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View Full Version : OT: Turn your Canon Powershot camera into a super camera



Evan
03-06-2009, 01:00 PM
Check this out. No modifications. No firmware changes. FREE. Just add a file to the memory card and it loads when you use it. Presto!



RAW - CHDK can record raw files, giving you access to every bit of data the sensor saw, without compression or processing. Raw files can be manipulated on the camera, or processed on your PC. CHDK also has experimental support for the open DNG raw standard.

Override Camera parameters - Exposures from 64s to 1/60,000s with flash sync. Full manual or priority control over exposure, aperture, ISO and focus.

Bracketing - Bracketing is supported for exposure, aperture, ISO, and even focus.

Video Overrides - Control the quality or bitrate of video, or change it on the fly.

Scripting - Control CHDK and camera features using ubasic and Lua scripts. Enables time lapse, motion detection, advanced bracketing, and much more. Many user-written scripts are available on the forum and wiki.

Motion detection - Trigger exposure in response to motion, fast enough to catch lightning.

Edge overlay - Detect the edges in a scene, and display them later. Ideal for timelapses, stop-motion, stereography and much more.

Live Histogram - CHDK includes a customizable, live histogram display, like those typically found on more expensive cameras.

Zebra-Mode - Displays under and overexposure areas live on the screen.

GRIDS - Create custom grids and display whichever one suits your shooting conditions.

Multi-Lingual Interface - CHDK supports about 13 languages, and adding more languages is simple.

DOF Calculator - Display detailed DOF information on the screen.

Customizable OSD - Improved display of battery status, free space, camera parameters, and much more. Fully customizable with an on-screen editor.

Filebrowser - Manage files without a PC.

Textreader - Display text files on your camera.

Games - Play Reversi, Sokoban, Mastermind or 4-in-a-Row on your camera.

USB remote - Simple DIY remote allows you to control your camera remotely.

Benchmark - Compare the performance of your SD cards.

User Menu - Edit your own customizable User-Menu for fast access to often used features.



http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK

It's enough to make want a Canon Powershot....

aostling
03-06-2009, 01:39 PM
I see my A570IS, which sells for about $100, is supported by this. I never thought it would be possible to shoot RAW with this camera. I'll have to give this a try.

aostling
03-06-2009, 01:40 PM
duplicate post

Evan
03-06-2009, 01:43 PM
Please do try it Allan. When you do please post a review. I am extremely interested.

aostling
03-06-2009, 02:34 PM
Please do try it Allan. When you do please post a review. I am extremely interested.

Evan,

Although the FAQ threads show that it is possible to use CHDK on a Mac, it is not very straightforward, at least to somebody of my level of expertise. I could not get past the first step, which was to add a file to the root directory of my SD card (needed to get the camera's firmware version number). I know the Unix commands needed to do this, but the SD card was a DOS Fat 16 file type, and nothing worked. A teenage hacker would have the job done by now, but it could take me awhile. My high school 50th reunion is in a few months!

Liger Zero
03-06-2009, 02:59 PM
A teenage hacker would have the job done by now, but it could take me awhile. My high school 50th reunion is in a few months!

My grandmother was programming HTML in her 90s. So no excuses based on age please. ;)

aostling
03-06-2009, 03:15 PM
So no excuses based on age please. ;)

How about an excuse based on fear of viruses? I clicked to download a script for a Mac installation, but this required me to look at an ad for "sexy singles in Phoenix" for 30 seconds before the download began. I finally decided to give it all a miss.

Liger Zero
03-06-2009, 03:17 PM
Oh come on, you're never too old for "sexy singles in Phoenix!" :p

...actually good point. Send me the link, I'll download it and scan it and all that and fire it off to you via email. I got some heavy-duty scan-and-destroy stuff at my disposal.

JDF
03-06-2009, 04:04 PM
I just installed this on my SD1000 and it seems to be working just fine. Loads of useful functionality built in, and easily expandable with the available scripting. One thing I've missed on this camera is having reasonable control for long exposures. This takes care of that too! I probably won't be able to give it a full tryout for some time, but like what I see so far.

