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The book addresses "geeky" owners of Canon consumer cameras who would like to explore the possibilities of their cameras, and eventually tweak them to do things way beyond their original specifications, such as

  • RAW file (or DNG) support in addition to the camera's JPEG output

  • Manual control for aperture, shutter speed, and ISO

  • Expand shutter speeds way beyond the specification limits

  • Enable bracketing

The hacks are based on the Canon Hack Development Kit (CHDK), a free software maintained by a group of enthusiasts. Many scripts are already published on the web. The book teaches how to use existing scripts and how to write new ones.

Canon cameras, especially their consumer lines of PowerShot/IXUS cameras, allow the user to temporarily upload so called add-ons into the camera through the memory card. The next time the camara is switched on, the add-on is active, when the camera is switched off, the camera returns to its original state, so there is no risk of loosing the manufacturers warranty.

Subscriber Reviews

Average Rating: 5 out of 5 rating Based on 1 Rating

"Great book on CHDK" - by simdude on 22-AUG-2011
Reviewer Rating: 1 star rating2 star rating3 star rating4 star rating5 star rating
It's not always easy to find a professionally written book on a "software hack" but Daum's book does an excellent job of explaining the very powerful CHDK. I initially tried to use the manual from the CHDK site and found it did little more than describe each of the menu options. You could gather this information from the titles of most of the options so it wasn't extremely useful. The Canon Hackers Manual gives examples of how to actually use some of these features to expand your photographic options.

While no software can replace good hardware (lens, larger sensors), you can increase the power of your existing Canon camera considerably with the CHDK. Many of the skills you can learn will be useful if you decide to step up to a DSLR later too. Learning HDR photography for example, or simply working with RAW files.

If you have a Canon point and shoot sitting in a drawer and want to get a bit creative, give this book a try. Just keep in mind the word "hackers" in the title. You will need to spend some time to understand the software and how to get the most out of it. But, the CHDK doesn't modify anything on your camera and you have the freedom to shoot pictures with the built in OS or the CHDK anytime you want.

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