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Magic Lantern brings 4K video to a 5-year-old Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Why it matters to you

Give an old Canon 5D Mark III a new feature with this software hack.

A new hack brings 4K video to a Canon DSLR that is now five years old. Magic Lantern recently launched a software add-on that gives the EOS 5D Mark III 4K capabilities.

Magic Lantern distributes free custom firmware for Canon cameras to expand the manufacturer’s offerings. The latest update brings 4K to the 5D Mark III as part of eight new resolution modes, including a 4,096 x 1,440 resolution at 25 fps, a 4,096 x 2,560 at 12.5 fps and a 3,840 x 1,600 at 24 fps. The aspect ratios aren’t quite the 16:9 traditional 4K, but a narrower variation of Super 35 4K. The update also brings additional HD video options, including 1,920 x 800 at 60 fps as well as a square-crop-video mode.

The update was originally announced on Saturday, which had many thinking the hack to add 4K to a five-year-old camera was a practical joke. Magic Lantern says the update is still an early version with a few quirks including a very high 180 Mb/s write speed and the inability to view a preview of the footage in most modes. The risk of corrupted frames are also higher, Magic Lantern says.

Magic Lanterns says they hope the feature will also move to other Canon models, but they are also asking readers to contribute with code alterations to move the feature onto additional models. Even Canon admits it has been slow to add 4K to its latest DSLRs, so bringing the feature to more models could entice many users to try the third-party firmware.

Magic Lantern is third-party camera software and the company warns that downloading it could void a warranty, though the age of the 5D Mark II likely makes that a non-issue.

The 4K software download is still part of the company’s nightly builds or experimental software. The program can be downloaded directly from Magic Lantern.