CHDK on SD4000/IXUS 300 HS

Started Jun 7, 2017 | Discussions
Robert1975 Regular Member • Posts: 291
CHDK on SD4000/IXUS 300 HS

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?

OP Robert1975 Regular Member • Posts: 291
Re: CHDK on SD4000/IXUS 300 HS

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.

OP Robert1975 Regular Member • Posts: 291
Re: CHDK on SD4000/IXUS 300 HS

This story is continued on CHDK forums:

https://chdk.setepontos.com/index.php?topic=13160.0

I hope this material will be of use to potential SD4000/IXUS 300 HS buyers.

I2K4
I2K4 Senior Member • Posts: 1,342
Re: CHDK on SD4000/IXUS 300 HS

I still have the camera, and share your high opinion of it - I think of it as my S90 for dummies - but have to say my phone has pretty well replaced it as carry around.

Also have a bit of a tale to tell about some 2012 followup to the initial CHDK beta that was abandoned by whoever started. I brought up some defects, in particular the Zebra/Histogram failure, on an earlier CHDK forum, and spent a couple of weeks testing iterations back and forth with a dev who volunteered to try to recode without having the camera. He came up with an interim version that fixed some things - labeled 1.1.0-2976 that I still have installed on a couple of cards. That version

. fixed the histogram perfectly (never got Zebra to work right)

. fixed ND filter

. works with DNG 1.3

Have to say I don't have lens retraction or freeze / RAM problems - maybe the less demanding old version of CHDK. I have a User Menu that includes toggle of the ALT button between wheel (up + left is really just left) and Playback - awkward but toggling to Playback in the CHDK menu makes navigating with the wheel much better.

I located the old zip file. I might try the new "fix" out for fun, but it looks like my unofficial older version might be a better for the specific features I use.  It doesn't look like anybody will ever finalize CHDK for this rare, underappreciated model.

 I2K4's gear list:I2K4's gear list
Canon PowerShot S5 IS Canon PowerShot SX10 IS Canon PowerShot SD4000 IS +2 more
OP Robert1975 Regular Member • Posts: 291
Re: CHDK on SD4000/IXUS 300 HS

At CHDK, we found that changing Dark Frame Subtraction from Auto (which is default) to OFF stops the hangs completely. The guys were trying to fix bugs, but every time they fixed something, another thing broke so I suspect this will never come out of Beta. There's something weird about button management in Canon's original firmware and this confuses CHDK. I use the version I first downloaded and set-up, it's very stable now and does what I want to.

I don't use smartphones, so this SD4000 is perfect for me. I also have Samsung DV150F with excellent Wi-fi capabilities for pairing with my tablet.

Concerning the difference between P&S cameras and phones, here's what I wrote in the comments on OnePlus 5 sample images:

We can't beat the laws of optics... Phones like Pixel, or Xiaomi Mi 5 employ software tricks such as stacking, or context-dependent processing in order to achieve pleasant JPG output. It is the practicality of smartphones that killed P&S market, not the image quality.
I am not a fan of smartphones so I stick to my Canon SD4000 w/CHDK, beats any smartphone and will remain to do so. The balance of lens resolution, sensor resolution and device size is almost perfect, plus, unlike new phone models, it's truly pocketable.
It is unreasonable to use more than 10-12MP on such small sensors if you can't pair them with adequate optics. Olympus TG-5 realized this. Take a look at the latest IXUS 20MP cameras - zooming in to 100% reveals less than 3MP of detail, basically JPEGs fill your memory card with lots of GBs of SMUDGE. Not good!
For portable cameras, P&S models from 6-7 years ago are best buy, if you manage to find like-new. They're cheap, pocketable, and IQ is very good.

I really like DNG output on my SD4000 - there's no much detail, but the detail recorded looks good, sort of "rounded" and aesthetically pleasing. Phone cameras usually give "jerky", nervous-looking detail, even in DNG, or water-colour in JPG, so you can't enlarge much... These images are meant to be looked at on your phone.
It is a bit ironic that sensor resolutions increase, but screen sizes at which people usually look photos actually DECREASE on average. Phones and tablets dominate the market in greater and greater extent. By the time you get to your desktop, you've already browsed through the images on Facebook, Instagram, etc. on your smartphone.
However, I hope dedicated pocket cameras will continue to be made. Just imagine that 2010 10MP BSI CMOS in SD4000 revamped in 2020. If still at 10MP, it would yield much much better ISO performance.

My 2 cents...