Thanks for posting this Even. If there's any particular function you're curious about I'd be happy to try it out.

Jeff

S_J_H
03-06-2009, 04:22 PM
I have a Cannon a570is as well. To bad I know little about cameras. I'm going to have to read more about this.

Steve

alanganes
03-06-2009, 04:22 PM
My son tried this (or a similar program) a while back on his A590. Worked great on that camera. Pretty cool!

Evan
03-06-2009, 05:33 PM
Allan,

Try formatting the card as FAT32. The camera will probably read that just fine. The cool thing about Canon cameras is that they run DOS of some version which makes them easy to hack. This is certainly an intentional decision on the part of Canon and has sold a lot of cameras I'm sure.

Jeff,

I would like to know how long the shutter delay is for the motion detection function. Try dropping an object in front of the camera from just outside the field of view. A little simple math will tell what the delay is from the object entering the field to the shutter firing. If that produces no discernable delay then drop if from further up so that it enters the field with some velocity. Maybe put a yardstick in the background and drop the object in front of that.

JDF
03-06-2009, 07:58 PM
Even,

I only got a couple tries in before the battery died, but it seems promising. It took a bit of tweaking to get a decent response. I think I've got a sheet of 1" ruled poster board around somewhere. I'll set that up this evening as see how it does.

Jeff

BillH
03-06-2009, 09:22 PM
I hope some one ports it to my 20D

aostling
03-06-2009, 09:40 PM
Allan,
Try formatting the card as FAT32. The camera will probably read that just fine. The cool thing about Canon cameras is that they run DOS of some version which makes them easy to hack. This is certainly an intentional decision on the part of Canon and has sold a lot of cameras I'm sure.


The card came out of my camera, where it works just fine. The problem is I don't know how to add a file to its root directory (as stated, to learn the camera's firmware version number), except by using my Mac's command line editor. That's what doesn't work.

I think I'll get it figured out in the end. I'm inspired by all the features that CHDK can provide, not only on my A570 but on the G9 too.

[edit] I didn't read far enough in this, which should give me the step-by-step instructions I'll need to follow: http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/FAQ/Mac

JDF
03-06-2009, 11:23 PM
Okay, I was slightly limited in my setup but, did three drops: one from just out of capture range, one from 12" up and one from 24" up. I did three drops from each range. The camera captured the object in roughly the same spot for these three drop heights.

The shutter delay seemed to float between 0.10 and 0.16 seconds. I'm guessing there is still some improvement to be had and will probably play around with it a bit more.

doctor demo
03-07-2009, 12:08 AM
Evan,

A teenage hacker would have the job done by now, but it could take me awhile. !
Every time I open up the camera to look for the memory card, it seems that I over expose the film:D . I wish I could remember where the book is on this little Brownie:rolleyes: .

Steve

tattoomike68
03-07-2009, 12:56 AM
It eats up a tiny 4 meg on a 2 gig card but it dont work yet on my A590is. Its a good camera anyway. I will keep trying.

Evan
03-07-2009, 07:38 AM
Make sure it has the right firmware level.

If you power on in PLAY mode with ver.req file on SD card, press and hold FUNCSET, press DISP reveals the firmware version:

Canon PowerShot A590 IS
P-ID:3176 NT D

Firmware Ver GM1.00E
NoError
Jan 8 2008 16:57:22

To date the A590 IS is supported with firmware versions 1.00E and 1.01B

rockrat
03-07-2009, 10:25 AM
Fantastic post. I was all excited and then I noticed that they do not have support for the Powershot S60 listed on the first page. Or any of the Sxx.

I'll have to read a bit more and see if it may be listed somewhere on there.

rock~

Evan
03-07-2009, 12:38 PM
Jeff,

1/10 second is excellent response time. They must be playing some interesting tricks to make it respond that fast. Now I gotta have one. I am hoping Mike can get it working because they have the A590 IS on sale here for $130.

