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Hack Canon EOS 300D to confirm focus with all lenses, permanently.

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Well, right, you can do this easily by using various chipped adapters for several lens mounts - but how about permanently modifying your camera to do the same and avoid paying extra for multiple adapters? I love my 300D but I don't own any EF/S lenses, all my arsenal is from 1980s, gorgeous manual focus lenses from Olympus and Carl Zeiss.

Canon EF mount has a register distance which lets us use Olympus OM, Pentax M42 and K-mounts, Leica R, and Contax mounts with proper adapter rings. These are vastly available on the net for purchase (ebay). However, Canon EOS auto-focus system needs a lens to speak to itself to work. The lens communicates its focal length and aperture values and the camera activates AF after confirming these. Some clever chaps cracked the code and embedded it in a tiny PIC chip and slapped those on Canon EF adapters for manual lenses.

In this hack we'll permanently embed one of these PIC chips in the camera. This hack requires some disassembling and soldering skills. I can rate it at medium hardness.

You need:
- One AF confirm activating chip for Canon EF mount (ebay keywords: Canon AF confirm chip)
- A tiny switch (if you want disabling functionality)
- Thin wires
- Epoxy (optional)
- Philips 0 and flat screwdriver
- Soldering iron and solder
- Self adhesive tape/ribbon

Do not put the battery in the camera when it is disassembled, even if you have it in off position. There are live circuitry in it and you may accidentally short it - burning out some fuses (I'll write another instructable about fixing those, later). AF confirm chip is a tiny pic chip and can be affected from static discharge easily, so be careful while you are working with it.

DISCLAIMER: Like all other hacks, this will void your warranty (I don't know if there are any 300D left with warranty anyway). Also involves exposing flash circuitry, if you are careless you may experience a high-voltage electric shock even when the battery is out (which I did briefly). This hack may render your camera totally useless, so if you brick it don't blame me, but put it on ebay for parts (others will like this). I am not responsible for any of these above if you experience a problem.

REFERENCE: There are few places where I borrowed wording from Gary Honis's excellent instructions on Canon EOS 300D IR filter removal. Check out his site for an alternative take on disassembling. However, we don't have to deal with the mainboard, so don't strip your camera to barebones like he did.
 
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Very nice! A long time ago I was trying to figure out if this was possible or not and gave up pretty quickly. I've always wondered if it would be possible to do this with some sort of hacked firmware though, I don't think I'm up to the challenge of actually taking my camera apart. Nice work!
thearchitect (author)  yonderknight5 years ago
Hi, hacked firmware is the way to go actually, but there are not many digging those I guess. I don't see any reason for not being able to do that with a firmware hack. You can always buy chipped adapters for your camera. These days they go around £15-30 depending on the type you need. Chees, Koray.
Great Hack! You seem to be the right person to pose my question regarding the communication bus.

Basically my questions have to do with the use of old manual lenses on digital DSLR . Specifically the new Sigma SD1 DSLR.

This digital camera , latest model from Sigma Japan, incorporated some new abilities over the previous Sigma models , such as Tethered control , that are obviously lens dependent , so the camera seems to be always polling for lens id and any attempt to use manual lenses that do not report back their id , create problems with the generation of a JPG for LCD Display . The RAW capture remains unaltered and fully usable.

This might be a bug of the Firmware that does not have an exit strategy for when there is no lens attached ( A non electronic lens is essentially invisible to the camera )

Since for most people the LCD display and its Histogram are very important to achieve good Imagery I am trying to find a way to fool the camera into thinking that a lens is still attached .

The previous models did not have this problem and the last lens ID and data were retained in non volatile camera memory. The new model does temporarily retain id and data of the last electronic lens that was mounted if HOT swapped by a manual lens but it will loose it on shutdown .


Any ideas to create persistence of the lens id ? I would not dare tinker with enigmatic Firmware code. My thinking is around the possibility of pulling some camera pins low or high , to tell the camera that the lens is busy doing something .Do you think that this might work?

