Gear That Grows With My Skills

BC-Legislature

The BC Legislature in Victoria, BC

One of the biggest challenges for new photographers is knowing which camera to buy first. Of course, there is always the feeling of gear-lust : that feeling of how much better your photography would be if only you had that new Leica body, or one of those new Canon L-Series lenses. Any piece of equipment is equally dependent on two things – the hardware & its firmware.

The firmware is the “operating system” of the camera. It maps the functions of the dials and buttons to specific tasks and how they work. Manufacturers like Canon will map a series of capabilities to the range of camera – from “entry level” to so-called “pro-sumer” to their top-of-the-line “professional” gear. So it would stand to reason that a budding photographer would have to buy a new camera body when their skills increase to the next level. This is not quite so !

Enter Magic Lantern. It is a firmware add-on, that loads from your memory card and gives the photographer additional features. For example, the original firmware on my Canon EOS 60D doesn’t support “professional” features such as focus-peaking or having a firmware intervalometer. Magic Lantern adds these features to my camera, extending its capabilities.

This is a huge boon to the amateur photographer. Instead of buying new hardware when you want to experiment with new techniques, you can simply upgrade the firmware. Sorry to those who shoot other platforms, like Sony or Nikon, but Magic Lantern is for Canon only.

There’s a great video posted over on PetaPixel, which is a photography eZine I follow.

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