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Canon DSLR Hack Allows It To Shoot RAW Video

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the features-added-by-users dept.

Hardware Hacking 171

When the Canon 50D DSLR camera was released back in 2008, it could take nice pictures, but it had no support for video recording. Now, through an enterprising hack by members of the Magic Lantern forums, the 50D can capture RAW video. From the article: "The tech inside the 50D looks like it borrows a lot more from its higher-end siblings, like the 5D Mark II, and it’s possible we may actually get better RAW video quality out of the 50D than we do out of any of the non-CF Canon cameras. ... The camera doesn’t have playback or audio recording as it was never designed to shoot video, but this isn’t too different from the RAW recording on the other Canon DSLRs at the moment."

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171 comments

im confused here (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43847757)

are camera companies ripping people off and people are having to hack thing themselves to get an actual functional product?

Re:im confused here (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43847785)

are camera companies ripping people off and people are having to hack thing themselves to get an actual functional product?

Maybe; but probably not in this case. It's a five year old product that wasn't designed to do this. Most of these are probably sitting in closets or got recycled by now. Sure there are times when a product is fully functional and simply crippled by the manufacturer. This may or may not have been the case. Maybe it doesn't support as much memory as the other models. Maybe it will overheat if you shoot video. That's why it's called "voiding the warranty". While not all manufacturers are good, they're not all evil either.

Re:im confused here (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43847909)

Making non-free software is unethical. If the camera is controlled by non-free software then making that camera is unethical. If the camera had used free software then the user would have been able control the camera, rather than being dominated by the manufacturer. It's important to recognize that with free we mean free as in speech, not free as in beer. It is unfortunate that the word `free` in the English language is ambiguous.

Re:im confused here (2, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | about a year ago | (#43847951)

Feel free to create and manufacture your own camera with free software. Nothing is stopping you.

Re:im confused here (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43848501)

Actually the sensors used in Canon and Nikon cameras are manufactured by Canon and Nikon on Canon and Nikon Lithographic processes, and are used exclusively in Canon and Nikon cameras. You can't buy the sensors for use in your own camera and what is available commercially is substantially inferior to those produced by Canon and Nikon (and Sony).

In fact there are cameras with free software firmware, including digital cinema cameras similar to what this hack does, however the quality of the sensors used in them is inferior, resulting in an inferior camera. Also Canon and Nikon DSLRs have extremely good opto-mechanical assemblies, which would be hard to match.

Nikon is a leader in precision engineering, they built one of the first ruling engines which is a pretty critical piece of precision machinery for bootstrapping photolithography as it is used to produce linear diffraction gratings which is critical to all photolithographic processes, additionally Canon and Nikon are two of the very few (I can also think of Minolta, Carl Zeiss, ASML and Applied Materials) companies worldwide that produce steppers which are used for patterning semiconductor wafers. The precision construction of lens and mirrors is the dominant limiting factor in geometry reductions in photolithography, so it follows that companies with a long history of making quality optical components and devices are also leaders in the field of photolithography. As I'm sure you are aware, this type of equipment and processing is extremely expensive (billions of dollars).

So nothing is stopping you, except billions of dollars of capital you don't have.

Re:im confused here (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43848565)

3D printing will let you print your own sensors. In about a week, or two, tops.

Re:im confused here (2)

mangu (126918) | about a year ago | (#43848625)

So nothing is stopping you, except billions of dollars of capital you don't have.

And this is where the idea of intellectual property makes sense. If someone invested billions in creating something, he's entitled to profit from that.

It's not like those billions were lying around. People worked to save money and invested it in shares of those companies, that's where the billions came from.

Re:im confused here (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43848709)

Nobody should have billions of dollars laying around. They should invest it back into the community in the form of health care, food, fuel subsidization. The money should be used to reverse global climate change and prosecute those who are cutting down the rainforest. But people don't care, they just blather on about cameras and what's on TV.

Re:im confused here (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#43848767)

Might as well enjoy it. We're all going to die.

Re:im confused here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43849405)

Is this the nerd version of YOLO, or are you channeling Marvin the Paranoid Android?

Re:im confused here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43849207)

that's called the government and it's their job. Not a private company's. Even when they participate in charities, it's due to tax breaks, marketing, or other business incentives. It's seldom about pure altruism.

Re:im confused here (3, Insightful)

kwbauer (1677400) | about a year ago | (#43847967)

This is about the stupidest thing I have ever read. Exactly how is it unethical to sell me a product that I want, that does exactly what I want it to do for a price I am happy to pay, unethical?

If it were advertised to do more but didn't, that would be unethical.

Re:im confused here (2, Insightful)

Coeurderoy (717228) | about a year ago | (#43848207)

It can be unethical when the manufacturer or a group of manufacturer makes sure that the products you can buy are only available with certain limitations and at a fixed price. You would still want "that product", it would do "exactly what you want because you do no know better" and at a price you are "happy to pay" since you need it and there is no alternative. The benefit for the monopolist or the oligopolist is that they can maximise the cash they remove from your pocket, and make sure it's very hard for disruptive technologies to enter the market. in the ex: DDR many people where very happy to buy a "Trabant" (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go_Trabi_Go [wikipedia.org] to get an idea of the attachment people had for their car, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trabant [wikipedia.org] to have an idea of what you could get after 5 to 25 waiting time and a large part of your "extra cash"... So it's not because you are too dumb to understand that you've been conned that it's not an unethical con. And of course "non free software" is a "cheap" way to make sure that your hardware is controlled by the seller and not you, whether it's a computer, a phone, a tablet, a camera, or even a car... (non free software in the car systems enables the manufacturer to force you to use the garage they choose (by forcing them to buy their diagnostic tools and only authorize them to use their spare parts at their prices)

Re:im confused here (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#43848265)

"It can be unethical when" is a qualification that was not applied to the AC's original statement. Quite often it's banded around like it's an axiom or a matter of orthodoxy.

