an Infrared Digicam from a Canon Powershot A200
December 5TH, 2007
First off, I
wouldn't recommend doing this with a camera you care about, as
digital cameras can be fragile, and not too easy to repair. This
mod may damage you camera beyond repair if it doesn't work. I am
surprised, but even "lousy" digital cameras of 1.0 megapixel
or less will cost you over $20 on ebay, and easily into $30 or
$40 when you include shipping. Which is really astounding considering
new 6.0 megapixel digital cameras can cost only $99 new. Why would
someone pay $45 for a camera from 2000?
The subject for
this experiment is a Canon Powershot A200 I bought for $35.49 off
ebay from a seller who said it takes photographs, but the pictures
can't be viewed on the LCD screen. The camera also came with a
1GB Compact Flash card, so it was pretty much worth the price regardless
of whether or not the camera worked. When I got the camera it seemed
to be having some issues starting up and using the LCD. But after
changing batteries and messing around a little with the settings
I got it working and it is a pretty easy camera to use. After this
mod it has become one of my favorite IR digicams to use, except
for some moire problems, but what do you expect from such an old
camera. (Suggested Retail Price in 06/2000 - $299.00)
Battery and Flash Card Door
the batteries from the camera first, then open up the digital
camera by removing all the small screws on the outside of
Canon Powershot A200 takes a small phillips head screwdriver.
There are four external screws, 2 on the camera bottom,
and 2 on the side with the power cable USB output jack.
These four screws are the same size.
the side of the camera with the door for the Flash Card
and the Batteries are four more screws that are larger
in size. They need to screw through the door into the camera.
Remember these so you can put them back in the right place.
will need to open the Compact Flash Card door to remove
back of the camera. There are two ribbon cables holding
the back of the camera to the front, so gently wiggle
the camera open, don't tear it off. You will be able
to disconnect these cables if you wish in a future step.
onto the insides of the camera.
two ribbon cables that can be disconnected to help remove the
back of the camera from the front, where all the electronics
are. Label them if you need to, then disconnect them and free
the main part of the camera for the rest of the transformation
to an IR Camera.
to the left shows the back of the camera disconnected from
the front. You can also see the 4 longer screws and 4 smaller
screws that hold the camera together. I have also removed
the battery that stores the camera settings. In my case, this
battery is dead, and I have to enter new date and time info
every time I start up the camera. I assume a new battery
can be found relatively inexpensively.
the main body of the camera that you will be taking apart to
get to the IR filter and lens area. The Canon Powershot A200
only has a "digital" zoom, so the lens area is smaller than
other cameras. For this reason I think you will not need to
replace any glass that you remove when creating a new visible
light filter. Since the focusing is less complex you will not
need to compensate for the lost depth and focal properties.
Now on to Step 3, getting the electronics out.
top of the camera are two ribbon cables holding the electronics
to the camera body. Unhook these cables and you will be able
to slide all the electronics for the camera out. You can
also slide out the battery door assembly, but make note of
how it fits into the camera frame for when you re-insert
camera case has been totally removed from the camera electronics.
You can see the capacitor for the flash. Its not too big,
but it will shock you, I know, it shocked me.
assembly is pretty basic in this model, and should be easy
to modify. Which we will do next.
point you can turn the camera back over so the shiny metal
framework of the case is showing. There are three screws
on the back of this case that are holding the lens assembly.
Unscrew these three screws and you will be able to remove
the lens unit and get to the CCD and IR Filter glass.
Never" touch the camera CCD, as you are unlikely to
ever get the grease from your prints off, and you will never
get a clear picture again. Have some air spray around to
keep things clean. It is a must!
for kicks, hers' a couple photos of the top and bottom of the
digital camera with the case removed.
"red" piece of glass in the lens assembly is the
hot mirror / IR blocking filter. It will need to be removed
to take IR photographs. To the right of the lens assembly
see the camera CCD sitting on
the circuit board. Don't touch it.
a black rubber "diaphragm" like device holding the glass
in place. It will need to be removed and should just slide
blocking filter will need to be pried out of the plastic
lens assembly. I just used a small flathead screwdriver,
an exacto knife if you want.
the glass I took two pieces of exposed film negative, trimmed
them to fit the area the glass was in, used a tweezers to
place them in to avoid fingerprints, and put the black rubber
piece back on.
left to do now is re-assemble the camera back together following
the steps in reverse.
camera takes images with a distinct purple tone to them.
Anyone who has fooled around with scanning slides into digital
images is aware that it has similar qualities to a film negative,
in that they have a purplish tint. Obviously the purple is
not part of the Visible IR spectrum. It will need to be removed.
I grayscale my images using photoshop. The photos are pretty
crisp for a handmade filter, and so far I don't use any noise
a picture of Orchard Park in State College Pennsylvania. The
sun poked out bathing the area in some bright light and enhancing
the contrast of this picture.
is a photo of a local business at Rochester Technology Park.
It was a sunny winter day, with some clouds in the sky, perfect
for IR photography. There was a little snow on the ground
too. This image is interesting because of the moire effect
the building created. Also of interest is the different paneling
on the building which is not readily obvious in the visible
spectrum. In addition, I believe a plane is flying over the
building. It shows up as a bright spot on the dark sky.
is just an interesting photo I took of a church on the way
home. I'll probably photoshop out the power lines and do
a little cropping. It is a good example how when a bright
Infrared Light source (The Sun) is available, you pictures
will turn out best.