Using Magic Lantern on the Canon 600D
When you get a new camera, even if it is one that is an upgrade to a model that you have owned previously, you need to spend time learning all of the menus in the camera software. Cameras are getting more and more complicated and sophisticated, so without a doubt you need to spend some time delving into the insides of the operating system. My Canon 600D is pretty intuitive to use, certainly as far as the various modes of taking pictures. I do use manual mode on occasions and I particularly like the ease of using aperture priority or shutter speed priority. I don’t tend to use the program mode setting that is the P setting that some beginners seem to think stands for professional.
Even more complicated with the addition of Magic Lantern
There are a few additions that you get by the use of Magic Lantern and the main one for me is the fact that it gives me some meters for the levels of the sound recording. This is particularly important for me as I bought the camera mainly for the purpose of recording video. Magic Lantern does also add settings for HDR bracketed shots. It is possible to do that with the standard software, but I can do it quicker with Magic Lantern.
If I decide that I would like to do some timelapse photography, there are some excellent extra tools within Magic Lantern. The intervalometer is very easy to set up, so that I can record a clip every certain number of seconds. I can set the duration for the video clip, for example I might ask it to stop recording after four seconds. If I am running a timelapse which is going from day to night I can also use a setting which will take care of bulb ramping.
There are also a number of focusing tools available. You can do things like turn on the Trap Focus. There is also a simple follow focus that you can operate using the arrow keys. Within the focus settings there are plenty of settings to play with and really it is recommended to have a good read of the manual for Magic Lantern.
Magic Lantern tweaks
It is all well and good that on camera, you also have some help information for Magic Lantern. To get to this you click on the info button on your camera while you have the Magic Lantern menus in front of you. The help that you get depends upon exactly what you are looking at in the menus. Looking through all of the menus within Magic Lantern, I have to say that there are some weird and wonderful menu options. One of the options is to click on the button which says ‘Don’t click me!’ The hint at the bottom of the screen tells you that if you do click it, the camera may turn into a 1DX or may explode. Obviously the developer of the Magic Lantern software has a sense of humour.
Installing Magic Lantern can be tricky
Well it can be tricky, but I honestly found it easy enough by just carefully following the instructions that came with the software. You have to install the Magic Lantern software on each of the memory cards that you use in the camera. This way the Magic Lantern software is able to work as an add-on to the standard Canon camera software.
Where I tend to have most difficulty using this Magic Lantern, is in the area of knowing which buttons to press to change the ISO setting. I really need to spend some more time studying how the whole thing works. When you are out and about and you want to take some photographs, you really don’t want to spend all of the time struggling with menus. Like most things that involve software with numerous menus, capabilities, functionality and complicated stuff, it is really best to learn these things one small step at a time.
Excellent software – Well worth having
That is no doubt that within the DSLR filmmaking community that the Magic Lantern software is highly regarded. There are many that consider that Magic Lantern is an essential step to take when you are using cameras, such as the Canon 550D. 600D or the Canon 5D Mark 2. Certainly the extra software is very useful and well worth getting, you just have to spend the time to get to know the ins and outs of how it works, that’s all.
I will make some more posts on here looking at Magic Lantern in more depth. I will dive into one section at a time and post my findings on the Spondicious Blog.