review: infrared-modded canon rebel

AndyAndy BicameralNew YorkRegistered Users Posts: 50,154 Major grins
edited July 13, 2008 in Cameras
hi dgrinners! ...i have been working with my friends over at maxmax.com on a new ir modded camera - this time, based on a canon digital rebel body. why the rebel? simple - they are cheap to get on the second hand market (about $400) and it's got a fine fine cmos sensor inside it :D not to mention that i have a collection of canon glass that works with this body.

well, let me tell you, the conversion is fantastic! at yosemite a few weeks ago, i had a full go with it for four days.

* the ir conversion is done inside the camera, the ir cut filter is removed and replaced with precision-ground 720nm ir glass. for those do-it-yourselfers out there, this is the critical part - well, this and the focusing adjustments.. maxmax has been doing precision optics for a long time - their bread and butter is some heavy duty stuff for different u.s. government agencies (shhh! .. check with david_s85 if you want those details :lol3) and so, they really spend a lot of r&d, time and $$ on getting the glass right.

* no filter is required on your lens, as this is a permanent ir camera now! this also means that you can use it as a "grab-n-go" ir camera - you see fully and clearly thru the ovf, just as you would normally. the camera operates in all modes, av, tv, manual etc as well as autofocuses.

* the metering is not exact - yet - so you have to apply between -1/3 and -1 exposure compensation to your shots at time of shoot - it's easy to get the hang of how much to apply. really bright? -1. medium bright? -2/3s. a bit muddled? -1/3 to perhaps none. maxmax is working on a further mod that perhaps could make the metering exact, but i'm not concened about this - the use of ec is really simple and the files are very responsive to exposure correction in post, because...

* you shoot in raw - thus allowing you maximum exposure correction control in post!

the files are soooooooo clean. zero noise or chunkiness in the skies. there are no "hot spots" at all - something that sometimes plagues dslr infrareds that are done on a non-modded camera.

i printed up several last evening at 13" x 19" and they are *stunning* in print. i shot with two lenses, a 10-22 ef-s lens and also a 35L. both produces superb results.

here are a couple pics (i've posted these here on dgrin before so if you've seen them already i apologize for the dupe) ...i hope you like them.

in post: convert to bw via channel mixer layer; lab curves adjustment; localized contrast enhanement via further curves adjustment. small amount of usm applied (100, .4, 0). the second pic has a 14% luminosity toning layer applied.


canon 10-22 ef-s aboard; iso 100, f/8, 1/320th second hand held, -1/3 ec.
22552515-L.jpg

canon 10-22 ef-s aboard; iso 100, f/8, 1/400th second hand held, -2/3s ec.
22552510-L.jpg

i know there are folks who've been waiting on this info, so as regards costs: for forum friends, maxmax has agreed to $390 for the conversion + return postage costs to you. this is a 15% discount, how cool is that? dan over at maxmax said that he'd honor this price until june 30, 2005. if you have any questions, you can go to maxmax's website and there's a contact info page. i am *not* affiliated in any way with them, i'm just a happy ir ginuea pig, and i wanted to share this with you.

enjoy (infrared) photography,

Comments

  • BridgeCityBridgeCity Major grins Registered Users Posts: 338 Major grins
    edited May 23, 2005
    Thanks for the info andy! This is a mod that I really wish I could afford at this time... Maybe someday :D
  • 4labs4labs Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,089 Major grins
    edited May 23, 2005
    Thnxs Andy! I see from their website that they modify Nikon D100's so I am definately going to contact them about mine.
  • lulalakelulalake IRtist Registered Users Posts: 93 Big grins
    edited May 23, 2005
    Oh Andy, this is sooo cool. All that Canon glass just waiting to be put on the front . . Excelent and Kudos to the Maxmax folks for getting this one together.

    Thanks so much for the heads up.

    Question: What does the untouched file look like out of the camera? Do you have on to post? I'm sure that the workflow/s will be different from other conversions. I'm just now getting comfortable with the Sony F828's "raw" shots with a conversion done so how am I going to talk to she-who-will-not-be-disobeyed over yet another new camera, he he. I'll figure something out.

    Cheers

    Jules
  • AndyAndy Bicameral New YorkRegistered Users Posts: 50,154 Major grins
    edited May 23, 2005
    4labs wrote:
    Thnxs Andy! I see from their website that they modify Nikon D100's so I am definately going to contact them about mine.

    dan's been doing d100's for a while now. ask him to make you a d100 mod that is like the rebel mod he did for me .. e.g. permanent, so you you can see thru the ovf.

    harry? deal.gif still got your d100 don't you??? ear.gif
  • gubbsgubbs Super Moderator Registered Users Posts: 3,166 Major grins
    edited May 24, 2005
    Thanks andy, and lovely shots too!

