Photography - Camera hacking

I've bought a new camera!

But more importantly for right now, my old camera didn't focus any more, so I thought I might pull it to bits to see if I could fix it.

A camera hack if you like.

Well it's hacked now.

But in the process of attempting to fix it, I thought it might be grit or something stuck in the focus gears. I figured I might be able to override the emergency shutdown on lens fail, and just use brute force to get past the grit.

But before pulling it apart I thought I'd look for a software hack to manually focus the thing. It's a Canon Powershot A490 point and shoot (or at least it was), so it doesnt normally have manual focus.

I found much more than a focus hack, but also much less.

Much less in that I still couldn't do manual focus, but so very much more in that I found CHDK - Canon Hack Development Kit.

CHDK is amazing. It's a kit full of files that you install onto your SD memory card, put it into your camera, then use the update firmware option (only seen on my camera when the CHDK is on the card) of your camera to install all the new functionality. It does things like...

  • motion detection
  • increment focus to automate focus/photo stacking as mentioned in the previous post
  • depth of field calculator
  • exposures from 2048s to 1/60,000s with flash sync
  • change the layout and visibility of you on screen display info
  • etc etc etc (so much more)
Look here to see a slightly bigger list, but still not all of it.

And here for the manual which covers more.

But even more can be found on the forum in the form of scripts that can be loaded into your camera. There are scripts that do motion detection fast enough to catch lightning strikes. (less than 60ms I think it was - dont quote me)

So in spite of just buying a new camera, I'm off to see if the $20 camera I saw in the electronics shops bargain bin is a cannon powershot. 

120 Things in 20 years CHDK camera hack - Awesome. 

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