Fun with CHDK – getting real results from a digital camera

I’ve been intrigued by the Cannon Hack Development Kit (CHDK) for a while and since GSU, in its infinite wisdom, decided to shut over Christmas and new years I decided to play around with some optical processing. I picked up a relatively inexpensive camera (A480) – don’t bother going to a discount store as they will have the latest models that don’t yet have a CHDK release, so this is from a well-known online store- and downloaded the appropriate release of CHDK. Surprisingly it actually booted quite easily – the trickiest bit is to turn the camera on after booting into CHDK display mode – just hold the mode or alt key down rather than give it a touch.

CHDK is rather cool – for example shutter speeds of 1/100,000 second or so on this camera. I couldn’t quite catch a good picture of a water drop hitting, but came close. I’m still exploring what it can do. is a site that I found extremely helpful in this process.

One really critical thing it does, though is to save raw images from the ccd detector. (the best way is to use the badpixel.lua script and save as DNG files). With the raw files you actually see grain in the image. You will need specialized software to read these files and I used UFRaw

standard image of Jasimine

standard image of Jasimine

The same image generated via the pseudo HDR process shows a great deal more detail and is actually more like what the human eye sees.

pseudo HDR Jasimine

pseudo HDR image of Jasimine

Written by Rob in: engineering,science |

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