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Hacking Digital Cameras 102

Posted by samzenpus
from the say--virtual-cheese dept.
whawk640 writes "I came across this book via the author's website www.camerahacker.com. I was interested in making a pinhole lens at the time so I picked up the book. Disclaimer: I'm NOT a hacker by nature. I only did a hack on a lens cover. Most of the hacks in here are for those with a better relationship with screwdrivers, drills and soldering irons than I have. I don't think this book was intended for me, so keep that in mind when reading my review." Read the rest of Daniel's review.
Hacking Digital Cameras
author Chieh Cheng, Auri Rahimzadeh
pages 519
publisher Wiley
rating 8/10
reviewer Daniel LaFuze
ISBN 978-0-7645-9651-3
summary Interesting and Fun


A quick list of the types of hacks in the book are as follows.

1: Hacking Cameras -- (triggers, tripods, raw data, power, remote control and updated firmware)
2: Hacking Lenses -- (accessory adapters, changing magnification, pinhole, lens extension, macro adapters)
3: Creative Photography Hacks -- (filters, infrared, and removing infrared blocking)
4: Building Fun Camera Tools -- (car mount, headrest mount, bicycle spy cam, stabilizer, flash bracket, monopod, and studio light)
5: Flash Memory Hacks -- (CF Type I to PC Card Type II, removing microdrives)
6: Appendices -- (Soldering Basics, Circuit Symbols, Glass Cutting Basics, Photographer's Glossary, Index)

This book has quite a few hacks and if you're interested in hacking, the step by step instructions presented in the book will be useful and interesting. Quite honestly, I've only performed one of the hacks myself. I followed the step by step instructions for making a pinhole lens and it worked just perfectly. My wife will tell you I'm no Bob Vila. About all I know about a drill is that one end is pointy and spins.

Anyway, if you want to tinker with digital cameras, pick up the book and read through the contents. If the specific hack you want to do is not in the contents, look for something close. If it's not there or the book doesn't give you any ideas on anything to do, then it may not be for you. Read one more paragraph to find out.

In addition to the hacks, this book covers quite a bit of introductory concepts in photography in general and the math behind it. I found it easy to read as a beginner and it gave me an appreciation for why there are professional photographers and 'the rest of us'. Concepts covered in the book include focal length, magnification, filters, softness, ambient light, field of view, white balance, infrared, ultraviolet, depth of field and many more. These sections are brief and provide only an introduction though. If you're an experienced photographer, you probably won't find anything new in these sections. One down side about this is that since an introduction to photography is not the focus of the book, these introductions are scattered throughout the book whenever they tie in with a specific hack. On the upside, it gives you the information when you need it to decide if a hack is right for you.

Now, the hacks in the book are step by step with loads of pictures, schematics where necessary and tips. What you need to perform each hack is identified clearly before you start. Additional ideas about how the hack could be modified in function or in fit are available after each hack.

In my opinion, the disclaimer telling you not to take apart your $400.00 brand new camera is not quite strong enough. People like me are rightly afraid of that sort of thing. From what I hear, your average hacker though is much more adept and less fearful.

This is not the type of book most people would pick up and read cover to cover. It is more like a reference you would want to have handy if you spend a lot of time taking creative pictures or messing with your camera.

Negatives: Hacks seem to apply to specific cameras, if you want to apply them to other cameras, the author's experience may not help you... be careful! I found section 3 very interesting and would have liked to see more chapters on fun camera hacks. Unfortunately, it was the smallest section in the book.

Are you a propeller head who loves to take things apart?
Are you a techno-junkie who has 9 or 10 digital cameras lying around because you always buy the newest one?
Are you an amateur or professional photographer who just can't quite get all the features you want in a single camera?
Do you have a specific need for a hack that the book covers?
Do you have an interest in this sort of hack and a desire to learn some photography basics?"
If you answered yes to any of the previous questions, then this book is for you.


You can purchase Hacking Digital Cameras from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.
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Hacking Digital Cameras

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @03:36PM (#14726458)
    and installed linux in it. when i put it back together it didn't work. what did i do wrong?
  • Lame (Score:4, Insightful)

    by autopr0n (534291) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @03:38PM (#14726468) Homepage Journal
    None of these really seem much like "hacks". More like cheap, obvious things.

