Adding new functions and features to hardware is normally accomplished by replacing the firmware with a new or hacked one that adds the new functionality to the device. It's slightly different if you are the owner of a Canon Digital Camera with DIGIC II or DIGIC III firmware because it is possible to load an alternative firmware from an SD card whenever it is needed which in turn means that the original firmware remains untouched.
The benefits of using the so called Canon Hacker's Development Kit, which is Open Source by the way, are manifold. Among other features pictures can be saved in RAW format, videos can be recorded with a length of up to 1 hour, faster shutter speeds, longer exposure time, additional data display on the LCD and more.
If you would like to try this you need to make sure that your digital camera is supported. Many Canon Powershot and Canon Digital Ixus models are supported right now. You'll also need a SD card and a SD card reader to add the files of the firmware to the SD card.
Now you simply download the appropriate firmware, put it on the SD card and do the following to manually load the new firmware.
The FAQ on the developers homepage contains information on how to load the new firmware automatically once you checked that it is working correctly.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.