Canon Hacking (CHDK)

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Canon Hacking (CHDK)

Postby Gaijin Punch » Fri May 27, 2011 3:19 am

Anyone here hacked their Canon camera? Apparently even w/ some of the lower end models you can get better ISO & aperture, and even RAW file support. I won a used one off of teh YJ last night for 10,000 yen that I'm going to try it out on. Wondering if anyone has any experience.

I've got a proper DSLR but it's not practical for lots of occasions, like taking pictures randomly on the street, that I need to look good.
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Postby Greatsaintlouis » Sat May 28, 2011 6:33 am

Wish I had even a dinky Canon to try this on. I've been using an older little Fujitsu for the past few years that has a surprisingly robust feature set for a point and shoot (RAW mode, exposure bracketing, reasonable manual exposure control, etc.) but some of the possibilities with the CHDK are amazing--I'd kill for the range of shutter speed settings alone.

You've probably already been to the CHDK site; if not, they have some pretty decent guides and instrictions: http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK

Hackaday, one of my favorite sites in the "Holy shit that's amazing--I suck because I could never do that" category, was where I first saw mention of the firmware, I think. They have a more general overview on the some of the possibilities.

I'd love to hear how it works for you; I've had my eye on some decent midrange Lumix models for a while that strike a balance between my desire for a decent camera to indulge in artsy-fartsy pretensions and a price worthy of my no-doubt incredibly amateurish skill. But if I could get all the fancy bells and whistles off of a $50 craigslist find, that may be better in the end.
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Postby Gaijin Punch » Mon May 30, 2011 3:41 am

I got a Canon SX200 IS and tried it out yesterday. I literally didn't start until about 11PM and was quite tired already, so didn't put in too much effort. The "boot off the SD card" method worked first shot out of the gates. I was unable to flash it though . The camera might not support it (I've not researched). Only thing I tested was RAW mode, which worked. However, it stores them as CRW, whereas my Canon DSLR stores them as CR2. Apparently Photoshop wants a different driver, so that's something else I need to check.

Obviously this isn't going to replace my DSLR for "real pictures" but there are times when I want something handy but better than my phone. I will admit though, the iPhone4's camera vastly improved on it's predecessors. I have taken quite a few photos with it and they don't totally suck.
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Postby Greatsaintlouis » Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:01 am

RAW is a bit of a weird thing, as every manufacturer seems to have their own specific format, none of which are really compatible with each other. I've used UFRaw to work with the photos I get off my camera--it works as a plugin for the GIMP, which is my image editor of choice. I'm sure there's something out there for Photoshop. In fact, see if this works: http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop/extend.html (about halfway down the page, download for Camera Raw 6.4.1).

Is the CHDK supposed to flash the device itself? My understanding was always that it was supposed to just run off the SD card, allowing you to revert the camera to its stock form by just removing the card.
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Postby Gaijin Punch » Wed Jun 01, 2011 9:57 am

Is the CHDK supposed to flash the device itself? My understanding was always that it was supposed to just run off the SD card, allowing you to revert the camera to its stock form by just removing the card.


You are right -- it is non invasive. You can make it manual loading or self-loading. Take out the card, and it's running the stock firmware.

As for RAW, it stores the files in DNG (Digital Negative) which if I'm not mistaken is a bit closer to a standard but don't quote me on that. One thing I've noticed though, the raw files on my EOS 30D (10 mega pixel) are roughly 8 megs in size, but it should have a higher bit depth (10 or 12) whereas on my SX200 IS (12 mega pixel) saves raw (CRW or DNG) at about 18 megs per photo. O_o
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