DIY IR modification

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DIY IR modification

Postby popo » Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:56 pm

I'll use this as a log of my DIY IR modification.

Earlier tonight I pulled the trigger on a refurbished Nikon D50 with 18-55 kit lens. This was for several reasons.
1: It was cheap (less than a mid range lens by itself)
2: There's some simple instruction on disassembly here. This is no more difficult than stuff I have done at work before.
3: I wanted to get a feel for Nikon, even if this is old it is probably still comparable to the current D40.
4: I wanted to do IR photography other than the lens front filter approach.

On the last note, so far I've tried the safe method of fixing a IR pass/visible block filter on the front of the lens. This generally means you have to do everything blind, and as the IR block filter is still present in front of the sensor, long exposure times are needed making handheld shots impractical in most situations.

By removing the IR block filter, the sensor can operate over its entire range which includes the near infra red region. Exposure times should be generally comparable with normal visible light photography.

There's one decision I haven't made yet. Which filter to go in place of the IR block?

If I fit a visible block, then it will be an IR only camera with visible light viewfinder.

If I fit a transparent or no filter, then it will add IR to visible, giving normal photos a strong red tint in IR rich lighting. The operation can be switched from IR to visible by using the appropriate filter on the lens front again. But in IR mode, again the viewfinder would be dark but exposure times will still be shorter than without modification.

Difference between transparent and no back filter is that a glass spacer is needed to keep the AF working correctly.

I've only found one place selling body rear filters and it isn't cheap! Somewhere in the ball park of half a commercial conversion cost. Wonder if I can find a regular filter of the right thickness and cut it down to shape? I've never cut glass before... Alternatively I wonder if it is easy to realign the sensor placement to compensate?

I should add again, this is intended to give an IR capable camera on the cheap. I hope to keep the total project cost below that of a commercial conversion. That doesn't leave much for the filter.
Canon DSLRs: 7D2, 7D1, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 70-300L, 100-400L, 100L, MP-E 65, EF-S 10-18, 15-85
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 50/1.4A, 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS
Compacts: Sony HX9V, Fuji X100.
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Postby varunchauhan » Wed Feb 18, 2009 6:18 am

:shock: Too Technical for me.

i'll never dare to open a Digital camera.
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Postby popo » Wed Feb 18, 2009 8:33 am

It'll be easier to illustrate once I get some results :D

Thinking more, as I'm unikely to use the camera for visible (I have two cameras for that already!) I should go the IR only route in the modification. Will be hitting ebay for a cheap IR pass filter later.
Canon DSLRs: 7D2, 7D1, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 70-300L, 100-400L, 100L, MP-E 65, EF-S 10-18, 15-85
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 50/1.4A, 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS
Compacts: Sony HX9V, Fuji X100.
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Postby Bob Andersson » Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:01 am

Hi popo,

I'm still trying to decide whether to go the same route with my 40D. But if I do I'll use with the UK firm astronomiser. As you can see from the link the price for filter replacement for the D50 is £190.

Bob.
Sony RX1R II. Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 + 1.4x T/C, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8
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Postby popo » Wed Feb 18, 2009 12:58 pm

While I'm sure the professional conversions are reasonable value, it's more than I'm looking at spending. The D50 kit cost less than the conversion cost alone which would also still need a camera.

My current plan is to fit myself a re-cut IR pass filter which I'm about to buy from ebay. Assuming I don't mess up, that will mean an IR dedicated camera for around £200 total.

I just hope such a makeshift filter wont have any or too much negative impact, but the custom ones don't appear to be within budget.
Canon DSLRs: 7D2, 7D1, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 70-300L, 100-400L, 100L, MP-E 65, EF-S 10-18, 15-85
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 50/1.4A, 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS
Compacts: Sony HX9V, Fuji X100.
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Postby Adi Zulhusni MarkII » Wed Feb 18, 2009 2:45 pm

varunchauhan wrote::shock: Too Technical for me.

i'll never dare to open a Digital camera.


I'll take his word, Damn That is so complicated to disassemble some of its parts. What Happen If there was a wrong step in such risky operation :shock:

Popo If you really want to, Wish you Good luck to do it :wink:
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Postby Bjorn van Sinttruije » Wed Feb 18, 2009 4:49 pm

Best of luck popo! Do show us some results when you get photos worth showing.

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Postby popo » Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:20 pm

Erm... plans have just been derailed. The order has been cancelled due to a "stock error". So it'll be on hold until I see another suitable camera at the right price.

Note the price wasn't exceptionally cheap, but it was on the better end of those on ebay. The seller is a real UK camera retailer.
Canon DSLRs: 7D2, 7D1, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 70-300L, 100-400L, 100L, MP-E 65, EF-S 10-18, 15-85
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 50/1.4A, 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS
Compacts: Sony HX9V, Fuji X100.
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Postby Bjorn van Sinttruije » Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:59 pm

Why not buy an A100? You'll be able to use your current A-mount lenses and it's not very expensive either. Also, the Zeiss 16-80mm doesn't cause a so-called hotspot effect in IR photography.

Read more about Alpha IR photography here.