Re:im confused here (4, Insightful)

FireFury03 (653718) | about a year ago | (#43848775)

It can be unethical when the manufacturer or a group of manufacturer makes sure that the products you can buy are only available with certain limitations and at a fixed price.

Conversely, even though the hardware may be capable of doing many things with the right software, those software features cost money to create. So the vendor has a choice:
1. Give everyone those software features, raise the price for everyone to cover the cost of creating them.
2. Give those software features only to the people willing to pay for them, therefore keeping the price down for the people who aren't.

(2) seems like a better option for everyone - the consumers who aren't interested in paying for a feature get to keep the cheap price they desire; the consumers who are interested in paying for a feature gets that feature; the vendor recoups the cost of (and profits from) development of that feature.

The slashdot crowd seem to think that just because software distribution is essentially free, software creation is too.

Re:im confused here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43849357)

C) Allow people to examine the extant software features, and let them improve them easily and legally.

This is actually better for the economy, as it turns out. :-P

Re:im confused here (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about a year ago | (#43849779)

Oh, the old "everybody that disagrees with me is so stupid that don't even know how stupid they are" routine. Thanks for the "enlightenment".

unethical? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43848227)

Look -- I'm not going into the discussion of what is ethical. Too complicated.

But a business relation is a relation of trust, and if I find out someone is selling me something for a price while they could just sell me more for the same price (because it doesn't involve more work or material on their side), then I'll be less likely to buy from them in the future. Plain and simple.

Now that doesn't apply for this case, because Canon might have a reason to do things as they did (including "it's a lot harder to write better firmware"), but there are many cases which do apply.

Ethical? Unethical? I just don't care. I'll take my business elsewhere (and recommend others to do likewise).

Re:im confused here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43848427)

Ethics is interesting thing. Just because they can should mean they should. I can buy and sink homeless puppies every day. And it won't prolly be illegal. Doesn't mean it's good. Now is it ethical behavior? Depends.On one hand, killing puppies is obviously bad. On another hand, see animal suffering from hunger might be worse...

I tend to agree with both statements of parents. It is bad that software is locked. You are free to sell your's. Majority is stupid to go for first option, so what i thik is really irrelevant, unless i can educate majority, which i don't think is possible... Perhaps it makes majority inherently stupid/immoral?

Re:im confused here (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about a year ago | (#43849813)

As i posted earlier... Just call every one that disagrees with you too stupid too even know they are stupid. Libs in the US do that with minorities who disagree with them all the time. It is a pretty bigoted viewpoint but you have every right in the world to be a bigot.

Re:im confused here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43849879)

Trolling troll was trolling. The hint was the absolutism of the statement. Even RMS has a somewhat nuanced set of opinions on software being free. Trolls don't care enough to. They just say what they need to say to piss you off.

Re:im confused here (1, Interesting)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#43848045)

Making non-free software is unethical.

No it isn't. EOC.

Re:im confused here (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43848173)

Well, shit. Now that you wrote "EOC" I guess no other arguments can be made. Damn—I had a good one, too!

Re:im confused here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43848429)

No, it just means that he explicitly marked the end of his comment (EOC = End Of Comment), so you don't accidentally read on to the next comment and think it is still his. ;-)

Re:im confused here (2)

Coeurderoy (717228) | about a year ago | (#43848223)

Are you sure this is the official point of view of the Eastern Orthodox Church ? or does it has something to do with Epithelial Ovarian Cancer ?

Re:im confused here (1)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year ago | (#43848395)

Hate to break it to you, but the RMS line of thinking isn't practical for most people. And sadly, he doesn't seem to grasp why it isn't practical for most people. During one of his speeches, a person in the crowd once asked him how software developers should make their living in his ideal world, and his answer amounted to something along the lines of getting room and board from universities for free in exchange for ideas (which is essentially what he does.) Hate to break it to you, but that simply isn't practical at all.

As somebody who believes strongly in free market economics, I recognize the benefits of open source and open standards. It basically amounts to what Ford did with building cars on the assembly line, which made cars cheaper and made parts interchangeable. Further, by reducing the need to reinvent the wheel, you can now spend that time and/or money on some other project instead of repeating what was already done. Basically, it creates economic efficiency, which is why various commercial enterprises are now publishing the source for projects that they create. The idea is that somebody else may build on it for their particular need, which can then be used by the originating company, so they have gained something out of it. Webkit and Linux are both great examples of this.

That model doesn't work for every situation though. For example, games developers mostly depend on end-user sales, and by the time they need to improve something (because the hardware has finally caught up with their goals) they generally have to start from scratch or at least rewrite the vast majority of their existing code anyways. It is not at all unethical for them to not release the source, nor is there any economic advantage in doing so. In fact, it could even harm them from lost sales to license their code to other games developers who want to use their game engine, or even any trade secrets that are just given away if the source is public.

To me, RMS is by and large a nutcase. He wonders why Hurd will probably never make it, and why people just call Linux by the name of the kernel rather than his insisted GNU/Linux (many embedded distributions of Linux don't include any GNU tools at all, by the way.) Some even suspect that he is a high functioning autistic, and I agree. Likewise, that line of thinking is probably why you got modded to -1.

