Tag Archives: canon

New camera: Canon SX240

The new 660nm modified Canon SX240 (replacement) camera has arrived, from the ever helpful Andy at Infraready, to replace the broken Powershot n as my main infrared camera dangling from a kite.

Canon SX240

Getting CHDK on to it was very easy. I used the ACID tool to find the firmware version and just loaded the specific CHDK build files (stable 1.4.1) on to a formatted SD card.

The Indestructibles site lists the steps perfectly: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Install-CHDK/

CHDK Download page: http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/Downloads

CHDK status screen


CHDK Intervalometer Script screen

Interval shooting mode

One of the first things I noticed is that the SX240, unlike the Powershot n, will reload CHDK after images have been captured – which is great and so much more convenient than having to use a freshly copied SD card each time.

There is also a note on the Wiki that RAW capture does not work correctly when in Auto mode; not an issue, however, as my intention is to shoot purely in Shutter or Manual mode, when flying and Aperture mode when using normally.

The SX240 also has two good features, over the Powershot n:

  1. Custom white-balance – although capturing RAW with CHDK, this helps with the JPEG files when not using CHDK.
  2. Shutter Priority (“Tv“) – when swinging off a kite line, having a fixed shutter of 1/500 or 1/1000th is very helpful.

Will post the first sample images shortly.

Replacing the Powershot n

So the little 590nm modified Powershot n finally came to a destructive end from mother nature and, on reflection, my ill-considered kite flying – I should have flown a kite more stable for bigger gusts on the day. We learn.

walking to a broken camera

The lens took most of the impact and will now not extend or retract. I guess it could be repaired, but it is not worth it and I would like to change it for something less fiddly. It has been good as a light-weight flyer, but I have struggled at times, especially while holding the line, with the small touchscreen and CHDK settings.

Next, it is a Canon Powershot SX240, as I decided to continue using CHDK for access to RAW files and interval timer scripts; saving the weight of an external interval-timer unit. The SX240 is still light-weight, inexpensive to buy used and convert. It also has a shutter priority mode, unlike the Powershot n, which should help with swinging around on the end of a pendulum.

I looked at a few other compact cameras, like the Olympus TG (tough series) but could not find anything inexpensive to buy, with a built interval-timer that supported short intervals around 1-5 seconds and unlimited shots (until the card is full), which is what CHDK scripts will do. I also looked at using older GoPro models, which can now be converted for IR, however, don’t like the smaller sensor images and fixed wide angle – fly too high and the images are too wide losing detail.

The Canon A series (good optiA810, A1300-1400, A2300-2600, A3300-4000are generally cheaper than the SX series to buy used and lighter, however, they don’t have helpful options like shutter priority. 

Canon a2600

Canon a810

Infraredy (the ever excellent and helpful Andy) are already converting the SX240 to 660nm and it should arrive for the weekend. I decided on 660nm just for something different from the Powershot n’s 590nm and did not want the more color-limited options of 720nm, 850nm etc.

Info: New Project – Infrared Modified Canon Powershot n

Canon Powershot n

Canon Powershot n

Canon Powershot n

New little project – a 590nm converted Canon Powershot n. A quirky little, and I mean little, 12MP style camera from 2013.

Canon Powershot n

Canon Powershot n (1)

The conversion was done by the very helpful Andy from Infraready and arrived today.



The real attraction here is the camera’s size and weight, given its life is to go up high on various kites; however, it has some basic drawbacks straight out fo the box: no RAW, no custom white-balance and no external time-lapse remote. All of which would normally make it a very unsuitable camera for IR work, however, the CHDK (Canon Hack Dev Kit) community have done their magic and there is a port for the little Powershot n.



Unlike my old Canon S90, which refuses to comply (even though it should), the newer Powershot n was ever so easy and quick. CHDK went on in under 2 minutes! I just downloaded the correct software version, unzipped it to micro-SD card (newly formatted) and put the files in the root directory. Then the little (I am going to keep using that adjective because the styling and size fascinates me) camera is started using the ‘MOBILE CONNECT‘ button (NOT the off/on button), followed by the MENU button (on the screen) and a menu option to firmware update… and hey presto, there is CHDK (use the MOBILE CONNECT button again to bring up the CHDK menu).

CHDK on the Powershot n screen

CHDK on the Powershot n screen

RAW Capture

Why this is important is that, amongst a whole list of new features it adds, it allows the camera to produce (for offloading) RAW and DNG files, which can then be correctly white-balanced; although it important to note that the “RAW” format is not true to Canon’s CRW and CR2 formats. Capture One, however, seems to have no problem in reading in the DNG files and allowing the white-balance to be adjusted, so all good so far.

Canon Powershot 2

Canon Powershot n (2)

Intervalometer Time Lapse

In addition to now being able to capture RAW files, CHDK can also run custom scripts, importantly for me intervalometer scripts for time-lapse. There are a number of scripts for intervalometer time-lapse, so far I have just used the simple Countdown Intervalometer script – which worked just fine.

CHDK Countdown Intervalometer

CHDK Countdown Intervalometer

It is simply a script file that is downloaded to the scripts directory (the install instructions are on its Wiki page – use the link above or the reference at the end of this post) and allows you, via the CHDK menu on the camera, to set the number of shots you want (inc infinity if you want) and the interval; which is all I need when the camera is swinging around under a kite.

Canon Powershot 4

Canon Powershot n (3)


  1. The way I load CHDK is only temporary and needs to be initiated after each session/use – once the photos have been taken and the camera turned off, CHDK is lost. The next time, if you start on the mobile button it is back to trying to connect to a Wifi network (its original function). To reload CHDK again, the DCIM folder with the photos just needs to be deleted (after downloading) and the load process using the MOBILE CONNECT button used again. I believe there are ways to have it loaded permanently, which I will look into, but for now being temporary is fine.
  2. This is all for the original Powershot n and not the later Facebook branded version, the “Powershot N Facebook®“. Installing CHDK on the Facebook version apparently is a little different, as they used the MOBILE CONNECT button for their specific Facebook upload.


Canon Powershot n

  • http://www.canon.co.uk/for_home/product_finder/cameras/digital_camera/powershot/powershot_n/
  • http://www.2cameraguys.com/pdf/Canon-PowerShot-N-camera-manual.pdf

CHDK & Powershot n

  • http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/Powershot_N_%26_Powershot_N_Facebook%C2%AE_Ready
  • http://mighty-hoernsche.de/ (download versions page)

CHDK Raw Formats

  • https://chdk.setepontos.com/index.php/topic,1532.0.html
  • https://chdk.setepontos.com/index.php/topic,1390.0.html

CHDK Intervalometer Script (time-lapse)

  • http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/Countdown_Intervalometer