Camera Mods, Hacks, also known as: Creating an IR Camera
January 24TH, 2010
Cameras Successfully Operated on So Far:
Powershot A20 |
Fuji Finepix 2650 |
Canon Powershot A200 |
Samsung Digimax 200 |
V550 | Canon Powershot A400
Not Modified, or Failed Modifications:
Kodak DC260 |
Kodak EasyShare CX4200 |
Olympus Camedia D 390
Camera IR Basics
recently found out that digital camera sensors or CCDs (Charge
Coupled Device), can actually capture more than just the visible
spectrum, they can capture what is known as Near Infrared or
Near IR (NIR). This is a portion of the spectrum that is out of
visible sight of most humans. Human eyesight is limited to the
range of 350nm-750nm, but digicam sensors can capture the additional
around 700nm-1000nm (depending on the CCD found in your camera).
Image From: www.colourware.co.uk
digital cameras have special filters built into them to block
the IR wavelengths, and if they didn't your pictures
would come out over-exposed with visible and IR data. There
are filters that you can buy as attachments for cameras that amplify
the IR wavelength so that regular digital cameras can be used
to photograph these wavelengths. These filters typically
require longer exposure times, and will cost you some money, IR
filters and lenses can be $70-$100 or more.
But What Does it Look Like?
what does an Infrared Photograph look like? Well IR operates in
the spectrum beyond visible light, so it does not have a color.
It is beyond the range of red. Images are basically black and
white. Foliage, skin, clouds, and many materials give off a white
glow. The sky will be black, as is pavement. Here is an example
of some infrared photographs that I took with my DIY Digital Infrared
Camera, and what the scene looks like normally. I used a modified
Canon Powershot A20 Digital Camera (2.1 Megapixels with 3x zoom).
is a scene of some conifers and larches that I took at a park near
my house. I was curious if the Larch trees had different IR properties
the other pines. You can tell from the IR photographs that they
don't. The moon was coming up in the center of the pictures.
you see in the second photograph is the IR image as captured from
my IR camera. The photograph has a red tint because some of the
natural light still makes it through my makeshift filter. Since
Infrared light is close to the red end of the spectrum, the light
that sneaks in is red.
reality infrared is beyond the color red, so the third picture,
in which I used Adobe Photoshop to remove the color information,
is most likely closest to what an actual IR photograph would resemble.
How Do I Make A Digital IR Camera?
what you came here to find out right? Well Here you go, step by
step instructions to modify a digital camera to be an IR digital
camera. A warning, if you perform these operations on a digital
camera, it will no longer be able to take regular photographs
again. I will be posting instructions for a variety pf cameras
I attempt to modify. With luck they will all work, and I plan
on doing each one slightly differently.
we are working with handmade "optics" and "filters" there is understandably
some image post processing that needs to be done on images captured
with any of the IR cameras I modified. Unless the camera comes
with a "Black and White" mode, or a manual white balance, your
pictures will have a red or purple tint to them.
image of an old train station was taken near Thornton PA.
The original image has a purple tint to it, and will need
to be grayscaled using Adobe Photoshop.
the image has had a grayscale applied to it, we can move
on to either leveling the image or adjusting the contrast
settings. I usually go in and manually or automatically level
the image with Adobe Photoshop. The histogram to the right
shows what the above image looks like before an auto-level
operation is applied.
plenty of room for image correction on this image.
first image shows the grayscale version of the train station.
The image to the right is the station after auto-leveling
using Adobe Photoshop.
images will benefit from noise reduction, as again we are using
handmade filters here so they aren't the best performers
in low light, or high light situations. I've been experimenting with
Neat Image and like the results so far. Here's a couple examples
and after Noise Reduction using Neat Image. You will need to click
on each image to get a large size version to see the difference
with noise filtering.
The first picture
is a Christmas Tree taken with the Canon A20 2.1 Megapixel Camera.
The second image is a sign taken with a Kodak DC240 2.0 Megapixel
is a link to my gallery of Digital
Infrared Images so far.