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CHDK: open-source Canon camera firmware


Robot Monkey
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Has anyone tried the open-source Canon camera firmware?

 

http://howto.wired.com/wiki/Supercharge_Your_Camera_with_Open-Source_CHDK_Firmware

 

It seems pretty neat. Here are the new toys:

 

* Unlimited Interval Shooting -- Use your camera for surveillance, or use it to shoot at precise intervals during a lunar eclipse or meteor shower.

 

* High-Speed Shutter -- Use this override option in the AllBest firmware to explore life's littler moments. You can also override the camera's slowest shutter speed settings to shoot exposures of a minute or longer.

 

* Long Exposure Intervalometer -- Take multiple long exposure shots all night, then assemble the shots into your own time lapse videos.

 

* Shoot better HDR pics with CHDK's auto-bracketing features.

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  • 11 months later...

Okay, I've been experimenting with CHDK on my Canon SD1100is and it's pretty cool. I used the CHDK for Dummies guide on the official site to set everything up.

 

Okay, here's the thing: CHDK lives on the SD card. I have it set up up to boot with the camera. What if I don't want to use it? I don't have to. CHDK functions are accessed by going into "ALT" mode by hitting the ALT button on your camera (in my case it's the "PRINT" button).

 

What if I don't even want CHDK to boot? I slide the write-protect toggle on the SD card to unprotected. That's right. To boot, slide to protected. To avoid, slide to unprotected. That's it. I guess when it boots it tells the camera to ignore the toggle state, because it is clearly ignoring it.

 

What can you do with it? You can monkey with stuff, like getting faster shutter speeds than what Canon gives you normally. There's a live histogram mode. There's even a live "zebra" mode that paints over and under exposed parts of your image, live.

 

I've been fooling with scripts. I'm using a script called the Ultimate Intervalometer. I set the parameters and then run it. I can say "Take a picture every 30 seconds until I tell you to stop," stick the camera facing west and wait for the sun to set. Then I can stitch it together as a time-lapse movie in Quicktime Pro or whatever.

 

Another script I'm fooling with is an EV bracketing one. I'll tell it the spread and how many shots -- then I can combine them in Photoshop to make an HDR image.

 

I also used a motion detection one just to see it work. It works. I can't figure out the parameters, because I can only get it to take pictures when motion is detected, but I know that it can also do video.

 

This how-to from Hack A Day gives you a quick introduction and shows you some of the neat stuff in operation.

 

In the end, I think CHDK is pretty cool because 1) it's non-destructive, 2) it's on-demand and 3) it's totally free. I suppose some jackass somewhere will find a way to brick his camera, develop eczema, suffer occasional drowsiness and blame it all on me an CHDK. Well, damn you for a poltroon, sir.

 

link to how-to from Hack A Day (nice examples, but I used the dummies to set up)

 

link to CHDK for Dummies

 

link to see CHDK scripts here

Edited by Robot Monkey
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