Re:im confused here (2)

Dogtanian (588974) | about a year ago | (#43849049)

To me, RMS is by and large a nutcase.

Some may argue that, but he's still the guy responsible for kicking off free software as a phenomenon.

It's open to question whether Linux would have been released under something like the GPL if Stallman hadn't created that in the first place. Bear in mind that it was originally distributed under its own license, which restricted commercial usage.

He wonders why Hurd will probably never make it

Does he, or are you putting words in his mouth?

My understanding is that Stallman is generally positive about the Linux kernel itself (even if he dislikes the use of "Linux" to refer to the whole OS and lack of acknowledgement given to the GNU components), and considers it to fulfil the need for a Free kernel that the Hurd was originally intended to meet.

and why people just call Linux by the name of the kernel rather than his insisted GNU/Linux

Possibly because it's shorter, or because they're lazy. Whatever the reason, I doubt it's got much to do with them being ideologically opposed to Stallman.

Re:im confused here (1)

tnk1 (899206) | about a year ago | (#43849993)

Possibly because it's shorter, or because they're lazy. Whatever the reason, I doubt it's got much to do with them being ideologically opposed to Stallman.

Because it is shorter, and because modifying Linux with GNU implies that there is some other Linux out there that does not use primarily GNU tools, thus creating unnecessary specificity. Also, because Linux is actually the thing that turned GNU tools into something that could actually be called a complete operating system. They could have called it simply GNUOS or something, but since Linus made the piece that made it all work, his kernel gets the credit. It is the missing piece and it was the foundation.

That said, I totally get why RMS would use the terminology. There's a lot of work that went into the GNU tools and it is more than a little annoying to have been upstaged, even by something as central as the kernel. Anyone who feels strongly about it should certainly use it, but I'm never going to bother personally. I know who is responsible for things like gcc, glibc and lots of other things, and so does everyone else I've ever worked with.

Re:im confused here (4, Informative)

RDW (41497) | about a year ago | (#43848385)

Most of these are probably sitting in closets or got recycled by now.

This isn't a disposable point and shoot, it's a $1400 dSLR discontinued less than 3 years ago, with a still competitive specification. I'd hazard a guess that most of them are still in active use. Also, from the article "The tech inside the 50D looks like it borrows a lot more from its higher-end siblings, like the 5D Mark II, and it's possible we may actually get better RAW video quality out of the 50D than we do out of any of the non-CF Canon cameras." ('non-CF' cameras would include the current 60D model and below).

Re:im confused here (0)

terjeber (856226) | about a year ago | (#43848521)

with a still competitive specification

Not even close to a competitive specification in relation to this discussion. The camera doesn't have a microphone. Shooting video with no sound is not something most people are willing to do. Also, at the time of the camera release, DSLR video was not close to as practical as it is today. The on-board chip would not have been able to encode H.264 at a pace required to store on the CF cards at the time. RAW video would have been unthinkable since the CF cards of the time could not keep up with RAW video and would only be able to store a couple of minutes of it even if they did.

This is not about a manufacturer crippling a camera, it is about a manufacturer creating a usable product with the technology available at the time, and by available I mean for the intended audience. Even today, only the top of the line (at $300 a pop) memory cards can keep up with the RAW video stream.

Re:im confused here (1)

RDW (41497) | about a year ago | (#43848635)

Not even close to a competitive specification in relation to this discussion

You're missing my point. I'm replying to the AC's suggestion that most of these cameras will have been junked or shelved by now, which seems unlikely. With the very obvious exception of video, the _unhacked_ camera stands up pretty well in 2013, and has a decent second-hand value (many still photographers have only a passing interest in video). For those who are interested, this looks like a worthwhile hack, especially if it eventually produces 'better RAW video quality' than anything short of the semi-pro models.

Re:im confused here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43849255)

as a photographer, i'm interested in this. I know how to edit video, but it's still relatively new to me. I always strip the sound out or use an external audio recording if necessary and pair it up in FCP or Premiere. But most of the time I just add special effects (CG animation renders) or overlay with music. Unfortunately, I already bought a T3i and the audio is just an added burden to remove. I like Magic Lantern, but hate digging through the menus to disable audio and whatnot. Then again, it's not a cakewalk to configure the settings on a Panasonic HVX either.

Re:im confused here (1)

Wescotte (732385) | about a year ago | (#43849685)

The onboard microphones on DSLRs pretty god awful. You probably shouldn't use them anyway and would be wise to invest in separate audio recorder/mixer. Even if the microphone was decent you still lack decent gain control, it's usually stored in a lossy codec, and most of the other components are lower quality and introduce lots of additional noise to your recording. It's just not capable of recording good audio.

Re:im confused here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43848785)

Hey! My 50D is still alive and kicking, you insensitive clod! ;-)

Re:im confused here (1)

kimvette (919543) | about a year ago | (#43849815)

Canon has issued statements declaring that Magic Lantern does not void the warranty. ...just one more reason to like Canon. :)

Re:im confused here (1)

Rinikusu (28164) | about a year ago | (#43849987)

As an aspiring independent filmmaker, I've been following this with great interest (disclosure: I shoot through a hacked Panasonic GH2 and will most likely add a Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera to the line-up this summer). In 2009, you couldn't find Compact Flash cards fast enough to write the data that RAW requires, and even if you could, the pricing would be astronomical compared to the cost of the camera. REmember that these are DSLRs, not dedicated video cameras. It was a selling point that Canon eventually tacked on to meet a consumer "bullet point" ("Hey! You can also take some videos with this camera!") and they had no idea the monster they were about to unleash once people discovered that they could get "better" video from a $1500-2000 camera than a $15k dedicated video camera. That's the game changing part.

