October 25, 2014, 09:35:36 AM

Author Topic: Aftermarket upgrading of cameras?  (Read 4719 times)

TrabimanUK

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Aftermarket upgrading of cameras?
« on: January 02, 2014, 09:15:49 AM »
Hi all,

bit of a random question, but is anyone aware of any companies that can upgrade cameras?  I drive a TDI Golf, and recently bought a "boost box" that gives it more power / better fuel economy (depending how heavy my right foot is), and it got me thinking, could I do the same (or similar) for my old 40D?

I am aware of Magic Lantern and the great stuff they do, but for example, a memory upgrade could give me a bigger buffer for a longer burst or maybe a Digic 4 could give me higher FPS than the Digic 3.

I appreciate that costs might be a tad on the prohibitive side of things, but I was wondering how easy it might be (or if at all possible)?

Happy new year by the way!  :)

cheers,

Grant
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Aftermarket upgrading of cameras?
« on: January 02, 2014, 09:15:49 AM »

dgatwood

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Re: Aftermarket upgrading of cameras?
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2014, 10:16:44 AM »
I appreciate that costs might be a tad on the prohibitive side of things, but I was wondering how easy it might be (or if at all possible)?

More than the cost of a new camera body, realistically.  Adding more memory would require doing surface-mount soldering to replace the parts with higher-density chips, then creating a custom hack for the firmware so that the camera would utilize the extra memory, and it might not even be possible, depending on whether the DIGIC chip is capable of providing the additional address lines needed, and depending on whether it is readily feasible to remap any other hardware out of the way of the additional RAM.

Upgrading the DIGIC would be even more infeasible, as I seriously doubt they maintain a consistent pinout from model to model, given that the DIGIC chips are soldered on and are not designed to be replaced or upgraded.

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Re: Aftermarket upgrading of cameras?
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2014, 11:10:59 AM »
Hi all,

bit of a random question, but is anyone aware of any companies that can upgrade cameras?  I drive a TDI Golf, and recently bought a "boost box" that gives it more power / better fuel economy (depending how heavy my right foot is), and it got me thinking, could I do the same (or similar) for my old 40D?

I am aware of Magic Lantern and the great stuff they do, but for example, a memory upgrade could give me a bigger buffer for a longer burst or maybe a Digic 4 could give me higher FPS than the Digic 3.

I appreciate that costs might be a tad on the prohibitive side of things, but I was wondering how easy it might be (or if at all possible)?

Happy new year by the way!  :)

cheers,

Grant

As far as I know, the firmware add-ons like Magic lantern, CHDK etc are the only tricks you can use to get added features. Otherwise you have to invest in things like grips, flashes, lenses...

Camera's are just not quite the same as cars.

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TrabimanUK

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Re: Aftermarket upgrading of cameras?
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2014, 11:12:21 AM »
Thanks. 

I suppose it maks sense that everything is soldered onto the board, to deter "improvements" by people.  Oh well, I'll just have to save up for the mythical 7D2 (or whatever it will be called).

Cheers,

Grant  :)
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mb66energy

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Re: Aftermarket upgrading of cameras?
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2014, 11:45:42 AM »
I suppose it maks sense that everything is soldered onto the board, to deter "improvements" by people.  [...]

That's not the (primary) reason to solder things on a board. The primary reason is that only soldering chips on highly optimized boards allows for the large bandwidths needed for fast signal processing. To read out 10 million pixels 6.5 times a second means very high data throughput for ANALOG signals from the sensor to the analog to digital converters.

IMO companies aren't interested in exchanging the sensor/ADC/processor group in the camera because it is 50 or 70 % of the production cost. Think about changing the motor, the gear and the wheel subgroups of your car including a new dashboard which contains the automotive computer/electronics.

I am too dreaming of upgrading my 40D cameras to a newer sensor/ADC/processor - e.g. 10 MPix with video capabilities or a monochrome sensor module with 18 MPix. And I would pay 600 EUR/$ for such an upgrade because the haptics of the 40D is great - a tool which is accepted by my hands and brain - the 600D or EOS M are awful in this discipline but IQ (photo and video) is very good so I live with the compromise to use 4 bodies instead of 2.

Best - Michael
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drmikeinpdx

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Re: Aftermarket upgrading of cameras?
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2014, 12:30:23 PM »
Used 7Ds are cheap right now and would probably do just what you want!
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mackguyver

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Re: Aftermarket upgrading of cameras?
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2014, 12:52:35 PM »
Nikon once offered a buffer upgrade (https://support.nikonusa.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/15997/~/d3-digital-slr-camera-buffer-memory-expansion-service) and Canon offers a locking mode dial upgrade for the 5DII (http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer?pageKeyCode=prdAdvDetail&docId=0901e02480245968), but those are the only two physical upgrades I've ever seen for DSLRs. 

