Scaredy Cat Films

Kodak V550 Conversion to an Infrared Only Digicam
September 27TH, 2009

My father has owned a couple Kodak V550 digital cameras that he bought refurbished from the Kodak website. The first one eventually broke, and instead of fixing it, they sent him another refurb model. This too eventually broke down, but not until after close to 3,000 photos. I got him going with the canon line of digital elphs, and he gave me the remaining Kodak parts he had left. This V550 works OK, but the lens does not retract when yoyu turn the camera off. You have to push it in yourself. It is a 5 megapixel digital camera, and other than the lens retraction issue, seems to work fine. This camera uses a proprietary battery, and SD flash cards.

With nothing really to lose, I decided to crack this one open and see how easy it was to do an IR mod. This camera, once opened, revealed a ton of electronics in a really tight package. I eventually had to remove all the outside body work. Then the LCD and circuit boards neede to be removed to get to the CCD and filter. I doubted that the camera would still work once I got it back together. But it did.

When taking photos in the visible IR band, I have noticed that this camera seems to have trouble focusing. I do not know if this is a result of the lens retraction being faulty (bad gears), or if the sensors have trouble "seeing" the photo subjects because of the change in "visible" light. I usually put the camera in macro mode and have much better results in getting IR photos. The IR moded V550, is a welcome addition to my photography bag, and gives me a 5 megapixel capable Infrared camera.

To start with, here's a few shots of the outside of the camera.

Camera Front
Camera Back
Side A/C

Camera Front

Camera Back Camera Bottom
Side A/V
Top
Camera Bottom
Camera Top Camera Output Ports Camera Wrist Strap

Step 1:

Remove Outside Screws

The first step is to remove all the external screws on the camera. There are 12 screws to remove. Four on one side, three on the other, none on top, and 5 on the bottom (mine only had 4).

All screws are the same size, except for one larger, longer one on the bottom. Take note of this screw to replace it correctly.


After all external screws have been removed, you should be able to remove the front and back covers from the camera. There is still a "lower" cover on the back that has all the menu buttons. This will be removed soon.

Remove Covers

Step 2:

Remove Top

Once the front and back of the camera body has been removed, you can take the sides and top part of the camera off. Be careful with this step, as it does not just slide right off. You will need to pry it off without flexing it too much and breaking it off.

At this point, you can remove the back menu panel, and expose more of the insides of the camera, including the LCD screen.


Camera Back

Back Menu Removed

Step 3:

Remove Screws For LCD

Now we get to another tough part about the mod. You will need to remove the LCD screen and circuit board to get to the lens and filter area. There is a screw holding the LCD to the circuit board to be removed.

There are ribbon cables attached to the LCD and camera, that you will need to be careful not to damage. Peel this camera apart, and expose the lens and filter beneath.


Exposed Ribbon Cable

LCD and Circuits

Step 4:

Access to the Filter

With the circuit boards and LCD screen removed, you can now access the IR filter. Remove the two main screws on the back, and expose the filter and CCD. Take extra care never to touch the CCD, as your finger prints will ruin the camera. Try to minimize the amount of time you have the camera exposed to the air. Any hair or debris in this mechanism will effect the quality of your photos.


I was amazed at how filthy this camera was when I finally got it apart. There was actually hair inside the lens mechanism. I was able to clean it out with air duster. I replaced the IR filter with 1 small piece of exposed film negative, and the glass was replaced with 1 piece of microsope glass cut to size.

Then follow the steps in reverse to put your camera back together.

IR Filter

Sample Photos:

Here are some sample photos I took with the Kodak V550.

Outdoors

Sample photos outdoors.


Sample outdoors.

Outdoors 2


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