Introduction: Hack Your Canon Camera

Picture of Hack Your Canon Camera

I have several cameras, the main two i use being a Canon 50d and a Canon Powershot SD780is. Both are great, but in time i found myself wanting more from each for the 50d i would love to have video, and the 780 i would love to be able to shoot RAW images. Enter Magic Lantern and CHDK these two projects provide 3rd party firmware that runs on your camera to give you access to features that you would not have otherwise.
This instructable is more of pointing you in the right direction then anything, the two projects have tons of

WARNING WARNING WARNING
Like all firmware hacks there is a risk of bricking your device when doing this so be aware of that before proceeding.

Step 1: CHDK (Point and Shoot)

Picture of CHDK (Point and Shoot)

This method is primarily aimed at canon's point and shoot cameras and has been around for a while now so there are many camera models supported.

The steps to install are fairly straight forward, The best way to described the install process is on CHDK's site here:CHDK Install guide

Once you have installed CHDK you can now access the CHDK Menu within your camera, it will look something like the attached photo of my menu. There are tons of features when using CHDK, i have found the best way to figure them out is just trying different things, but you can also read though the whole list of features in the User Manual

Step 2: Magic Lantern (DSLR)

Picture of Magic Lantern (DSLR)

Magic lantern is for DSLR's The following models are supported: 550D/60D/600D/50D/500D with others having some limited support.

One thing to note is the 50d as well as many other models do not have microphones so your video's will not have audio unless you record with another device and splice it together later.

Magic Lantern Install guide

Once you have installed Magic lantern you can now access the Magic lantern Menu within your camera, it will look something like the attached photo of my menu. There are tons of features when using Magic lantern, i have found the best way to figure them out is just trying different things, but you can also read though the whole list of features in the User Manual

Step 3: Some Results

Here is a stop motion video made using my sd780is with CHDK acting as a intervalometer taking a picture once every few seconds





Here is a video taken with my Canon 50d (which doesn't record video normally) running Magic Lantern to record video(as you can see 1080p quality)

Comments

alaskanbychoice (author)2012-08-04

The new version is out and I am tempted to install this on my 60D.

tnani (author)2012-05-27

Hey man!! i'm using ML on my t3i but i can't find the audio controls, the screen looks just like yours. im wondering if you could help me with this, where are those control, or what im doing wrong? thanks!

thematthewknot (author)tnani2012-05-27

Hey great to hear your using it, sadly i cant be too much help as i have a 50d which doesnt have a mic so i have never really messed around much with audio controls. This site might help: http://magiclantern.wikia.com/wiki/Unified/UserGuide#manual-audio-controls

wgrube (author)2011-11-06

I did the same with my SX200IS and loved it! The process is safe and reversible, but not 100% guaranteed. However, the benefits are worth the risk!

Phil B (author)2011-11-02

This is very interesting. I did not know you can add 3rd party firmware to a digital camera. I have a ten year old HP camera. One feature I like on it is fixed focus. My newer Kodak camera does not have a fixed focus option. Does CKDK include fixed focus? (Fixed focus is very handy for photographing an Instructable when two hands are required, but someone has to operate the camera, too.)

thematthewknot (author)Phil B2011-11-02

I am not 100% sure i understand what you mean by fixed focus, CHDK does allow for manual focus(see a demo here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciAV0ng1KkI ) which i am guessing is something like what your refering to is that correct?

Phil B (author)thematthewknot2011-11-02

I am sorry. I meant manual focus. I can set my HP camera to 0.2m, 0.3m, 0.5m and so on.

I also looked at the link you gave and now realize it is for Canon cameras only. I enjoy the manual focus on my HP and wish my Kodak would do that, too.

Thanks.

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