    That's another seed planted!!
  • AndyAndy Bicameral New YorkRegistered Users Posts: 50,154 Major grins
    edited May 25, 2005
    BridgeCity wrote:
    Thanks for the info andy! This is a mod that I really wish I could afford at this time... Maybe someday :D


    thanks bc, holler with any questions, whenever....

    cheers
  • AndyAndy Bicameral New YorkRegistered Users Posts: 50,154 Major grins
    edited May 26, 2005
    lulalake wrote:
    Oh Andy, this is sooo cool. All that Canon glass just waiting to be put on the front . . Excelent and Kudos to the Maxmax folks for getting this one together.

    Thanks so much for the heads up.

    Question: What does the untouched file look like out of the camera? Do you have on to post? I'm sure that the workflow/s will be different from other conversions. I'm just now getting comfortable with the Sony F828's "raw" shots with a conversion done so how am I going to talk to she-who-will-not-be-disobeyed over yet another new camera, he he. I'll figure something out.

    Cheers

    Jules

    here's an untouched file (converted from raw, only):

    23109553-L.jpg

    the quality of the files is huge - the low noise is to die for!
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaSuper Moderators Posts: 14,648 moderator
    edited May 26, 2005
    I mailed Kathy's 300D off yesterday. I think it will be great for covered bridge shots in the summer time.
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • lulalakelulalake IRtist Registered Users Posts: 93 Big grins
    edited May 26, 2005
    andy wrote:
    here's an untouched file (converted from raw, only):


    Thanks much Andy. I wondered if the Raw was red or green or what.

    Jules
  • AndyAndy Bicameral New YorkRegistered Users Posts: 50,154 Major grins
    edited May 26, 2005
    lulalake wrote:
    andy wrote:
    here's an untouched file (converted from raw, only):


    Thanks much Andy. I wondered if the Raw was red or green or what.

    Jules

    actually, because it's raw, it can be most any color you want deal.gif
  • David_S85David_S85 Spotter of Dgrin Spam and Oddities ChicagolandAdministrators Posts: 12,923 moderator
    edited May 26, 2005
    I can't believe I missed this thread a few days ago, but glad I ran into tonight.

    Andy, thanks for getting the word out about Max-Max's conversion, and thanks for being the pioneer (guinea pig? :uhoh ) for this project.

    The results prove the worthiness to the IR-addict.

    So if I understand this right, they just install an IR cut filter where the old hot-mirror filter used to be. But... is this new internal filter also got a degree of ND in it? (since IR + ND(s) were needed with the 828's?)
    My Smugmug
    "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take" - Wayne Gretzky
  • AndyAndy Bicameral New YorkRegistered Users Posts: 50,154 Major grins
    edited June 8, 2005
    David_S85 wrote:
    I can't believe I missed this thread a few days ago, but glad I ran into tonight.

    Andy, thanks for getting the word out about Max-Max's conversion, and thanks for being the pioneer (guinea pig? :uhoh ) for this project.

    The results prove the worthiness to the IR-addict.

    So if I understand this right, they just install an IR cut filter where the old hot-mirror filter used to be. But... is this new internal filter also got a degree of ND in it? (since IR + ND(s) were needed with the 828's?)

    no nd filter... just an ir 715nm filter is used.
    the sony needed the nd to control the exposure, it was so ultra-sensitive b/c we shot in nightshot mode, remember?
  • Antonio CorreiaAntonio Correia Always learning Setubal - PortugalRegistered Users Posts: 6,177 Major grins
    edited July 3, 2008
    Andy wrote:
    no nd filter... just an ir 715nm filter is used...
    Sorry Andy but I have a small doubt which is almost a certitude.:D

    I am about to send my 350 D - Digital Rebel in the US - to Lisbon in order the filter to be remove from the sensor.

    But - and here is my doubt - will that be enought to shoot IR ?ne_nau.gif
    A filter must be placed instead: the IR 715nm one. Right ? Wronge ?ne_nau.gif
    Or just removing the built in filter is enought to get IR shots ?ne_nau.gif

    This may sound a stupid question but I wanted to be dead sure before I send the camera to Lisbon to be changed permanently.

    On the other hand, yourself in here you started from a "normal" shot with the use of a simple IR 72nm filter.

