Has anyone ever hacked NIKON camera firmware?

Started Jan 6, 2010 | Discussions
Chester S Parks
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Has anyone ever hacked NIKON camera firmware?
Jan 6, 2010

I always am seeing wishes for this or that feature to be added to camera firmware. I have never seen any mention of anyone hacking in to the camera firmware and making the improvements.

I wonder why it's never been done?

Chris Walden
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Actually
In reply to Chester S Parks, Jan 6, 2010

I think it has been done in the past. I seem to remember that at one point in time there were a few hacks out there for older models. Curious to see any input in this thread. Actually maybe the firmware hacks were on Canon camera's? Regardless I am surprised that more readily available hacks are not out there as well.
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olyflyer
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Re: Has anyone ever hacked NIKON camera firmware?
In reply to Chester S Parks, Jan 6, 2010

It is done for Canon but I haven't seen anything for Nikon.
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ocrampix
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Re: Has anyone ever hacked NIKON camera firmware?
In reply to Chester S Parks, Jan 6, 2010

Chester S Parks wrote:

I always am seeing wishes for this or that feature to be added to camera firmware. I have never seen any mention of anyone hacking in to the camera firmware and making the improvements.

I agree with the other posters, I believe it has been done for an older Canon model.

I wonder why it's never been done?

Nikon cameras are near perfect, what the heck do you want to hack?

Marco
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Atavar
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Re: Has anyone ever hacked NIKON camera firmware?
In reply to ocrampix, Jan 6, 2010

I remember it was done on a canon P&S which enabled better images and even raw recording, but never for nikon. I suppose if its good, its good
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Cariboou
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Re: Has anyone ever hacked NIKON camera firmware?
In reply to Atavar, Jan 6, 2010

Simply, Nikon is near the perfection, and any model that came out, is always plus near. And what you can't do with firmware on-board you can do with thousand and thousand of programs also freeeee!

Cariboou!
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Mikhail Bogdanov
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Re: Has anyone ever hacked NIKON camera firmware?
In reply to Chester S Parks, Jan 6, 2010

If my memory serves me well, D70 was hacked while ago, and MLU was made possible.

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Thomas Comerford
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Re: Has anyone ever hacked NIKON camera firmware?
In reply to Mikhail Bogdanov, Jan 6, 2010

Mikhail Bogdanov wrote:

If my memory serves me well, D70 was hacked while ago, and MLU was made possible.

And if my memory serves me well, I think that was the Canon 300D.

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Thomas Comerford
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Re: Has anyone ever hacked NIKON camera firmware?
In reply to ocrampix, Jan 6, 2010

ocrampix wrote:

Nikon cameras are near perfect, what the heck do you want to hack?

I've seen a lot of good suggestions over the last few years.

One thing that gets asked for quite frequently is some way for the user to update the camera's list of defective pixels.

Also, true raw histograms would be a welcome addition. The camera shows me histograms that show how the exposure (and in-camera settings) affect the camera's rendition of the raw data, but what I really want to know is how far I can push the exposure before I risk blowing a channel in the raw data. If that could be done in real time while Live View is turned on, that'd be even better.

There are lots more suggestions here:
http://www.bythom.com/usersuggestions.htm

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Quash
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Re: Has anyone ever hacked NIKON camera firmware?
In reply to Thomas Comerford, Jan 6, 2010

CHDK has comprehensive hacks for many Canon P&S cameras. I had a Canon SX10 and CHDK, which resides on a SD card and does not replace your current firmware so can't brick your camera, enabled all kinds of features.

To those who say Nikon cameras are near perfect, that's good. But, if the ability to add features was there, you can bet that a wish list would grow quickly.

It would also be good for Nikon for a community to exist like this. It would demonstrate demand for particular features to them, keep them on their toes and, if Nikon formally allowed this, set them apart from their competition, in this regard. An "App World" for your camera, if you will, where an independent development community to deepen brand loyalty by offering features that users feel would improve their photography experience.