There are many Chinese lens adapters for Canon EF mount that incorporate a chip that apparently responds to the camera in some fashion to re-enable the AUTO FOCUS ASSISTANCE viewfinder's LED light and Beep , that were lost when a non responding lens was mounted, forcing the camera into Manual Mode.

Do you or anybody know how those chipped lens adapters work to make the camera focus assistance work? A similar concept might be derived from there to create a "Virtual lens" for my Sigma camera based on the similarity of the communication bus (SPI)

If I can understand how those chips work maybe I can use them in the Sigma SA bus that is very similar to Canon EF
thearchitect (author)  sigmaluis2 years ago
Hi! Thanks for your kind words.

I am surprised with that strange behaviour in SD1 firmware, it certainly is a bug. Your quest is interesting, and there is a high chance you can succeed I think. I remember reading about the similarity between EF and SA protocols. Here is a thread in which this is mentioned:

http://photo.net/digital-camera-forum/00Bs8p

The focus confirm adapters for EF mount had many new iterations after I posted this instructable. The latest ones can be reprogrammed for the max aperture or focal length while they are on the camera, AFAIK.

If I were you I would get a cheap simple EF focus confirm chip from ebay and press it on the SA mount with fingers to see if it works.

The pinout and functions of SA and EF are exactly same according to commenters in the above link. These chips (which are tiny PICs) replicate the lens ID signals of known EF lenses (i.e., 50mm, max aperture f/2.0) and fool camera into thinking that the manual focus button is on. Then the camera turns the focus confirmation on and registers lens ID as 50/2.

There are few Sigma SA mount adapters for M42, and I think attaching the focus chip on the adapter shouldn't be a very hard task.

I think it is worth a try.

K.
this is GREAT!
iuve_maimai3 years ago
What's name of this chip?
I think maybe it is a EEFROM
We can read all data inside this chip and write to another chip
domz764 years ago
hi, how does this work if you want to attach EOS digital lenses? do you need to remove the chip again? thanks
thearchitect (author)  domz764 years ago
There is a tiny switch that controls the power to the chip (between Vcc and chip, I can't remember which line). If you disconnect it the chip is deactivated and EF lenses can be recognised right away. K.
Thornburg5 years ago
This looks amazing, you did a great job. Just that I can't afford this camera and I would not be brave enough to hack.
thearchitect (author)  Thornburg5 years ago
I think I didn't have much to lose, I bought it for £40 anyway. If it got fubar (=D) I could still sell it on ebay for a profit. :-)<br/><br/>K.<br/>
Did a friend sell it to you. What a steal.
oncex5 years ago
Great instructable but my wife will never let me do it to her camera;)
ll.135 years ago
Very well done Instructable, although I don't think there's many people wanting to fubar their cameras. =D
thearchitect (author)  ll.135 years ago
FUBAR! I loved that term. In my vocabulary, now!.. :-) Thanks, I am glad that you liked it. By the way, one can always buy a chipped adapter ring and keep the screws on their camera. :-) K.
Excellent instructable, an important thing to note is that this is an excellent way to breathe some life into older lenses, maybe FD lenses in my case from my old canon A-1 and that this instructable can help those work in ANY EF mount lense, even an older cheaper 35mm camera such as the A-2. It doesn't have to be used just on new digitals. A good thing to note when going shopping for second hand cameras isnt what they can do, but what they can be MADE to do... Thanks for the instructable!
thearchitect (author)  karsten.hain5 years ago
Sadly, FD lenses are of no use! :-( The registry distance of FD lenses are shorter than EF lenses (42mm<44mm), which is a shame (you can't reach infinity focus - close focus or macro OK). Canon evidently wanted to sell many more lenses with their then new EOS line-up. The only way to use FD lenses on EOS is permanently modify them (some cutting, gluing involved), or use them with optical adapters (image degradation). But, lucky we are, Pentax M42, Yashica/Contax, Nikon, Olympus OM, Leica R, Pentacon Six, etc are all gorgeous lenses that can be utilized on Canon EOS cameras. I am not a big fan of Canon lenses, anyway, so Canon bodies with old-time awesome lenses is good to go for me!.. :-) Thanks for your comments!.. K.
Da_Fudge5 years ago
cool!!!!!
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