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Thread: Canon Powershot RAW?

  1. #1
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Canon Powershot RAW?

    According to the following link, Canon cameras that do not provide RAW images can get a firmware update.

    http://howto.wired.com/wiki/Supercha..._CHDK_Firmware

    Has anyone tried this and can verify that it is legitimate?

    I have the Canon SX40 which is not listed but the SX30 is, so if this is a valid product it might work.

  2. #2

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    Re: Canon Powershot RAW?

    Hi Frank,

    As far as I know, they're "legit" in that "they work", but not "legit" in that they're not written or endorsed by Canon. They do however seem to come up with an awful lot of good ideas that many might suggest that Canon should have included in the first place (although I can also appreciate why they might not want to have functionality like that).

    I haven't looked at the recently, but the way they always used to work is that they'd use the updater bootstrap loader hook to take control of the camera by putting the hack onto a SD card that the camera sees when it turns on. I also believe that it doesn't actually replace the normal camera firmware, so in the event of a malfunction, simply remove the SD card and you should be away laughing again.

    All of this is "old advice" though - so might pay to research it a bit further.

  3. #3
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: Canon Powershot RAW?

    I've done it, it's legit, for given values of legit. The CHDK, like Magic Lantern, is a firmware add-on that runs on top of the existing Canon firmware, it does not replace it. But it is heavily reliant upon it, so if your camera and your firmware version aren't listed, I would not recommend trying it, given that messing with firmware always has an ability to brick a device, particularly when you can't get to a command line to mess with things. If upgrading official firmware gives you the willies, this is also not for you.

    The other thing you have to understand is that it takes one of the volunteer developers who work on the CHDK time to a) get a camera, b) download its firmware, and then c) hack at it to get it to work. As a result, the older your camera is, the more likely it is to be supported. Nearly none of the current generation of Powershots are going to be on the CHDK list for this reason. And, as I stated above, since the CHDK relies upon a specific version of the firmware, if that firmware isn't resident in the camera, the CHDK may (at best) not work, and (at worst) could brick your camera. Bricking is unlikely, since the CHDK sits on the memory card, and it's read in and run like a program from a hard drive, but it does need to be mentioned.

    The other difficulty is that since Canon doesn't officially support RAW from these cameras, ACR can't have support built in for that camera's RAW format (remember, RAW is not a standard or an acronym. It's just a raw data dump from the sensor). So, if the version of the CHDK that you get allows you to shoot in DNG format, that's going to be the most convenient way to go. If it doesn't, you're going to probably have to google up some software that can convert the RAW output from the CHDK to DNG.

    Understand, this is geek open-source-type hackery. The interface ain't pretty or easy to suss, and nobody's holding your hand.

    OTOH, with Magic Lantern, my 50D now has HD video capability and focus peaking.
    Last edited by inkista; 5th May 2012 at 02:06 AM.

  4. #4

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    Re: Canon Powershot RAW?

    According to the developer's page there's an "early beta" available for the SX40.

    http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/For_Developers

    The best way to think of CHDK is like running a program in Windows...except "Windows" in this case is the camera operating system. So CHDK doesn't change your camera in any way.

    CHDK produces DNG files...so you can use any RAW processor that works with DNGs.

    If you want to try this then you MUST read from the beginning. Start here...
    http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK

    There are 4 beta releases for the SX40, so you have to figure out what your firmware version is.
    http://mighty-hoernsche.de/

    Join the CHDK forum...you're gonna need them.
    http://chdk.setepontos.com/index.php

  5. #5
    dje's Avatar
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    Re: Canon Powershot RAW?

    Frank I did try CHDK on an A720 a few years ago and as far as I can recall it did work. However I would be nervous about trying it if your camera model is not listed on their site.

    Dave

  6. #6
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Canon Powershot RAW?

    Thanks everyone. Your feedback is just what I needed to determione that I'll give it a try, after doing the additional research recommended by Greystar and others. When I get the results, I'll post them here.

    I would really love to be able to shoot RAW with the Canon so this may be just the ticket.

  7. #7
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Canon Powershot RAW?

    OK, about three months ago I was looking into seeing if I could shoot RAW images with my Canon SX40. I have now loaded this capability into my camera and have verified that I can indeed shoot RAW. Beyond the initial very basic testing, here is what I have found out so far.

    Yes, you can use the “Canon Hack Development Kit” (CHDK) to enable RAW in most Canon PowerShot cameras.

    It doesn’t change the camera’s firmware so it doesn’t disable JPG. You get both RAW and JPG images. The RAW image is in the industry standard DNG format so it is compatible with most post processing software without conversion.

    The process is relatively easy. You create an empty text file with the name ver.req in the root of the camera’s SD card so that the camera firmware version can be verified, then download the files that match the camera and firmware and copy this to the SD card as well.

    If you want to load CHDK, you start the camera with the Playback button instead of the on/off switch. If you don’t want to use CHDK you just start the camera with the on/off switch. It can also be configured to load every time with the on/off switch.

    The menus are far more extensive than what is available with the basic camera so there is a learning curve here. It will take some exploration to learn all of the CHDK features.

    Some of the other customizable features are:
    • Motion-detection trigger - automatically fires camera on motion detection. (Able to
    capture lightning strikes.)
    • Customizable high-speed continuous (burst) Shutter-based (Tv), aperture-based (Av) and ISO-based exposure bracketing (unlimited shots)
    • Focus bracketing (unlimited shots)
    • Ultra-long shutter speeds - up to 64 seconds (much longer for supported cameras)
    • Ultra-fast shutter speeds - up to 1/10,000" and higher
    • High-speed Flash Sync at all speeds up to 1/64,000 of a second
    • Custom user-editable visible Grids for framing, cropping, and alignment

    I have a copy of the CHDK files on my PC and will need to reload them if I format the SD card after uploading the images from a photoshoot, something I currently do rather than erasing the images from the SD card.

    For more information on CHDK, take a look at: http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK_User_Manual

    As I get a chance to play with this and compare the RAW images between my Nikon DSLR and the Canon PowerShot, I’ll post the results here.
    Last edited by FrankMi; 31st July 2012 at 05:39 PM.

  8. #8
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    Change is not necessrily progress...

    I have a 1990's era Olympus C5050Z P&S which has many of the things that I really like in a camera, including RAW capability. I guess that Canon decided that the people who buy their P&S cameras are not knowledgeable enough to want RAW capability.

    That's just like they (in their infinite wisdom) decided that the 270EX flash did not need slave capability, only to follow it later with a 270EX model which does have slave capability. However, this doesn't help us folks who purchased the original 270EX.


    I wonder if that type of change will happen with the 24-70L ii lens which was introduced without the long expected IS capability?

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