But, as evidenced last night at my school's film festival for its students, you don't even need a high end camera to make a good movie. My and others' favorite movie? Shot on a fucking iPad. a fucking iPAD. I've also seen some great stuff shot on Nokia phones, iphones, android phones, etc. If you've got a good story and good audio, the film image doesn't have to be spectacular.

Re:im confused here (1)

aliquis (678370) | about a year ago | (#43847807)

It's from 2008.

The cameras which do video record using some of the pixels on the sensor but they also encode it.

Re:im confused here (4, Interesting)

LordLucless (582312) | about a year ago | (#43847811)

No, not really. This is a camera, designed for stills. It has the capacity to capture video (unlocked by this hack) but no ability to capture audio, or playback the video, meaning it's not really a functional video camera. That is, while it has the technical capacity to capture video, it has none of the supporting features that make the ability to capture video useful.

It's like plugging your headphones into your microphone jack and talking through them. Yeah, they have the technical capability to record sound, but the rest of the device isn't designed to make that capability useful.

Re:im confused here (3, Insightful)

Guspaz (556486) | about a year ago | (#43847935)

Not to mention the capacity issues... These cameras are eating up something like 500-600 megabits per second at full resolution, and the ones people are most excited about doing this on (like the 5DIII) cost as much or more than video cameras that are designed to record to high bit-depth compressed format like ProRes 4444 (which is 12-bit).

I guess there's some value in getting more out of your existing gear...

Re:im confused here (2)

bieber (998013) | about a year ago | (#43847985)

The difference is that recording audio through your headphones gets you crappy audio that technically works and is a pain in the rear to capture. With a hack like this you get really great video quality (and audio is something you're ideally recording with separate equipment anyway), but it's a pain in the rear to capture. In the headphones-as-microphone case the only real motivation is desperation, but in this case you actually have a really great end product to show for it, and you can get it out of relatively very cheap gear. So if you don't have a lot of money and you really need video at that quality, then working around the restrictions of a hacked DSLR may very well be worth it, and can open up possibilities that wouldn't otherwise be accessible to you.

Re:im confused here (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about a year ago | (#43848299)

So if you don't have a lot of money and you really need video at that quality, then working around the restrictions of a hacked DSLR may very well be worth it, and can open up possibilities that wouldn't otherwise be accessible to you.

Oh yeah, I'm not seeing there's no point to the hack - I'm just saying that Canon not providing video out of the box wasn't done out of malicious intent.

Re:im confused here (3, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#43848547)

So most of the Hollywood high end cameras are also non functional? Because a panavision camera cant record audio. That is why they do the clapper thing and have an audio recording setup.

IT makes it unusable to consumers that want to film their kitteh. But then shooting RAW video is useless to 99% of the people that have video cameras.

Re:im confused here (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43848563)

No, not really. This is a camera, designed for stills. It has the capacity to capture video (unlocked by this hack) but no ability to capture audio, or playback the video, meaning it's not really a functional video camera.
Uh, for the majority if the history of cinema, people have captured "video" on devices with no ability to capture audio, or playback video. I don't think any of those photographers, directors or producers considered those cameras "not really functional".

Up until about 3 years ago it was normal to record on 35mm film, where the final capture could not be seen until it was sent to a lab, processed, developed and printed. Of course at some point they put splitters in the viewfinder which record (typically B&W) what was shot to video tape at much reduced quality. Additionally the largest 35mm cartridges used have capacity for 11 minutes at 24fps.

As for audio, no audio (if any) that is captured by the film camera makes it into the movie, they have a separate crew with all their own equipment for capturing the sound, and even then it is often overdubbed in a voiceover studio.

Consider that this 2008 camera now has the ability to capture images that would surpass any camera available in the 1960s and probably '70s and many workhorse cameras of the '80s. Consider that the great works of Stanley Kubrick, Oliver Stone and Francis Ford Coppola were captured on cameras capable of less and put things in perspective.

Re:im confused here (1)

Rinikusu (28164) | about a year ago | (#43849919)

/* it has none of the supporting features that make the ability to capture video useful */

erm, what?

I record sound externally and sync in post. Having in-camera recording makes syncing much easier, for sure, but it's not a necessity. I'm more concerned about the frame drops and system stability than lack of audio.

This is not news anymore (2)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year ago | (#43847821)

Most device manufacturers do not have a lot of budget on their firmware development, so, what they do is to have a generic-enough firmware developed, then they add and/or delete a couple of options, depending on the price point of their device model, package it as the firmware for that particular model

Back in the olden days when we were using USRobotic dial up modems we used to buy 2400 baud modem and then re-flash them to run at 4800 or even 9600 baud

The magic lantern community has been around for a long time, and I am surprised that Slashdot does not know about them, until now

Re:This is not news anymore (1)

crankyspice (63953) | about a year ago | (#43849243)

Most device manufacturers do not have a lot of budget on their firmware development, so, what they do is to have a generic-enough firmware developed, then they add and/or delete a couple of options, depending on the price point of their device model, package it as the firmware for that particular model

Back in the olden days when we were using USRobotic dial up modems we used to buy 2400 baud modem and then re-flash them to run at 4800 or even 9600 baud

Dating back to at least 1990: http://steveblank.com/2009/04/16/supermac-war-story-7-building-the-whole-product/ [steveblank.com]

Re:im confused here (3, Informative)

terjeber (856226) | about a year ago | (#43848495)

No, they are not. There are many reasons this was not enabled on the original camera, but let's take a look at some of them.