    A hack, IMO, would involve doing something funky with the software, like running MAME, doing effects on the image by altering the way its recorded, or something.
    • That is the first thing that came to my mind as well. When I think "camera hack" I think "make your camera see infrareds", "make a circuit to add remote control to your camera" or "turn your outdated Sony Mavica into a kickbutt mega-deathray laser". At least something that fries the camera and spills its guts on the table, turning it into a camera for the blind. This site is useful, yes, but definitely not hacks.
      • Re:Lame (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Actually, (with the exception of the deathray) those hacks are covered in the book.
    • Just like them PC case modders who think they're untra-cool, ultra-technical and call themselves hackers.

      I think though that hacking physical objects is a valid concept. To my mind, hacking does not need to be software, but it should at least mean extension beyond the trivial. Adding adapter rings and modifying the optics etc sounds like hacking to me, epoxying on a nut as a tripod mount isn't.

      • Well, it's really a matter of degree. To you, epoxying on that nut is obvious and trivial. To a photographer who barely recognizes he has chronic motion blur problems and solves them only by setting the camera down on a table, it's a revelation.

        Some of his book sounds like it fits your description of hacking, while some of it is beneath your "worthiness" level. The line isn't so black and white for some people, especially the beginners for whom this book seems intended.

        Anyway, do you really think tit

      • This is one of the most useful camera hacks that make kids smile for the photo.

        PEZ Flash [photo.net]

        Regards, Marc
    • Great idea! Port an mp3 encoder to your digital camera -- now that would be a Worthy Hack.
      • by say (191220)
        MAME [mame.org] is Maybe Also an MP3 Encoder, but more frequently known for its Multiple Arcade Machine Emulation abilities. I believe you're thinking of LAME [sourceforge.net].
    • I was at Rite-Aid drug store last night and noticed they're selling Single Use Digital Cameras for around $15. They have two different models: one with a LCD viewfinder and one without. They don't state the resolution, rather they say it takes "24 high resolution photographs" and it can only be processed at Rite-Aid, where they'll make you a CD of 4"x6" pictures.

      When I saw this I immediately though about getting one to actually hack (as opposed to the camera tricks that this book appears to point out).

      • Re:Lame (Score:3, Informative)

        by HisMother (413313)
        I don't know about Rite-Aid ones, but the CVS ones are indeed hackable [maushammer.com]. The first generation required you just to build a cable; later generations have added some attempts at locking out hackers, but these have also been defeated via some clever tricks. I have two of these little CVS guys and they're a lot of fun.
        • The rite aid ones are identical. I work at a Rite-Aid, and a customer brought in one from CVS. Looks exactly the same and plugged into the equipment for picture retrieval with no problems.

          I haven't seen your link, but looking at the interface on the camera, I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't just USB modified to act like a cartridge.
          • Re:Lame (Score:3, Informative)

            by HisMother (413313)
            That's exactly what it is -- USB with a funky cable.

            I've been out of the "scene" for a while since I hacked my two, so I just went and looked at the bulletin boards that discuss these things, and I'm sad to report that apparently Pure Digital has finally started making a version of these things that can't be hacked using any of the existing methods. Here [forumer.com] is a thread where the guys who figured the hack out are saying that the latest rev may finally be unhackable.

            If you can get your hands on older ones, (

    • Re:Lame (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kris_J (10111) *

      running MAME

      Right here. [mame.net]

      At the moment I'm digging out all my old digital cameras, including my DC260 that can run MAME, to do calibration sets for some funky software called "PhotoAcute [photoacute.com]". It allows you to double the horizontal and vertical pixel count of your photos be processing multiple pictures of the same image (not useful for action shots, but great for static scenes). The means that your camera's megapixel count is multiplied by four. My A$140 4Megapixel cheapy Kodak Easyshare will soon be a 16M

