There was some interest the last time I posted on the topic, so here’s how it’s done.
Step 1, obviously, is get yourself a cheap digital camera.
This is what I used for my first IR camera. Something went fishy in it after a while, so I made a new one. Between then and now it has been used as a BB target... but that doesn’t matter. I liked how this one was put together so I used another Lumix for my current IR camera. Very modular. Easy to work on.
Next step—(duh) unscrew the shell. The screws have a habit of disappearing, so watch out. Be careful when opening the shell, the screen is generally attached directly to the back of the shell and you will need to disconnect some wiring. If you can’t get a fingernail on the ZIF connector (for the ribbon wiring) you CAN use a very small slot from your mini screwdriver set—but be very gentle.
Now that you’re in, just start taking things apart until you can access the lens. The black part in the pic above with all the ribbons is what we’re after. This is where all that modular construction comes into play... it’s great. My first attempt was actually on a Fuji. I don’t recommend it. Instead of pieces slotting neatly together like this, it’s more like trying to repair an onion. Layer upon layer comes off, with little hope of ever getting it back together again, and eventually it ends in tear. But I digress...
Now that we’ve got the lens module, all we need to do is remove the IR filter and replace it with some kind of visible light filter.
In the case of the Lumix, at least, this is fairly straightforward. All we need to do is remove that plate on the back.
Here’s where the “reverse” part kicks in... obviously because this was a camera I’d already converted, what you’re looking at there is my visible light filter, not the IR filter it comes with. This is basically how it’s going to go together when you’re doing the conversion—except both pieces (I used a double layer to cut out most of the light) just get put in the back of the lens module rather than sticking one getting put over the sensor. One just stuck to the sensor when I pulled it apart—this thing’s been collecting dust for a few years remember.
Here’s what it looks like with no filters of any kind on:
And here’s the rest of the bits.
The two pieces to the left are the IR filter and some sort of bezel for it that come in the camera. On the right, the tail end of a developed roll of film. Just cut a couple sections to size out of the black area, makes a great visible light/UV filter. As you can see from the pictures in my other post, IR passes right through. As I mentioned before, I used a double layer. One worked well, but a lot of visible light still gets through if it’s bright enough. Two seemed to get almost all of it.
CAUTIONS & TIPS:
- Be careful with those ZIF connections. No, seriously. WATCH WHAT YOU’RE DOING TO CLUMSY APE
- I can’t speak for other cameras, but if you use a Lumix, be careful with the screws for the sensor plate. They’re a really shallow, small Torx. The heads strip easily, and they don’t grip the screwdriver. I lost one putting this thing back together after this latest teardown. Oh well, it didn’t work anyway—no big loss. But you won’t want to lose one. I suggest getting them started between your fingernails before using the screwdriver.
- I didn’t care about static with this because it was already busted. You may want to take precautions.
I think that’s about it. Keep your dick in a vise!