This is not today usable to anyone but the most hard-core video enthusiasts. Think about it. This is raw video. The recommended cards to use are 1000x cards (which were not available at the time and quite expensive today). You should have 64G cards or bigger in order to put more than a couple of minutes worth of video on the card. Then you need to post-process what is basically a bunch of images. After Effects is not something the average user has. Also, the camera doesn't have microphone input, so there is no way you can get audio in the video from the camera. Etc, and so forth.

This is for movie makers who are happy bringing dozens of CF cards at $300 a pop on a shoot. Most people doesn't spend $3000 on a camera, let alone 10 compact flash cars so they can shoot for an hour.

Re:im confused here (1)

lxs (131946) | about a year ago | (#43848727)

What part of The camera doesn't have playback or audio recording as it was never designed to shoot video is unclear to you? It's a still camera. Someone hacked it into an impractical video camera with no sound. Maybe the sensor will survive being powered for far longer than it was designed to, or maybe it will overheat and be irreparably damaged. It's a cool hack and that is all that it is. Nobody is getting cheated here.

Re:im confused here (1)

Internal Modem (1281796) | about a year ago | (#43849631)

"Maybe the sensor will survive being powered for far longer than it was designed to, or maybe it will overheat and be irreparably damaged."

One of the few intelligent points in this entire conversation.

Re:im confused here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43849853)

You do realize that the die temperature would need to get to 120C or thereabouts to even begin speaking of any damage, right? It's possible it'll happen, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Now that is a kickass hack! (3, Informative)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year ago | (#43847763)

Now that is a kickass hack! Seriously, taking hardware with limited functionality and actually adding (not just restoring) functionality to it that was not planned for it is pretty cool.

This is not like the "triple core" or "double core" CPUs being "hacked" into quad-cores when the crippling was just the setting low of a line or setting of a jumper on the chip. That was back when they were making all the chips quad cores and then crippling them as needed to meet market need: more dual cores were being purchased because of the lower price point, so the manufacturer just intentionally "disavowed" the extra cores on those chips, just to make a sale at that price point.

Of course, due to some hardware limitations, it can just record bursts of 59 frames at a time (probably RAM buffer limits since the RAW video takes up hella lot of data):

DNG Burst and raw video

The 50d can already shoot DNG silent bursts with maximum resolutions of 1592x1062 (buffer is full at 59 frames) in 1x mode and 1992x1080 (buffer is full at 53 frames) in crop mode thanks to @smeangol http://www.magiclantern.fm/forum/index.php?topic=5481.msg37526#msg37526 [magiclantern.fm]

@coutts has found the stubs for the 40d which means it is 'likely' that the 40d can do raw video and DNG bursts however it will need porting and developing.

@Smeangol is having some success in porting the raw recording feature however some other developer assistance may be required to iron out bugs.

Re:Now that is a kickass hack! (5, Insightful)

macraig (621737) | about a year ago | (#43847993)

This is not like the "triple core" or "double core" CPUs being "hacked" into quad-cores when the crippling was just the setting low of a line or setting of a jumper on the chip.

I beg to differ. That is precisely what this hack resembles. Quoth the article:

The tech inside the 50D looks like it borrows a lot more from its higher-end siblings....

Translated, that means the camera already has the hardware required for the task; it simply lacked the firmware/software to implement it. The camera wasn't "crippled" per se, but the "extra core" was already there waiting to be utilized.

Re:Now that is a kickass hack! (3, Insightful)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year ago | (#43848023)

Ah, indeed you are correct. The hardware was there, but my opinion or reading of it is that it was not "crippled" but never intended to have this functionality. It does not have enough RAM to buffer frames continuously at uncompressed DNG format rates for continuous video recording to SD card, whereas other cameras that were designed specifically for video recording have enough memory to be capable of doing this.

Thus my interpretation is that this camera model's hardware specs were deemed insufficient by the manufacturer for this specific capability, and considering that it can only do burst mode up to $X$ frames before capping out its memory buffer, the manufacturer may have been correct. So my interpretation is not that they "re-enabled a purposely disabled core" but rather that they added functionality which the manufacturer had decided that this hardware was not capable of performing well.

Re:Now that is a kickass hack! (3, Insightful)

Ford Prefect (8777) | about a year ago | (#43848189)

It does not have enough RAM to buffer frames continuously at uncompressed DNG format rates for continuous video recording to SD card, whereas other cameras that were designed specifically for video recording have enough memory to be capable of doing this.

The buffer is important, but it's more about being able to stream a metric shitload of data to a unwholesomely speedy memory card - once you can do the latter, the buffer helps smooth over hiccups but won't let you record indefinitely. The 50D's CompactFlash interface probably shares a design with a higher-end camera, Canon not wanting to waste effort in building a second, deliberately crippled version.

Thus my interpretation is that this camera model's hardware specs were deemed insufficient by the manufacturer for this specific capability, and considering that it can only do burst mode up to $X$ frames before capping out its memory buffer, the manufacturer may have been correct.

Being able to record RAW video is a pretty new feature on any vaguely consumer-oriented camera [wikipedia.org] - it's more sheer luck that Canon's dSLRs have features which make it possible, albeit in a hacky manner. I get the impression that on the 50D, it's grabbing data from the sensor in a manner intended for the rear display or for feeding into the (non-existent) H.264 encoder, and then streaming it out to a big file on the memory card before the memory runs out.

When you've captured the data, it's in a big, opaque file that needs post-processing on a PC to do anything with it - in this case, it gets split into sane DNG files for further processing in software like Lightroom or similar. You can record the video on the camera, but you can't (unless I'm horribly mistaken) play the video on the camera - you need to do plenty of subsequent processing to get it into video form.

