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242 comments

The most important question (3, Insightful)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317104)

What's the cheapest camera on the list?

Re:The most important question (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23317424)

A few years ago, while browsing around the library downtown, I had to take a piss. As I entered the john, a big beautiful all-American football hero type, about twenty five, came out of one of the booths. I stood at the urinal looking at him out of the corner of my eye as he washed his hands. He didn't once look at me. He was "straight" and married -- and in any case I was sure I wouldn't have a chance with him.

As soon as he left, I darted into the booth he'd vacated, hoping there might be a lingering smell of shit and even a seat still warm from his sturdy young ass. I found not only the smell but the shit itself. He'd forgotten to flush. And what a treasure he had left behind. Three or four beautiful specimens floated in the bowl. It apparently had been a fairly dry, constipated shit, for all were fat, stiff, and ruggedly textured. The real prize was a great feast of turd -- a nine inch gastrointestinal triumph as thick as a man's wrist. I knelt before the bowl, inhaling the rich brown fragrance and wondered if I should obey the impulse building up inside me. I'd always been a heavy rimmer and had lapped up more than one little clump of shit, but that had been just an inevitable part of eating ass and not an end in itself.

Of course I'd had jerkoff fantasies of devouring great loads of it (what rimmer hasn't?), but I had never done it. Now, here I was, confronted with the most beautiful five-pound turd I'd ever feasted my eyes on, a sausage fit to star in any fantasy and one I knew to have been hatched from the asshole of the world's handsomest young stud.

Why not? I plucked it from the bowl, holding it with both hands to keep it from breaking.

I lifted it to my nose. It smelled like rich, ripe limburger (horrid, but thrilling), yet had the consistency of cheddar. What is cheese anyway but milk turning to shit without the benefit of a digestive tract? I gave it a lick and found that it tasted better then it smelled. I've found since then that shit nearly almost does. I hesitated no longer. I shoved the fucking thing as far into my mouth as I could get it and sucked on it like a big brown cock, beating my meat like a madman. I wanted to completely engulf it and bit off a large chunk, flooding my mouth with the intense, bittersweet flavor. To my delight I found that while the water in the bowl had chilled the outside of the turd, it was still warm inside. As I chewed I discovered that it was filled with hard little bits of something I soon identified as peanuts. He hadn't chewed them carefully and they'd passed through his body virtually unchanged. I ate it greedily, sending lump after peanutty lump sliding scratchily down my throat. My only regret was the donor of this feast wasn't there to wash it down with his piss. I soon reached a terrific climax. I caught my cum in the cupped palm of my hand and drank it down. Believe me, there is no more delightful combination of flavors than the hot sweetness of cum with the rich bitterness of shit. Afterwards I was sorry that I hadn't made it last longer. But then I realized that I still had a lot of fun in store for me. There was still a clutch of virile turds left in the bowl. I tenderly fished them out, rolled them into my hankercheif, and stashed them in my briefcase.

In the week to come I found all kinds of ways to eat the shit without bolting it right down. Once eaten it's gone forever unless you want to filch it third hand out of your own asshole -- not an unreasonable recourse in moments of desperation or simple boredom.

I stored the turds in the refrigerator when I was not using them but within a week they were all gone.

The last one I held in my mouth without chewing, letting it slowly dissolve. I had liquid shit trickling down my throat for nearly four hours. I must have had six orgasms in the process. I often think of that lovely young guy dropping solid gold out of his sweet, pink asshole every day, never knowing what joy it could, and at least once did,bring to a grateful shiteater.

Re:The most important question (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23317606)

You must be new. The real question is "does it run linux"

Re:The most important question (4, Informative)

Xabraxas (654195) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318188)

Nope. It runs VxWorks, at least that is what the firmware dump from my Canon indicates.

Who tagged this HARDHACK? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23317670)

Hardhack, by definition, is a hardware hack. That would mean, for instance, adding an MCU to the board to gain extra functionality. This is a firmware change and thus is a software hack. What lotus flower are you people eating?

Oh wait, people on slashdot are just mindless and stupid and know the difference but don't bother spending the 500us to make the distinction. I see.

(Of course, I will be modded down, but at least I get the satisfaction of wasting a modpoint.)

Re:Who tagged this HARDHACK? (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317830)

perhaps they're meaning "hard" as in "difficult".

Re:Who tagged this HARDHACK? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23317960)

or maybe not

Re:Who tagged this HARDHACK? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23318020)

The principal use of the device is the hardware (the camera bits), not the software. The software is embedded and only serves to allow access to the hardware. Therefore although this is technically a software hack it is changing what you can do with the hardware so calling it a hardware hack is not out of line.

You're a douche (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23318086)

Hardhack = hardhack. Moron.