I2K4
I2K4 Senior Member • Posts: 1,342
Re: CHDK on SD4000/IXUS 300 HS

My big CHDK trouble was with the rear screen that seems unconventional somehow and doesn't work for CHDK zebra, grids, etc. I pretty much agree about the IQ of this camera versus phones, though I don't own a new "flagship" - just the phone's always with me, is good fun, and when I'm more thoughtful I want a viewfinder. I initially bought the SD4000 on a good discount as a toe in the water for compacts using the rear screen - and while I'm okay with it indoors am not comfortable, and have too much trouble in sunlight.  (I also agree with you about the terrible default jpeg noise reduction in newer models - fingerpainting I'm glad to do without.)

By the way, the CHDKJ SuperFine jpeg also works very well - and the joy of CHDK DNG (versus native Canon RAW, in the S90 for example) is that all your custom jpeg settings work with simultaneous files. I also find ISO 80 and locking the CHDK Av override can help. Enjoy the camera.

 I2K4's gear list:I2K4's gear list
Canon PowerShot S5 IS Canon PowerShot SX10 IS Canon PowerShot SD4000 IS +2 more
OP Robert1975 Regular Member • Posts: 291
Re: CHDK on SD4000/IXUS 300 HS

Lens is the most interesting aspect of this machine. Real iris in a small, rounded body without protrusions - give me that.

Maximum sharpness and contrast are achieved around 50mm equiv. wide-open (f4). I saw Imatest chart for SD4000, it confirms this. But most other things are off. Lab tests are not very useful because they are shot at small distances, less than 1m. Indeed, the lens is sufficiently sharp at f2 for close-ups, but distant objects will always appear soft. The good news is that this softness usually looks aesthetically pleasing, almost like FF bokeh. I could shoot an indoor event and claim I used a fast FF lens, and people would buy it - providing that I carefully composed my images. Some thin objects such as cables or edges might get a bit of ugly "motion blur look", so try to eliminate them while framing if you're able to.

For example, Cameralabs review follows Imatest, they claim the lens is sharpest around f2.8 and then diffraction kicks in. I'm sorry, but this is NOT my finding! When shooting outdoors, lens produced best results at f7.1 at most focal lengths, f4 being the best choice at 50mm of course. I have no idea what Canon did to make this, but such behavior is very interesting for a compact lens. At most focal lengths, it behaves like bigger APS-C/FF lenses: it's soft wide-open, and sharpens up when stopped down for a couple of stops. Quite unusual. This means there is no urgent need to use ND filter outdoors, it's not very good quality and blurs the image. However, ND filter works very well for f2 close-ups & portraits.

To sum up, if you nail the shape and color, in single word: composition (grey card helps a lot in artificial light!) your SD4000 shots will look "professional" and NO ONE would complain about sharpness, noise and resolution. Shoot RAW. When downsampled to 6MP, DNGs are only around 3Mb in size which is sufficient for people/event photos. This is actually smaller than most new compacts JPEGs and quality is miles better!

Great tool indeed.

waterwingz
waterwingz Regular Member • Posts: 243
Re: CHDK on SD4000/IXUS 300 HS

I2K4 wrote:

It doesn't look like anybody will ever finalize CHDK for this rare, underappreciated model.

Good news !

All known issues with CHDK on the SD4000/IXUS300 are now fixed (as of July 12 2017).

The display issues you mention, the keypad issues and dual partition problems noted by Robert 1975, and the ability to use manual focus have all been fixed.  The CHDK UI colors have also been updated to make full use of the camera's LCD brightest colors.

Available now from the CHDK download server.

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Canon PowerShot G16
I2K4
I2K4 Senior Member • Posts: 1,342
Re: CHDK on SD4000/IXUS 300 HS
1

Thanks, that would be very good news - as I wrote I'm currently stuck on an older v1.1.0 that was tweaked offline and never put into the development channels - so it works better on the SD4000 but lacks all the good general improvements in later versions. Checking the stable (v1.4.1) and dev (v1.5.0) download sites the Zips are still labeled "beta" on both - is there further verification or labeling just not caught up?

Update:  Set up v1.4.1 as usual and it works perfectly.  Play button finally works right as ALT, and setting up the User Menu is more intuitive in the newer version.  Colors are bright, and Zebra Mode is a big help to me using the rear screen - something I haven't seen in phone apps.  Best regards and thanks to those who worked on it.