Don't get me wrong, it's an incredibly cool hack - partly because it gives access to a feature which few high-end cameras have even today. It's not the manufacturer deliberately locking users out of an easily-implemented feature, it's the manufacturer not even realising that such a feature was possible - albeit in a restricted, but still usable, form.

Re: Now that is a kickass hack! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43848139)

No, the hardware to use it IS NOT there, such as a mic, or a playback button, amount other things. I have a 50D sitting in my closet that I'm very familiar with. I think I'll try the hack, why not. I have other CanonDSLRs that do the "video thing" out of the box, but it sounds. like an interesting experiment. Of course, when one does not know WTF they are talking about, one should just STFU!

Re: Now that is a kickass hack! (2)

Ford Prefect (8777) | about a year ago | (#43848237)

I have other CanonDSLRs that do the "video thing" out of the box, but it sounds. like an interesting experiment.

The particularly exciting thing about this hack is that it's not just a previous non-video-capable camera recording video, it's a camera recording 14-bits-per-channel linear uncompressed RAW video. Much better highlight and shadow recovery, white balance defined afterwards, much more information to work with [wikipedia.org] in general. Some really tricky shots are now possible.

Re:Now that is a kickass hack! (3, Insightful)

terjeber (856226) | about a year ago | (#43848571)

Translated, that means the camera already has the hardware required for the task

No, it doesn't. The video captured with a hacked 50D is not usable as is. You can't even watch it on a computer. Also, back then, it would not have been possible to make this hack work since there were no memory cards that would be able to store more than a few seconds (just over two in fact, at 24fps) of video. What do you think Canon customers would have said if the Canon 50D commercial had said:

Buy the 50D and make video with your DSLR. You can record almost three seconds of video before it stops for a while writing to the CF card. You will be able to record up to 3-5 minutes of video in two second burts to your memory card, so bring a lot of memory cards to the wedding. Oh, and btw, the video can not be watched on the camera nor on any TV or computer known to man. After having shot the video you will need to import the video to your computer, then import it into Adobe After Effects (part of the Adobe CS2 package at $2000 or so) for color grading (which is required) and rendering to video. Your two second bursts are sure to be a winner at the after-wedding party if the party is set about a week or so after the wedding.

The camera wasn't crippled at all. It was built very well, but some of the components can today be used differently when upgrading the software. Providing you have hardware plugged into the camera that is available today but that was not available when the camera was released. Oh, and remember, the camera doesn't actually shoot video, it stores a sequence of images that you can import to a powerful computer equipped with specialized software to make a movie from. None of what you have seen was captured by the camera alone.

Re:Now that is a kickass hack! (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#43848793)

A better quote would be "the 50d did have the feature, disabled in the Canon firmware. ML unlocked this to enable 1080p at 30fps with the ability to use FPS override for 24/25p". However that's not to say that this is a video DSLR with the feature disabled; consumer DSLRs typically have specialist video encoding hardware to turn it into a conventional, compressed format because RAW files demand very high-end CF cards and are hard to work with.

This camera could never have shipped with usable video recording.

Re:Now that is a kickass hack! (1)

havana9 (101033) | about a year ago | (#43848843)

Seems to me that the camera has only part of the hardware useful to do the task: some hardware is shared with some models capable natively to shoot video, but some other hardware is missing. To make a car analogy is to have a turbocharged 155 HP engine and changing the ECU software getting 180 HP. Unfortunately making this witout changing brakes, air filters, clutch, exaust, tyres and so on will make the car dangerous to drive and with less than optimal performances anyway. IF they're selling the complete upgrade option there's a reasonhttp://www.abarth.it/it/CMSIT/CarsElaborations/Pages/GrandePuntoEsseesseKit.aspx

Re:Now that is a kickass hack! (1)

Krymzn (1812686) | about a year ago | (#43848289)

The cores were not all necessarily crippled just to meet a price point. It's to do with the yields in the wafer fabrication process. The CPUs go through a test phase during their manufacture, and some of the cores in the quad core processors will have imperfections. Rather than throw them out, they instead shut down those cores and pass the die off as a CPU with a lower number of cores.

Re:Now that is a kickass hack! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43848451)

and sometimes it changes, so if you use a hack to get acess cores that are not officially there you may some day be in trouble
If the volume gets big enough the manufacturer may deside to make a new smaller die with less cores

Re:Now that is a kickass hack! (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#43848813)

I'd be curious to know for what fraction of cases CPUs were binned for technical reasons (bad cores) and economic reasons (using a surplus of 4-core chips to fill a 2-core order).

Re:Now that is a kickass hack! (1)

telchine (719345) | about a year ago | (#43848323)

Now that is a kickass hack!

Is different to the Canon Hack Development Kit [wikia.com] that I remember using quite a few years back to add extra features (manual focus, RAW mode, etc) to my point and click Digital Ixus?

ASTROPHOTO/VIDEO (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43847801)

How about making old 550D 640x480 cropped video mode to save video uncompressed (for planetary observations)?
ps. ML is a great piece of software and UI of nightlies surpasses canons ui ;]

Re:ASTROPHOTO/VIDEO (1)

gagol (583737) | about a year ago | (#43848263)

Why not! I dont have the camera, nor the telescope...

If you have the shit, just do it! (TM)

Let's DMCA the pants of this guy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43847815)

He's clearly a criminal mastermind and an obvious threat to national security! Sniper team, fire at will!

