Hacking Canon Cameras

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  • #14652

    Darren
    Participant

    This may be of interest to you if like me you have a Canon brand compact point and shoot type camera and like taking photos of butterflies and caterpillars

    (see, it is relevant! ;-> ).

    I wish I could afford a big fancy DLSR, that can shoot in RAW mode with manual focus, controlled exposure times and all those other goodies, but that is not going to happen because they are just too expensive! Instead I have a little budget powershot A460, with very limited features.

    But, thanks to the wonderful volunteers at the Canon Hack Development Kit project, I have reprogrammed the computer chip in my little A460, and now I have those expensive features! Plus a wonderful battery meter that tells me the %charge of my battery, instead of the stupid original battery meter that goes "everything is fine.. no wait, you’re going to be totally stuffed in two minutes!" Plus lots more features that I haven’t figured out yet.

    It won’t of course make my lens any bigger, or put any more mega-pixels in my sensor. So I’ll keep hoping for a DSLR one day, but in the meantime this is very cool, and it is surprisingly simple if you have a card reader on your computer or laptop.

    First, check to see if they have hacked your camera at http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK

    Then download the appropriate program, and copy it to your camera’s memory card. Put the card into your camera and turn on. Instead of loading the software that is built into the camera it loads the new software on the memory card, which makes better use of your camera’s potential. If you try it and don’t like it then turn the camera off and take the card out. No permanent changes are made to your camera.

    Also clever programming type people are writing special programs to customise their cameras for specialist jobs, such as being dangled beneath weather balloons and shooting a photo every minute for example. Or using a computer to turn the camera into a motion detector, and taking shots when there is movement. Just the job for time-lapse photos of a butterfly eclosing from a chrysalis for example.

    And did I mention that it is all free? As in "yes Terry, there is such a thing as a free lunch!"

    More info

    "Tweaking a Camera to Suit a Hobby" New York Times

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/27/technology/personaltech/27basics.html?_r=1&8dpc

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DIGIC#CHDK

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  • #26416

    Darren
    Participant

    I shall concentrate hard and give it a go at the weekend.

    let me know if you have any problems and I’ll be happy to help if I can.

    Very sorry about your job. A casualty of the funding cuts?

    yes ECE centres that employ a large proportion of qualified teachers are being punished by funding cuts. As a qualified and registered teacher I am suddenly unwanted. And yet at the same time they say they want to raise standards, particularly in literacy. It’s ironic that when I did my my B.Ed in Teaching (ECE) I chose to specialise in literacy. Yet our political masters have decided that improving literacy can be better achieved by replacing me with an unqualified school leaver.

    Raising standards by getting rid of qualified teachers is an innovative and imaginative approach that I certainly hadn’t expected. I await the results of this *unique* strategy with interest.

    Maybe the trust will pay you for all your good work on the website

    LOL, Thanks for the kind thought, but seriously, if I were relying on my meagre programming skills to earn an income I would be in big trouble!

    #26394

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Thanks for the tip, Darren. I shall concentrate hard and give it a go at the weekend.

    Very sorry about your job. A casualty of the funding cuts?
    Maybe the trust will pay you for all your good work on the website while you find something else.
    Trisha

    #26390

    Charlotte
    Participant

    Hi Darren,

    I was amazed at the price we paid for our Nikon on Trade Me $650 and the camera had hardly been used;-)
    We brought the DSLR because our daughter was getting married in Rarotonga over a year ago and I wanted a camera to sue where we really could capture the moment.
    The DSLR REALLY captured the moments even in between tears!
    My daughter loves her wedding photos and any others we managed to take after the wedding.

    Sorry to hear of your job loss Darren, not a good thing to hear right on the beginning of a new year.
    I’m sure with your talents you would/will find something.

    Cheers
    Char

    #26385

    Darren
    Participant

    Not too much Trisha. Just follow the instructions, particularly in finding out your firmware version.

    Char, yes you can’t beat a good DSLR. Last year was my wife’s year to do her degree, this year was going to be my year to buy a DSLR and do a photography course. But life is what happens while we are busy making other plans, and instead I was made redundant on new years eve.

    #26382

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Thanks for this Darren
    My little A470 is on the list.Yay.
    Is it much of a kerfufle to do? I have a spare memory card so I can mess about a bit.
    Trisha

    #26374

    Darren
    Participant

    Heather there are currently two volunteers working on the A580. They have done the firmware dump and are at the coding stage.

    #26373

    hshingles
    Participant

    Wouldn’t you know it I have a PS,580 they have done 570 and 590
    Heather

    #26372

    Charlotte
    Participant

    LOL Darren just as well you put the last piece of information on your post. Otherwise every Tom, Dick or Harry would be contacting you. hee hee

    Al has a Nikon DSLR and we managed to score this cheap off Trade Me 1.5 years ago and has been a great investment.
    Al is off to a photography course next week for 6 weeks to teach him how to set the aperture and other manual settings.
    To much for this chick I’m afraid I’ll stick to my butterfly courses. LMAO.

    Cheers
    Char

    #26369

    Darren
    Participant

    If you have a camera on the list, but can’t figure out how to reprogram your memory card, I could perhaps reprogram a card and sent it to you. Just for MBNZT members, I wouldn’t have time for every Tom, Dick and Harry.

    #26368

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Wow, love it, Darren. Here… fix my camera. 🙂

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