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)
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)
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