Do you think of your camera as a mechanical device, or a computer? The answer to this question should be a computer. Although your camera may have mechanical components and mirrors for the actual process of taking a picture, what drives your device is software.
- Better software yields better photographs
- Low quality software means bad pictures
In the computing world, we techies / nerds often create "dual boot" systems with multiple operating systems. Is it a surprise that cameras now have the same capabilities? By performing a hack on your camera, the end result will be a device with many more features (for less money) than the manufacturer had intended!
Surprisingly, performing the hack is not too difficult for Canon cameras. Better yet, unlike the world of PC hacks where your changes often mean you enter the world of no return (i.e. mistakes could mean an unresponsive computer), with CHDK (Canon Hack Development Kit) your hack is installed on your SD card. Thus, the hack runs off the SD card, and by performing a normal camera power on process, you boot to the factory operating system / defaults!
My camera is a Canon SX40. By performing the hack I acquired some of these benefits:
- Extended the shutter time for 15 seconds to 32 minutes
- Acquired the ability to perform time lapse photography
- Acquired the ability to take motion triggered pictures of lightning strikes
- Extended the aperture, exposure, ISO options (useful for night time photos)
Normally I would have to purchase a much more expensive camera to acquire these options. If you have a Canon camera, explore this web site (CHDK Downloads) to determine if a hack exists for your specific model. Finally watch this YouTube video from BigNate84 on how to install the CHDK hack. I would also recommend this YouTube playlist from Fatdragon100 which has additional information about the Canon sx40 hack process.
I would recommend watching BigNate's video twice. The first time you view the video, just absorb the content without performing your hack. When you watch the second time, use pause and play and perform your hack. In total, if you are cautious like me, the process should take you about two hours. The hack in terms of commands invoked is very short, but it's always best to work through content like this slowly!
Happy hacking, and remember ... your camera is a computer!