Re:The most important question (2, Informative)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317992)

Take a look at the list. There's a lot of cameras it supports past and present; I'd suggest you look around ebay.

Re:The most important question (2, Informative)

Aggrajag (716041) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318176)

I am currently porting CHDK to A430 which cost me around $100 when I bought it about a year ago.

Pointless (4, Funny)

Uncle Focker (1277658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317142)

enabling users to add features, up to and including games and BASIC scripting."
Just what everyone in the world was clamoring for: games for their camera.

Re:Pointless (4, Funny)

Intron (870560) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317158)

I need games on my camera. I'm running out of room on my cell phone.

Re:Pointless (4, Funny)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317188)

My cellphone IS my camera, you insensitive clod!!!!

Re:Pointless (5, Informative)

J-1000 (869558) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317264)

It's for more than that of course. It allows you to enable certain camera functions that do not exist in the shipping firmware, like RAW mode.

Re:Pointless (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23317460)

like RAW mode.
which is mostly useless on a camera with a sensor that small.

Re:Pointless (3, Insightful)

vought (160908) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318248)

which is mostly useless on a camera with a sensor that small.


You don't understand what RAW is for, do you?

RAW allows post-capture editing of exposure, white balance and possibly other parameters. Sensor size matters not - the 4MP Canon 1Ds generated RAW mode files from an APS-C-sized sensor...would you have pooh-poohed that capability?

Re:Pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23318336)

The scripting is actually the one that interested me, as you could theoretically use it to create a time-lapse mode or maybe even a motion-sensing mode. Or better yet, a motion-sensing, time lapse mode.

A $150 Powershot A550 could make a handy, portable, inexpensive, high resolution, and highly portable security camera. Assuming the camera can handle the amount of scripting necessary, it could be pretty versatile. 2 MP jpg's in basic mode run about 300 kB each, so at 1 fps, you could fit almost an hour of coverage per GB of memory.

Also, none of the SD cameras have real manual modes. If this hack can add that. That would be a sweet addition. I'm guessing a useful video compression would be beyond the capabilities of this hack. Canon P&S cameras make huge files in movie mode.

Last time I checked out this project, they weren't claiming Digic III support yet, so I wasn't ready to try it out on my SD800. Might be time to look the mod over again.

Re:Pointless (2, Informative)

xtracto (837672) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318442)

It is really cool. I just read this and installed it on my PowerShot A530. I ran some tests with a DOFStacker + CombineZM and shoot some RAW pics.

IMHO it has some really nice features so that we casual photographers can get more from the cameras.

Of course I won't be taking all my pictures in RAW but it is nice to have some of those features. Oh! and the optical-zoom while in video is a really useful and simple feature.

There are tons of other functions that *really* make CHDK shine...

Re:Pointless... Between that and FPS games... (4, Funny)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317484)

Withstanding OR notwithstanding the DCMA, I think the developers and players could be literally figuratively "shooting themselves in the foot"... (LOL!)

Re:Pointless... Between that and FPS games... (1)

Slashdot Suxxors (1207082) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318052)

Holy crap I can't believe I giggled at that. Damn you, /.

Re:Pointless (4, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317488)

Just what everyone in the world was clamoring for: games for their camera.

While games are a nice gimmick that gets the project attention, it looks like there are real features here. Me, after I lost my old Powershot I bought in 2004, I got a new Powershot A550 [amazon.com] . I was unhappy, however, to see that it had even less features than the old Powershot. Instead of trickling whizbang features down into cheaper cameras over time, Canon has been getting rid of them altogether. Now, one missing feature is hardware, the swivel viewfinder, and I can't do anything to remedy that. Similarly, I cannot use the camera as a webcam with a few hacks like I could the old one. However, this open firmware project will restore my precious RAW capabilities. It will also give me longer exposure times that I've long craved.

Re:Pointless (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317770)

The first big hack I heard about years ago was getting MAME on some early Kodaks. Now THAT is silly & fun!

Re:Pointless (5, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317902)

Well I'm assuming that's just some initial hacks they got working.

What I really want to know is if you can disable the software that prevents the camera from stealing the souls of those photographed. Digital cameras are amazingly convenient and powerful compared to their non-digital ancestors, but they're useless to me unless I can steal souls.

But... (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318010)

... does it runs Linux?

Re:Pointless (0, Flamebait)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318374)

These 'hacks' are not going to make this camera take better pictures.
They are not going to improve the quality of the optical system in the camera.
The CCD is not going to magically get more pixels.
So all it does is give you more knobs to twiddle so you lose that
'Kodak Moment' because you were screwing with the knobs instead of taking pictures.

How long before... (1, Troll)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317242)

they cripple the cameras like Linksys did with the WRT54G?

Re:How long before... (1, Offtopic)

kidgenius (704962) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317408)

How did Linksys cripple the 54G? IIRC, they came out with the 54GL variant to keep the hacker crowd happy.