Re:Let's DMCA the pants of this guy! (4, Interesting)

Ford Prefect (8777) | about a year ago | (#43848041)

Canon's actually pretty cool about the use of custom firmware [diyphotography.net] . Plus projects like CHDK and Magic Lantern (and the thing that hacked the 300D into something fancier) have been around for quite a few years, and Canon hasn't tried squashing them.

(Although apparently their hacker-friendly nature most definitely stops [canonrumors.com] when it comes to the EOS-1 line.)

Re:Let's DMCA the pants of this guy! (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about a year ago | (#43849935)

>and the thing that hacked the 300D into something fancier)
That would be the 10D. I had that hack in my 300D. Not all features of the 10D worked as the hardware simply wasn't there but many did and it added some nice new features.

with the 6D they can do ~1500x700, space limited (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43847891)

it uses >1G of storage per minute of video, I've been watching this on the 6DD development thread for the last couple of weeks.

Higher resolutions can run for limited bursts the limit is the speed of writing to the SD card.

note that the 6D can also do HD compressed video with the stock firmware

David Lang

Re:with the 6D they can do ~1500x700, space limite (1)

gagol (583737) | about a year ago | (#43848279)

These are some cool hacks, but I will stick to my NXCAM's for work. They have much better lens for video and near unlimited storage (22 hours @ 1080p30, 2Xsd + flash module)

Why are they using a Nikon lens on a canon? (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about a year ago | (#43847957)

Is the Nikkor 50mm f//1.4 that much better than the Canon equivalent?

Re:Why are they using a Nikon lens on a canon? (2)

Zocalo (252965) | about a year ago | (#43848009)

While some of the Nikkors are undeniably better than the Canon equivalents, or don't even have Canon equivalents - like the 14-24mm, the 50mm f/1.4 isn't generally one you'd go out of your way to use via one of the readily available adapters that let you mount Nikkors on Canon bodies. More likely that they just wanted a small lens for the picture so they could show off the fact it was a 50D rather than flaunt the attached lens, and the Nikkor+adapter combination was the best option available.

Re:Why are they using a Nikon lens on a canon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43848067)

That and adapters for other brands are a relatively common piece of Canon kit. Canon has the largest diameter lens mount and the shortest backfocus distance (lens mount to sensor plane) so many other lens designs can be adapted to Canon with an inexpensive adapter ring. Of course they lack autofocus and aperture control, but that's the price you pay for shooting with weird old lenses sourced from eBay.

Re:Why are they using a Nikon lens on a canon? (1)

gagol (583737) | about a year ago | (#43848293)

I will take manual over autofocus anyday! If you need autofocus, you dont need custom weird lens.

Re:Why are they using a Nikon lens on a canon? (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about a year ago | (#43849647)

Video autofocus is a relatively recent innovation-- and manual focus is relatively silent. An aperture ring is useful because otherwise the camera is apt to change it for you, with unpredictable results.

Re:Why are they using a Nikon lens on a canon? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#43848579)

the canon 50mm 1.4 is far superior to the Nikkor equiliviant at least until they release a new version. The older Canon lens actually has L series glass in it, it's one of the most sought after Canon lesnes..

  I am thinking they are poor as hell and are simply borrowing lenses from ramdom places and have adapter rings.

Re:Why are they using a Nikon lens on a canon? (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about a year ago | (#43849671)

Some have opined that the Nikon 1.8 and 2.0 are sharper at the f/2.8 the video was shot at.

Re:Why are they using a Nikon lens on a canon? (2)

ssam (2723487) | about a year ago | (#43848259)

Old, manual-focus, non-zoom lens are in many ways better than modern lenses for filming, and cheaper and lighter than modern equivilents.
* Good manual focus rings, you dont usually want AF for film (technically because not many DSLRs can do autofocus in video, and also because autofocus does not always do what you want it to do in video, eg rack between to faces as they talk). AF lens tend to be poor for manual focus, the whole focus range may only take a small rotation, so it is hard to be preciese.
* Large aperture. there are plenty of old F/1.8 and F/1.4 around. You dont have so much freedom with shutterspeed as you do with stills.
* No zoom. Not commonly used in film. You wont find an F/1.8 zoom easily
* Not as sharp as a modern lens. But this does not matter, HD is only 2 megapixels where as modern lens need to be sharp at 20 megapixels

You can't put an old canon lens on a new canon camera (without an adaptor containing an extra lens element). Old nikkon lens only require a cheap ($20) adaptor to fit a modern canon.

Re:Why are they using a Nikon lens on a canon? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#43848585)

"Not as sharp as a modern lens. But this does not matter, HD is only 2 megapixels where as modern lens need to be sharp at 20 megapixels"

This is utterly false. Most older lenses are far FAR higher quality and clarity than the new ones. Older Canon lenses are built better and are clearer than the plastic junk they sell today.

Re:Why are they using a Nikon lens on a canon? (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about a year ago | (#43849259)

From my experience it varies but I do wonder if what you are seeing is some automatic selection bias. All the cheap crappy lenses bought by consumers have long since broken and been trashed while the good well taken care of high end ones used by pros are mostly what are left. Thus when you look at older lenses you are only seeing the best. Almost all of the lenses I have for my 35mm M42 screw mount camera are Ashi-Pentax or Ziess (I also have some Russian ones that were smuggled out by my wife's grandfather that are great as well but heavy as hell) and they are great lenses. Most of the camera stores here won't touch those screw mount lenses as they were not widely used and there really isn't much of a market for them. I see the same thing with tools most of the old tools that you see today are the good ones the cheap crap has already gone to the trash can. My grandfather had some trash tools but since he didn't do much with them they managed to survive until we cleaned out the garage after he passed. Most of these tools were crap and I gave most of them to my 4 year old to play with since they are only slightly better than toys.

