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IR sensitivity of standard digi-camera ??

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  • IR sensitivity of standard digi-camera ??

    Somewhere I saw info about the IR sensitivity of fairly common cheap video and/or digital still cameras.

    Seems that the sensors in at least some digital cameras and video cams have IR sensitivity into the fairly low temp range, and can be made to do at least basic imaging in the IR area. Possibly finding hotter components, some night vision etc.

    For some reason, I must be asking Google the wrong questions, because I can't find the info anymore. Can anyone point me at it?

    Keep eye on ball.
    Hashim Khan

  • #2
    Not sure if this is what you are looking for JT, but lots of IR info as it pertains to digital cameras on this site.
    Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
    Bad Decisions Make Good Stories​


    • #3
      most of the cameras have easily removed filters, so you can turn them into night cams.

      I have an old unmodified nikon coolpix 2mp, that for some reason works great as a 'spotter' in the dark, allowing me to see all kinds of things, but won't take pictures in that low of light, keep thinking I'll tear into it and get rid of the IR filter. In the dark I can see things perfectly clear in the LCD, but pictures taken are just plain black.



      • #4
        In the dark I can see things perfectly clear in the LCD, but pictures taken are just plain black.
        The reason for that is when using the finder screen the camera will max out the gain and open the iris fully to help out the auto focus and your ability to frame the shot. It doesn't show on the finder but the picture quality would be horrible if it was actually taken at those settings. It depends on what model of Nikon you have too, I have the Nikon 4300 and it has a fully manual mode that gives complete control of the camera. It will take pictures under practically zero light conditions using the time exposure settings. Better yet, it also can automatically do a dark field exposure and mathematically subtract the noise from the shot on long exposures.

        This is a picture taken with the Nikon.

        It was taken at midnight by moonlight.
        Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


        • #5
          whats all that white stuff on the ground?
          "four to tow, two to go"


          • #6
            Most are pretty sensitive. They will see IR from IR lasers and remote controls without any issues. The CCD itself is very sensitive to IR. So much so a IR Hot Filter must be placed in front of the CCD to get proper color correction.

            There are two things you can do. One is remove the hot filter. But its not as simple as that on an autofocus digital camera. You must replace the hot filter (Which is made of coated glass) with an equivalent thickness of optical glass. AR coated is preferred. If you dont the camera will not focus as the glass itself has an affect on the focal length of the lens. I have done this with an old Kodak and it works great. I also put a IR pass filter over the glass before the glass to filter out everything but IR. I put a piece of the filter material over the flash as well.

            Second option is get a camera with the Night shot mode. Many Sony camera have this. In night shot mode the camera moves the hot filter out of the lens path and turns on an IR illuminating lens. The only problem with this for me was the features of the camera are very limited when in night shot mode. What I did was take apart the camera and I found the H-bridge chip that controls the rotary solenoid that moves the hot filter. I installed a tiny pushbutton switch to activate the solenoid in any mode I wanted.

            IR is really neat, not only can you see data streams in IR remotes but landscapes and skys come out really neat. Thing that are opaque are now transparent like sunglasses. And yes, you can "see through" some kinds of clothing.

            Here are a couple pics I have taken.


            • #7
              Essentially all the CMOS detectors are IR sensitive, well enough
              to be used as picture takers, but various manufacturers put
              IR filters in front of the sensors. My Sony 707 has a 'niteshot'
              switch which turns on 4 IR Led emitters in the lens barrel
              and does a nice job of 'lighting up' a black scene out to 15 feet
              or so for photos sans flash at nite. It will pick up the glow of
              an IR LED in the dark in standard setting. You might try to look
              at the LED display of your camera, in the dark in open shutter
              and point a TV cliker at it and fire off some signals and see
              if you can see the glow of the cliker. All the cheaper ones are
              IR emitters.


              • #8
                Okay turn her around for the nex shot macona


                • #9
                  Shes in the pic above.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by macona
                    Shes in the pic above.

                    The message you have entered is too short. Please lengthen your message to at least 10 characters.


                    • #11
                      All in the name of science, of course!


                      • #12
                        The nikon coolpix 950 and 990 had a IR filter in front of the lens that was not to difficult to remove if you were good with your hands. Also the Nikon D100 could have the IR filter removed. The newer Nikons such as D200, 300 and the D2, D3 are not all that good at IR conversions. The new Leica M8 has done some stunning work with IR. (in the case of the Leica it's actually a problem for the boys doing color work.)

                        You can test your camera out using a infrared remote control for your tv and point it at your camera and move it around. If you see the remotes light you will have some modicum of success.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by J Tiers
                          Somewhere I saw info about the IR sensitivity of fairly common cheap video and/or digital still cameras.
                          Surely you've heard of Paris Hilton?
                          "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."


                          • #14
                            I think I was a little misleading........

                            The main target device is cheap web-cams, because they are a bit less daunting to get into (although probably harder to open, paradoxically).

                            The idea is hopefully to be able to get shots of hot components in real time, for the purpose of some troubleshooting.

                            I am aware that there are devices made for that purpose....... And I am also aware of the prices I have seen for them.......... I could spend a fair amount of time, and ruin a number of cheezy webcams before getting into the same number of digits as far as dollar cost.

                            The secondary target might be cheap digicams.

                            The site I am thinking of actually had fairly detailed mod information.

                            Keep eye on ball.
                            Hashim Khan


                            • #15
                              Well, thats not as fun!

                              But unfortunately the wavelength you need to see is way out of the range of any CCD. The only way you will see a component in this wavelength is just before it turns red to the naked eye.

                              The thermal heat sensors used in camera like flir are real expensive. Germanium metal optics.