Abstract: The Canon EOS Digital Rebel (300D) Firmware Hack

Photography - Canon EOS, digital, nature

The Canon EOS Digital Rebel (300D) Firmware Hack

The Canon EOS Digital Rebel has very similar hardware to the Canon EOS 10D (same sensor), but lacks many of the functions found in the 10D, like flash exposure compensation, mirror lock up, ISO 3200 speed setting etc.

Well, some enterprising people have found that many of the "missing functions" can be enabled by small modifications of the camera firmware. Now of course Canon do not approve of this and technically it may void the camera warranty if you upload non-Canon firmware, but many people report good results and few problems from installing this firmware hack. If necessary you can always load the Canon firmware back into the camera and restore it to its original state.

Loading new firmware isn't a difficult process. You download the firmware file from a website (see URL below) and load it onto a CF card. The Canon website linked to below tell you how to do this via either a CF card reader attached to your computer or via a USB link to the camera. You then place the card with the new firmware in the camera and turn the camera on. The camera recognizes the firmware update file on the CF card and displays messages on the rear LCD screen which tell you how to proceed. Basically you just confirm that you want to install the bew firmware and the camera does the rest!

Among the functions the firmware hack makes available are:

  • Enables Custom functions menu
  • Enables Flash Exposure Compensation using SET button
  • Enables SET button function when shooting (to change image quality or shooting parameters)
  • Enables Shutter release w/o CF card
  • Flash sync speed in Av mode
  • Enables RAW+JPEG rec. Enables setting the quality of embedded JPEG
  • Enables Mirror Lock up
  • Enables the ability to select the autofocus mode: AI servo, Oneshot etc.
  • Enables setting ISO 3200

The latest version of the firmware is available from http://satinfo.narod.ru/en/download.html

Canon have instructions for installing new firmware at http://web.canon.jp/Imaging/eosdigital/E3kr_firmware-e.html. Of course they apply to installing the CANON firmware, but they are equally applicable to the hacked firmware.

I can't recommend you install the hacked firmware unless you are prepared to accept any problems that result. Lots of people seem happy with it though. I do not own a Digital Rebel, so I don't have to make the decision whether or not to hack the firmware. However I received this email from Neal Stout, who seems pleased with the results and gave me permission to post his comments:

"...The function display numbers are screwed up. Instead of 1 through 17, it goes, 1,10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 5. The repeated ones, twos, threes and fours are not a mistake. The funtion number window at the top of the menu works just fine though, just like the 10D. The menu itself operates perfectly in spite of the mislabling, and all of the items appear to be identical to the 10D, except for funtion 17. That is different. On the Rebel it specifies the number of seconds before the image is taken when mirror release in in effect. To me that is *great*, because I do not have to touch the camera again to take the shot - I don't need a remote control..."

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