Re:How long before... (2, Informative)

mog007 (677810) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317528)

Later revisions of 54G routers had less memory, and slower processors. Such a gimped amount of memory it took a long time to get a build of Linux that would fit.

Re:How long before... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23317836)

Later revisions of 54G routers had less memory, and slower processors. Such a gimped amount of memory it took a long time to get a build of Linux that would fit.

Or, they decided to reduce their manufacturing costs by only using the amount of memory & processor power needed to run their firmware.

Saving a buck per router adds up when you're making thousands (millions?) of them.

Re: Linksys gimping the 54G (2, Informative)

colinnwn (677715) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318308)

I was OK with Linksys reducing the memory footprint, especially since they introduced the 54GL.

I was not enthused they forsake open source firmware (busybox) for closed source VxWorks, and then that Linksys or VxWorks put some checksums in their upload routines that tried to disallow altered firmware.

The fact the openWRT people finally overcame the checksums and shoehorned busybox into the gimped 45Gs (while retaining more features than VxWorks) shows it was technically possible. They were just taking the comfortable path rather than upholding the hacker roots of the 54G which made it such a success.

Re:How long before... (4, Insightful)

ColaMan (37550) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318432)

It was hardly done just to spite the hackers.

If your product still runs adequately with :
- less RAM (cheaper!)
- a slower processor (cheaper!)

Then you go ahead and make the change to:
- increase profit margins
- keep up with your competitors so they don't price you out of the market.

Pretty clear-cut business case. In their case, they went out of their way to provide the original model again, pretty much just for hackers. They could've just dropped the old version, y'know.

Re:How long before... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23317414)

why just not burn ddwrt [dd-wrt.com] on your WRT54G?

crippled no more

Re:How long before... (3, Interesting)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317496)

If it's anything like the 300D versus the 350D, they'll notice that people are hacking features back into the camera, and enable them by default on the newer model.

(Is there any alternative firmware for the 350D onwards, or have the hackers simply not bothered?)

Re:How long before... (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318032)

(Is there any alternative firmware for the 350D onwards, or have the hackers simply not bothered?)
Not that I'm aware of, and I've got a 400D so I'd be interested to know as well.

The main reason there were hardware hacks for the 350D is because it was basically a higher-end camera (can't remember exactly which model - 30D?) in a cheap plastic shell with a crippled firmware. I suspect the differences between the product lines are a touch more pronounced these days - either that or they're checking the firmware at boot to ensure it is correct for the model.

Re:How long before... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23317510)

As others noted, WRT54G wasn't so much limited, as it wasn't fully utilized. Hackers, of the coding variety (not script kiddies) made a lot of really interesting improvements on variants of the WRT54G series, many included in this list of third-party firmware [wikipedia.org]

Already there.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23318208)

You should look at the Digital Cinema market, and see how bad it is. If you want all the possible features and resolution that a specific sensor Sony or another big manufacturer has, you are looking at a 6 figure (100,000+) price tag.

Fire the cannons, Canon? (5, Interesting)

Applekid (993327) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317278)

Canon hacking has hit mainstream, it seems... with extra visibility I'm sure the higher ups in the company will soon know about them (no doubt the engineers already knew about the project). I LOVE my Canon cameras, so, I really hope Canon doesn't pull an Apple or a Creative and start intentionally guarding against firmware hacks because then my future purchases will have to go elsewhere.

Sidenote: I had an old A80 camera that's maybe 6 years old stopped taking pictures. Turns out there was an old technical bulletin about it in their KB and that Canon was offering free repairs to any affected unit regardless of its age. I sent it in and they did what they promised AND the turnaround was around a week.

Re:Fire the cannons, Canon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23318000)

One would hope that Canon would see this as a challenge to embrace - and bring out a feature enriched firmware upgrade of their own which would make CHDK redundant. Imagine downloading an official Powershot SDK to write your own specialized scripts! I would!! And if Canon opened up the EOS range to this, we'd be floating happy.
Now that would be positive thinking instead of a laager mentality like Apple had in 1985 (kill the Japples, kill the Japples). Canon, please do the right thing, not the idiot knee-jerk.

Re:Fire the cannons, Canon? (2, Funny)

Z34107 (925136) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318250)

Canon hacking has hit mainstream, it seems...

Yes, but what does this mean for our navy?!

Only Point and Shoots? (0)

Gerafix (1028986) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317310)

Call me when they can do this with Canon DSLR's. I know a few times I have needed a faster shutter speed than I was able to get. (I like big apertures, and yes I'm over-compensating). Bonus props if you can get a live histogram in the viewfinder...

Re:Only Point and Shoots? (5, Informative)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317458)

Bonus props if you can get a live histogram in the viewfinder...

