How To Use CHDK on a Canon PowerShot SX280 HC

Some of the best point-and-shoot cameras are produced by Canon. These camera reside in Canon's PowerShot product line. Recently we purchased an SX280 (mainly because the SX260 wasn't available anymore) to take with us on our trip to Australia and New-Zealand (see the 'Rondreis 2014-15'-category for more information (dutch)).

One of the reasons to buy this camera was because of the option to install the Canon Hack Development Kit (CHDK) which adds much extra functionalities to the camera, like shooting raw files and time-lapse photographs (our goal).

The PowerShow SX280 is not yet supported by the official repositories of CHDK but there has already been some efforts on porting this awesome piece of software to this camera in this thread. To get this port working isn't trivial though, so please follow these steps.

  1. Get latest build from the porting thread (at the moment of writing it's Alpha 6)
  2. Get STICK (tool to format your SD card correctly)
  3. Create a zip file with the CHDK folder and the BOOTBIN file from the porting thread
  4. Import a photo taken with the camera into STICK (using the browse functionality)
    1. It should say that no appropriate CHDK version could be found in any of the repositories for this camera
  5. Check the firmware version with STICK and rename the zip file from the previous step to "test<firmware text from stick>.zip" (make sure you copy the FULL firmware version text!)
  6. Put the zip file in the root of the STICK folder
  7. Rerun STICK and import the photo again. Now it should say there is a test firmware available for this camera.
  8. Program the SD card according to the STICK documentation

Now you should have a working CHDK SD card. If you put the SD card into lock mode, CHDK will be loaded when the camera boots, otherwise it will just load the ordinary firmware. Since this version still is in alpha phase, don't be surprised if it crashes now and then.. But it works!

To get a time-lapse script running, you can use this script (latest version).

Good luck!


  1. Mis je de electrotechniek nu al? 😛

    Wel geinig dat je zomaar via je sd kaartje andere firmware op je toestel kan zetten. Van de andere kant, ook jammer dat je toestel default niet raw en timelapse support (Veel telefoons hebben dat tegenwoordig zelfs al).

  2. When I follow all the steps according to you and put the SD card in lock mode and install it in the camera slot. The camera doesn't start. It starts when in unlock mode or when no CHDK is there in the SD card and SD card is in lock mode. But with CHDK in the SD card and lock mode the camera doesn't start.

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