Canon doesn't formally endorse CHDK but they don't try to kill it and I know their tech support have positively mentioned it to Canon camera owners. It's not the App World model but it works.

http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK_for_Dummies

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ocrampix
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Re: Has anyone ever hacked NIKON camera firmware?
In reply to Thomas Comerford, Jan 6, 2010

Thomas Comerford wrote:

ocrampix wrote:

Nikon cameras are near perfect, what the heck do you want to hack?

I've seen a lot of good suggestions over the last few years.

One thing that gets asked for quite frequently is some way for the user to update the camera's list of defective pixels.

Gee, I just remembered I forgot to check something on my D300s: defective pixels!

Also, true raw histograms would be a welcome addition. The camera shows me histograms that show how the exposure (and in-camera settings) affect the camera's rendition of the raw data, but what I really want to know is how far I can push the exposure before I risk blowing a channel in the raw data. If that could be done in real time while Live View is turned on, that'd be even better.

Fair enough.

A lame workaround would be to have the histograms being displayed immediately after the shot is taken.

There are lots more suggestions here:
http://www.bythom.com/usersuggestions.htm

Goodness gracious me!

I cannot understand why nobody suggested a built-in cell phone and at least one built-in pop-up coffee percolator!

Marco
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Thomas Comerford
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And for those who missed it..
In reply to Quash, Jan 6, 2010

Quash wrote:

To those who say Nikon cameras are near perfect, that's good. But, if the ability to add features was there, you can bet that a wish list would grow quickly.

It would also be good for Nikon for a community to exist like this. It would demonstrate demand for particular features to them, keep them on their toes and, if Nikon formally allowed this, set them apart from their competition, in this regard. An "App World" for your camera, if you will, where an independent development community to deepen brand loyalty by offering features that users feel would improve their photography experience.

...Thom Hogan touched on this area recently:

Oh, Nikon, you try so hard, but you will fail if you keep pounding on the same wall. Yes, you've added things like being able to do a raw conversion in camera, and video editing, but let's face it, you're not a software developer, Nikon. Not even close. You can't even keep your regular software updated for operating system refreshes that are telegraphed more than a year in advance. Meanwhile, Apple has proven that there are tens of thousands of capable programmers out there ready to work 24/7 to cause a piece of hardware to fart (and much more that's actually useful). You see, the answer is not to try to do it yourself. Invert the Razor Blade, Nikon, invert the Razor Blade.

Open the inside of your cameras to the world. Open firmware. Extensible firmware. Customizable firmware. Documented EXPEED. Documented Bayer filtration. Can you imagine how many pieces of software would be available to the world in a matter of weeks? Don't panic, you can still force a base set to remain untouched, much like the iPhone has its protected framework. But by documenting everything and providing the framework to tack on, your cameras would become the "must have" cameras. Done right, and with surprise, you'd own the serious camera market in a matter of months. Seriously.

Yes, I know you just started a subsidiary to write proprietary firmware. But that keeps you just like every other camera company: locked into your own solution.

Yes, I know it's scary to contemplate. It's a different world I'm pushing you towards. But it's a better world. One in which you'll profit handsomely. And you won't have to keep flogging your programmers.

You can read the whole thing here:
http://www.bythom.com/2009%20Nikon%20News.htm

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Thom Hogan
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Re: Has anyone ever hacked NIKON camera firmware?
In reply to Chester S Parks, Jan 6, 2010

Chester S Parks wrote:

I always am seeing wishes for this or that feature to be added to camera firmware. I have never seen any mention of anyone hacking in to the camera firmware and making the improvements.

I wonder why it's never been done?

It's been contemplated a few times. The problem with Nikon is two-fold: the tools available for the processor they use are mostly unknown and few in number, and you'd have to replace the Nikon firmware as the Nikon processor can't execute memory outside of the camera like the Canon processor can (this is one of the things that has allowed CHDK). So, it goes something like this:

1. You must disassemble Nikon's firmware (tools are sparse).
2. You must choose things in the firmware that can be removed.

3. You must code things into new firmware that are no bigger than what you removed in Step #2.

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Thom Hogan
author, Complete Guides to Nikon bodies (21 and counting)
http://www.bythom.com

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Camillo
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Re: Has anyone ever hacked NIKON camera firmware?
In reply to ocrampix, Jan 6, 2010

It was the Canon D300 and the firmware gave it all the specs of the Canon D10 which used the same sensor. So this way the Canon d300 had the ISO boosted and the IQ of the D10. The D300 was limited to ISO 1600 at the factory.

