Home -> Encyclopedia -> How to modify a digital camera to see more of the em spectrum (ultraviolet, infrared)
Here’s the equipment, software, and other items you would need:
- Canon 5D Mark II.
- IR/UV Cut Filter Replacement (Full-spectrum filter). The filter type depends on your specific requirements. They are commonly available in ranges like 590nm, 720nm, or 850nm for infrared, and you should choose based on the type of photography you intend to do.
- Miniature Philips screwdrivers.
- Small flat blade or a pointed knife (like an X-Acto knife).
- Tweezers – anti-static preferred.
- Lens Cleaning solution & lens cleaning paper.
- Handheld clean air blower.
- Nitrile gloves.
- A clean, dust-free workspace.
- Adobe Photoshop or similar software that can handle RAW image files and offer significant editing capabilities.
- IR/UV capable lenses – Canon L series lenses are generally considered good for this.
Before we proceed, understand the primary foundational element here. We are modifying the camera to capture the broader light spectrum that is normally blocked to achieve sharper images with less color aberration.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:
Step 1: Prepare Your Workspace
Start with preparing your workspace. Make sure it’s clean and dust-free, well lit, with a comfortable space to work. Wear your nitrile gloves to avoid fingerprints on internal components.
Step 2: Disassemble Your Camera
First, remove the lens from your camera, then proceed towards removing the back case, circuit boards, and other mechanical components, primarily using your Philips screwdriver. Keep track of your steps and place all screws and components carefully aside, remembering where each one goes.
Step 3: Removing the Sensor
Once you’ve made your way through the shell and internal components, you’ll eventually find the sensor housed in a small, rectangular enclosure. Remove any screws holding this in place and carefully extract the sensor.
Step 4: Removing the IR/UV Cut Filter
You will find the IR/UV Cut (Hot mirror) filter directly above the image sensor. This is a delicate process. Use your knife or small flat blade, and gently pry the old filter away from the sensor.
Step 5: Clean the Sensor
After removing the hot mirror, clean your sensor using lens cleaning solution, paper, and the handheld air blower to remove any dust or debris.
Step 6: Install the New Filter
Now take your new IR/UV Cut filter replacement and carefully install it where the old filter was located.
Step 7: Reassemble Your Camera
Begin by placing the sensor back in its housing, then proceed to reinstall the circuitry, casing, and any other components you removed previously.
Step 8: Software modifications
Once the camera has been reassembled, you’ll need to adjust your white balance settings to offset the newly skewed color balance.
Important Note: You are strongly advised to carefully evaluate your knowledge and skills before attempting this. If untrained, you can potentially damage sensitive camera components. It’s usually best to have this operation performed by a professional.
Once your camera conversion is accomplished, each photograph you take will require post-processing. You will need to create a custom white balance profile and potentially alter the color channels in software like Photoshop.