Old 07-12-2007, 08:26 AM
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Omaroo (Chris Malikoff)
Let there be night...

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IR-modded Nikon D40

I've been very pleased with the D40's performance over the past few months that I've owned it. The 30-sec captures of 47Tuc, Eta Carinae, etc I've done a while ago convinced me that it has potential as the CCD is certainly very sensitive and the noise characteristics are very good too - somewhat better than some older Nikon varieties like the D50/70 I've seen in the (near) past. "Mode 3" on the D40 (turn power off before the noise algorithms are applied) works well to produce a pretty-much proper RAW file - a nuisance but it works. IR filtering is pretty aggressive though - like recent DSLR's from most manufacturers. Ha stuff such as B33 Horsehead is a killer.

I've just come across a company in the USA called MaxMax that can do an IR+Visible mod on a D40 for US$450 plus shipping. That sounds pretty good to me as I can still use it for visible light work with a CC1 filter attached.

Has anyone used these guys before? I'm really tempted, and once the camera arrives at their place they turn it around in 1-2 days. Also - as a more general question, how do these mods leave the basic functionality of a camera for daily terrestrial use?


Here's another place too: LifePixel - http://www.lifepixel.com/shop/cart.p...ct_detail&p=49 and they do it for US$350.00 for a IR+Visible mod.

Last edited by Omaroo; 07-12-2007 at 10:10 AM.
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Old 08-12-2007, 11:11 AM
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Omaroo (Chris Malikoff)
Let there be night...

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I can see that this subject simply entralls everyone.

I've heard back from a bunch of people on CN, and the two main answers I get are theses:

1) Go and order the Full Spectrum (UV/IR/Visible) clear glass filter from LifePixel and do the mod myself. It isn't hard, and with an external UV/IR filter it will still work beautifully for terrestrial photography - albeit with a slightly different white point. That's OK as I usually take RAW anyway.

2) Simply remove the existing filter and leave the sensor bare - i.e. do't replace the existing IR filter with a clear one. The argument is that an overlay filter will trap dust bunnies behind it, while a bare sensor is easy to clean (they are still covered in optical glass).

I like answer *1 as the clear Full Spectrum filter lets the autofocus still work. Without it the autoficusing systems go out of calibration.

So! Time to order the filter - US$95.00 plus shipping.
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Old 08-12-2007, 12:21 PM
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iceman (Mike)
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What will you use for terrestrial photography afterwards? Is it guaranteed to get the colour balance right with a filter?

I'd love to mod my 350D but I'd prefer to have a second one dedicated to astro use.
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Old 08-12-2007, 12:25 PM
Dazzled by the Cosmos.

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Sounds like you've got yourself a challenging project for the Xmas break Chris! I think the lack of responses is more indicative of the sheer feeling of dread and terror welling up in the pit of the stomach at the though of modding one's own (expensive) DSLR!

Good luck; hope you’ve got a steady hand, good eyes and a sharp soldering iron.


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Old 08-12-2007, 12:59 PM
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citivolus (Ric)

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I bought my filter from LifePixel for my 10D mod. Their instructions were straightforward and I had no real issues other than the application of the silicone to hold the filter in place. I had to pull the filter out several times and give it a thorough cleaning to remove misplaced adhesive.
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