water.

Hat tips: Canon Rumors and NoFilmSchool

About James DeRuvo

James has a multi-faceted career that spans radio, film and publishing. A writer about the technology in the video industry for nearly 20 years, James is also an award winning film director, having garnered a Telly Award for his short film Searching for Inspiration. He's also worked as a producer of many talk radio programs in Los Angeles with topics ranging from entertainment to travel to technology.


  1. Kenni says:

    This all doesn’t make too much sense to me:
    If Magic Lantern can make EOS 5D III shoot RAW , wouldn’t that be embarrasing to Canon with respect to the 1DX?… But they don’t have a problem with that?

  2. Long John says:

    UH…that would be “heat SINK”…not “sync…used to dissapate heat from a device, such as a transistor or IC chip…

    Heat Sink is a VERY common word in electronics and high tech gadgets, but I guess whomever wrote this is ignorant

    • Heath McKnight says:

      Thanks for catching that misspelling. However, James DeRuvo is hardly ignorant; he’s very creative and technical, with an extensive history in filmmaking, writing and computers and filmmaking technology.