  • RE (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Alex P Keaton in da (882660) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @03:39PM (#14726479) Homepage
    I completely understand not wanting to mess around with a new $400 camera- However, most of us have old cameras lying around, that although expensive at the time, are now obselete. Why not use one of your old cameras for this? Or buy one of the super cheap digital cameras, with low resolution, to practice with? Sort of like, I wouldn't practice motor work on a new Corvette, but a $500 V8 Cutlass Supreme would be a great learning/test bed...
  • True monochrome? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Cybert14 (952427) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @03:39PM (#14726481)
    How about having a CCD that takes true monochromatic images? No RGB overlays. So a sodium lamp would register near zero unless near its wavelength.
    • How about having a CCD that takes true monochromatic images?

      If you did not want to use a colored filter over the lens, I would think that this would be best done in post-processing with software. Most CCDs in cameras have Red/Green/Blue filters over each (very tiny) lense to pick up the component primary colors of a photo. It would be easier to build/buy a camera with just a greyscale CCD.

      Hacking the CCD would be last place to accomplish this. You do not even need to open your camera.
    • agreed, instruction for removing the bayer matrix from a camera (preferably a prosumer or a dSLR) would be a strong reason to consider this book IMHO, it's the only hack that I'd actually attempt to do (which is AFAIK what you have to do to get a nice, sharp, b&w-only camera). Yes, I know about converting color images to B&W in PP, but it'd be a nice change, I think... not that I'd do it on my main camera, but still I think that there are many people who at least would attempt it =) and if there's
      • Unfortunately the Bayer CFA is a collection of colored filters bonded to each pixel on the chip. The only way to remove it would be to replace the whole sensor chip with a replacement monochrome chip.

        There have been some mono digital cameras in the past (e.g. the DCS 760M [luminous-landscape.com]) but unfortunately they've all had their flaws and there are none currently on the market.
        While I would love a good mono camera I'm not sure any camera manufacturer has been convinced that there's enough of a market out there to intr

        • Re:True monochrome? (Score:1, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Not all color cameras have a Bayer CFA. Just get a Sigma SD9 or SD10 with a Foveon sensor.

          They detect colors by how far the photon embeds itself within the silicon. You could just take the raw data from the camera and sum the R, G, & B portions of every pixel to get a raw photon count. Then just gamma correct and you'll have a true greyscale image.

          I would recommend using dcraw for this, as it would probably just be a quick hack.

          dom
    • Since the CCD itself is just a buncha charge buckets taking advantage of the photoelectric effect, ALL ccds are greyscale but they'll register intensity over a pretty wide range of frequencies. I think it's something like 1.1 m and shorter for our purposes (and depending on voltage). The only way to make it monochrome in the sense that you are using requires some VERY expensive lenses. Like, a Fabry-Perot [wikipedia.org] etalon.

      Depending on the bandwidth, these can require the precise deposition of hundreds of atoms-thi
  • worst. review. ever? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jspectre (102549) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @03:42PM (#14726500) Journal
    i'm sorry. was this an amazon.com review posted on /. by mistake? did you try any of the hacks? what did you like? what didn't you like? did you just copy this off the back cover of the book or what?

    -1 for content, -1 for copying from amazon or somewhere else, -10 for wasting my time reading and writing this reply

    please write a review when you've actually read the book. thanks!
    • I agree with this 100%. When even the "reviewer" admits that this book is not targeted at him at all why would he "review" it?
    • The review needs to include information from the book -- give at least 2 example hacks so I can understand what types of hacks these are.

      This was _not_ a "book review" it was a fluffy "opinion about a book".
    • i'm sorry. was this an amazon.com review posted on /. by mistake?

