Are there digital cameras (mirrorless or DSLR) that allow the user to write their own applications for the camera? Is this even planned? I know that Sony offers proprietary applications for purchase and that Samsung is switching to Android OS for their cameras, but that's not what I'm looking for.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ What's wrong with Android as a solution to this problem? Sideload the apps if you need to (assuming that's allowed). \$\endgroup\$
    – Philip Kendall
    Commented Dec 29, 2013 at 21:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think Samsung allows to load custom Android apps on their new cameras. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Ideally I'd want to be able to use an API of the camera itself to make a meaningful application. If that's what Samsung is planning to do, then great. \$\endgroup\$
    – m33lky
    Commented Dec 29, 2013 at 21:25
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The Sony OS is open-source. So in theory, you should be able to write whatever you want. I'm not sure how easy it is to build and get the custom firmware on to the camera itself, but if they are following the spirit of the GPL, this should be possible. sony.net/Products/Linux/DI/category01.html \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 29, 2013 at 22:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @m33lky - I have not used the Galaxy Camera, but according to Xda-developers, it has been rooted and so even if it doesn't natively allow third party applications, it could be made to support third party applications after purchase. Presumably if you plan to write your own application for it, then you are comfortable with such a process. \$\endgroup\$
    – AJ Henderson
    Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 2:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Never seen any yet, maybe a good invention though! \$\endgroup\$
    – jeffnkel
    Commented Nov 25, 2014 at 0:04

2 Answers 2


"Apps"? No.

Dedicated Firmware hacks that replace or run on top of a camera's firmware? Yes.

There is MagicLantern for Canon SLRs and there is CHDK for that runs on Canon compacts.



Basically, the question is whether the camera manufacturer offers an SDK (Canon does, Magic Lantern uses it) and whether the manufacturer condones/accepts such behaviour. If there is an SDK available you can assume someone will have written some mods for the camera if the user base is large enough.

There will however never be any cross-manufacturer modifications, because every camera manufacturer uses its own OS (firmware) with its own API.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Interesting answer. I'm hoping that Samsung will have an SDK for their Android cameras. \$\endgroup\$
    – m33lky
    Commented Dec 29, 2013 at 21:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Samsung released source code for their cameras, but no one has yet made a custom firmware :) imaging-resource.com/news/2013/05/28/… \$\endgroup\$
    – m33lky
    Commented Jan 13, 2014 at 20:43

Sony now has a REST API for its mirrorless cameras. Looks like something I was looking for! https://developer.sony.com/downloads/camera-file/sony-camera-remote-api-beta-sdk/


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