JDF
03-07-2009, 10:49 PM
Gave the shutter control script a try tonight. I've been meaning to get a night shot of the Nashville skyline since I moved here. First image is using the stock Canon settings for night or dark settings. The second is the CHDK software using all defaults and about a 5 second exposure. Loads of room for improvement still of course, and the options are there so I better start reading up. I'm no photographer so a lot of the features are lost on me, but that's part of the interest I guess.


http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b328/jdfoote21/IMG_0807.jpg

http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b328/jdfoote21/IMG_0809.jpg

aostling
03-08-2009, 01:04 AM
Jeff,

Now I gotta have one. I am hoping Mike can get it working because they have the A590 IS on sale here for $130.

Evan,

What to you imagine will be your primary use for motion detection -- thieves in the night, lightning strikes, auroras?

If I can get CHDK working on my A570IS it might be fun to get a second one and use them for hyperstereo, triggered simultaneously with a USB release.

The Mac procedure is stated to be frustrating, though, and I'd need to download a hex editor to follow the instructions for a manual installation of CHDK.

tattoomike68
03-08-2009, 01:48 AM
Oh yes, I went through this page.

http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK_for_Dummies

Wow , thats just trick. I just played a game on my camera and there are tons of new menus.

The Powershot A590IS runs the software great , my sd card is now bootable and loads CHDK when I turn the camera on.

Now I will play around with it more then I normaly do. I will buy a power supply for it so I can do long time lapse.

Thanks Even, this is a good find.

Evan
03-08-2009, 04:13 AM
I definitely want to capture lightning but meteors are another prospect if it is sensitive enough. Aurora usually don't change quickly enough except during serious storms. I am sure other possibilities will present themselves.

Now I need to figure out how to justify spending money on another camera. My daughter gave me one of her old cameras for Christmas, a Canon 350D so now I have the 300D and the 350. She just bought a new camera for her pro work, the Canon 5D MKII for near $3000. :eek: 21 megapixels full frame and HD video with ISO rating up to 25000 !!!

aostling
03-08-2009, 07:52 AM
Now I need to figure out how to justify spending money on another camera. My daughter gave me one of her old cameras for Christmas, a Canon 350D so now I have the 300D and the 350.

I always solve this dilemma by selling a camera body before making a new purchase. The 350D, if you could sell a Christmas present, goes for about $250 on eBay. The 300D goes for about $200 according to this search with the terms "300d body -cap" http://completed.shop.ebay.com/items/Cameras-Photo__canon-300d-body-cap_W0QQ_nkwZcanonQ20300dQ20bodyQ20Q2dcapQQLHQ5fCo mpleteZ1QQ_dmptZLensQ5fAccessoriesQQ_flnZ1QQ_fromf sbZQQ_sacatZ625QQ_trksidZp3286Q2ec0Q2em283?_rdc=1

Evan
03-08-2009, 09:35 AM
Sell a camera? Sell a tool that I own? I don't understand. ;)

lazlo
03-08-2009, 01:42 PM
I have two Cannon Powershots -- my shop camera (the one that took most of the pictures I post) is an SD750.
This firmware is interesting, but most people do the image stacking and such with software on their desktop.

In any event, Office Depot has the Canon SD1100IS (which is supported by CHDK) on clearance for $129

http://a2.slickdeals.net/attachment.php?attachmentid=181523&d=1236372047

dp
03-08-2009, 01:50 PM
Gave the shutter control script a try tonight. I've been meaning to get a night shot of the Nashville skyline since I moved here. First image is using the stock Canon settings for night or dark settings. The second is the CHDK software using all defaults and about a 5 second exposure. Loads of room for improvement still of course, and the options are there so I better start reading up. I'm no photographer so a lot of the features are lost on me, but that's part of the interest I guess.

