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Bracketing with CHDK in continuous mode

Sample HDR image from a series of CHDK bracketed images.

Sample HDR tonemapped image from a series of CHDK bracketed photos.

CHDK allows you to quickly and easily perform bracketing using an extra photo override. CHDK bracketed photos are perfect for making HDR (High Dynamic Range) images in your favorite photo editor. In this post I will guide you through the steps required to take bracketed photos using your Canon Powershot Camera and CHDK.

You can also use the bracketing techniques mentioned in this post to make HDR panoramas and equirectangular images for use in 3D graphics packages with the addition of HUGIN or PTGUI.

1. Open the CHDK Main Menu.

Main Menu

Main Menu

2. Load the Extra Photo Operations Menu.

3. Set Disable Overrides to Off.

Extra Photo Operations

Extra Photo Operations

4. Open the Bracketing in continuous mode menu.

5. Change the TV bracketing value from Off to something like 1 Ev.

If you want you can enable “Clear Bracket Values on Start” which will reset the bracketing settings when you restart the camera.

Bracketing in continuous mode

Bracketing in continuous mode

6. Close the CHDK Menus and exit ALT mode.

7. Switch to the Continuous Photo mode.

Continuous mode

Continuous mode

8. Hold down the Shutter button to take your bracketed photo sequence.

Bracketing CHDK

Bracketing CHDK

9. If you want an automated bracketing solution you can press the self timer button on your camera and scroll down to enable the Custom Timer. Press the Menu button when the Custom Timer is selected to change the delay to 0 seconds and the shots to a value like 10. The shots setting will specify how many pictures are taken automatically when you press the shutter button once.

Using the Custom Timer

Using the Custom Timer

10. When you are finished taking your HDR sequence set the Self-Timer to OFF.

11. After you transfer the bracketed sequence to your computer you can process the images using your favorite HDR software. Photoshop and Hugin / Enfuse are popular tools to create HDR images.

Merge to HDR Pro in Photoshop

Merge to HDR Pro in Photoshop

  1. Thanks for posting this guide. It really helped me in setting up my Canon A480 for continuous bracketing mode. Nice photos and screenshots from the camera. Very helpful.

  2. I also want to thank you for posting all the helpful information on CHDK here on your blog. I now have my SD780 able to shoot bracketed exposures in continuous mode and to take RAW photos saved as DNG that open up directly in Lightroom and CS5.

    Here’s an HDR shot I did this morning using both of those functions:

  3. I really like the tutorial but it doesnt seem to work for me. i have the a650is and when i get to the continuous settings, it isnt there. Is there something i am doing wrong or does my camera just not support this?

    When i go out of the menu and out of alt mode
    i go into the func set and there is no continuous.

    please help

  4. Thank you,

    Spending lot of time searching how to set continuous mode (got no paper manual to check).
    Then i’ve found your site.

    Thank again.

  5. Awesome tutorial… It got me going with my waterproof PowerShot D10 in minutes!! The book “The Canon Camera Hackers Manual – Berthold Daum” is also worth taking a look at, especially if you want to get into scripts.

  6. Nice work with this tutorial, simple but somehow very helpful for the newbies :).
    Thanks a lot!

  7. Hi Anmol.

    I haven’t tried creating an HDR timelapse movie with CHDK.

    What Canon camera model do you have? Is your camera in continuous photo mode when you run the timelapse script? It looks like the script you linked to is designed primarily for cameras with built-in bracketing.

    You might need a time-lapse script that uses two loops, one to take the burst of CHDK bracketed photos, and another to run the intervalometer delay counter.

  8. I got this fixed in the end. Im using the SD780. I setup cont shooting, I set the custom timer delay to 0 and a shot every 10 secs. I used the standard interval script. Also, I set noise reduction to off.

  9. Anoml,

    It’s great to hear you got it working! I would love to see your finished HDR timelapse movie.


  10. Nice writeup. Even better is that you’re answering questions nearly two years later! Thanks!

    I’d like to use the USB Remote to shoot continuous photos with bracketing. I’ve tried several combinations in the Remote Parameters menu settings and the Bracketing in Continuous Mode menu settings. But I can’t seem to get the right combination for my SX230.

    What I’d like to do is fire off the USB Remote, and it takes a series of bracketed photos, wait, then repeat. I’ve done what you’ve suggested for Anmol, using a script with two loops, one for the bracketing, and one for the remote. But it takes each photo individually, not continuously, and that takes much longer.

    My ultimate goal is to use my ardinuo-controlled tilt-pan head to do HDR panoramas. When you’re taking 300+ photos per scene, adding HDR of course triples (or more) that number. So if it takes on average 1 sec for each photo, your talking 15 minutes just in picture-taking (never mind the time for tilt-panning). So anything to improve the speed would help.

  11. Hi dhaines.

    Thanks for your comments.

    Have you explored the CHDK script differences between the commands press “shoot_full” and press “shoot_half” for taking photos continuously?

    A CHDK remote script like the one on the DIY Book Scanner website might be a helpful starting point.

    Also, you might try increasing the bracketing EV step value when you create your HDR so you don’t need quite as many photos.

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