CHDK on SD4000/IXUS 300 HS

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CHDK on SD4000/IXUS 300 HS
« on: 11 / June / 2017, 12:06:58 »
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Hello,
I posted this on DPReview, I'm copying my two posts from over there. I didn't get any replies on DPR, it might be more interesting reading for CHDK forum members.

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4166466

A couple of days ago I got this little gem, secret weapon, for $80 almost unused (like new). I chose it over S95/100/120 for great build quality and pocektability. I did try S120 once in a shop, but I didn't feel comfortable putting it in my jeans pocket due to the control ring and brick shape. On the other hand, SD4000 slips perfectly into ANY pocket due to its amazing shape and size, it's over 5mm thinner than S120 at its widest part which makes huge difference in pockets. The camera was clearly designed for pocketability and portability.

Needless to say, SD4000 is fast, snappy, jog wheel is great so I don't miss control ring, noise is incredibly well controlled for such a tiny sensor (even in RAW). To my knowledge, this is the world's smallest camera with real aperture/iris - you can even control DoF a little bit! Low resolution 10MP BSI CMOS works great for low light shooting, and IS is great. The lens is sharp at f8, I've never seen such a small camera with real aperture control, least being sharp at f8. All of this explains SD4000 introductory price.

I instantly downloaded CHDK to try it out, and I can tell it's a great addition to my SD4000. It wasn't easy to set up but well worth the effort. I don't use auto-boot, I run CHDK occasionally for extra features. So now I move on to the issues which I cannot resolve on my own:

1) After the lens retracts in ALT/Playback, it's impossible to go back to recording mode and I have to restart CHDK. Since the lens retracts after 1 minute max, the only workaround I came up with is to press playback or shutter button DURING LENS RETRACTION, which aborts retraction and extends the lens. But this calls for incredibly fast reflexes. Is it possible to override lens retraction time? Could this be made?

2) I had some issues with DNG 1.3 so I'm using DNG 1.1 with badpixel.bin and it works great. ISO 3200 looks awesome. However, I discovered that camera sometimes freezes when shooting DNG at slower shutter speeds and it seems that exposures from 1/15s and longer are affected. While it's still possible to write DNG at, for example, 1s exposure, you never really know what's going to happen. As the exposure time increases, the rate of failure increases as well. To make things worse, a couple of times camera froze while saving JPG at 1/15s and slower. I did try using a very fast card from my DSLR, but that didn't help. I suspect it's a memory/RAM issue, so there is good reason why Canon set limit to 1s exposure in Av, and disabled RAW in SD4000 after all. But again, I might be doing something wrong, or CHDK might be improved to manage DNG writing and RAM usage better. Shooting DNG is useful for high ISOs, but this kind of shooting is usually accompanied with slower shutter speeds. It's very handy to write RAW on such occasions.

3) Subject distance override doesn't work at all on my SD4000. Other overrides are shown in red font, usually in the top left corner, however, enabling S.D.O. does literally nothing. I tried using it with AFL, but still nothing. This feature is very useful for macro and low-light shooting, this is when I really miss manual focusing... Can someone instruct me on using Subject Distance Override on SD4000, or is it simply impossible to use? Can I control the subject distance with jog wheel, or zoom lever?

That's all for now. Zebra and histogram don't work as well but I don't really need that. I even found the lens profile for IXUS 310 HS which works very well for IXUS 300 HS/SD4000, since the lenses are quite similar.

To summarize: a poor man's mirrorless, or wise-man's mirrorless? Let me tell you, I would be comfortable shooting an event such as classical concert, or theater play, with this amazing little cam and a spare battery in my pocket. Of course, not from the audience, but as an official photographer which is able to approach the stage and use 28mm at f2. In JPEG, it's good up to ISO 800, sometimes even ISO 1600. I came up with my own way of enhancing OOC JPEGs (only around 2MB in size!). For web and small journal/catalogue prints, SD4000 does the job! If you nail the composition, light and exposure, 99% of the people wouldn't be able to tell the difference between DSLR and SD4000. Camera is nearly silent, and you can reduce LCD brightness. You get more than 3 FPS. I did like the IQ and speed coming out of the latest G9 X Mark II, and I would consider paying $500 for such a tool if it came in the shape and size of an SD4000. But it doesn't.