      Oh no, Amazon reviews are generally much worse! Besides the typical obviously bad reviews of "I haven't [read/seen/used] this, as it hasn't been released yet, but I love the [author/director/manufacturer] so I give it FIVE STARS!", or "Anyone who likes [whatever] is a fag!-- ONE STAR", there are some real head scratchers. One guy reviewed a raclette set (a swiss fondue thing for cheese):

      "This set didn't come with a scraper and tongs like t

  • by Artfldgr (844531) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @03:42PM (#14726502)
    the key in his introduction to getting you to go to his review is:

    I don't think this book was intended for me, so keep that in mind when reading my review."

    since i am a man, i will go out and review the new tampax smooth style heavy flow tampons, of course i will put the disclaimer that the product wasnt intended for me, and that this should be kept in mind when reading, what the disclaimer makes, a useless review!!!! said one sighted person when reviewing the kurzeweil reading machine for the blind "nice machine, but all the buttons and such have no labels, how do they expect the blind to see what they are doing?" said a double leg amputee in reviewing nikes new air jumpoes... "nice lines, cool colors.. i cant wear them, but if i had legs, i would" does anyone see the uselessness of reviewing products that were not intended for the reviewer? if you dont, then this mans review is perfect for you!
    • by computational super (740265) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @04:25PM (#14726797)

      I got further than you. I stopped at, "If you're interested in cameras, pick up a copy of this book and see if it's the kind of book you're interested in. Then check to see if there's anything close to what you're interested in. If there's nothing in there that you're interested in, or close to something that you might be interested in being interested in, you'll probably not be interested by this book." An insight like that just can't be topped, so there seemed no point in reading further.

  • by truthsearch (249536) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @03:48PM (#14726536) Homepage Journal
    I'm NOT a hacker by nature.

    Just remember, if at first you don't succeed, chainsaw juggling is not for you.
  • Raw data (Score:4, Insightful)

    by msbsod (574856) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @03:48PM (#14726538)
    One of the topics listed in the book is the raw file format. Why do camera manufacturer encrypt our pictures? Our pictures belong to us. We are the copyright holders of our pictures, not the manufacturers of cameras. There is probably no acceptable answer. So, let's just list the culprits. I start with one of them:
    Nikon [imaging-resource.com].
    • Re:Raw data (Score:4, Interesting)

      by dslbrian (318993) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @04:13PM (#14726686)

      One of the topics listed in the book is the raw file format. Why do camera manufacturer encrypt our pictures? Our pictures belong to us. We are the copyright holders of our pictures, not the manufacturers of cameras. There is probably no acceptable answer.

      I followed your link, and I think your right, there is no acceptable answer to that from a user standpoint. Looking at the information from your link this sounds like a rather lame attempt at locking the camera to the raw processing software.

      Its odd in that the image itself isn't encrypted but the white balance information is. It obviously takes additional work to encrypt the white balance, so why not the whole image? Probably its Nikon walking the line between irritating the software developer enough to drop support entirely, yet still keeping them from accessing the full potential of the raw file (locking out the open-source community - good job there Nikon...)

      Another case of the corporate mentality to maintain complete control over what you can do with the stuff you buy.

      • You have to bear in mind that it is Nikon Japan that make these decisions and not Nikon USA. I suspect Nikon JP could give less than a rats arse about the open source community. Canon and Sony (and no doubt Fuji et al) do a similar thing with their RAW files.
    • Re:Raw data (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nodens (137511)

      It's not a question of the data being encrypted, it's a proprietary format. Actually, it's not even a single format, it varies by manufacturer and even within models from the same manufacturer. Some manufacturers are pretty good about providing providing details about their RAW format(s) while others aren't. Your statements cast all manufacturers in the same light.

      The RAW file is simply the raw data that the sensor recorded (okay, there would be some basic file header info such as EXIF headers too). Yes,

      • Re:Raw data (Score:3, Interesting)

        by msbsod (574856)
        Sure, this is just the usual proprietary file format game and an attempt to monopolize the market. This why it is important to name the manufacturers who do encrypt data or do not disclose the file format.

        Personally I would not count on Adobe. Adobe's stupid PDF update sagas serve exactly the same purpose as encrypting parts of the camera's raw data. You may also contact the makers of xpdf and gs. They certainly can tell a few stories about Adobe.

        There is an open raw [openraw.org] format. OpenRAW gives more details about
        • Thanks for the follow-up with a better link. In your original post it sounded like you were confusing encryption and proprietary formats but you've cleared that up somewhat.

