I just got my Canon EOS 550D (T2i), and I absolutely love it. I've already wasted 16 GB of hard drive space in a week!

Are there any useful hacks for this camera? Just curious, but:

  • Has anyone gotten CHDK or similar to work with it?
  • Does anyone have a DIY remote trigger working with this model? My current setup is ridiculous: I have a gold-plated headset connector, and I have to lick one end of it to get it to fire. It's so weird...
  • Any other notable hacks?

I would love to use everything my camera has to offer, as it will be my camera for the next three years or more.


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    I wouldn't be licking anything metal that goes into my new $800 camera, but thats just me. – rfusca Dec 8 '10 at 16:53
  • Heh, at least it gets the job done! – Blender Dec 8 '10 at 16:54
  • If you want to avoid DIY you can get cheap triggers online (e.g. dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.32963) – rm999 Dec 8 '10 at 21:25

If you shoot video you'll want to look into the Magic Lantern firmware. It's still very much a WIP but they've added manual audio and meters and have zebras on the to-do list.


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  • Can you script it? If you can, :D – Blender Dec 8 '10 at 21:39
  • If by script it you mean write arbitrary scripts to interact with the camera then no. The source is available if you want to work with it but if you've never done any microcontroller/ARM development you'll probably be in deep. – Ron Warholic Dec 8 '10 at 22:59
  • Aww. I was hoping for something like CHDK, as I am also using this camera for scanning books, and those motion detecting scripts would be amazingly useful... – Blender Dec 9 '10 at 14:24
  • Well, I tried Magic Lantern, but it was buggy. It locked my camera up a few times, and I had fun getting rid of it. I'll try it again when the bugs are ironed out... – Blender Jan 20 '11 at 20:47
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    After 10 months of development, Magic Lantern has become an amazing piece of software. It's stable enough, but it has motion triggering, sound triggering, almost endless bulb mode settings (> 30s), intervalometer, 9-EV HDR bracketing, time lapse exposure compensation (for 24 hour exposures), focus stacking, and tons more. It is freaking amazing! – Blender Nov 8 '11 at 19:57

CHDK doesn't run on any of the Canon DSLRs, so I'm afraid that's out (though many of the benefits that it gives you are probably built in).

You can get an IR remote that will actuate the shutter either immediately, or after a 2 second delay (so you have time to put the remote in your pocket for a self-portrait). They are pretty cheap on amazon (~$15). It might not be as fun as making it yourself, but I bet it tastes better!

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If you're new to photography, I bet you'll enojoy the custom bokeh shape DIY =) Easy to do, even easier to use. You didnt mention which lens you have. This DIY will give best results with lenses having around f/2.0. You can use it with 18-55 Kit lens as well, in that case, the shape you cut must be smaller. http://thephotoguide.co.uk/diy/custom-bokeh/174-custom-heart-bokeh/

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  • I got the packaged EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS. I works for my needs, but I was wishing that I would have gotten that telephoto lens for $150, as it's back to $300... – Blender Dec 9 '10 at 14:26

You can make a wired remote shutter release quite easily from a 2.5mm audio plug and a couple of switches, a 5 minute project suitable anyone. After I built mine, found this diagram. (As i didn't initially have a diagram I just tested all 3 pairs until I found the correct one)

Before I added the switches, I just dropped the exposed ends of the wire into a glass of water for long exposure astro-photography. Just pull the wire out when the time is up!!!

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  • Heh, I'm actually doing that. I ordered a 6 foot cable from Amazon (I was contemplating 20 feet ;) ), but they shipped a 3.5 mm plug. So now I have a huge cable, a big fat connector, and a paperclip to trigger the camera. Microswitches and a case for the whole thing are next on the list... – Blender Jan 20 '11 at 21:21

Not T2i specific (works with any SLR body), make a tiny hole in the body cap for pinhole photography.

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  • Well, that will certainly be my next project. The pictures have this nice look to them. Thanks once again. – Blender Jan 20 '11 at 21:24

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