Um, changing the firmware isn't going to put a LCD screen on the mirror. Apparently you haven't grasped how a SLR [wikipedia.org] works.

I have needed a faster shutter speed than I was able to get.

The firmware probably isn't going to be able to get the shutter to go any faster reliably. What you need to use is a ND filter if you like wide apertures.

Certainly the scripting stuff could be used in a SLR.

Re:Only Point and Shoots? (2, Informative)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317554)

Um, changing the firmware isn't going to put a LCD screen on the mirror. Apparently you haven't grasped how a SLR [wikipedia.org] works.

I think the 450D has a live preview feature - so not exactly through the viewfinder, but a live histogram would be a funky addition.

Assuming it doesn't have it already - I'm happy with my old 350D. ;-)

Re:Only Point and Shoots? (1)

tweak13 (1171627) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318520)

The 450D does have a live histogram when shooting in live view mode. I don't find it that useful personally, but then I don't find live view that useful either.

Re:Only Point and Shoots? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23317562)

I love it how in order to clarify you have to remind GP that he is intellectually inferior. And the best part is that you are fucking wrong. What the fuck does this have to do with SLR? What part of point and click don't you understand? My NON DSLR point and click has an LCD view finder. It also includes a live histogram feature. Go die somewhere you useless asshole.

Re:Only Point and Shoots? (1)

Gerafix (1028986) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317580)

Does not have to be on the mirror itself, there are a number of readings inside the viewfinder that do not have to do with the mirror. Would probably still take a hardware hack, but hey more fun am I right? And yes you are right an ND filter would work, thanks.

Re:Only Point and Shoots? (1)

kidgenius (704962) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317624)

Why not show the histogram on the LCD though?

Re:Only Point and Shoots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23317686)

>The firmware probably isn't going to be able to get the shutter to go any faster reliably. What you need to use is a ND filter if you like wide apertures.

If you would have read the article, you would have noticed that the firmware hacks do let you use higher/lower shutter speeds then the stock firmware. Sure they might not be reliable because they aren't tested by Canon, but they are there.

Re:Only Point and Shoots? (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318002)

If you would have read the article, you would have noticed that the firmware hacks do let you use higher/lower shutter speeds then the stock firmware. Sure they might not be reliable because they aren't tested by Canon, but they are there.

The cameras in the current story aren't SLRs; they don't have physical shutters. To hack in faster shutter speeds to a DSLR would "require" actually moving the shutter faster; there are physical limits here.

(I suppose you could probably keep the shutter open longer than necessary then expose electronically like point-and-shoot cameras, but I'm not positive this would work.)

Re:Only Point and Shoots? (1)

Spamalope (91802) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318242)

(I suppose you could probably keep the shutter open longer than necessary then expose electronically like point-and-shoot cameras, but I'm not positive this would work.)


Some Recent Nikon SLRs actually do this, so it's possible and has been done. Certain flash sync tricks are only possible with these models. See strobist.com for more info.

I'd love modified SLR firmware for Canon to add features they've left off, presumably to sell high priced external add ons. I want an intervalometer! (simple program to do time lapse shots in camera - Nikon's have it built in...)

Re:Only Point and Shoots? (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318350)

I'd love modified SLR firmware for Canon to add features they've left off, presumably to sell high priced external add ons. I want an intervalometer! (simple program to do time lapse shots in camera - Nikon's have it built in...)

I've thought about making an external programmable shutter release for this. If I ever actually sit down and learn more electronics and such that's on my list of things to do. (Also: much longer exposures.)

Re:Only Point and Shoots? (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317980)

Um, changing the firmware isn't going to put a LCD screen on the mirror. Apparently you haven't grasped how a SLR works.

Or maybe you don't have enough imagination. Why not lock the mirror up with the shutter open (thus exposing the CCD), then when the button is pressed, close the shutter, start exposing, open the shutter, expose, close the shutter, stop exposure, then open the shutter again.

It would slightly increase button-press-to-photograph time, but not by much.

Re:Only Point and Shoots? (1)

modecx (130548) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318156)

And wear your mirror action up twice as fast, too... And for a feature which can be accurately deduced through the meter. OMG YAY!

Re:Only Point and Shoots? (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318304)

And wear your mirror action up twice as fast, too

The mirror doesn't need to go, only the shutter.

Anyway, I still occasionally use a couple SLRs my parents have from the late 70s. They still operate. Granted, they aren't used much, but they haven't worn out.

And for a feature which can be accurately deduced through the meter. OMG YAY!

What meter? Do you mean viewfinder?

The viewfinder doesn't show you if you are overexposing part of your image, and there are a number of times when there are shots that are very hard or impossible to take while looking through the viewfinder.