          I think you do need to clarify your points though since it really sounds like you're saying that all RAW files are encrypted, which isn't the case. And we're not even talking about the image information in the RAW file, we're talking about the white balance information. A lot of shooters I know don't bother with the white balance when

      • You didn't read the link.

        Nikon is adding a new layer of obscurity by encrypting the WB info (maybe so that they can sue using DMCA).

        All RAW formats and Adobe DNG are basically TIFF files, but the tags are different. Of course, there no reason why there shouldn't be a standard format used by everyone.

        So far, DNG is used natively by some medium format cameras such as Hasseblad's digital backs. DNG specs are open.
        • Read my follow-up comment.

          Yes, Nikon does add some obscurity by encrypting the WB setting. However, the original poster made it sound as if the entire file was being encrypted, which is a very different thing.

          At best, encrypting the WB setting makes things mildly more annoying for if you're working with a 3rd party RAW converter. The reason I say this is because I know a number of photographers who don't use WB when shooting and instead handle that in post-production. Others may set the WB simply so tha

    • Re:Raw data (Score:2, Interesting)

      by OldeTimeGeek (725417)
      Insightful? You have to be kidding...

      Why not ask why camera manufacturers force you to use JPEG. Or TIFF. Why not use PNG? While you're at it, why not complain that most pro cameras use Compact Flash rather than SD cards. Or that the lens mounts aren't interchangeable. The camera is yours, right? Why should you be forced to use an adapter to put a Nikon lens on a Canon body? They should be forced to use what YOU want!

      Nikon encodes the white balance in their camera RAW format. That's their option. Don't like

      • Nikon encodes the white balance in their camera RAW format. That's their option. Don't like it? Don't use the format or don't use Nikon. That's your choice.

        This is exactly why I brought this up. People can make a better decision if they know all facts.
      • Why not ask why camera manufacturers force you to use JPEG. Or TIFF. Why not use PNG? While you're at it, why not complain that most pro cameras use Compact Flash rather than SD cards. Or that the lens mounts aren't interchangeable. The camera is yours, right? Why should you be forced to use an adapter to put a Nikon lens on a Canon body? They should be forced to use what YOU want!
        Nikon encodes the white balance in their camera RAW format. That's their option. Don't like it? Don't use the format or don't u

    • Re:Raw data (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I worked in the photography industry for 6 years, many of them for Kodak.
      Camera Manufactures don't format images to keep you from doing anything with your pictures. They could care less what the masses do with their pics. They encode the images to take up less space so that the majority of consumers(not /. readers) can fit an entire vacation of pics on a single small memory card. Most professional level camers allow RAW format images and have for quite a while.
      Their decision to encode images on low-mid l
    • One of the topics listed in the book is the raw file format. Why do camera manufacturer encrypt our pictures? Our pictures belong to us. We are the copyright holders of our pictures, not the manufacturers of cameras. There is probably no acceptable answer. So, let's just list the culprits. I start with one of them:
      Nikon.



      Nikon has an SDK that lets developers use all of the features of their NEF (Nikon's raw file format)raw files so that 3rd parties can create convertors. Nikon chose to keep their file forma
  • by szyzyg (7313) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @03:48PM (#14726540)
    Astronomers have been doing the same kind of thing with Webcams - specificly the Phillips TouCam, Vesta Pro and the Quickcam 3000 all use CCD sensors which are sensitive enough for astrophotography. It's possible to open them up, modify them for long exposure photography, add peltier cooling to reduce noise and some people even replace the CCD with a different kinds.
    http://www.qcuiag.co.uk/ [qcuiag.co.uk]
    • by An dochasac (591582) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @05:59PM (#14727678)
      Astronomers have also been doing this with digital SLRs. Modifying the firmware to allow longer exposures, removing the IR dichroic filter... One camera manufacturer seems to have noticed this and made a specialized version: http://www.dpreview.com/news/0506/05060101canon20d a.asp [dpreview.com] No, I don't work for Canon, I just wish Sony (and others) would either open up their firmware or provide more flexible options for semi-pro cameras such as the DSC-V3.
    • They don't exactly use long exposures. They take a long series of photos and use specialized stacking software to average them, eliminating any random noise that wasn't caught by their dark noise control images.
      • Yes with webcams this is what you would do because their small chip size and various other deficiencies means each frame will be extremely noisy. But with multi-megapixel digital SLRs, you'll probably want to take fewer (or just one) longer exposure. I once made the mistake of running the stacker software on a 4.1 Megapixel image, my computer is still cooling off, gathering its wits and freeing swapspace. Most stack aligners are happier with the rough webcam images no bigger than 640X480.
      • Well by long exposure I mean 'Longer than the 0.04 second exposures the Webcam normally maxes out at" - I do take 30 second+ exposures with my wife's Digital SLR, but beyond that the tracking on my scope starts to show up.
  • Hacker?? (Score:3, Funny)

