V550 Conversion to an Infrared Only Digicam
September 27TH, 2009
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.
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
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.
with, here's a few shots of the outside of the camera.
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
screws are the same size, except for one larger, longer
one on the bottom. Take note of this screw to replace it
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.
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.
point, you can remove the back menu panel, and expose more
of the insides of the camera, including the LCD screen.
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.
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.
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.
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
follow the steps in reverse to put your camera back together.
Here are some
sample photos I took with the Kodak V550.