You might look at shooting with a smaller aperture and taking dozens of shots that you then stack. Not always great images with subjects that move, but they can also create interesting artsy/craftsy imagery. When you stack them you can pick and choose what you stack to eliminate cars going by, for example. Good stacking software can also clean up that stuff.

mochinist
03-08-2009, 02:09 PM
I have two Cannon Powershots -- my shop camera (the one that took most of the pictures I post) is an SD750.
This firmware is interesting, but most people do the image stacking and such with software on their desktop.

In any event, Office Depot has the Canon SD1100IS (which is supported by CHDK) on clearance for $129

I have that camera and am having a heck of a time trying to get this to work, I've followed the instructions(a few times) and nothing has happened so far:(

tattoomike68
03-08-2009, 02:51 PM
I have that camera and am having a heck of a time trying to get this to work, I've followed the instructions(a few times) and nothing has happened so far:(

Once your card is loaded put in in the camera , go to the menu where you upgrade the firmware and hit yes and it will start the software.(It dont realy do anything to the firmware, its just tricking the camera into running the software. ) After that go to the chdk "miscellaneous" menu in the camera to make the card bootable. Take the card out set the lock on it . Put it back in and it should be there when you turn it on. You just need to hit the alt then menu buttons to bring up a big menu of stuff.

The software is impressive, im no camera expert but plan on learning some more with this nifty bag of tricks.

mochinist
03-08-2009, 02:56 PM
Once your card is loaded put in in the camera , go to the menu where you upgrade the firmware and hit yes and it will start the software.(It dont realy do anything to the firmware, its just tricking the camera into running the software. ) After that go to the chdk "miscellaneous" menu in the camera to make the card bootable. Take the card out set the lock on it . Put it back in and it should be there when you turn it on. You just need to hit the alt then menu buttons to bring up a big menu of stuff.

The software is impressive, im no camera expert but plan on learning some more with this nifty bag of tricks.I cant find any option to upgrade the firmware, thank you though

tattoomike68
03-08-2009, 11:24 PM
I cant find any option to upgrade the firmware, thank you though

Its there if you look. Its on the easy menus. make sure the have the right firmware ver.

macona
03-09-2009, 01:34 AM
Evan,

Although the FAQ threads show that it is possible to use CHDK on a Mac, it is not very straightforward, at least to somebody of my level of expertise. I could not get past the first step, which was to add a file to the root directory of my SD card (needed to get the camera's firmware version number). I know the Unix commands needed to do this, but the SD card was a DOS Fat 16 file type, and nothing worked. A teenage hacker would have the job done by now, but it could take me awhile. My high school 50th reunion is in a few months!

The "Root' directory of a SD Card is the base folder. So just double click on the icon for the SD card and thats the root.

aostling
03-09-2009, 04:31 AM
The "Root' directory of a SD Card is the base folder. So just double click on the icon for the SD card and thats the root.

Thanks, that worked. I have A570 firmware version 1.01A, which is supported. I'll now start following the instructions for a manual installation.

aostling
03-21-2009, 01:55 AM
I have A570 firmware version 1.01A, which is supported. I'll now start following the instructions for a manual installation.

I chickened out. The Mac manual installation is too complex. There is a scripted installation written for an earlier version of the OS X operating system; this is claimed to "probably work" for later versions, but it starts by erasing the the SD card. I wouldn't risk it erasing the Mac's hard drive if I made some silly mistake (even though I have this backed up).

Evan
03-21-2009, 06:09 AM
Surely you know someone that has a Windows machine? Spend a few minutes and format a couple of cards using the Windows installer.

You don't have anything to worry about with your Mac as you are not logged in with a high enough permission level to format the drive. You would have to use the command line interface and log on as the root superuser to do that. OSX by default logs on users with less than full privleges.

aostling
03-23-2009, 01:47 AM
Surely you know someone that has a Windows machine? Spend a few minutes and format a couple of cards using the Windows installer.


I do, my brother has one, but he lives in Santa Rosa. I'll be visiting there in July. I don't know very many people here in Phoenix, where I have lived since 2001.

I mention CHDK on the digiscoping forum, and one member reports that when he checked what version of A590IS firmware he had, he got an error code 16, as reported here in reply #8: http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=137183. He's going to return the camera under warranty, even though it apparently works just fine. I wonder if Canon will honor this?

