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Tim has been interested in photography for many years. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Biology and a Master's in Environmental Science. Writing nature articles allows him to combine his interest in photography and nature into one medium.

Canon Hack Development Kit

What is the Canon Hack Development Kit (CDHK)?

Do you have a Canon point and shoot camera, and want to increase it’s capabilities? Have you heard about shooting in RAW format and want to give it a try, but your camera doesn’t support RAW format. Maybe you would like to try your hand at time lapse photography? Well, there is a group that has been developing “hacks” for select Canon point and shoot cameras that adds many additional features. At the “Canon Hack Development Kit” (CHDK) website, you can download a small software program that loads on to your camera from your storage card (such as an SD card) and allows you to use modes that are only found on DSLR and higher end point and shoot cameras.

How can you use CDHK?

The CHDK program will allow you to perfrom many different functions, depending on what Canon camera you have and how much has been developed for that model. By my count, CHDK programs exist for well over 50 canon models. Other scripts have been written that add to the functionality CHDK. For example, with many models, it’s possible to take time lapse photos and turn those into time lapse movies – something you can’t do with most (if any) Canon point and shoot cameras out of the box.

My Experience with CDHK

One of my point and shoot cameras is the Canon SX200IS. I’ve tried a beta version of CHDK with it and many features, such as shooting in RAW format, worked great. I did have trouble making time lapse photos, but the CDHK now lists the SX200IS as no longer being in beta, so I’ll give it another try. It only took a few minutes to figure out how to use the hack, but it is a little counterintuitive, which is mainly because the developers had to figure out ways to write the hack within the confines of the Canon hardware and software (CHDK is not supported by Canon). I was concerned about possible damage to my camera; however, the CHDK developers indicated that it shouldn’t hurt your camera and, so far; everything seems to be fine. It’s also very easy (in fact the default) to use the camera without the hack, if you like.

CHDK has a very active forum and the members are extremely helpful, especially considering they are all volunteers and doing this work for free. Check out their website for information about your camera and available hacks and scripts.

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