Re:Why are they using a Nikon lens on a canon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43849373)

BULLSHIT.

Even the best old lenses were build for film specifications, with blur spot sizes of 20-30 um.

There is a reason why they pullsed the older lenses and released new 'digital' versions: cause on pixel sensors, you actually NEED higher quality.
Just put an older lens, like a canon 50/1.0, on a modern camera and enjoy you cell-phone pic like sharpness.

Re:Why are they using a Nikon lens on a canon? (1)

PDoc (841773) | about a year ago | (#43848851)

I don't know for sure, but the adaptor may actually be the reason. The adaptor is dumb - it has no electrical linkages to the Nikkor lens. In general practice, this is normally a limitation, as metering / aperture data can't be captured by the camera. But if one is hacking around with camera firmware, the adaptor provides safety as the lens can't be borked by accident. So the use of a cheap but reasonable prime lens separated from the camera electronics might be a good test environment.

ML on 60D (1)

thephydes (727739) | about a year ago | (#43848203)

Excellent software that is easy to install and uses and provides additional functionality besides video. Highly recommended! Just hanging out for further development of ML for the 5d mk3.

It'll still be a crappy CMOS sensor (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43848235)

with a beyer mask, as opposed to a 3 CCD set up with dichroics which is much more suitable to shooting video .

Re:It'll still be a crappy CMOS sensor (1)

jnelson4765 (845296) | about a year ago | (#43848633)

Sure, if you want to lug that big thing around. a 3CCD setup in S35 format would be enormous. And cost an insane amount of money.

Even the Sony F65, RED Epic, and the Arri Alexa use single sensors. The 3CCD thing is really a prosumer thing, and a leftover from the olden days of vidicons and other vacuum tube cameras. I'd make a bet that the companies that have produced cameras that Academy award winning cinematographers used on those features know a little bit more than you do...

Re:It'll still be a crappy CMOS sensor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43850073)

Odd that pretty much every broadcast TV camera in the world uses 3 CCD sensors, the big sensor single chip stuff like the F65 and the alexa (discounting the red which is seen as cheap shit throughout the indstry) tend to be used by people that like to pretend that they're making feature films, when in treality a hand ful of people will see it.

As for lack of experience - I recently was involuntarily retired from the BBC after 35 years exclusivly in studio engineering - starting with 30mm plumbicon tubes, so you'll forgive me for having forgotten more about video cameras that a tosser like you has ever known/

Fi85t (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43848597)

If you move a table ThE project

Canon seems to be hacker friendly (1)

capedgirardeau (531367) | about a year ago | (#43848667)

Canon must not mind people hacking on their firmware. There is another project, the CHDK project, that allows you to replace the firmware on most Canon point and shoot cameras, again coming up with great features not originally on the camera. Things like:
RAW, bracketing, full manual control over exposure, zebra mode, live histogram, grids, motion detection and Scripting using ubasic and Lua scripts.

http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK [wikia.com]

It is the reason I will only buy canon cameras.

Re:Canon seems to be hacker friendly (1)

bigrockpeltr (1752472) | about a year ago | (#43850313)

just some minor corrections.
CHDK and ML dont replace the Canon firmware. They are actuall firmware addons that run alongside and require the Canon firmware (hence why you can still use the camera with an sd card that doesnt have CHDK or ML on it).
CHDK actually came first and ML used their work and methods to get similar stuff done to DSLRS.

both are amazing software and i actually used CHDK back in the day while i was saving up for my first DSLR and recently put ML on my t3i for a few of the focus features. I just wisjh the motion detection on ML was as good as some of the scripts on CHDK. maybe i should look into porting some over.

Awesome, but the wrong hardware. (1)

leandrod (17766) | about a year ago | (#43848671)

Awesome, but an SLR is simply inadequate for video. What you really want is a mirrorless system, preferrably one optimised for digital sensors. The only one nowadays is Micro Four Thirds, with Olympus, Panasonic &, soon, Kodak cameras. Of these, Panasonic is the more video oriented, and its flagship hybrid GH line cameras have already been hacked, so I would be interested if someone replicated this hack there (or at the nearly equivalent Olympus OMD EM line).

Re:Awesome, but the wrong hardware. (2)

ledow (319597) | about a year ago | (#43848833)

You won't be shooting much video on it, it's an unofficial hack and has a lot of problems.

But in certain areas, this is useful. Think astrophotography, where it's common to "video" the telescope image (with suitable equatorial mount) to form image stacks that can then be processed to form a single, high-quality, composite image. You can get photos of Saturn's rings, say, that are at magnifications impossible to see in the telescope itself or to get a steady shot of through the atmosphere.

Sure, you could just "take lots of images", but when building such an image stack, a video (especially a raw video without MPEG artefacts) gives a more easier-to-process stack and hundreds of times more images to work with to get a better final composite.

And astrophotography is exactly the kind of area that will tear apart the camera to get good images (e.g. removing IR filters, etc.)

Re:Awesome, but the wrong hardware. (1)

leandrod (17766) | about a year ago | (#43848921)

So, a mirrorless system camera is even easier to hack, besides being more adequate for video (not blacking out the visor while shooting). Four Thirds all the way for me

Ive been recording (1)

zakeria (1031430) | about a year ago | (#43849271)

Video on my Cannon 50D for years, and before anybody calls bs or somethin!!! hold on there is only one 'n' in Cannon? wtf
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