Screen shot 2010-04-21 at 5.53.22 PM.jpg

Images from a flickr gallery devoted to CHDK (these are not my images!)

I’ve experimented with all the features on my Canon point-and-shoot camera, but one thing it is missing that would be very nice to have is auto-exposure bracketing, so I could create HDR images more easily.

It turns out there is an alternate operating system, CHDK, or “Canon Hack Development Kit,” that you can install on an SD card. When the camera boots up with it, lots of new features are available. It doesn’t hurt the camera, and disappears the minute you boot up without the special SD card.

CHDK makes it possible to do some camera hacking by writing scripts in BASIC that can be run on your camera.
Some of the new features you get when you install CHDK include
Ability to handle RAW files, bracketing, full manual control, motion detection (fast enough to catch lightning) USB remote control, and the ability to script new functions yourself.

To CHDK go to:

and download the correct full installer for your camera.

You will need:

  • A blank SD card, big enough to hold the relatively small system files and a lot of images (shooting continuous mode makes a lot of pictures!) – I suggest a 4 gb card.
  • A card reader
  • An installation utility:

If you are using Windows, download the utility CardTricks to install the OS on the new card. [Download Card Tricks] [Instructions for CardTricks]

If using a Mac, download either SDM Installer app or the CHDK Mac Installer AppleScript and follow the appropriate instructions.

[Download SDM Installer]

[CHDK Mac Installer applescript] (Instructions included)

Visit the CHDK Wiki for more information.
Check out the CHDK pool on Flickr View some nice examples in this gallery: