Getting Started

Read these notes first and then for further general information check the WIKI.
Amongst other things, it will tell you which keys on your camera correspond to <ALT>.
(for the 'A' series cameras it is the [Direct print] button).

First, you need to determine the firmware version of your camera and then download the appropriate ZIP file.
This is made very easy by Dave Mitchell's 'ACID' programme.
Ensure that you also download
All files should be unpacked into the same folder.

An installer (Windows only) is provided with the download that allows you to create single or dual-partitioned auto-bootable cards automatically setup for the left or right camera.
If you do not use Windows, Dave Mitchell has provided an installer for Mac OSX (10.3 or later) that should make the 'task' far easier.

The installer also allows you to copy or move image files to a selected destination folder.

Cards larger than 4GB are only recommended if you intend to shoot many movies as the dual-partitions required are not as convenient to work with.
Some cameras do not have dual-partition support and SDM does not support the manual firmware-update method that would allow use of large unpartitioned SDHC cards.
Card-readers built into laptops may not support SDHC cards, in which case an inexpensive USB SDHC card-reader will be required.
You have to swap partitions to access the images or movies and then remember to switch back again so that the card will autoboot.

Configuration Files

All SDM settings are saved in configuration (CHDK.CFG) files.
The installer automatically uses a default configuration for the left and right cameras and assumes they are side-by-side and not inverted.
If one camera is inverted, simply choose orientation 'I' in the stereo menu after installation.
It is also assumed that the Canon OSD's are hidden (by cycling through the Canon options using the DISPLAY button).
If you want an alternative layout to avoid overlapping with Canon's OSD, Werner Bloos has provided configurations (in English and German) in the folder 'CONFIGS'.
It includes an option for an inverted left camera.
The readme file in that folder gives instructions for a new or existing install and provides support for cameras that have a non-standard colour palette.

NOTE:The G11, IXUS95,IXUS100, IXUS105,IXUS980, S90, S95, SX120IS and SX200IS do not use the standard CFG file, they use a file with a numeric value after 'CFG'.
These must be copied to the card manually and should not be renamed. Use the files supplied in the CONFIGS folder.

You can easily edit the CFG files in a user-friendly way using the CFG editor supplied with the download.

New SDM Install on cards 4GB or less

This is the easiest install and is mandatory for those cameras that do not support SDHC cards.
Download the zip for your firmware and also
Unzip both to the same folder and check the following files and folders are present :- The installation procedure has been made as safe as possible but you are responsible for ensuring that you format removable media only .

Ensure that there is no other removable media plugged into a USB port (otherwise WinXP SP3 gives warning message regarding 'Vista').
Insert the unlocked card into the card-reader and Close the window that pops-up.
Double-click 'sdminst.exe'.

Select the SD card drive letter and click 'New Install'.
If the card is locked you will be prompted to unlock it and try again.

Choose camera position as 'Left' or 'Right' and ensure card size is '4GB or less'.
This will ensure that a single partition formatted FAT16 will be created if it does not already exist.
If the card is not already formatted, you may do so at this stage.

You will be asked to confirm formatting (as existing data will be deleted and auto-booting ability removed) and then asked if 'Quick Format' is acceptable.
'Quick Format' is fast because it does not test the card for bad sectors.
In particular, it may be preferred with Windows Vista which can otherwise be slow.
During formatting, you will be given the option to enter a volume label (SDM_LEFT or similar is suggested).
All required files will be copied to the card together with a configuration file (CHDK.CFG in the CHDK folder) that is setup for left or right camera.
Any existing files will be over-written.
The configuration file determines what the various options in the menus are set to.
You then simply lock the card, insert into camera and power-up in Record mode.
Some cameras power-up in Playback mode and you need to press the shutter to switch to Record mode.
For future power-ups, you can set the 'extend lens' option in the Stereo menu so that SDM automatically 'presses' the button.

New SDM Install on cards 8GB or more

The following cameras have support for dual-partitions that enables SDHC cards larger than 4GB to be used :

SDM Installer creates two partitions, the first is 2MB in size and formatted FAT16, the second occupies the remaining space and is formatted FAT32.
Insert the card into the card-reader and then double-click 'sdminst.exe'.
If you start 'sdminst.exe' without a card in the reader, the dialogue-box will close

Select the SD card drive letter and click 'New Install'.

If no drive letter is displayed DO NOT proceed !

Choose camera position as 'Left' or 'Right' and ensure card size is '8GB or more'.

If the card has not been previously partitioned, a slightly tedious, one-off procedure needs to be followed to do this.
Click 'Yes' to continue to install SDM.

You will be asked to remove and re-insert the card at various stages and to then click the 'OK' button.
The partitions will be formatted and you can name them ('SDM_LEFT' and 'SDM_IMAGES' for example).
DISKBOOT.BIN will be copied to the first partition and the CHDK and DCIM folders will be copied to the second partition.
The images and movies will be saved to the larger partition.
Make sure that the 2MB partition is the first one (by swapping if necessary), lock the card, insert into camera and power-up in Record mode.
Problems with swapping partitions has sometimes been caused by 'faulty' card readers, that seem to vary in quality.

Creating Partitions

You can create a single partition on a card 4GB or less and two partitions on SDHC cards 8GB and larger.

Choose one partition or two partitions, confirm your choice, click 'OK' and remove and reinsert the card when directed.

(Close the blank window that pops-up).
On completion, the dialogue-box will be updated with your partition details.
The partitions then need to be formatted.

Formatting Cards

You may format a card or the first partition of a dual partition card.
Choose 'Yes' for FAT16 on a single-partition card and 'No' for FAT32 for the second partition of a dual-partition card.
On dual-partition cards you can temporarily swap partitions so that the larger one may be formatted FAT32.
You may choose a 'Quick Format' option and will then be asked a final confirmation before formatting deletes existing data and removes auto-booting facility.

Copying SDM to the card

If the card is not already formatted you will be given the option to do so.

Choose FAT16 for a single partition or the first partition of a two-partition card.
Choose FAT32 for the second partition of a two partition card.
In the latter case, you will need to temporarily swap partitions so that the larger partition becomes the first partition.
Enter a suitable volume label and normal format or quick format.

After you confirm that formatting is required, the partition will be formatted.
All SDM files and folders will be copied to the card.
For dual partitions, DISKBOOT.BIN will be copied to the first partition and the DCIM and CHDK folders to the second partition.

Updating an existing SDM installation

An existing installation will already be partitioned, formatted, made bootable and contain all required files and configuration settings (in CHDK.CFG).

After confirming if the card has one or two partitions, the new DISKBOOT.BIN will be copied to the card together with any new or updated utility files (scripts, grids, fonts, etc.).
A new configuration file will be installed and your existing one renamed CHDK.CFG.OLD.
Sometimes you can use your old configuration file, it depends what changes have been made to the software.

Copying and moving images to the PC

Select the destination folder and all images will be copied there.
You have the option of deleting the image folder on the camera.
On completion, the destination folder will be opened for exploring.

Preparing your switch unit and checking the batteries

Please note
Use of this USB-triggering method is entirely at your own risk.
No responsibility can be taken for any consequences resulting from it's use.

You can make your own switch unit or you can buy
commercial units that may be used modified or unmodified.
A DIY switch-unit is simply required to switch a voltage across pins 1 and 5 of the camera's mini USB connector.
With the connector's wider part at the bottom and looking into it, the +ve connection is on the left.
On older cameras, a 3V battery is sufficient and a button-cell can be used or two AA batteries.
If that does not work on newer cameras, you could try two Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries that have an open-circuit voltage of 1.6 to 1.7V
Beyond that, three 1.2V or 1.5V batteries may be used.
It is not advised that voltages higher than 5V be used although there is no evidence of 6V causing damage.
The current-load is very small so diodes may have a smaller voltage-drop than the nominal 0.6V and you may wish to connect two in series.
Some users have adapted very inexpensive torches that have the switch and battery components.

The above diagram shows the connections for a Type 'A' USB(1.1 or 2.0) connector (the computer end of the camera's USB cable).
Zosim's webpage shows further details of a switch unit using Type 'A' connectors.
Any DIY switch unit would probably cut-off the large Type 'A' connector and hard-wire the cable directly to the switch unit.
Far more suitable than cables intended for computers are those intended for charging mobile phones.
They are far more flexible and have right-angle mini USB connectors.

See Damir's Links for USB right-angle connectors, cables and adapters. and Grant Campos' 3D Sales

Be aware, that some of the plugs contain additional components that may or may not affect operation.

If you want a ready-made switch unit, they are available here from Germany.
At present, nothing seems to be available from other countries.