BTW: 2470th post, that's a special number! (24-70mm from Zeiss, :wink: )

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Postby popo » Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:31 pm

The A100, in UK at least, seems to be holding up in price. Not much less than an A200 new.

Actually, today I rediscovered another possible alternative. It isn't cheap but has other potential. The Sigma SD14! I must have missed it when I first read up on them, but the IR block filter is in front of the mirror and can be removed. No deep modifications needed, even Sigma write about it. They're comparable in price to other DSLR cameras. Might be one after I let my finances recover a bit from my other recent spending.
Canon DSLRs: 7D2, 7D1, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 70-300L, 100-400L, 100L, MP-E 65, EF-S 10-18, 15-85
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 50/1.4A, 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS
Compacts: Sony HX9V, Fuji X100.
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Postby Bjorn van Sinttruije » Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:36 pm

Buy an A100 in Holland, they're pretty cheap here. Though, of course, the A200 isn't very expensive either.
Another option you might want to consider, if you're thinking of upgrading to an A700 or it's successor: use your A350! :)
The Sigma seems great to. A disadvantage though might be that you're buying your third camera system, all different manufacturers. I'd find that, well, impractical...

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Postby popo » Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:10 pm

If Sony can stick fast live view in A700 replacement that's a maybe for recycling the A350 then. But I still love the A350 for normal indoor shooting.

Might need little help finding an A100 in nl. Got an indication of price?

The Sigma SD14 is and isn't what I was after for IR. As the filter is in front of the mirror, if I go IR I'll be shooting blind like current, although with the speed advantage of needing shorter exposures. But that does have the advantage of being usable for normal shooting with the foveon sensor. The yet another lens system is a bit of a pain though. Nikon do seem to have the cheapest lenses though if I do go to a 3rd system.

Other alternative is I take the slightly higher cost and go for the 20D with my existing lenses.
Canon DSLRs: 7D2, 7D1, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 70-300L, 100-400L, 100L, MP-E 65, EF-S 10-18, 15-85
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 50/1.4A, 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS
Compacts: Sony HX9V, Fuji X100.
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Postby Bjorn van Sinttruije » Fri Feb 20, 2009 3:56 pm

:oops: Oops. I compared some prices and found that in stores, the A100 (300 euros) is even more expensive than the A200 (269 euros. On the Dutch equivalent of eBay, there's an A100 for €200,-, although I've seen lower prices in the past. That price includes 2 batteries though, an 18-70mm lens, filter, 4GB memory and the box. Click here to see the ad.

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Postby popo » Fri Jun 05, 2009 2:23 pm

To dig up this old thread, I now has an IR modified camera.

As written elsewhere, I got a used 300D recently. Following this guide, I took apart the camera, removed the whole filter assembly, and put it back together again. And it still works :D It took about an hour to do that in total, but I think it will be faster the next time I do it now I have a feel for it. And there will be a next time as I only removed the IR block filter this time, and haven't replaced it with anything yet. This will mess up AF operation.

I did the modification at work. I had the Tamron 18-270 on the camera quickly took some test shots. I shot across the room I was in. It's about 10m to that wall on the far side which is what I aimed at. Wide open, it was very blurred. At f/8 everything was soft but getting sharper as it got closer. I think this is an extreme case of front focus!

As I have taken a half day, I'm at home now and took a few test shots. The weather isn't best for IR, but the overcast sky still seems to be letting enough IR though for this...

In the following shots, I have put a Hoya R72 filter on the lens. The filter is 62mm whereas the lens is 72mm, so the adapter is chopping off my corners. These are only quick test shots taken from inside my house. Not the best view I know!

Image
18mm 1/100s f/16 ISO100 - Sunny 16 seemed to work! You wouldn't get that on a non modified camera...
The camera was saving jpegs and I had AWB on. Swapped red-blue channels and adjusted white balance. Unfortunately it looks like this lens suffers from hot spot in the middle.

Image
Similar to #1 except at 270mm zoomed into the trees on the horizon.

Image
1/100s f/16 ISO200 with custom white balance in camera. No PP other than resize.

Looking back, I think I'll switch to raw exclusively for this as it does take a more processing than visible anyway.

So my first impressions are, this is doing exactly what I hoped. Easily hand holdable IR shooting. Quality seems much better than long exposure on unmodified camera too.

Next steps:
Find a cheap wide angle lens that doesn't suffer from IR hot spots. Full manual is ok since AF is totally out anyway.
Fit an IR filter in front of the sensor so I can compose through viewfinder again.
Get out there and use it (weather allowing!!!)
Canon DSLRs: 7D2, 7D1, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 70-300L, 100-400L, 100L, MP-E 65, EF-S 10-18, 15-85
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 50/1.4A, 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS
Compacts: Sony HX9V, Fuji X100.
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Postby Arborist » Fri Jun 05, 2009 5:04 pm

Interesting project.

I have a 300D which rarely gets used these days after I upgraded to the 40D.

I am tempted to whip out the existing filter and leave it naked as I am a bit short of funds, the replacement filters currently marketed are rather expensive.

Please keep us informed as to your progress. :)
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