 I2K4's gear list:I2K4's gear list
Canon PowerShot S5 IS Canon PowerShot SX10 IS Canon PowerShot SD4000 IS +2 more
OP Robert1975 Regular Member • Posts: 291
Re: CHDK on SD4000/IXUS 300 HS
1

waterwingz wrote:

I2K4 wrote:

It doesn't look like anybody will ever finalize CHDK for this rare, underappreciated model.

Good news !

All known issues with CHDK on the SD4000/IXUS300 are now fixed (as of July 12 2017).

The display issues you mention, the keypad issues and dual partition problems noted by Robert 1975, and the ability to use manual focus have all been fixed. The CHDK UI colors have also been updated to make full use of the camera's LCD brightest colors.

Available now from the CHDK download server.

Thank you waterwingz for this update. I tried it and everything seems to be working fine, even manual focusing. I can highly recommend this version to SD4000 users, it's labeled ixus300_sd4000-100d-1.4.1-4869-full_BETA.

This is now a professional tool, you could actually shoot a wedding with it if you had the b*** to show up with such a tiny cam for paid work It's small, silent, unnoticeable, and if you nail the composition and color people won't be able to tell the difference from a DSLR when viewing pictures on their phones. And guess what - today, most people view event (plus many other) photos on their phones. Here is the source of photographers' wisdom:http://gs.statcounter.com/platform-market-share/desktop-mobile-tablet

BAAAAAAAAAAAAANG for the buck:))))))) If the past masters such as Bresson, Eggleston, Haas etc. lived today, I bet an S95, SD4000 or ELPH 330 would be one of their most used cams. This thing goes where you go, it fits even the skinniest jeans pocket and with RAW you can still pull out a large 40x27 print, depending on the subject-matter. Set 50mm f4, bring a 1$ wallet-sized grey card, and you have a DSRL in your pocket. Bang for the buck!

Looking forward to use this on my holiday with a 32Gb auto-boot card

waterwingz
waterwingz Regular Member • Posts: 243
Re: CHDK on SD4000/IXUS 300 HS

I2K4 wrote:

Checking the stable (v1.4.1) and dev (v1.5.0) download sites the Zips are still labeled "beta" on both - is there further verification or labeling just not caught up?

Curiously, there is really no exact definition of what "beta" means for a CHDK release for any particular camera.   In general, it's used for ports that are assumed to be complete but lack a lot of testing.   Unfortunately, the people doing the port frequently forget to go back and remove the "beta" designation when they understandably move onto other things.  In this case, there are a few very minor things still marked "To Do" in the source code for this port.  Once those get resolved, the "beta" thing will be removed.

Update: Set up v1.4.1 as usual and it works perfectly. Play button finally works right as ALT, and setting up the User Menu is more intuitive in the newer version. Colors are bright, and Zebra Mode is a big help to me using the rear screen - something I haven't seen in phone apps. Best regards and thanks to those who worked on it.

On behalf of those who worked on it, and those who assisted they who worked on it, I'll say thank you.

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Canon PowerShot G16
OP Robert1975 Regular Member • Posts: 291
Re: CHDK on SD4000/IXUS 300 HS

So, now that you cracked the focusing system on SD4000 - do you believe it's possible to select any of the nine focus points, instead of only one, central (something like "focus point override")? It might be useful for off center compositions, as focus&recompose sometimes screws up DoF.

Also, what is the relationship between subject distance value, and real distance in meters? Is there a simple correlation which might be represented by a table for example?

OP Robert1975 Regular Member • Posts: 291
Re: CHDK on SD4000/IXUS 300 HS

Important

Now that I tested Subject distance override in detail, it seems that you have to fiddle with it a bit more.

In order to use manual focusing, one has to set AF lock. That's clear. However, on half-pressing the shutter while taking the shot, which is unavoidable, subject distance somehow gets messed up - even with AF lock. The lens elements move, or whatever, and it's impossible to take a sharp shot, except maybe in macro. Even then, sharpness is not as good as with AF.

There is definitely some control over SD, but it's not working properly.

Also, I wonder how the SD values relate to real distances. I found it should be millimeters, but the values don't seem to match my tests (not even in macro). How to use SDO then, without focus peaking? Which value is 2cm, and which value is 2m?

It will be interesting to look into those nine focus point as well.

waterwingz
waterwingz Regular Member • Posts: 243
Re: CHDK on SD4000/IXUS 300 HS

Robert1975 wrote:

So, now that you cracked the focusing system on SD4000 - do you believe it's possible to select any of the nine focus points, instead of only one, central (something like "focus point override")? It might be useful for off center compositions, as focus&recompose sometimes screws up DoF.

