No need to worry: 5D Mark III RAW hack takes what’s already there

No need to worry: 5D Mark III RAW hack takes what's already there


Since the RAW hack for the 5D Mark III came out, there’s been a lot of speculation as to how Magic Lantern did manage to do it. Understandably, many people are hesitant to hack their 5D Mark III’s and use it with an alternative firmware that is not thoroughly tested yet. And Magic Lantern also recommends to be hesitant:

Again. This is EXPERIMENTAL, so:
 – bloody beginners and non-geeks should not touch the whole thing. wait until it is “beginner-proof”. we will tell you on the website.
 – you know that you are a bloody beginner, when you read the whole thread and you still cannot get it to work.
 – DON’T be disappointed if it doesn’t work or we figure out the whole thing is unstable and/or unusable
 – NO, there is no manual yet
 – NO, there is no all-in-one tool that fits every use case
 – NO, we don’t have tutorials how to use it
 – NO, not all models are supported yet ;)
 – we are just at the moment testing how good it works and what we have missed and what to improve
 – you are welcome to post comparisons, experiences (both good and bad), or even deep analysis or just cool videos
 – if you are a programmer and you see potential for improvements, grab the source and support :)

Raw video menu option in the Magic Lantern menu.

Raw video menu option in the Magic Lantern menu.

Having said that, the guys from Magic Lantern have also brought some clarity to how they actually managed to make RAW work on the 5D Mark III. I’ll skip all the details which you can read here, but that’s the essence:

The 5D Mark III generates RAW video stream by itself already, it’s used for the live view mode and being converted into H.264 and then written to the card.

Secondly and as a consequence, it means that it’s NOT putting more strain on the sensor or camera as a whole as many suspected. In other words, it won’t melt away, because it’s not doing anything that it wouldn’t do anyway when shooting.

Actually, it might even mean that it needs LESS power and therefore it heats up less than usually:

About sensor heating rumors:
The only thing that could get warmer is DIGiC and the CF circuitry, but i am sure that the power dissipation that reaches the sensor
through all that plastic housing will not have any noticeable temperature raise.

detailed: when doing that much DMA transfers and CF writing, we may cause a bit more current drain (which causes squared power dissipation)
but we do not encode any H.264 while recording, so we use less power there.
its *possible* that the CF writing will consume less energy than the encoding with H.264, which will result in *less* power consumption.
raw is being produced by the DIGiC for every single frame anyway. we “just” save it away.

still this is a *theory*, but i expect the consumption and the temperatures not to raise at all.

Only CF cards need to be faster because of the increased data rate of the raw files (~83 MB/s vs. the usual 10-12 MB/s). However, there’s a great and comparatively affordable option for large and fast CompactFlash cards, and that’s a company called “Komputerbay”.

Komputerbay: Good and fast Compact Flash cards for little money.

Komputerbay: Good and fast Compact Flash cards for little money.

Magic Lantern has also provided more details about the nature of the hack and you can read it all in the forums by clicking here.

So in conclusion, that means that you still have to be careful and be aware of the fact that it might be dangerous for your camera and that you are modifying it at your own risk. Having said that, the hack seems to make use of processes that are ALREADY happening inside of this camera and only utilizing/hijacking some of them for all our benefit.

We have already posted an extensive workflow post on how to unlock 24p raw on your 5D Mark III. My partner in crime Sebastian Wöber is currently working on a tutorial video that shows a much simplified process compared to what we posted before – be sure to check back shortly!


via nofilmschool and Magic Lantern.


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