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Re: Aftermarket upgrading of cameras?
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2014, 12:52:35 PM »

dgatwood

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Re: Aftermarket upgrading of cameras?
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2014, 05:31:56 PM »
I suppose it maks sense that everything is soldered onto the board, to deter "improvements" by people.  [...]

That's not the (primary) reason to solder things on a board. The primary reason is that only soldering chips on highly optimized boards allows for the large bandwidths needed for fast signal processing. To read out 10 million pixels 6.5 times a second means very high data throughput for ANALOG signals from the sensor to the analog to digital converters.

Not really.  You can easily handle high-speed data with socketed chips.  Just look at the CPUs in a modern desktop computer.  And the data rate inside a DSLR isn't really all that high.  At 14 bits per pixel, using the numbers, you're only talking about 910 megabits per second—less than twice the maximum data rate for USB 2.0—and that's if you read the entire sensor's output serially through a single data line (which AFAIK none of the high-MP sensors do).  If you break the data up across several parallel data channels... well, it isn't a trivial amount of data, but it pales compared with the video RAM used in a modern GPU—at least three orders of magnitude slower, IIRC.

No, the primary reason for soldering everything is reliability.  Socketed chips have a tendency to work themselves loose, and thus would be problematic in something as mobile as a DSLR.  As far as electronics reliability goes, a good goal is to eliminate as many connectors as possible, and to move as much as possible to a single-board design.  Every socketed chip is just waiting for a chance to work itself loose and cause a device to stop working.  Therefore, sockets and other connectors are worth avoiding unless there's a really compelling reason to use them (e.g. using connectors for flash storage so that you can move the content itself from device to device).

mb66energy

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Re: Aftermarket upgrading of cameras?
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2014, 09:16:12 AM »
I suppose it maks sense that everything is soldered onto the board, to deter "improvements" by people.  [...]

That's not the (primary) reason to solder things on a board. The primary reason is that only soldering chips on highly optimized boards allows for the large bandwidths needed for fast signal processing. To read out 10 million pixels 6.5 times a second means very high data throughput for ANALOG signals from the sensor to the analog to digital converters.

Not really.  You can easily handle high-speed data with socketed chips.  Just look at the CPUs in a modern desktop computer.  And the data rate inside a DSLR isn't really all that high.  At 14 bits per pixel, using the numbers, you're only talking about 910 megabits per second—less than twice the maximum data rate for USB 2.0—and that's if you read the entire sensor's output serially through a single data line (which AFAIK none of the high-MP sensors do).  If you break the data up across several parallel data channels... well, it isn't a trivial amount of data, but it pales compared with the video RAM used in a modern GPU—at least three orders of magnitude slower, IIRC.

No, the primary reason for soldering everything is reliability.  Socketed chips have a tendency to work themselves loose, and thus would be problematic in something as mobile as a DSLR.  As far as electronics reliability goes, a good goal is to eliminate as many connectors as possible, and to move as much as possible to a single-board design.  Every socketed chip is just waiting for a chance to work itself loose and cause a device to stop working.  Therefore, sockets and other connectors are worth avoiding unless there's a really compelling reason to use them (e.g. using connectors for flash storage so that you can move the content itself from device to device).

For computers you are right, but I spoke about ANALOG signals with high bandwidth and precision.
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trof2

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Re: Aftermarket upgrading of cameras?
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2014, 10:57:14 AM »
Hi all,

bit of a random question, but is anyone aware of any companies that can upgrade cameras?  I drive a TDI Golf, and recently bought a "boost box" that gives it more power / better fuel economy (depending how heavy my right foot is), and it got me thinking, could I do the same (or similar) for my old 40D?

I am aware of Magic Lantern and the great stuff they do, but for example, a memory upgrade could give me a bigger buffer for a longer burst or maybe a Digic 4 could give me higher FPS than the Digic 3.

I appreciate that costs might be a tad on the prohibitive side of things, but I was wondering how easy it might be (or if at all possible)?

Happy new year by the way!  :)

cheers,

Grant

I'm afraid that cameras, as well as practically all other modern gadgetry is engineered for planned obsolescence.  The manufacturers really put in an effort to limit the life span of their products, and upgradability is something they generally intentionally prohibit.

You could convert it to IR if you really want to get some new usability out of it...

dgatwood

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Re: Aftermarket upgrading of cameras?
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2014, 11:12:32 AM »
I suppose it maks sense that everything is soldered onto the board, to deter "improvements" by people.  [...]