If I'm holding the camera at arms length over my head, it would be nice to see what I'm aiming at. Or be able to set it on the floor and not have to figure out some configuration where I can put my head in where I can see into the viewfinder. Or put it on the ground facing up. Or if I had more money, underwater photography. Or ...

Anyway, I think I would still use the viewfinder for most shots. But there are enough reasons that would be helpful that if, when I was in the market for a DSLR, there was one that had live preview and one that didn't, that would have been a strong argument for the one with it.

Re:Only Point and Shoots? (1)

vought (160908) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318316)

And wear your mirror action up twice as fast, too... And for a feature which can be accurately deduced through the meter. OMG YAY!
+1 funny. Digital has brought out many interesting habits in new-to-photography digital photographers.

I can meter a scene at least as well as any DSLR with a 1 degree spotmeter - what makes people think they need a 256 level graph to meter a scene is beyond me, but you know, I also shoot 4x5 film, so I tend to think carefully before shooting and look at the scene before shooting - not a bar graph.

Re:Only Point and Shoots? (1)

vought (160908) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318338)

Or maybe you don't have enough imagination. Why not lock the mirror up with the shutter open (thus exposing the CCD), then when the button is pressed, close the shutter, start exposing, open the shutter, expose, close the shutter, stop exposure, then open the shutter again.
Because holding up the mirror for that long uses a lot of power. Doing it on every shot would decrease your battery life by at least 50%.

Don't forget about light leaking in through the finder, either. On a DSL in bright conditions, this is a non-trivial limitation. Be my guest if you want to cover the finder every time you shoot.

Re:Only Point and Shoots? (1)

Spamalope (91802) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318412)

Um, changing the firmware isn't going to put a LCD screen on the mirror. Apparently you haven't grasped how a SLR works. Or maybe you don't have enough imagination. It would slightly increase button-press-to-photograph time, but not by much.
Histogram in Live View mode would do this. There are at least two negatives. You'll burn through the battery, and using Live View heats the SLR sensor. Heating the sensor increases noise and 'hot' (temporarily stuck) pixels. SLRs can take pictures so quickly that it usually isn't a problem to just take a test shot. It would be a nice feature, but not that important.

Re:Only Point and Shoots? (1)

Incadenza (560402) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318012)

The firmware probably isn't going to be able to get the shutter to go any faster reliably.
Go and visit the CHDK site [wikia.com] , and you will see that it does exacly that (for P&S cameras that is). only for extremely fast shutter speeds you wil have to drop the word 'reliable' because you can only reach these with the smallest diagram aperture.

Re:Only Point and Shoots? (2, Funny)

BAKup (40339) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317462)

You like big apertures, and you can not lie?

Re:Only Point and Shoots? (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317500)

i don't think you grasp how an SLR camera works..

the shutter speed is limited to the shutter servo - they put settings so that it will work without prodcution tolerances.. while it might be posiable to make it faster it wouldn't be reliable

as for the live historgram - that would be afeet of enginering - and now way could you do it with an firmware update.. again.. see how an SLR works..

Re:Only Point and Shoots? (4, Informative)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317726)

the shutter speed is limited to the shutter servo - they put settings so that it will work without prodcution tolerances.. while it might be posiable to make it faster it wouldn't be reliable


Actually, don't the shutter blades always fall at the same speed? Their speed is the flash sync, the fastest speed where the whole film is exposed at a single point in time, right?

Then to set the 'shutter speed', the time between the first shutter blade and the second shutter blade is changed.

At least, that is how Focal Plane shutters [wikipedia.org] work. Leaf shutters are different.

Re:Only Point and Shoots? (1)

dfn_deux (535506) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317822)

I could be totally wrong here, but I was under the impression that digital cameras don't even have a shutter. My thinking is something along the lines of a traditional film camera uses a shutter to maintain complete darkness on the film to prevetn the chemical reactions which take place upon exposure to light and the the shutter opening is able to regulate the photo-chemical reaction by limiting exposure. However a digital camera has a sensor which doesn't rely on absolute dark to prevent exposure. It simply captures all the time and the "shutter" button triggers a data capture routine in the camera's electronics which then process the captured images as a composite of all image data captured within the "shutter speed" window. Perhaps there is still some ancillary shuttering mechanism in a DSLR to prevent light from entering through the view finder and washing out the image that passes through the penta prism in the body; but I'm just guessing here.

Re:Only Point and Shoots? (2, Interesting)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317914)

I could be totally wrong here, but I was under the impression that digital cameras don't even have a shutter.

I don't actually know about point-and-shoots (I assume they don't have conventional shutters, what with all the live-preview stuff) - but digital SLRs most definitely do.