SDM 1.60 and later supports the Ricoh CA-1 switch unit.
This device works off a single 1.5V battery yet generates 5V pulses that will suit all camera models.
It has the advantage of operating like a normal camera remote (see below).
If you can adopt a DIY approach, you will need to connect a second USB cable inside the switch unit.
There is sufficient room and you should tie a knot in the cable-pair to provide strain-relief.
Be careful that you do not solder for too long or the PCB pads may lift.
With the switch held upright, the +ve connection for the USB cable is the solder-pad on the right (with a trace leading to a 1K SM resistor).
The ground connection is on the left.
Be careful that you do not break the head on the on/off switch.
If you do, it is a Copal Electronics CUS-12B available from RS Components in many countries.
(Andrew Woods on the Yahoo SDM Group may be able to provide one.)

If you are experienced at 'hacking' cameras, the above shows a very compact solution.
Tiny sockets are provided so that a two-conductor ribbon cable joins the cameras USB connectors.

If you do not wish to open-up the switch unit (you have to be careful when re-assembling it), you could cut the supplied cable and splice-in a second,flexible cable and connector.

Uwe Glaessner has constructed a hard-wired ixus 55 twin-rig that does not use a USB switch.

Instead, the software has been modified to use shutter half-press instead.
Details on his blog Homemade 3D Digital Stereo Equipment

Remove the USB leads when transporting or shipping your cameras to avoid damaging the circuit board connections

Checking-out basic shooting operations

The preferred arrangement, by many, is to have the SDM header along the top of the screen together with the battery icon and text.
If this clashes with Canon icons, the latter may be hidden, on most cameras, by pressing the DISP button.
Alternatively, in menu Advanced\OSD Parameters, you may use the Layout Editor to move the screen elements to other postions.
Use the multicontroller buttons to move the elements to the required position.

The first time you boot a 'clean' installation of SDM, no on-screen displays (OSD) are visible.
To browse the OSD's, enter <ALT> and press the multicontroller left or right buttons.
For convenience, alternate OSD's are blank .

By default, the cameras start-up in STEREO mode.
'STEREO' mode means synchronised single-shot (not continuous) photos are taken directly without needing to enter ALT mode and running a script (as was required with the earliest versions of SDM).
Some cameras normally turn-on in Playback mode but SDM forces them to Record mode.
This means that the lens extends and for some applications (such as kite aerial photography, 'KAP') this is undesirable.
In that case, uncheck the Stereo menu item 'Extend Lens'.

The easiest way to check that a suitably-high voltage is present on the USB connector is to switch to <ALT> mode.
If suitable voltage is present, 'USB' will be displayed at top-left.
It will even detect the 30 ms half-press pulse from the Ricoh if you press a few times.

With SDM, you can use an ordinary switch or a Ricoh switch and you DO NOT need to enter <ALT> mode and use a script for synchronised-shooting.
If you do not yet have a switch, plug the USB cable supplied with the camera into the camera's mini USB connector.
Power-up the camera and then briefly plug/unplug the other end of the cable into the computer.
Done correctly, a viewfinder LED will flash and camera will autofocus.
The camera may be left in this state indefinitely.
Plug-in again ... both blue LED's should light and the screens blank.
When both are lit, remove the plug and a highly-synchronised pair of images will be taken.
If you do not remove the plug after ten seconds, the process will time-out and the photo will be taken.

Assuming that the above works, repeat using your switch unit when available.

For the Ricoh, half-press to focus, full-press to start shooting-sequence and release to take photo.

With an ordinary switch, quickly press on/off to focus.
If you have selected 'focus-cancel mode' in the Stereo menu, you can cancel autofocus by quickly pressing on/off again or half-pressing the shutter button.
From the autofocus stage, press-and-release to take the photo.
Alternatively, you can press until the screen blanks and LED lights and then release it.
Faulty operation of just one camera is almost always due to problems with your switch or a low voltage from your switch unit.
Alternatively, keep the switch pressed a little longer to enter shooting mode and then release to take the photo.

Pressing the shutter button directly automatically turns-off Synch mode

For cameras with a Movie mode dial position, on/off to start recording and on/off to stop recording.
The TX1 and 'S' series cameras have a separate button for video mode but these can still be started with the remote switch.
To enter the Rec control mode, push the Movie Button for a short time (less than 0.5Sec), the blue <ALT> LED will light.
(If you push the Movie Button for more than 0.5Sec, the camera will start normal movie recording).
In the Rec control mode, when you press/release the remote switch, the camera starts recording, exits the Rec control mode and the blue <ALT> LED turns off.
To stop movie recording, re-enter the Rec control mode by briefly pressing the movie button and then press/release the remote switch.(or push the Movie button for longer than 0.5Sec.).