    by eclectro (227083) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @03:52PM (#14726562)

    When I first read the URL I thought I saw "camerawhacker.com".

    Maybe it's the Elmer Fudd in me. Maybe I should put down the soldering iron.
  • Already...

    Google Cache HERE. [72.14.207.104]
  • Here's a site with instructions for building your own 'trail camera'. These are typically used by hunters to take pictures of deer passing through their hunting area for scouting purposes. The techniques could easily be applied to other uses such as setting up a remote motion detecting security camera.
    http://www.hagshouse.com/Hags%20House/Trail%20Came ra%20Project.htm [hagshouse.com]
  • slashdotted (Score:3, Informative)

    by testednegative (843833) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @04:11PM (#14726678)
    posters please submit coral links to the pages too, thank you.

    link:
    http://www.camerahacker.com.nyud.net:8090/ [nyud.net]

  • How apropos (Score:3, Funny)

    by fatboy (6851) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @04:17PM (#14726719)
    I received this email from my wife a few minutes ago....

    The camera is FU*KED.

    I took pictures of the flowers. Showed someone the picture of your parents. As it was handed back, it was dropped. It is hosed. Know any good camera repair shops?

    Please don't kill me. I am SO sorry. I hope we can get the pictures of the flowers out of it.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @04:34PM (#14726868)
      That's funny... I got this email from my girlfriend about half an hour ago...

      The camera is FU*KED. I can't delete those pictures from last night - I'm afraid my husband will see them!

      So, I took some pictures of some stupid flowers and then pretended to "break" the camera showing them to his parents. (oh, how I despise bill!). I'm afraid I didn't break it enough to get rid of those pictures. Should I drive a nail through the memory card?

      I'll play the "please don't kill me" line with the puppy dog eyes. He should fall for it.

      See you this weekend!!
      • Re:How apropos (Score:1, Offtopic)

        by TubeSteak (669689)
        That's funny... My daughter-in-law just came by to show me some pictures she took in our new garden. She made me feel so guilty for breaking her camera.

        That lying slut is going to be in a world of trouble. "Oh, how I despise Bill." Make that a two-faced lying slut.

        I'm e-mailing this thread to her husband. But should I show my wife? She never liked that tramp anyways
      • Let's see if I understand this correctly. An anonymous nerd has a girlfriend, and he spends the night taking pictures of her. OK, I'm with you so far, JPGs make good girlfriends. And what gets fu*ked is the camera? You sir are a dedicated hacker. Ya know, I think your post is more informative and typical than funny.
      • If only there was a computer nerd version of Jerry Springer, you'd be on it. :)
  • by norite (552330) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @04:28PM (#14726820) Journal
    LOL.....Have a look here [blip.com.au] to see a real camera hack. There's even a gallery to see what you can do with this camera in the air, and post your own results...
    I have just got one myself for my model plane. It's just an ordinary 2 Megapixel aiptek pencam, but modified to run off a model aircraft's battery pack and take instructions from a spare channel on your receiver. It has a programmable chip inside so you can alter the time in between shots. I'm taking mine to Spain this summer; we're going to try out some basic geological mapping, but with a bit of luck I should be taking some aerial photos of our model flying field this weekend to see how it turns out... :o)

    They're out of stock right now - I was lucky to get mine before they ran out! Perhaps a better camera will be modded by them in future....