Actually, the best way to imagine a dSLR is as a film SLR, but with an image sensor taking the place of the film. The half-silvered, hinged mirror is still there for the viewfinder, as is the autofocus and metering gubbins arranged beneath it - on older dSLRs, the image sensor only gets to play when the mirror hinges up, blocking light from getting in through the viewfinder, and the shutter opens.

(Ever wondered what that funny rubber rectangle is on the camera strap? It's for putting over the viewfinder when you're about to take a long exposure - light getting in can confuse the metering system that's in front of the shutter...)

Re:Only Point and Shoots? (1)

kidgenius (704962) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317600)

You know what I would like? Ability to use the LCD as a viewfinder. That would be a slick hack. Granted, I prefer using the viewfinder, but for certain angles, the screen would be much nicer (without having to buy an angled viewfinder)

Re:Only Point and Shoots? (2)

Gerafix (1028986) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317636)

They have this on the new Rebel and I think maybe on the new 1D.

Re:Only Point and Shoots? (1)

adam613 (449819) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317790)

And the 40D...

Re:Only Point and Shoots? (1)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318074)

That always puzzles me - a consumer camera like a Nikon Coolpix allows you to see the final image through the LCD (even with zoom), while Digital SLR's, costing several thousands of pounds always switch the LCD off when a picture is about to be taken.

Re:Only Point and Shoots? (5, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318228)

That always puzzles me - a consumer camera like a Nikon Coolpix allows you to see the final image through the LCD (even with zoom), while Digital SLR's, costing several thousands of pounds always switch the LCD off when a picture is about to be taken.


Because it's physically impossible on an SLR. In an SLR, you have the lens, that then is followed by a mirror. The mirror, in the "down" position, reflects the light from the lens through the prism viewfinder and then to your eye.

When you click the shutter, the mirror flips up (viewfinder goes dark), exposing the shutter which then opens and shuts the right amount of time the actual camera sensor.

That's not to say it's not possible to say, add a little cameraphone like sensor and offer a live preview (several dSLRs do this now), but historically, it wasn't possible. The light is either going to the main camera sensor, or the viewfinder. A small amount is actually reflected *down* for autofocus, though.

Though, as anyone knows, holding your camera at arm's length (so you can use the LCD as a viewfinder) sucks for camera shake. And most camera LCDs are of QVGA or lower resolution, so you miss out on all the nice little details youc an see through a real optical viewfinder like that on a dSLR...

Re:Only Point and Shoots? (2, Insightful)

doti (966971) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318144)

What I'd like is some simple tweaks to the interface.

For instance, the ability to delete photos by range (e.g., this photo and all previous ones). Useful when you download the photos to the computer, forget to delete them from the camera, and discovers that after taking one more photo: shit! Now you have to delete all the other 400 photos one by one.

Re:Only Point and Shoots? (1)

Archon-X (264195) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318290)

1Ds Mark III [dpreview.com] has live view.

Take RAW Photos (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23317410)

I've been aware of chdk for a bit now, and just haven't tried it out. One thing that it enables is the ability to take RAW photos. So if you are interested in taking pictures that have no compression artifacts or unknown filters, but don't want to shell out for a more expensive (and oftentimes physically larger) camera, this is an option for you. RAW photos are a standard that are used in some photo contests.

Not really (2, Informative)

junglee_iitk (651040) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317612)

I tried it with my S2 IS. They really do a good job at maintaining the "soft" firmware.

Although, for RAW images, cheap point and shoot cameras don't have physical build, and lack everything that makes RAW images special. Taking RAW images with my camera was akin to storing 1 MB JPEG image into 3 MB RAW format.

Re:Not really (3, Interesting)

PFAK (524350) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317896)

Taking RAW images with my camera was akin to storing 1 MB JPEG image into 3 MB RAW format.

Uh, How about the fact that there are no JPEG compression artifacts on a RAW image?

Re:Not really (3, Informative)

EvanED (569694) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318054)

Although, for RAW images, cheap point and shoot cameras don't have physical build, and lack everything that makes RAW images special. Taking RAW images with my camera was akin to storing 1 MB JPEG image into 3 MB RAW format.

RAW images should give you the ability to white-balance them after the shot. (You at least can with the RAW images from my DSLR.)

That alone is worth the price of admission (i.e. a larger memory card) IMHO.

Re:Take RAW Photos (2, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317628)

RAW photos are a standard that are used in some photo contests.

Isn't "RAW" really just an umbrella term for a number of competing and very ad-hoc formats?

Re:Take RAW Photos (1)

dfn_deux (535506) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317840)

Yes, there is no "RAW" standard, it varies from manufacturer and model. Although there are a few mainstream manufacturers which have had their format accepted as a defacto standard of sorts; at least in that mainstream photo editing software supports native raw import.