[edit] I just checked the message on my A570IS, and in addition to the firmware version it says E18. A little googling shows this is not a rare error message. Although I am unaware of any actual operational problems, it does seem that the percentage of sharp digiscoping shots is less than it once was.

aostling
05-27-2010, 12:22 AM
Interest in CHDK is sure to increase now that this NYT article has circulated: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/27/technology/personaltech/27basics.html?8dpc. I hope an "easy to use" Mac version is in the works -- that was the bugaboo which prevented me from trying it before.

[edit] Ah, I see my wish has been granted: http://www.zenoshrdlu.com/clickpansdm/sdminst.html#The

Evan
05-27-2010, 12:30 AM
I use the hack for my 350D that doubles the ISO max to 3200. It really works and like CHDK it resides only on the card, not in the camera.

dp
05-27-2010, 01:07 AM
This was in the news a few days ago. It will surely go far to propel interest in camera science.

http://www.komonews.com/news/problemsolvers/94802064.html

aostling
05-27-2010, 01:49 AM
This was in the news a few days ago. It will surely go far to propel interest in camera science.


I just checked, and yes, I have a 1000nm infrared filter in my cupboard. These might be hard to buy, after people get wind of this.

psomero
05-27-2010, 02:16 AM
my dad just got a powershot, i am unsure of which model, but i must say that it takes ridiculously good pictures.

it is amazing at macro shots.

oldtiffie
05-27-2010, 04:48 AM
This was in the news a few days ago. It will surely go far to propel interest in camera science.

http://www.komonews.com/news/problemsolvers/94802064.html

Interesting Dennis.

I have an early Sony TRV355E digital 8 video camera with "Night-shot". It can get down to about 1 lux. I can't recall if the camera has an IR capability but I did buy a lot of filters for my video cameras and there may be an IR filter in amongst them. They will also fit my Sony analogue video TRV78E.

That night-shot is "something else". I can read all the dials etc on thermometers, the kitchen stove and see my wife - all in what I perceive to be total darkness.

Evan
05-27-2010, 04:52 AM
These might be hard to buy, after people get wind of this.


Not a problem. Exposed and developed dye based film (colour or Ilford BW) makes a fine 1000 nm filter.

Here is an IR image taken with my 300D using exposed film as an IR filter. Enough gets through the sensor IR blocker to still make a decent IR image.

http://ixian.ca/pics6/canonir.jpg

aostling
05-27-2010, 06:43 AM
Not a problem. Exposed and developed dye based film (colour or Ilford BW) makes a fine 1000 nm filter.


That's a good tip, confirmed by this article: http://www.discovercircuits.com/H-Corner/color-neg.htm. Although perhaps not as IR-exclusive as my Hoya RM 100 (1000 nm) filter, it is a lot cheaper.

Your Old Dog
05-27-2010, 07:00 AM
.............................My high school 50th reunion is in a few months!

Not to veer off the subject but I hope the hell you plan on going. The duds in my high school and Army outfit don't seem to have any interest in reunions or looking for each other. :(

J Tiers
05-27-2010, 09:32 AM
Hmph...... does NOT work on any "A" series cameras I have......

aostling
05-27-2010, 09:40 AM
Not to veer off the subject but I hope the hell you plan on going. The duds in my high school and Army outfit don't seem to have any interest in reunions or looking for each other. :(

That was last summer. It was a complete success. Queen Anne High School has now been turned into condos with the best view in Seattle. When I was in classes there, during my senior year in 1959, we looked down on the Space Needle as it was being constructed for the upcoming 1961 World Fair.