  • by iBod (534920)
    The term 'Hacking' now seems to mean any form of mild experimentation or improvisation outside of the scope that the product manufacturer had envisaged.

    Wow! How cool is this hacking thing????
  • There's a whole forum dedicated to hacking the CVS/Ritz/Wolf/Rite-aid digital cameras and camcorders here: http://www.camerahacking.com/ [camerahacking.com]. Beyond hacks for reusing these "one time use" cameras, there are a number of folks taking them in the directions discussed by this book (i.e. lens mods, flash memory modification, IR lighting, etc.)

    But, alas, recent CVS camcorders are now almost unhackable since the developer has closed most holes that were there intially. The still cameras are still accessible via
  • I.e. lots of common sense things that anyone with a brain should understand, but feel they need the comfort of reading it in a book first before they feel comfortable exercising their God given intellect, or rather, being ripped of $40 to find out you already know everything the book feels the need to explain.

    Anyways, my digital camera cost $1200, so I don't think I will go near it with a Dremel tool just to make it work with some tripod that wasn't designed to use as universal camera adapter. About the cl
  • by Zarhan (415465) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @05:22PM (#14727316)
    ....does it have instructions on how to hack firmware so that the mirror lockup functionality is behind a single button on 20D or 5D? I especially wouldn't mind replacing 5D's "Direct Print" with a mirror lockup button.
  • removed the IR filter, replaced it with a couple layers of film negatives and took scary pics of my eyes and the strips in money and the beam from my remote control. fun stuff, although i kind of liked that webcam.. oh well
  • For a while now I've been thinking, wouldn't it be cool to build your own digital camera? Has anyone tried this out? or even thought about this?
    I can take care of the software/firmware and a bit of the electronics side of things, but I don't know much about the camera parts that actually take the picture.
    • wouldn't it be cool to build your own digital camera? Has anyone tried this out? or even thought about this? I can take care of the software/firmware and a bit of the electronics side of things, but I don't know much about the camera parts that actually take the picture. Yes, I was involved in a project to build a astronomical camera. First off it's cheaper to simply go buy a DSLR from Nikon or Canon but you don't build a camera to save money. You build one because you can't buy what you need. For exam
  • a real camera hack [rca.ac.uk]. Great shots too.
  • I'd like to hack a digital camera to produce infra-red false-color thermographs. Filtered pinhole. Do-able?

    • No. Normal digital camera sensors will pick up IR just outside the visible spectrum, but they're not sensitive enough to pick up differences in heat.

      There are digital imagers available that can do thermographs without cryogenic cooling. Unfortunately, they cost tens of thousands of dollars, last time I checked. Example: http://www.ir55.com/ [ir55.com]

  • When, after 4000 photos, the front zoom element jammed on my Casio QV-4000, I removed it and found that the remaining elements were still able to form an image if the camera was in macro mode. The camera has a save presets feature so now when I turn it on, it is in macro mode and since the focal length of the remaining elements is much shorter, I now have a very distorted ultra-wide angle non-zoom camera which can take in most of a room, the entire family or weird artsy photos such as this. [flickr.com]
  • Maybe the most common digital camera hack is removing the IR cut filter to allow for better IR photography. High-speed IR film is awkward to use because it has to be loaded in a dark bag, it's difficult to get the exposure right, and you can't see the image in the viewfinder if you're using a visually opaque IR-pass filter. Digitals hacked for IR are awesome, because with a visually opaque filter over the lens, you can still preview the image.

    The only problem is that, because the IR cut filter is typica

  • A friend [inventorsgarage.com] once told me a technique for minimising leaks in homemade underwater camera housings. Take the valve stem from a bicycle inner tube, attach it to the (PVC/HPVC) camera housing. Just before immersing the camera, pump 15 psi or so into the valve stem. That way if there is a slow leak, air pressure will help keep the water out (up to 30' or so)
  • Yeah, not the best hacks. Try running Linux on it, now THATS a hack.
  • Sounds like a book you have to keep on paying for after having bought it. ;)

Testing can show the presense of bugs, but not their absence. -- Dijkstra

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