Re:Take RAW Photos (1)

DJProtoss (589443) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317994)

Adobe have been attempting to remedy this with their dng raw format (Digital NeGative). Its a good idea, but I haven't noticed it getting anywhere really - I don't know of any cameras that take dng natively (although most slr's raw format can be converted to it), and equally I don't know of any programs which support dng which can't also read the other raw formats, making it only really useful if you have multiple cameras which take different raw formats and you want to store them all in the same format (not quite as crazy as it sounds, as certainly canon at least has two different raw formats in use (crw and crw2)).

Re:Take RAW Photos (2, Insightful)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317844)

That's my understanding as well. The RAW from a Canon SLR might have no relation at al to a nikon to a sony, etc (or even between canon models, etc). They are just the unprocessed raw data that the cameras use internally. Thus the need for import filters for programs like photopshop, aperture, and lightroom to be able to read the files from different cameras.

Re:Take RAW Photos (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317878)

RAW photos are a standard that are used in some photo contests.
Isn't "RAW" really just an umbrella term for a number of competing and very ad-hoc formats?
Original post should have referred to "lossless" instead of RAW, but, even following that, how complicated could RAW be? You've got RGB information in some order uniform order and bit-depth in sequence from one corner of a picture to another. Trying it once will instantly reveal each component's bit-depth, order of the colors (maybe BGR like most LCDs?), top-left-to-bottom-right versus bottom-left-to-top-right.

Hell, the fanciest it might get is some header with EXIF information (easily stands out from opening a test picture) or not having separate color layers interlaced together (as in first R for the whole picture, then G, then B).

If anything it's probably a good assignment for high-school level comp-sci: reverse engineering the data structures encoded in an unknown file format.

Re:Take RAW Photos (2, Informative)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318142)

There's an open source project (Dcraw [wikipedia.org] which aims to solve this problem.

The source code file can be found at this file [cybercom.net]

Re:Take RAW Photos (2, Informative)

LinuxGeek (6139) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318536)

The actual process is much more involved [wikipedia.org] than just figuring out the order of the RGB info.

Ease of use... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23317448)

I have long been aware of CHDK, and own one of the cameras that was recently added to their "list"... the S5-IS. I got as far as downloading the file and trying to make head or tail of the 'intructions'. Not even the worst offending Microsoft 'undocumented' feature you can think of is this badly documented. There is NO step by step guide that makes you feel confident at all about loading this onto your camera. Yes there are steps - more like leaps off the edge of the Grand Canyon! Huge gaps of logic, no finale of "now go take pictures". Until its presented in a less "hacker" style I don't think I can risk screwing up my Canon warranty, thank you!

Re:Ease of use... (4, Informative)

dfn_deux (535506) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317536)

There is no risk of "screwing up" your camera, the hack loads the "firmware" into volatile ram in such a way that simply deleting the file from your mem card will revert your camera to the original state.

Re:Ease of use... (1)

junglee_iitk (651040) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317720)

I will just add a link to "Loadlin [wikipedia.org] ", a tool which boots Linux from DOS using similar technique.

It is how the old viruses used to work on DOS - loading into memory and then overtaking COMMAND.COM

Re:Ease of use... (5, Informative)

neonfrog (442362) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317876)

The risk of screwing up your camera comes from potentially feeding it a parameter outside of it's safety zone.

For instance what if there were a RAM mode in the hacked firmware for firing the flash at a rate faster than the camera's default firmware would allow. You try it for that super cool skateboard picture and wonder why your flash Fresnel is brown and smoking after the fact. Granted the caps shouldn't be able to do that, but what if?

Or you try to drive the aperture 1 click past its physical limit? Do you know if the camera has limit switches or is relying on firmware pointing to known values in RAM (pulled from EEPROM at boot) that define the scope of aperture values to control that motor? Maybe it can handle a few slams at the end of travel, but what if you keep doing it by mistake?

Or you use a mode to leave the LCD backlight on while the flash caps recharge (normally the LCD backlight is off) and you fry the power supply in the camera because you sourced too much current?

Or you use a mode to drive the lens into the extended position, but somehow the hacked firmware ignores the limit switch for the little lens cover door and tries to run it at the same time? Scraaaaape.....

Don't get me wrong, this looks freakin' cool! But to presume there is zero possibility of damage seem naive to me.

Re:Ease of use... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23317888)

The lifehacker article actually is MILES better than the 3 lost clues on the CHDK site. For the S5 chdk's page says to make the card bootable by a dubious process, then write-protect it with the PS.FIR on there and absolutely no other clues on operating or loading. Maybe I am limited to reading English and not h4kerspik.

Even with the clearer guide from lifehacker, this still leaves a few issues open:
    (i) its a HACK and if Canon smell it, bang goes thy warranty;
    (ii) CHDK are from/in Russia - genius programmers, but nationally a poor track record on the TRUST aspect.