Hey - did I mention my SD4000/ISUX 300 HS slips easily into ANY pocket?

Re: CHDK on SD4000/IXUS 300 HS
« Reply #1 on: 11 / June / 2017, 12:07:15 »
Second post

Any SD4000 users running CHDK?

Anyway, here are some of my findings which might be useful...

SD4000/IXUS 300 HS cannot use partitioned cards. I bought 4GB card for auto-boot, it holds more than 200 DNG+JPGs. I can always bring another, larger card without auto-boot, or get another 4GB card for like $5. Auto-boot provides a bit faster operation, that's all.

Now, about freezing. First, I found out SD4000 sometimes hangs when shooting DNG+JPG, as well as JPG only. Occasionally at 1/15, every other shot at around 1s or slower. Then, I found out if I don't remove the battery and wait, camera reports Error 26 after 40 seconds and automatically shuts down, while saving DNG only, or JPG if DNG is off. That was progress - I could record long exposure DNGs, though with too much waiting. I concluded it was RAM issue and studied some articles on CHDK webpage (Error 26 is "capture timeout"). Here's a very simple, straightforward solution: TO REFRESH RAM, JUST GO TO ALT/PLAYBACK. Short press on playback button activates both Alt and playback in the background. I just have to wait a couple of seconds until Alt loads, and complete image data loads in the background, including image size. Then I short press playback button again and I can take another shot, this time being 100% certain my camera won't hang! And I don't have to do this every time. For example, if I shoot around 1/15 I would refresh RAM maybe every 3 shots, just to be safe, however, if I shoot at 1/4 or slower I would do it after every shot.

Subject distance override doesn't work on SD4000, nor Zebra and histogram.

Concerning the image quality. ISO 800 DNGs look really, really great. Color is very attractive, and there's sufficient detail for screen viewing and small prints. Auto ISO also works great in Av mode. What a revelation, shooting ISO 800 DNGs on such a tiny pocket camera, while having complete control over minimum shutter speed. ISO 1600 is OK for emergency use, some shots look awesome, some are too grainy, but color is consistently excellent. Lens appears to be sharpest at f7.1. It's a bit soft at the wide end, but this is common for Canon point and shoots. Having f2 and usable ISO 800 in a pocketable body with efficient IS was most important for me. That's why I skipped ELPH 330 HS/IXUS 255 HS, the lens is slower and high ISOs are not as good as 10MP BSI CMOS in SD4000. But, even with some softness at 100% at the wide end, I feel I can produce quite large 40x26 prints out of this cam, at least at base ISO, particularly because I do abstract stuff and the amount of detail is not that important for my work. Quality of detail, on the other hand, might be significantly improved with careful RAW processing. So I chose my tool wisely.

I don't feel that G7 X II, G9 X II or Lumix LX10 are value for money. They are too expensive for what they do, and worst of all, they are sized for jacket pockets, not jeans/trouser pockets. Truly pocketable cameras must use smooth, rounded bodies without protrusions, and SD4000 follows this philosophy.

I am thankful to anyone who made this machine.

Re: CHDK on SD4000/IXUS 300 HS
« Reply #2 on: 11 / June / 2017, 12:46:04 »
There was a lot of work done to improve CHDK's support of manual focus (MF) or subject distance override capability a couple of years ago.  You can read all about it here.

The ixus300 / sd4000 is one of only a few cameras where we never had a volunteer come forward to test it's MF capabilities.   See this chart.

If you are interested, detailed instructions on how to run the necessary tests are here..  With the results of that test, we should be better able to get MF working on your camera.   No guarantees - MF has been one of the hardest things to get working reliably across all Canon P&S cameras supported by CHDK.   And we are not done yet.
Ported :   A1200    SD940   G10    Powershot N    G16

Re: CHDK on SD4000/IXUS 300 HS
« Reply #3 on: 11 / June / 2017, 13:56:21 »
After the lens retracts in ALT/Playback, it's impossible to go back to recording mode and I have to restart CHDK.
Can you tell us more about this?

If I let any of my CHDK equipped camera's idle while in <ALT> mode (with the camera in playback mode), the lens retracts after 1 minute per the Canon menu setting.  If I want to go back into shooting mode,  I simply press the ALT key to exit CHDK's <ALT> mode and then half press the shutter button to put the camera into shooting mode.  If I want to use CHDK again, I press the ALT key again.

