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A number of things can make us wish our digital camera behaved differently. Either it is because we prefer something to work another way or because we got used to it the other way based on a previous camera.

Several manufacturers offer some form of customization. Pentax cameras, for example, have a programable green or function button. Several of them can also customize what gets reset each time the camera is turned off. Canon DSLR cameras have dozens of custom-functions which alter their behavior.

Each such camera offers a different set of customization. Each customization is good, but why not have them all? The main burden is the camera’s limited interface. Having hundreds of options would make menu navigation long and tedious. The easy-to-implement solution is to offer software-based customization. Most digital cameras already have sophisticated firmwares. What is left is to write software which can manipulate a camera’s firmware to customize it. For those who wrote a camera’s firmware it should not be difficult.

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Imagine how we could customize our camera’s interface. Small things like self-timers could easily be customized in duration and number of shots, like some Canon SD-cameras do. Not only could we decide which option gets reset when the camera is powered-off, like most Pentax cameras, we could also decide what it gets reset to. We could make menus and options more efficient by removing those not used and ordering the menus by usage frequency. Why keep the choice of resolution, digital zoom or kelvin white-balance when we do not use them? If there is a print or share button, we could reprogram it to do something useful, like change ISO. Even views could be changed, chosing which item gets displayed on the LCD and under the viewfinder could make a viewfinder less cluttered.

A lot of digital cameras are limited by their firmware. These limitations could be overcome. Take exposure compensation for example,most cameras only allow 2 stops either way. There is no real reason for that, all the camera needs to do is some simple math. Customzing its firmware, this could easily be increased. The same is true for number of bracket shots and bracketing steps.

Just imagine the possibilities…

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