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Is it possible to manually update a digital camera's firmware?

Is there any organization or do individual people develop custom firmwares?

I am using Samsung SL30 and that lacks allowing manual control over settings. Is a firmware update possible, or is there any other better way?

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I think Canon is the only one with hacks, as noted by Miguel below. Also, CHDK is non permanent, so there's low risk. However, if you are looking at hacks along the lines of smartphones, then you run the risk of bricking your camera. –  ab.aditya Dec 26 '11 at 8:54

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Your best bet is to switch to Canon.

I use both and love them. In particular, CHDK gives manual controls to most P&S, and can also shoot raw on those models that only support jpeg.

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5  
Or, switch to a compact camera which has manual control in the first place, if that's the only reason for wanting a custom firmware. –  mattdm Dec 24 '11 at 17:57
    
I'm definitely not willing to risk my investment in some expensive camera bodies by installing 3rd party firmware. –  Mike Aug 24 '12 at 16:16
    
@Mike: these particular hacks operatate in a relatively safe way. I've never heard of a problem. –  mattdm Aug 26 '12 at 5:09

Is it possible for any point-n-shoot? In theory, yes. But if you look at the topic, you will find that folks writing CHDK had to get started by debugging with only one LED as feedback. It took many hours to figure out the first thing. It took hundreds of hours to figure out enough to know that they could even do what they wanted.

CHDK exists because (a) it was possible with huge amounts of work and (b) there are tons of Canon point-n-shoots so there is a reasonably large possible audience to support the authors.

So in practice, you need a new camera. I recommend buying one that has the controls you like, but if you can't find one you like, get a Canon that can run CHDK. I'd rather find one that works the way I want from the factory.

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