About Magic Lantern

Magic Lantern is a software enhancement that offers increased functionality to the excellent Canon DSLR cameras. We have created an open framework, licensed under GPL, for developing extensions to the official firmware.

Magic Lantern is not a "hack", or a modified firmware, it is an independent program that runs alongside Canon's own software. Each time you start your camera, Magic Lantern is loaded from your memory card. Our only modification was to enable the ability to run software from the memory card.

ML is being developed by photo and video enthusiasts, adding functionality such as: HDR images and video, timelapse, motion detection, focus assist tools, manual audio controls much more.


The preferred way to contact us is by posting on our forum, where all developers can see your message.

You may also contact us by e-mail at [email protected].

Please do not ask if/when ML will work on camera X, or if/when we will implement feature Y. We will not answer such questions. There are no plans for anything, this is just a hobby project done in our spare time. If you feel some things could be improved, pull requests are welcome.



Is Magic Lantern legal? Short answer: Yes.

Long answer:

  • Background reading: check out the Reverse Engineering FAQ from EFF.
  • Both USA and European laws allow reverse engineering for interoperability, without requiring the permission from the copyright holder (in our case, Canon).
  • Since we are not distributing any Canon code and we reverse engineer solely for purposes of interoperability, Magic Lantern does not run afoul of the law.
  • We do respect Canon as a company, and love their products.
  • We do not publish Canon code or any other copyrighted material - be it from Canon or from any other third party.
  • We publish limited information about DSLR internals, with the only purpose of achieving interoperability. Reverse engineering is required to achieve interoperability, because no public documentation is available to create software for Canon DSLRs.
  • To our knowledge, Canon has not yet made any official statements about Magic Lantern, nor CHDK.
  • If anyone (including Canon) thinks we can improve the way ML is working, just let us know.