    I am more confused than before.
    One thing is sure: I would like to shoot IR and I am willing to modify/sacrify a camera for that.
    But, is it absolutely necessary to do so ?ne_nau.gif
    Can't I get the same results with that IR 72nm filter and going throught your procedures ?ne_nau.gif

    Thank you Andy. :D
    All the best ! ... António Correia - Facebook
  • Scott_QuierScott_Quier Lovin' It Registered Users Posts: 6,524 Major grins
    edited July 3, 2008
    Sorry Andy but I have a small doubt which is almost a certitude.:D

    I am about to send my 350 D - Digital Rebel in the US - to Lisbon in order the filter to be remove from the sensor.

    But - and here is my doubt - will that be enought to shoot IR ?ne_nau.gif
    A filter must be placed instead: the IR 715nm one. Right ? Wronge ?ne_nau.gif
    Or just removing the built in filter is enought to get IR shots ?ne_nau.gif

    This may sound a stupid question but I wanted to be dead sure before I send the camera to Lisbon to be changed permanently.

    On the other hand, yourself in here you started from a "normal" shot with the use of a simple IR 72nm filter.

    I am more confused than before.
    One thing is sure: I would like to shoot IR and I am willing to modify/sacrify a camera for that.
    But, is it absolutely necessary to do so ?ne_nau.gif
    Can't I get the same results with that IR 72nm filter and going throught your procedures ?ne_nau.gif

    Thank you Andy. :D
    Antonio, I think you have a pretty good understanding of the process.

    If you have the IR blocking filter removed from your 350, your sensor will be exposed to both visible and IR (and UV, etc...), so you will need to place an IR pass filter in the light path somewhere to block the visible.

    When I sent my 20D into MaxMax some months ago, they not only removed the IR blocking filter (and others) but installed an 830nm pass filter. Now, just about the only thing my sensor "sees" (that it is sensitive to) is light with wavelengths longer than 815nm. In this configuration, no ND is needed - in fact with the 830nm, I have to set exposure about 2 stops higher than indicated by the internal light meter - but that's because the light meter is calibrated for visible light, not for the very long wavelength light that the sensor is exposed to. I used aktse's 715nm modified dRebel XT (Canon 350) and found that the light meter did a pretty good job of estimating required exposure.

    As for the need for NDs on the Sony 7x7 and 828 - well I've never used one but I strongly suspect Andy knows what he's talking about mwink.gif
  • Antonio CorreiaAntonio Correia Always learning Setubal - PortugalRegistered Users Posts: 6,177 Major grins
    edited July 3, 2008
    Antonio, I think you have a pretty good understanding of the process.

    If you have the IR blocking filter removed from your 350, your sensor will be exposed to both visible and IR (and UV, etc...), so you will need to place an IR pass filter in the light path somewhere to block the visible.

    When I sent my 20D into MaxMax some months ago, they not only removed the IR blocking filter (and others) but installed an 830nm pass filter. Now, just about the only thing my sensor "sees" (that it is sensitive to) is light with wavelengths longer than 815nm. In this configuration, no ND is needed - in fact with the 830nm, I have to set exposure about 2 stops higher than indicated by the internal light meter - but that's because the light meter is calibrated for visible light, not for the very long wavelength light that the sensor is exposed to. I used aktse's 715nm modified dRebel XT (Canon 350) and found that the light meter did a pretty good job of estimating required exposure.

    As for the need for NDs on the Sony 7x7 and 828 - well I've never used one but I strongly suspect Andy knows what he's talking about mwink.gif


    Thank you Scott. Much obliged :D

    I have the filter removed and get a IR 715nm filter, a Goya R72 or a Wratten 89B and then I will be shooting infrared.clap.gif

    I am thinking right am I not ?thumb.gif
    Some more useful links on this subject here.
    All the best ! ... António Correia - Facebook
  • Scott_QuierScott_Quier Lovin' It Registered Users Posts: 6,524 Major grins
    edited July 3, 2008
    Thank you Scott. Much obliged :D

    I have the filter removed and get a IR 715nm filter, a Goya R72 or a Wratten 89B and then I will be shooting infrared.clap.gif

    I am thinking right am I not ?thumb.gif
    Some more useful links on this subject here.
    It sounds right to me, but I've not done it that way so I don't know from personal experience.
  • Antonio CorreiaAntonio Correia Always learning Setubal - PortugalRegistered Users Posts: 6,177 Major grins
    edited July 3, 2008
    It sounds right to me, but I've not done it that way so I don't know from personal experience.