Evan
05-27-2010, 09:51 AM
I attended that exhibition. Various memories remain but in particular I was impressed by an exhibit by Bell Labs where they demonstrated a very early system that implemented voice recognition of the individual digits zero through nine. Funny thing was that it didn't work well at all with my voice. Even more surprising is that the systems available now still don't work with my voice well enough to be useful.

rowbare
05-27-2010, 01:35 PM
I attended that exhibition. Various memories remain but in particular I was impressed by an exhibit by Bell Labs where they demonstrated a very early system that implemented voice recognition of the individual digits zero through nine. Funny thing was that it didn't work well at all with my voice. Even more surprising is that the systems available now still don't work with my voice well enough to be useful.I guess that makes you a goat...

http://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/sDefinition/0,,sid14_gci789856,00.html

Evan
05-27-2010, 01:54 PM
So apparently it does. I haven't heard those terms before. What I do know is that I get nowhere fast trying to talk to the automated speech based telephone answering systems.

Biometric identification is a very much misunderstood field, even by the people that work in it. It is very common to see multiple methods used in an attempt to increase the reliability of the system. What is not recognized, even by the designers of the systems, is that using multiple methods multiplies the failure rates of each method by the rates of the others. Since all methods in use have significant rejection rates adding even one more method to a system may make it entirely unusable.

A prime example is face recognition. It simply does not work and defies all attempts to make it work because the fewer variables you look at the less specific it is and the more variables you look at the more mistakes it makes. The false acceptance rate curve and the false rejection rate curve have a large area of overlap as the number of attributes used is changed.

macona
05-27-2010, 03:29 PM
Old news. I modified my Sony DSC-V3 a long time ago to switch the hot filter out of the way. Then I can use 52mm screw on IR filters. I have 800nm and 900nm. And I modified my old kodak way before that.

Dosnt work with DLSRs though, the hot filter is mounted over the CCD. There is a local camera shop that does modify dSLRs to do it but once its done the camera is infrared only. The hot filter is replaced with an IR filter at the CCD so TTL focus still works.

Heres a few I have done:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3406/4644938701_9c62c862eb_b.jpg
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4042/4645552898_b4cdb5eda8_b.jpg
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3372/4644938275_8ecd717bed_b.jpg

aostling
05-27-2010, 03:45 PM
Heres a few I have done:


These are stunning. I've seen a few IR portraits before, but none as good as yours.

Is that the Columbia Gorge?

1NRG24Seven
05-27-2010, 03:51 PM
Ditto that Steve, I also have a A570is, the remote USB hack perked me right up. Will have to build that ASAP and make it wireless for my video shots.

Thanx for the thread.

macona
05-27-2010, 03:52 PM
The middle one is.

Heres a couple more from the same day.

Note of interest, the threads in the jacket were black.

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4071/4645002505_e60a8d27d3_b.jpg
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4045/4645002273_81e9fb77d5_b.jpg

1NRG24Seven
05-27-2010, 09:51 PM
Sure looks like the Columbia River Gorge to me and the Bridge at Multnomah Falls

macona
05-27-2010, 11:09 PM
They were taken here:

http://www.byways.org/explore/byways/2141/places/11660/

lazlo
05-27-2010, 11:21 PM
Gorgeous pictures Jerry!

lugnut
05-27-2010, 11:51 PM
I got all excited about this, mostly for the "Motion detection" ability. Then after a lot of reading it appears that it's not available for my Cannon Power shot SX20 IS. :confused: I guess I'll have to watch and wait.

Paul Alciatore
05-28-2010, 12:00 AM
Amazing! I was looking for a camera. Now it has to be a Canon. And it works on inexpensive models too. Amazing!

Evan, you come up with the neatest things.

aostling
05-28-2010, 01:33 AM
I brought a new book home from the library today: http://www.amazon.com/Rainbow-Sky-Exploration-Practical-Astronomy/dp/1441910522/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1275020557&sr=8-1. It has a chapter on using CDs to obtain spectra from the sky or neighborhood light sources. The technique involves photographing the light source at a glancing angle reflected off the CD, which acts as a diffraction grating.

The book also references this website, which has instructions for making a spectroscope using razor blades for a slit. The colors are definitely striking.

from http://astro.u-strasbg.fr/~koppen/spectro/spectroe.html


http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u183/aostling/spectrum.jpg