If someone had told me a Canon 50D could shoot RAW video about six months ago, I’d have laughed at them, told my friends about it and ridiculed them on Facebook too. But now I’m simply speechless. The 5-year-old Canon EOS 50D, a 15 megapixel DSLR that couldn’t even shoot regular video, has been hacked and granted the ability to shoot RAW video! Yes, RAW video! 

Take a look at one of the test videos shot using the camera:

The hack comes courtesy of the Magic Lantern add-on for Canon’s EOS cameras. It’s been known for a while now that the Canon 50D had the hardware to shoot RAW video, just like the Canon 60D, Canon 500D and Canon 5D MK II, but the stock firmware had the feature disabled. However, a new feature under development for Magic Lantern unlocks the ability to enable RAW recording.

Going by some of the sample screengrabs and videos the Magic Lantern testers have posted on the add-on’s forums, the camera’s performance kicks ass when it comes to RAW video. There is some aliasing and moiré, but that’s acceptable since the camera was never designed to avoid all of that. However, the quality is excellent.


Yeah. This baby can now shoot video. RAW video.

Since Canon never intended it to record video, the 50D doesn’t have any input ports for audio recording. You’ll have to record audio separately and then sync it with the video during post processing. One of the testers plugged in an HDMI monitor and reported that it works with RAW video. You can feed the output to an external audio recorder, helping you sync audio with the video. 

According to the posts, the maximum resolution you can record at is 1592 x 1062, owing to the camera’s hardware. However, there is some frame skipping after around 50 frames on that resolution. It looks like the camera can shoot raw video without any glitches at 1280 x 960, which is not at all bad for a 5-year-old camera.

The feature is still in its early stages of development and is therefore quite buggy. So don’t expect fabulous results right away. However, this is one hell of a hack and we can’t wait to see what the completed product will bring.

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