That's not the (primary) reason to solder things on a board. The primary reason is that only soldering chips on highly optimized boards allows for the large bandwidths needed for fast signal processing. To read out 10 million pixels 6.5 times a second means very high data throughput for ANALOG signals from the sensor to the analog to digital converters.

Not really.  You can easily handle high-speed data with socketed chips.  Just look at the CPUs in a modern desktop computer.  And the data rate inside a DSLR isn't really all that high.  At 14 bits per pixel, using the numbers, you're only talking about 910 megabits per second—less than twice the maximum data rate for USB 2.0—and that's if you read the entire sensor's output serially through a single data line (which AFAIK none of the high-MP sensors do).  If you break the data up across several parallel data channels... well, it isn't a trivial amount of data, but it pales compared with the video RAM used in a modern GPU—at least three orders of magnitude slower, IIRC.

No, the primary reason for soldering everything is reliability.  Socketed chips have a tendency to work themselves loose, and thus would be problematic in something as mobile as a DSLR.  As far as electronics reliability goes, a good goal is to eliminate as many connectors as possible, and to move as much as possible to a single-board design.  Every socketed chip is just waiting for a chance to work itself loose and cause a device to stop working.  Therefore, sockets and other connectors are worth avoiding unless there's a really compelling reason to use them (e.g. using connectors for flash storage so that you can move the content itself from device to device).

For computers you are right, but I spoke about ANALOG signals with high bandwidth and precision.

Ah.  Missed that bit.

The smart-a** in me wants to say that analog signals are even easier because you don't have to make sure all the lines are precisely the same length to ensure that the bits arrive precisely at the same time.  :D

But in all seriousness, you're right that connectors introduce a bit of signal loss, and long traces doubly so.  That's why the newer generations of sensors are moving to a design where the amplifiers and ADC hardware are on-die.  The more you can reduce the distance that you send analog signals, the cleaner those signals will be, and frankly, my jaw is on the floor realizing that Canon still uses off-die amplifiers at these resolutions.  On-die preamps were considered common practice in smaller sensors several years ago, as I understand it.

lion rock

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Re: Aftermarket upgrading of cameras?
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2014, 06:34:36 PM »
Hacking the works inside a modern camera is not simple.  No one outside the inner circle has access to the schematic and uncomplied firmware.
Unlike an automobile, where shade tree mechanic has an idea of how to wring more power.  And this power comes as the expense of fuel consumption and moving part wear and tear.
A home computer hack is in boosting the operating frequency.  More heat is given out, so, a secondary market of various cooling aids are made for booster to use.  That has no real benefit in the long run, I can earn a sword faster in game play.
Look at Virginia Tech: in 2003, it set out to build the first super parallel computer, at an unheard of low budget.  All using off the shelf, un-mod apple G5s, all 1100 units, (did cause said computers a shortage on the market for a while. And it shock the apple sales managers).  They got placed third in the Top500list.
In less than a year, everyone went in the game, and it never recovered.  This kind of hacking requires software know how, not even digging into the hardware, where, general knowledge is known to the computer scientist.
Now, if I knew how to improve a modern camera performance by 10%, I'll work for the best camera company, at what I want them to pay me.  Thank you very much.
So, I also wish you're able to supercharge your 1DXX-v4.
-r
« Last Edit: January 04, 2014, 08:53:55 PM by lion rock »

kaihp

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Re: Aftermarket upgrading of cameras?
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2014, 11:53:42 PM »
No, the primary reason for soldering everything is reliability.

Reliability and physical space. Sockets take up space that aren't there.

Laptop and desktop computers are in an entirely different ballgame when it comes to data rates, because they can afford to throw power (consumption) at the problem. A PC can consume 100+Watts with no ill side effects. A Camera cannot, since the heating will affect the sensor noise adversely.

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Re: Aftermarket upgrading of cameras?
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2014, 11:53:42 PM »

Andy_Hodapp

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Re: Aftermarket upgrading of cameras?
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2014, 01:58:53 AM »
Only thing I can think of is Hot Rod or someone will remove the AA filter to increase sharpness.  Would love to do it to my 5d mkii but I've only heard it's a bad idea.  Guess I'll wait for the 5d MkIVR or what ever they'll call it.

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ewg963

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Re: Aftermarket upgrading of cameras?
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2014, 08:30:01 AM »
Thanks. 

I suppose it maks sense that everything is soldered onto the board, to deter "improvements" by people.  Oh well, I'll just have to save up for the mythical 7D2 (or whatever it will be called).

Cheers,

Grant  :)
+1 I'm waiting for the 7D II myself...  :) :)
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Re: Aftermarket upgrading of cameras?
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2014, 08:30:01 AM »