CHDK is a firmware enhancement that operates on a number of Canon Cameras. CHDK gets loaded into your camera's memory upon bootup (either manually or automatically). It provides additional functionality beyond that currently provided by the native camera firmware.

CHDK is not a permanent firmware upgrade: you decide how it is loaded (manually or automatically) and you can always easily remove it.

Terrific geeky technology. It does the following too:

The current set of extra capabilities fall into six categories:

a. Enhanced ways of recording images - you can capture still pictures in RAW format (as well as JPEG), and for video images you can have increased recording time and length (1 hour or 2 GB), and a greatly increased range of compression options.

b. Additional data displays on the LCD screen - histogram, battery life indicator, depth of focus, and many more.

c. Additional photographic settings that are not available on the camera by itself - longer exposure times (up to 65 seconds), faster shutter speeds (1/25,000 sec, and faster in some cases), automatic bracketing of exposure, etc.

d. The ability for the camera to run programs ('scripts', written in a micro-version of the BASIC language) stored on the memory card - these programs allow you to set the camera to perform a sequence of operations under the control of the program. For example, a camera can be programmed to take multiple pictures for focus bracketing, or take a picture when it detects that something in the field of view moves or changes brightness.

e. The ability to take a picture, or start a program on the memory card, by sending a signal into the USB port - you can use the USB cable to take a picture remotely.

f. The ability to do a number of other more useful (and fun) things, such as act as a mini file browser for the memory card, let you play games on the LCD screen, etc.

The All Best version CHDK which is better than the others as far as I've seen.

Steps for installation

1) Copy both the attached files to the memory card (in the root folder) using a memory card reader.

2) Put the memory card back in your camera

3) Power up the camera in review mode

4) Press the menu button and go down to the last option. You would see a new option that reads firmware upgrade or something similar.

5) Select that option and give ok when it asks confirmation

6) Your camera would restart.. and now you should be seeing additional options like a battery charge indicator..

Now switch to camera mode. You would have to experiment a bit to learn how to function with CHDK.

To avoid the camera going back to the normal mode each time u start the camera and to start  it directly in CHDK mode you'll need to use a SD card that comes with the "lock" notch in its side.

1) Start the camera and enable CHDK mode.

2) Go into the CHDK's <alt> menu.

3) There would be an option that reads debug parameters or something like that. Inside menu there'll be an option that reads "make card bootable".

4) Give ok. Give it 2 seconds.

5) Now switch off your camera. Take the card out and put it to locked mode using the 'lock' notch.

6) Now put it back in. That's it. Now your camera will always load in CHDK mode. (Until you push the lock notch to normal position in the SD card). The camera will shoot pics even while the card is in locked mode.

Try for operating instructions if needed....

Shooting images in RAW:

When you start your camera in CHDK mode its like this….

There are 2 menus that can open up when you press the menu button

1) The standard menu that came up with the camera

2) When you press the shortcut key, you'll see an indication in the bottom of the screen that reads <alt>. Now the menu button would open up the CHDK menu instead of the standard  menu.. To shoot with the camera or to go to the standard menu you've to press the shortcut key again so that the <alt> disappears. [When you press the shutter release with the <alt> mode up, it would not shoot but rather run the script that had been selected using the CHDK menu]

Once you get inside the CHDK menu, there'll be lot of options…

In this menu, go to RAW parameters, the first option would be Save RAW. Enable this option. Now your camera will shoot in RAW and also in jpg. The RAW output might be located in a separate folder inside the DCIM folder.

In RAW, more details can be brought up. So doing an action like increasing exposure would yield better results and hence not much of postprocessing would be required. However, initially we've to convert it to DNG format. This software does a mass convert into DNG format. DNG format is a widely known common RAW format standard.

To process the RAW photos, use a software called DNG to convert it to DNG format ( and then import it using photoshop CS (7.0 doesn't support) or Lightroom. Only then we can process it.

Advantages using CHDK

It adds up a lot of functionality that we can utilize when needed.

S3 IS doesn't have a battery charge indicator. It will indicate only when the battery is about to be empty. But using CHDK I can get a precise battery charge indicator.

The maximum shutter speed provided in the actual firmware is 15secs. Longer values of 25secs can be achieved using CHDK…

Another cool feature: Anti motion detection - What it does is that after the camera is set and press the shutter release button, it keeps on detecting motion. It will take the actual picture when motion becomes nil. This is kewl for taking group shots. We can press the release button, go stand in front of the camera and when everyone's ready and stay steady and pose for the camera, it will take the snap.

If you've any of Canon Sx(1/2/3/5) IS Series, go download and feel the difference in camera shooting :)

Courtesy: Cliford Shelton


  1. Ah.. it's only for Sx-IS!
    not for EOS.. was surprised how could software give faster/slower shutter speeds :)

    taking a picture when something moves would be fun to have.

    Great info!

  2. Great, though i don't own a Canon, and am no geek, I salute your effort to make others aware of this.
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Sandeep, Unfortunately, no hacks for EOS camera.

    Mampi, Thanks yaar. I am honoured :D


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