I just tested that on my A1200 - using either SD card lock autoboot or firmware update loading.

Does this sequence not work for you?
Ported :   A1200    SD940   G10    Powershot N    G16


Re: CHDK on SD4000/IXUS 300 HS
« Reply #4 on: 11 / June / 2017, 15:21:43 »
Testing MF is good idea, I will consider it. I don't really have the time now, and I'm mostly satisfied with CHDK on my cam.

One more interesting thing: on SD4000, AF Lock holds between the shots, which means that I can shoot as many images as I want to at the identical focus distance, unless I review images, use Alt, or the lens retracts. This is very useful when shooting events in dim light, you can use AF assist beam only once for the first shot, and you don't even have to point it at your subject, but perhaps at a wall which is at the same required distance, or some "contrasty" object. Then you lock AF and just shoot! It's not convenient as MF with focus peaking, but it works.

Quote
If I let any of my CHDK equipped camera's idle while in <ALT> mode (with the camera in playback mode), the lens retracts after 1 minute per the Canon menu setting.  If I want to go back into shooting mode,  I simply press the ALT key to exit CHDK's <ALT> mode and then half press the shutter button to put the camera into shooting mode.  If I want to use CHDK again, I press the ALT key again.

Unfortunately, when I press ALT button to exit ALT, camera simply shuts down.

This is probably the only thing I didn't find a workaround for yet.

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Offline reyalp

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Re: CHDK on SD4000/IXUS 300 HS
« Reply #5 on: 11 / June / 2017, 15:31:15 »
Unfortunately, when I press ALT button to exit ALT, camera simply shuts down.
Thanks for reporting. It appears the key mask is incorrect on this camera, I'll post a test build in a little while.
Don't forget what the H stands for.

Re: CHDK on SD4000/IXUS 300 HS
« Reply #6 on: 11 / June / 2017, 16:02:09 »
That would be nice, but it's not necessary - now that I set up everything, there is certainly no need to remain in ALT for more than 60 seconds, only to make some quick changes :)

Thanks for all the help. Now I feel I'm getting maximum out of this tiny pocket cam, it was amazing value for money even without CHDK and now it's just unbelievable, magical :)

The AF lock feature I mentioned is also great for macro, I just lock AF at minimum focus distance and then move the camera back and forth, shoot several images, just like I would do with manual focus macro lens.

Re: CHDK on SD4000/IXUS 300 HS
« Reply #7 on: 11 / June / 2017, 16:14:40 »
Unfortunately, when I press ALT button to exit ALT, camera simply shuts down.
Thanks for reporting. It appears the key mask is incorrect on this camera, I'll post a test build in a little while.
When I look which keys can be assigned as the "ALT" key on the ixus300,  the choices are the PLAYBACK key or (apparently) pressing the UP & LEFT keys together.  I didn't even know that the later option was possible.

If you are using the default option - PLAYBACK - then if you hold the PLAYBACK key for more than about one second, it will revert to its original function.  In your case, that most likely means shutting down the camera.   Try doing a really fast press (tap&release) and see if you can exit ALT that way.

Otherwise, go to the CHDK Settings menu and use the <ALT> Mode Button to reassign the ALT key.   That might solve your problem.
Ported :   A1200    SD940   G10    Powershot N    G16


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Offline reyalp

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Re: CHDK on SD4000/IXUS 300 HS
« Reply #8 on: 11 / June / 2017, 16:20:59 »
If you are using the default option - PLAYBACK - then if you hold the PLAYBACK key for more than about one second, it will revert to its original function.  In your case, that most likely means shutting down the camera.   Try doing a really fast press (tap&release) and see if you can exit ALT that way.
As I said, the key mask is incorrect. It didn't include the playback key so this won't help.

There's some other stuff obviously wrong with this port too...
Don't forget what the H stands for.

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Offline reyalp

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Re: CHDK on SD4000/IXUS 300 HS
« Reply #9 on: 11 / June / 2017, 16:36:04 »
Here's a test build.

Changes
* It fixes the key mask, so a short press of play should toggle alt mode. Use a longer press for the original function
* Removed the UP+LEFT option for alt
* Removed inappropriate "DNG over USB" code that could have caused crashes
Don't forget what the H stands for.

 

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