It might be technically possible but I don't believe anyone has tried to do it.

Also, what is the relationship between subject distance value, and real distance in meters? Is there a simple correlation which might be represented by a table for example?

Subject distance is set in mm. Convert to meters by multiplying the value by 1000.

Robert1975 wrote:

Important

Now that I tested Subject distance override in detail, it seems that you have to fiddle with it a bit more.

Sorry - what you see is what you get. CHDK S.D.O. is completely uncalibrated so the settings will be approximate. You'll have to figure out the relationship between settings and the focus point seen in your images.

If you'd like to discuss CHDK and IXUS300 issues, you can find me on the CHDK forum.

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Canon PowerShot G16
OP Robert1975 Regular Member • Posts: 291
Re: CHDK on SD4000/IXUS 300 HS

OK, I'll post in my topic @CHDK.

Perhaps I2K4 has the same problem?

I2K4
I2K4 Senior Member • Posts: 1,342
Re: CHDK on SD4000/IXUS 300 HS

Robert1975 wrote:

OK, I'll post in my topic @CHDK.

Perhaps I2K4 has the same problem?

Both my bridge cameras have native MF, and for the older S5is the CHDK zoom-rocker control was a major breakthrough in usability, since it doesn't have control wheel fine adjustment.

I never used Subj. Dist. Override - did put it on my Ixus User Menu to see what you were writing about - the Inf. setting is likely to be more useful for me, personally.  Further to Waterwingz, you've probably noticed the zoom rocker moves the cursor to increment the 10s, 100s and 1000s of millimeters, much better than churning through single digits.

I googled and found some technical discussion, but no practical examples of settings, camera positioning and output from using Subj Dist Override.  If you're aware of a useful reference would be interested.

 I2K4's gear list:I2K4's gear list
Canon PowerShot S5 IS Canon PowerShot SX10 IS Canon PowerShot SD4000 IS +2 more
waterwingz
waterwingz Regular Member • Posts: 243
Re: CHDK on SD4000/IXUS 300 HS

I2K4 wrote:

I googled and found some technical discussion, but no practical examples of settings, camera positioning and output from using Subj Dist Override. If you're aware of a useful reference would be interested.

If you are interested, you can read my latest boring rant on the subject in the second half of the post here :

CHDK on SD4000/IXUS 300 HS

And example of what can be done with the limited capability available can be found here :

Meanwhile ... my Focus Stacking script

 waterwingz's gear list:waterwingz's gear list
Canon PowerShot G16
I2K4
I2K4 Senior Member • Posts: 1,342
Re: CHDK on SD4000/IXUS 300 HS
1

Thanks, that's a good cautionary assessment of the "SDO" - my one question about the Ixus 300 might be that it was released as a kind of S90 for dummies at about $50 less, and might share some internals - you'll recall S90 was a breakthrough for the pocket format, including MF along with the M exposure mode.  I'll be trying SDO Infinity setting.

I'll download the F-bracket script, but more likely to try it in a bridge camera - if it works on those - with a tripod.  I've always used the Ixus as a carry about handheld. (Years ago, I did some focus stacking experiments for macros using the S5is, that has a three-shot bracket - the old dedicated S3 User Forum had some serious blossom and insect shooters - my result was "Yes, I can" but ended soon.)

 I2K4's gear list:I2K4's gear list
Canon PowerShot S5 IS Canon PowerShot SX10 IS Canon PowerShot SD4000 IS +2 more
waterwingz
waterwingz Regular Member • Posts: 243
Re: CHDK on SD4000/IXUS 300 HS

I2K4 wrote:

my one question about the Ixus 300 might be that it was released as a kind of S90 for dummies at about $50 less,  ...

If your choice at the time was an S90 for $50 more than an ixus300, then that would have been the best $50 you ever spent in your life.

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Canon PowerShot G16
I2K4
I2K4 Senior Member • Posts: 1,342
Re: CHDK on SD4000/IXUS 300 HS

waterwingz wrote:

I2K4 wrote:

my one question about the Ixus 300 might be that it was released as a kind of S90 for dummies at about $50 less, ...

If your choice at the time was an S90 for $50 more than an ixus300, then that would have been the best $50 you ever spent in your life.

No question, and no doubt why the Ixus 300 failed commercially - as I wrote, I picked it up on a clearance to see how I like rear screen shooting, about C$110. As it proved out, I can't be a fan of shooting outdoors without an EVF.

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Canon PowerShot S5 IS Canon PowerShot SX10 IS Canon PowerShot SD4000 IS +2 more
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