Back in the day, hands-on photography required you to be closeted away in a darkened room, where you dunked sheets of paper into solutions of smelly chemicals. Now we manipulate photographs with software, a much less messy and oppressive process. But wouldn’t it be great to have more control still—even before the photo is taken? Many cameras allow you to adjust their exposure settings manually, but that’s about it. What if you could have full command of your camera’s hardware?
Such thoughts motivated an anonymous programmer going by the online name VitalyB to reverse engineer the firmware for Canon’s PowerShot series of digital point-and-shoot cameras. With hacker-level control, he could do things the engineers at Canon had never thought of.