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Infragram convertible cameras

This is a revision from May 21, 2014 18:39. View all revisions

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A page listing cameras which can be converted for near-infrared, and requests for photos/documentation of cameras to be converted.

Excellent

Cameras which are easy to convert and work well:

Canon

Canons usually convert easily and are a favorite:

• Canon A590. An old model (2008) with lots of features appropriate for aerial photography (shutter priority, manual focus, filter mounting bracket, 8 MP, 2 AA, $30 on ebay). Four ribbon cables must be unplugged (one of them is a challenge to connect again), and 17 screws must be removed to reach the sensor. So it is not the easiest conversion to do, but the photos are pretty sharp with no filter replacing the removed IR cut filter or with a Wratten 25A gel filter installed. The sensor is held in place by springs, so mark the three final screws before unscrewing them so you can screw them back in the same number of rotations. The IR cut filter is 8 x 9 x 0.36 mm. • Canon A480 - Almost the same as the A490, but watch out for the springs! • Canon A490 or A495 (see conversion on YouTube) or below (~$50, 10 megapixel).
• Canon A2200 The buttons on the back of the camera have an internal button pad with a ribbon cable. Note how that ribbon cable is threaded around things before you move those things. It's easy to reassemble things wrong so that the ribbon cable is torn.
• Canon A1200
• Canon A1300. Virtually the same procedure as with the A2200 above.
• Canon A800 It was really straight forward like the other cameras.
• Canon A810 (Here's an instructable specific to the A810): The IR block filter removal went smoothly and was successful even though I had never opened up a camera before. Its 16 megapixels is more than you really need.
• Canon A2500. Straight forward like the other cameras. Only you need to flip the lcd (which is hold by a piece of tape). Behind the lcd there are 4 screw you need to loose. The rest is simple.
• Canon S4000 IS - The camera is very tightly built but not hard to open and convert, and works well with Rosco #74 filters.
• Canon Digital Rebel (various, external site, very involved)
• Canon S100. Fairly complex disassembly with over 20 screws needing to be removed to access sensor. The internal IR filter is held in place with rubber and thankfully not glue. Sensor board is a pain to remove from the lens assembly though, as Canon uses a hard glue on each screw that needs to be carefully picked away before sensor can be removed.
• list cameras here

to help complete it!

Generic brand mini-cameras

These typically have 720p or 1080p sensors and sometimes come with waterproof cases.

• several examples here have been very easy conversions, but have not worked well for infrablue photos, due to the blue channel leaking infrared light. We're currently looking for cameras with better characteristics.

• Mobius ActionCam The Mobius is very easy to open, and it's very easy to expose the IR block filter. But the filter is glued on and must be broken into shards to remove. A new filter would have to be glued into place.

Acceptable

Cameras which can be converted although it may not be ideal (please state why!)

Smartphones

Extra difficult, but could be very exciting to have a smartphone that can do this!

Canon

• Canon Powershot SX120 IS: This camera has full manual controls and a 360 mm (eqiv.) zoom lens. The goal was to take infrablue Gigapans. One ribbon cable must be unplugged, but it's pretty easy. Twenty-five screws must be accessed from the outside or back, as usual, but two deep internal screws must be accessed from the front, so the entire camera must be disassembled (31 screws total). The IR block filter is under a plate which is attached to the front of the sensor with two screws. While removing the filter, it touched the sensor. The reassembled camera worked fine, but there was a blotch where the sensor is damaged (see image). So I bought a new sensor (\$13 ebay). It would be hard to install a film or polyester filter instead of the IR block filter -- it would not stay in place.

Guide to most of the screws to get to the IR block filter in a Canon SX120. Note damage to sensor (photo taken by reassembled camera).

• Canon PowerShot A2400: conversion tutorial here - very difficult one due to the ribbon cables coming unclamped repeatedly; some have reported only a 66% success rate.

• list cameras here

to help complete it!

Requests

Cameras which have not yet been converted -- if you've done it, please move it up!

• BOSCAM HD19
• Samsung NV24HD I have one of these (several years old) that I plan on trying to convert when my kit comes! It has a very sharp lens and decent sensor so hoping it all goes well! If anyone else has tried a conversion with this camera please post about it!

Videos

This video, listed above, shows the removal of a filter on a Canon A495, but then shows a film negative filter taped to the front. For Infragram conversions, we recommend you put the Infragram filter inside the camera -- exactly where the IR-block filter used to be.

Focus

Some people report blurry photos after installing a new filter. Some of these people have been able to fix this by adjusting the screws which hold the sensor down. It's possible that the rubber gasket under the sensor has been shifted and stopped the sensor from properly screwing in. In some cameras the sensor is held a particular distance from the lens by springs, so the screws must be turned in exactly the same amount as they were at the factory. Marking the screw positions before unscrewing them can help return them to the proper position.

After conversion to NIR, a camera will generally produce slightly blurrier photos. This is usually due to the filter material (film, plastic, or gel) which is inferior to glass as an optical element. In addition, infrared light is refracted by the lens less than visible light, which cameras are designed to focus. When a new filter replaces the IR block filter, that filter usually transmits less light, so exposures have to be longer, ISO has to be higher, or the aperture has to be wider. All three of these things can make photos less sharp, and finding a compromise among them is important.