By • May 31st, 2009 • Category: Digital stuffs

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The last time I took IR photographs was probably using a Canon 20D modified by some experts and I’ve never touched IR since because I sold the camera off. The 20D wasn’t my first IR camera. I (foolishly & bravely) modified 2 units of Canon G2 before but sold them off to friends later on.

As I was cleaning my cabinet, I found an old Canon G6 and thought I could maybe try modifying it for IR too. Usually doing such modification is one bloody risky business. I will need to open up the camera … remove the IR blocking glass in front of the sensor & replacing it with an IR filter and then pray that I can put it all back … and the camera will still work. The biggest problem is getting a piece of IR filter that is the same (or at least very much the same) thickness as the IR blocking filter. I wouldn’t know the thickness of the blocking filter until I rip apart the cam! *sweats*

When I modified the G2, I was lucky because the difference in thickness was very very little. The camera could still autofocus and work as per normal after the modification. There are some online stores in the US selling pre-cut IR filters for such modifications and those are suppose to be the exact thickness as the camera you are working on. You need to specify the camera model you are purchasing the IR filter for when placing order. Anyway … that is not an option for me because the price of one little piece of filter plus shipping is gonna cost more than the price I paid for that used camera.

So that’s when a little a lot of praying might help. I’ll have to not only pray that the IR blocking filter’s thickness is similar to my Hoya R72 filter … but also pray super hard that I don’t screw up while operating on the camera. I do not have a single bit of such electronic repair training and everything I do is based on ‘maybe this goes here and perhaps that goes there’ method.

Work on my G6 started yesterday morning and it was quite a big surprise that accessing the sensor assembly on the G6 is way easier than doing it on the way older G2! Cool! Then came the best part of it all … to realise that the IR blocking filter in the G6 is almost the same thickness as the Hoya R72! Yahoooo! I was pretty sure it will work well and after some struggling, I managed to cut a piece of R72 using an oil cutter that’s of the same size as the IR blocking filter. Put it all back yesterday afternoon but was disappointed to see some black ‘stains’ and dots on the images. Duh! Maybe I accidentally left some scratches etc on the R72 when I was cutting it. Back to the cutting board.

It was not until this morning that I had a bit of time to try cut the R72 again but this time I made sure I tape up both sides of the filter, hoping that I’ll not scratch it again. Some moments of panic and excitement followed and soon I was running to the park nearby to test out this ‘new’ IR camera.

All these photos were taken using the IR G6. Unfortunately weather was pretty bad when I was out testing it … but I am happy enough to get it to work. I screwed up during this test shoot as I forgot to redo a custom white balance. Well I guess I can’t be complaining.

I didn’t have much time (or patience) to take detailed photos to document the modification process but here are some snapshots that might help if you wanna try doing it yourself.

Open up the back cover of the camera by first flipping open the LCD and then remove all the screws marked with red arrows in the following photos …

Once the back cover is removed, you’ll see this copper(?) protective plate. Remove it by unscrewing the two screws marked with the red arrows. Note that in this photo … the 2 screws were already removed.

Now comes the parts where you might have to be a little careful. Carefully remove the 3 screws marked by the red arrows. Note that you will need a Torx screwdriver (those type with some star shaped head) to remove these screws.

Once the 3 screws in the previous image has been removed … you will now need to remove the sensor and the ribbon cable attached to it and keep it in a clean and safe place. Gently pull up the part surrounded by the 3 red arrows in the above image … that will be the sensor beneath it. Do not use force as the ribbon cable is still attached to the assembly.

To remove the sensor & ribbon cable from the assembly, pull up the plastic connector ‘lock’ show in the picture below marked with red arrow A. Once you manage to push up the ‘lock’, you can easily gently pull up the ribbon cable and store the sensor in a clean dry place.

See this image above … do you see two little springs marked by the red arrows and a ‘X’? Make sure you do not lose them. Pick them up gently and keep it … you’ll need them when you are reassembling the camera.

Now comes the final part … removing the IR blocking filter. See the blue-ish glass marked by arrow B? Yes. That is the one you need to remove and replace with the piece of R72. Do not try prying it with a screw driver. It will shatter or break the glass. The glass is held in place by a couple little bits of silicone. Using a small screw driver or a pen knife … slowly cut away the silicone and the IR blocking filter will be easily removed.

Using an oil cutter (or any other glass cutter), cut a piece of R72 that’s (almost) exactly the size of the IR blocking filter. You might need to sandpaper the sides to get a more accurate size. Once you are done with the new replacement filter, gently place it in the same location where the IR blocking filter was. Make sure your replacement filter fits nicely in the ‘allocated’ position or else you might have problem with focusing later.

Finally … reverse all the steps above (apart from the glass replacement part) and assemble back the G6 and you’re ready to do some test shots.

Good luck!

Do note that I am not an expert or an experienced technician. You are reading this (or trying this?) at your own risk.

Have fun!


  1. Awesome mod and tutorial. Luckily i do not have the talent to do it. Praying will not be necessary.

  2. @DC : Well you do not need any talent to do such things. I don’t have any too. Hahaha. All you need is lots of patience, lots of concentration, lots of figuring out what should go where, lots of remembeing what came out from where … and that’s about all. Wanna go try mod your Leica?

  3. nice, now i know how it looks like from the inside.
    U say it right Ndroo.
    May be u should write down on a piece of paper , draw simple sketch of where the part should be, n u will at least remembered.

    great work as always!!

  4. @miboy : Thanks. Well I think for the G6, these photos above should be clear enough for anyone trying to do it. The only photo that’s probably missing is the part where I was removing the sensor & ribbon cable attached to it. Even without it, it ain’t too complicated. Just try imagine slowly removing the brown rectangle part in between the three red arrows in the image above that describes the sensor removal section. Haha. Hope it helps.

  5. /faint. so hardcore..

  6. Wow, I just saw your lovely IR pics on Flickr and immediately had to come over here to check out the process of it all. 🙂

    Totally impressed with your commitment to maximising the potential of any photographic equipment! *Salutes*

  7. @ymmij : Time to mod your 350D?

    @Edric : Thank you.

  8. wah this is quite fierce. can offer ur service not

  9. u always makes me speechless CAN!!!

  10. @bear : Thanks. I am not qualified (or dare) to offer my service. Hahaha. The cam I touch can go to camera heaven anytime … so I will not dare take the risk.

    @norya : Thanks. Guess the beer the night before did help. Haha.

  11. Hmmm….this is so cool! Can I convert any digital cam to IR?

  12. @Jer : I think any digital cam can be converted to IR as long as you can replace the IR blocking filter with an IR filter that is of the same thickness.

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