    bowdown.gifScott.
    I will be waiting for somebody else's opinion. :D
    :Dthumb.gif
    All the best ! ... António Correia - Facebook
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Super Moderators Posts: 22,602 moderator
    edited July 3, 2008
    Antonio,

    If you wish to use the camera for IR plus visible, then they need to remove the original Infrared Cutout Filter (ICF) and replace it with a WG280 glass of the same thickness. In this configuration, the camera will autofocus the visible light, but be off focus for IR, and you need to use the Hoya R72 (or similar) filter for IR work. Focus would require manual focus and work against IR focus marks on the lens or "guess" the slight correction required to offset visible light focus. Framing the shot is more difficult because the R72 filter makes the viewfinder very dark.

    If you want to convert the camera to IR 715nm only, they should replace the ICF with a 715nm "bandpass" filter over the sensor.

    In this case autofocus should be normal with most optics and the viewfinder will be normal. No filter is required in front of the lens.

    There is also a "deep infrared" 830nm conversion available, but the sensor filter shifts the exposure by approximately 2 stops, requiring a 2 stop exposure compensation.

    In both of the IR only solutions I believe that the thickness of the new bandpass filter is adjusted to allow normal autofocus operation.

    I believe I have "condensed" the information properly, but to be absolutely sure I recommend you contact one of the two following services for the best information:

    [email protected]
    [email protected]
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • Antonio CorreiaAntonio Correia Always learning Setubal - PortugalRegistered Users Posts: 6,177 Major grins
    edited July 7, 2008
    ziggy53 wrote:
    Antonio, If you wish to use the camera for IR plus visible, then they need to remove the original Infrared Cutout Filter (ICF) and replace it with a WG280 glass of the same thickness. In this configuration, the camera will autofocus the visible light, but be off focus for IR, and you need to use the Hoya R72 (or similar) filter for IR work. Focus would require manual focus and work against IR focus marks on the lens or "guess" the slight correction required to offset visible light focus. Framing the shot is more difficult because the R72 filter makes the viewfinder very dark...

    Thank you Ziggy.bowdown.gifD

    I took longer to reply because I do have found some one who does the job in this country.
    However, they only remove the ICF. They don't replace it.

    If the WG280 is only to protect the sensor - I mean IF - the only problem in shooting IR would be when cleaning the sensor.
    Unless that WG280 has any other function...

    I do have asked the Customs about exporting/importing the camera from/into the Comunity just in case I need to do so.
    It is easier for me if everything is settled in Portugal and the amount of money envolved is smaller.

    What do you think, please ?:D
    bowdown.gifthumb
    All the best ! ... António Correia - Facebook
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Super Moderators Posts: 22,602 moderator
    edited July 7, 2008
    Thank you Ziggy.bowdown.gifD

    I took longer to reply because I do have found some one who does the job in this country.
    However, they only remove the ICF. They don't replace it.

    If the WG280 is only to protect the sensor - I mean IF - the only problem in shooting IR would be when cleaning the sensor.
    Unless that WG280 has any other function...

    Antonio,

    I believe the actual function of using the same thickness WG280 glass is to keep/preserve autofocus for visible light, as well as protect the sensor. Simply removing the ICF you will probably lose autofocus for both visible light and IR.
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • Antonio CorreiaAntonio Correia Always learning Setubal - PortugalRegistered Users Posts: 6,177 Major grins
    edited July 7, 2008
    ziggy53 wrote:
    Antonio,

    I believe the actual function of using the same thickness WG280 glass is to keep/preserve autofocus for visible light, as well as protect the sensor. Simply removing the ICF you will probably lose autofocus for both visible light and IR.
    and makes the sensor more sensitive to scratches...

    Thank you Ziggy. bowdown.gif
    I am doing the transformation in the States.
    :D
    All the best ! ... António Correia - Facebook
  • GTBGTB Beginner grinner Registered Users Posts: 1 Beginner grinner
    edited July 13, 2008
    What is the thickness required? I heard of making your own using a cut UV filter?

    I had my camera "converted" but the filter was just removed...nothing was replaced. So I need to locate a filter to make it focus correctly.
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Super Moderators Posts: 22,602 moderator
    edited July 13, 2008
    GTB wrote:
    What is the thickness required? I heard of making your own using a cut UV filter?

    I had my camera "converted" but the filter was just removed...nothing was replaced. So I need to locate a filter to make it focus correctly.

    GTB, welcome to the Digital Grin. clap.gif

    Hopefully you retained the filter so you should be able to use a micrometer to measure its thickness.
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
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