Infrared Conversion of Panasonic Digital Camera

Gosh that is a long title, but that is what I did. Yesterday I was a bit bored and was watching my YouTube, “watch later” saves on my tv. Then up popped a video of a bloke converting is camera to an infrared one. It looked easy, not only the corner of my eye I spotted a similar camera on my shelf…could I? should I?

So at midnight I got out my tools and attempted it. I started to take apart a digital camera. Admittedly it was a bit bashed and the screen had pixel damage, but it still worked. I hadn’t even been drinking and still thought it was a good idea.

Anyway, this was the video…

Now, it was midnight and I didn’t actually think I could pull this off. I have been having a bad week in terms of electronics. I have already pulled apart an iPad to replace a battery and broke the digitizer. Then broke a film camera by trying to clean it. So why on earth did I think I could do this? Because covid times and it would be fun to play with if it worked. Plus I got the camera for a couple of quid with another camera, it meant nothing to me.

You can see the damage to the front, but mechanically it worked ok. Perfect for this project.

So I took the screws out as suggested. Mine was slightly different underneath. On my Panosonic DMC FS-11, the screws undid the metal bracket holding the screen and buttons in place. The screen then had to be removed with an extra screw, it then could be folded to the side without taking off the ribbons, so easier than the one in the video. Under the screen was a metal heat shield which also had to be removed with 3 screws. Then under that was the exact same sensor set up. I removed that and was expecting to see the rubber seal and the filter…it wasn’t there. Crap! did this camera not have one? Oh well, I might as well clean the sensor now it is open and put it back together.

I used a cotton bud and gently wiped the sensor…and the filter fell off. It had come up along with the rubber seal. Yipee. I replaced the seal, minus the tiny, hard to see filter, cleaned the sensor and lens with a blower, then put it all back together.

It really only took about 20 minutes. Of course there is no sun at midnight here, so to test it I turned it on and pressed the remote for the TV at the camera. The screen lit up like a candle! Yatta!!!

Then I had to wait until morning to test it more thoroughly. The video has a second part which mentions a filter. I already had an infrared filter from when I was playing with a roll of IR film. I dug that out of my filter pile and placed it in front of the lens. I set the camera to take black and white photos on the regular mode and went into my garden.

Would it work? Would it focus?

YES IT DID!!! I love the look of IR photos, but using IR film is a real pain, so in this instance I would recommend digital over film.

Then I tried a few different coloured filters and the camera’s different scene settings.

No filter added, normal mode.

I won’t describe all the settings as there are a lot on this camera and there really wasn’t much difference. A regular red filter also gave emphasis to the effect. So if you have one of those you can use that without buying an IR filter. You can use the camera in regular mode without an IR filter, everything has a purple tint especially the leaves. As you can see in black and white without the filter the effects are quite muted.

I am going to stick to the black and white with the IR filter.

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