There is a menu option that enables optical-zooming on some cameras and while zooming the sound is automatically muted.
At present, precision synchronisation is not supported in movie mode.

When flash is not being used and both cameras are the same model (the normal situation), there will not be any shooting delay value set on either camera.
To shoot synchronised flash, only two requirements have to be satisfied :-

1. A letter 'F' is displayed on red and blue backgrounds at the top of the screen on the two cameras.
2. Shutter-speed (or shutter-speed override) is the same on both cameras.

'F' will be displayed if :-

a) Flash ON or AUTO
b) Synch mode enabled

Set flash to first-curtain mode.

With AUTO flash, you will need to half-press the shutter button before you see the 'F'.
In AUTO flash mode it is possible, but unlikely, that one camera will decide to use flash and the other not to.
Some cameras only allow flash to be set ON in certain shooting-modes.
You cannot normally do that in AUTO mode.
Unless you override the shutter speed, the camera uses 1/60 second for flash photos.
Flash delay is never more than 4 msec, no matter how slow the shutter speed in order to avoid mis-synch caused by movement illuminated by ambient light.

Both cameras will fire their preflash (presumably to determine exposure and white-balance) and on switch-release the left camera flash will be dimmed by -4 stops.
(in Stereo Parameters, that dim-value can be changed but is not normally recommended).
To test flash dimming, set the left camera to a high shutter-speed (say 1/250th) second) and with the letter 'F' displayed, take a photo of some dark corner.
In Stereo menu, set camera position to 'L' and take another photo.
The first photo should be far darker.
The delay before the right flash fires will be automatically calculated from the shutter-speed and will be displayed as the 'Synch' value on the right camera.
Try changing shutter-speed (on both cameras) to determine a value that gives you an accepatble percentage of successful shots.

When flash is OFF and delay is enabled, the delay value that you enter in the menu will be used.
By experiment, different models of supported cameras may be synchronised to less than one millisecond by setting a suitable on the faster camera.

What next ?

Nothing, if you simply wish to take single synchronised flash and non-flash photos.
If you are interested in the various features provided by the on-screen displays, or you wish to take a series of bracketed exposures (probably for high dynamic-range images), take the time to read this website.

Try-out the time-lapse script and default sample script and Fudgey's fast motion-detection script MDFB-080914.bas. (both supplied with the download)
Simply enter <ALT> mode and press the shutter button.
For motion-detection, you may wish to turn-off flash first and set script parameter 'Shoot fast' to '2' for test mode so that no photos are taken.
Press the shutter button again to pause the script and the <ALT> button to exit the script.

All your menu selections (configuration settings) are saved in file CHDK.CFG in the CHDK folder.
You may wish to start by making a copy of this on your hard-disk.
In SDM 1.73 and later you can use Dave Mitchell's Configuration editor (supplied with the download) to set the menu parameters in the CFG file toyour preferred values.
Then, read the rest of the pages on this website.

Make sure the SDM.rbf font is present in the FONT folder and you have selected it.
If you do not select it, the menu text will be smaller and more difficult to read.

Next, you can try shooting images of fast-moving subjects such as sports-action,vehicles in motion, birds in flight, water in its many forms (fountains, waterfalls, surf, etc).
Shutter-speed (Tv) bracketing may be used in continuous-shooting mode to acquire images for high dynamic-range applications and focus-bracketing allows you to produce macro extended depth-of-field images.
Although they do not have the same degree of synchronisations as still images, you can try synchronised movies and change their quality or bitrate setting to better than set by Canon.
For electronics enthusiasts, remote triggering can be investigated and the cameras mounted on a long pole, pair of kites, balloon, etc.
More than two cameras may be synchronised .. maybe seven or eight for making lenticular prints of moving subjects or virtual reality (VR) 360 degree presentations of large objects.
A pair of cameras may be mounted on a pole and tilted-down at about 45 degrees to make 'popup anaglyphs' using SPM.
And that is just the start .............

If you have any problems with these basic procedures, you are advised to join the 'Yahoo StereoDataMaker Group' to seek help or search the archives for possible solutions.