So today I wanted to take a quick detour from my normal software engineering posts and talk a little bit about a problem that I finally re-solved for my other hobby: photography. As many hobbyist photographers know, MagicLantern is an awesome open-source alternative firmware for many Canon cameras. I myself own a T3i/600D and have been using MagicLantern on it for a while now. I also own an old Eye-Fi GeoX2 card to make it easier for me to geotag and sync my pictures.
A couple years ago I managed to do what many said was difficult or impossible to do: get MagicLantern to work with the Eye-Fi cards. And the marriage between the two worked nearly flawlessly for a long time. However, a few months ago, the card had become corrupted and I had to low-level format the card. From this point on, MagicLantern did not want to work with the card. It did not help that I did not note down what I did to get the solution to work. I gave up on it for the time being, assuming that I would get back to fixing it at some point later.
Well, a much longer time passed than I expected and I now had a new need for my camera - and I wanted to be able to use MagicLantern’s features again. So today I sat down in front of my computer & began hammering at it to get it to work. I finally came upon the answer and got it working.
- Copy the images that are currently on the Eye-Fi card by connecting the card to the dongle that came with the card, and let Eye-Fi sync the images. To make sure Eye-Fi didn’t miss any images, manually copy the images again to another place off the card.
- Eject the Eye-Fi card. Then end the Eye-Fi Helper service.
- Plug the Eye-Fi card back in, then use Explorer to format the card. Do not do a quick format - do not select “ExFat” as the file system type.
- Open the MagicLantern firmware in 7-Zip, then select all the files and drag them to the root of the Eye-Fi card.
- Eject the Eye-Fi card.
- With the camera off, switch the camera to “M” (Manual) and make sure that there are no accessories (except the lens, of course) attached.
- Insert the Eye-Fi card into the T3i/600D.
- Turn the camera on. If the firmware update menu for MagicLantern shows up, great! Otherwise, press Menu and navigate to “Firmware v…”
- Click on the “Firmware v…” to update the firmware and enable MagicLantern.
- Once the menu mentions that the card has been marked bootable, turn the camera off, wait about 5 seconds (make sure the busy LED is not illuminated), then turn the camera back on.
- At this point, MagicLantern should be installed. You will notice the time show up and the free space of the Eye-Fi show up in the bottom-right corner.
- Go to Menu > Eye-Fi Settings and Enable the Eye-Fi card to attempt syncing again. Once the sync is complete, you can turn off the camera.
As you can see, the process is not very difficult - it just seems like a lot of steps because I’m a bit verbose. However, from this point, you should be able to take advantage of both Eye-Fi’s syncing and MagicLantern’s features on your T3i. However, don’t rely on this - things can still go wrong, as they did for me. Your results may very.