Sigh, maybe will risk it..

Re:Ease of use... (3, Interesting)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318214)

Even with the clearer guide from lifehacker, this still leaves a few issues open:
(i) its a HACK and if Canon smell it, bang goes thy warranty;
(ii) CHDK are from/in Russia - genius programmers, but nationally a poor track record on the TRUST aspect.


The first one is addressed right here [wikia.com] on the site. And sorry, but I can't help you with your xenophobia.

I've used CHDK on my A710IS for about six months with zero problems. As many others have mentioned, it's incredibly easy to disable it, but the features that it adds are very handy.

Re:Ease of use... (4, Informative)

Cruciform (42896) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317838)

What exactly was hard about the instructions?
When I first found out about CHDK I had it running on my camera *3 minutes* after the download completed.

All you do is:
1) copy the files to your flash card
2) Power up the camera in playback mode while holding the menu button to add the firmware update option to the menu. This is something you should already know how to do from the cameras manual!
3) Select the update.

Once the files are on the flash card you can repeat this process at any time in under 15 seconds. If you want to use the stock firmware then you just don't run the update.

The custom firmware has all kinds of neat features. If you like making HDR pics, you can use available scripts or write your own to bracket the exposures. My Powershot A620 now has the ability to shoot RAW thanks to CHDK.

Some builds even incorporate face detection and motion detection. Screw webcams, how about having a 7 megapixel camera capturing what's happening outside your window.

Time lapse photography is now a cinch, as are all kinds of things that the stock camera doesn't do.

I never found any of the features to be all that hackerish. They don't document using a histogram, sure... but if you're downloading a firmware for the use of a histogram, you probably already know what one is!

The question is... (1)

electricbern (1222632) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317566)

... does it run Linux?

Re:The question is... (2, Interesting)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317614)

Many older Canon cameras run VxWorks, apparently - and only recently have they moved on to something entirely of Canon's own devising...

Re:The question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23318232)

Yes, the Digic III cameras are built around DryOS, which apparently has a long and stable history of use on Canon's video cams. A good move, as they will save a bunch on licensing fees and are fully in control of their home-brewed OS.

Love it. I'm using Allbest's build on my SD800 IS (3, Informative)

lazyforker (957705) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317630)

Wired.com also mentioned this stuff recently. I tried it - awesome.

One of the coolest features is that at any time you can restore your camera to default settings just by turning it off - no permanent flashing of BIOS/firmware!

No SX100IS support? :( (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317794)

And now is when I regret getting a fairly decent Canon camera. The Powershot SX100IS. Doesn't have half the stuff this supports. Of course, to be fair, it was only $200 and it has an optical image stabilizer, 10x optical zoom, 8.0 megapixels, great manual controls, and is just generally the best camera you'll find without going for SLR. But man would it be nice to add some of this stuff.

Games are hardly among the main features (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23317834)

Among things, most people use CHDK for one or more of:

  • RAW capture in cameras that don't normally support it (this one is huge)
  • Much shorter, or longer exposure times than supported by the camera's firmware (see this page [wikia.com] for high-speed examples)
  • Zebra striping mode (highlights over/under exposed areas in real-time)
  • Motion detection (which some folks have allegedly used to successfully take lightning photos)
  • Adjustable video bitrate
  • More adjustable ISO
  • DOF calculator
  • Hot pixel removal
  • Adjustable grid
  • Real-time histogram for cameras without
  • Detailed battery life meter
  • etc.

mod parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23318256)

extremely informative wikia link provided.

Re: CHDK (1)

ozbird (127571) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317976)

I tried CHDK on my Canon S2IS camera a while ago. While the RAW mode does work, the delay of several seconds between photos with a black screen was really frustrating. I've yet to properly process the RAW photos to compare the quality to the JPEG images, but unprocessed photos in Picassa varied wildly in exposure and colour.

If you're using CHDK for RAW you might be disappointed (buy an DSLR with lots of buffer memory), but some of the other features are quite neat.

Shame (0, Offtopic)

BigBadBus (653823) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318280)

Its a darn shame they, and other camera manufacturers, can't solve this problem [paullee.com]

They're not that bad (1)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318396)

If you're stuck with a cheap Canon point-and-shoot camera and have feature envy over the neighbor's sophisticated latest model, fret not!

The headline makes it sound (unintentionally) like Canons are crap, but actually they make some of the finest point-and-shoot cameras out there. I have an old Powershot A530 that, despite having "only" 5 megapixels, take beautiful sharp photographs, either in manual or auto mode, and holds it own when compared to newer cameras.

Anyway, i'm so downloading this. Sounds like a great addition.

Camera-Phone? (1)

Piranhaa (672441) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318470)

What else do they have in mind? A firmware to have a camera with a cellphone built in? Oh, wait ...
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