Interesting to see if the AF speed, ISO and so forth could be improved via firmware on Nikons...

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ocrampix
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Re: Has anyone ever hacked NIKON camera firmware?
In reply to Thomas Comerford, Jan 6, 2010

Thomas Comerford wrote:

Mikhail Bogdanov wrote:

If my memory serves me well, D70 was hacked while ago, and MLU was made possible.

And if my memory serves me well, I think that was the Canon 300D.

Google's memory agrees with yours.

Anyway, I wouldn't even DREAM of installing hacked firmware in my D300s.
What if there is a bug in that hacked firmware?
Could I turn to the hacker flying a pirate's flag for a warranty repair?

Marco
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VicC
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Re: Has anyone ever hacked NIKON camera firmware?
In reply to Thom Hogan, Jan 6, 2010

You could catch a virus! Vic

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Quash
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Re: Has anyone ever hacked NIKON camera firmware?
In reply to ocrampix, Jan 6, 2010

CHDK doesn't reside in the camera. It stays on the SD card to avoid exactly the issue you raise.

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cluna
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Re: Has anyone ever hacked NIKON camera firmware?
In reply to Thom Hogan, Jan 6, 2010

Thom Hogan wrote:

1. You must disassemble Nikon's firmware (tools are sparse).
2. You must choose things in the firmware that can be removed.

3. You must code things into new firmware that are no bigger than what you removed in Step #2.

What all seems to be possible with a NOP file? Is it pure data or an extensible plugin? I just looked at one in an editor and it seems to be a bit more than settings but no telling. I found an easy way to fake a D2xMode on the 300s, change the name and header...of course it isnt helping do anything

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Hauer
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Re: Has anyone ever hacked NIKON camera firmware?
In reply to Chester S Parks, Jan 6, 2010

Hi - I had a little Nikon CP3700 that I upgraded with hacked firmware. It worked marvelous and was even to able to take pictures in RAW mode as well as "ultra fine" jpg mode. Was always extremely happy with this little P&S until the lens unit ceased to function (totaly not firmware related).

In fact, here is a text description that I had kept on file...

Quote:
Nikon Coolpix 3700 special firmware release notes

Version 1.0

Firmware version number is changed to 1.3, but camera after upgrade will
report v1.2, this is OK.

Improvements list:
1) Ultra Quality Image Mode (3MP)

  • much improved compression ratio.

2) RAW mode(3MP),

  • in this mode camera saves small preview image and

large (about 3MB) RAW file. Pure RAW file have JPG extention
and can be converted to NEF file using special utilities.
3) Minimum shutter speed improved from 2 sec to 8 sec.
4) Proper icons for Ultra Mode and RAW Mode.
5) Changed programs (no EV correction), so, use :
[Night Landscape] for photography with enabled noise reduction(NR).
[Dusk/Down] for photography at fixed ISO 100 with NR enabled.
[Beach/Snow] for photography at fixed ISO 100
[Museum] for photography at up to ISO 200 speeds

Custom firmware makeup for you:
1) Direct ISO to next ISO shutter speed jumping setting
(2 sec, 1 sec, 1/2 sec, 1/4 sec, 1/8 sec, 1/16 sec).
With small values smearing are much less trouble. While large values
allow to stay with low ISO as long as possible.
2) Maximum allowed ISO setting (100,200,400,800(!)).
3) Ability to modify settings for program modes.
4) And much, much more...

Installing
1) Format your SD card
2) Copy firmware.bin from this archive to "firmware" folder created in root of
your SD drive.
3) Insert card in camera (if you used SD reader).
4) Turn on camera in setup mode with TRASH button pressed.
5) Select Yes to Upgrade question.
6) Do not turn camera off until you see "Done" message.
7) Turn Off camera.
8) Turn camera on, it is advisable to reset all settings.

Unquote.

Guess there are quite a few Firmaware Wizards out there!

Best wishes for 2010 & may your firmware needs come true!

Cheers - Herman

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