Furby David Burren Photography

Digital Near-Infrared Camera Conversions

Forest IR

Are you a photographer looking to work with Near-Infrared digital photography?

Some people take digital IR photographs by simply using an IR-pass filter screwed onto the front of their camera's lens, but this can result in long exposures, blurred subjects, and noisy images. Better results can be achieved by dedicating a camera to IR and replacing its internal IR-blocking filter with an IR-pass filter.


For a detailed discussion of the ins and outs of the conversions, the pros and cons of DSLRs and compact cameras, and more sample images, please read our Digital IR Choices page.

Having been converting cameras for my own use since 2003, in 2005 David began converting cameras for other photographers. Either you can send us a camera to convert, or we can source a camera for you (new or secondhand, depending on the model you're after). The conversion includes replacing the internal filters, and realigning the AF system so that you don't need to perform manual re-focussing (which you will be familiar with if you've done any film IR photography).

Compact cameras, or DSLRs?

There are two main types of digital cameras: "compact" (or "P&S") cameras with LCD viewfinders, and Digital SLRs (DSLRs).

  • When you look through the optical viewfinder of a DSLR you're not seeing the IR image, you're looking at the scene with "normal" light (converted DSLRs do not require any IR filters in front of the lens). This is like IR film: you don't get to see the final IR image until you've take the photo. But obviously you don't have to wait until the end of the film, you get to see the image (and histogram) immediately.
    In a DSLR the exposure metering is done with sensors in the pentaprism, and in a converted camera these are still exposed to visible light. The exposure required for an IR image will be different than the meter expects, but the histogram will let you easily determine the appropriate exposure. You can set exposure compensation for the meter, but unfortunately the compensation will be different for various scenes, and sometimes the safest method is to use manual exposure.
    We recalibrate the focus system as much as possible so that when you get an image sharp in the viewfinder (or by AF) the IR image recorded by the sensor should also be sharp.
  • The LCD viewfinder of a compact camera will show you exactly what the infrared picture will look like, and for many people this compositional aid is very important. Also because the camera's exposure metering is being done with IR light there is no exposure compensation required.

For a better discussion of the issues, read the Digital IR Choices page.

Which camera will suit you will depend on your own needs. For a lot of people (especially newcomers to IR) a compact camera is the best choice. It's also the cheaper option.

Filter choices

We can convert your camera by replacing the internal IR-blocking filter with one of several types of glass. For the technical details of each, have a look at the Filters section of our Digital IR Choices page.

  • 87C
    This dark filter only lets in IR light, producing strong monochromatic images.
    "87C" is a Kodak/Wratten product name. The actual glass we use for this at the moment is Schott RG830.
  • R72
    This dark red glass lets in a very broad spectrum of IR light, and even a bit of visible red. As a result the cameras end up producing false-colour images which some people prefer over B&W.
    "R72" is a Hoya product name, and Kodak's equivalent is "89B". The actual glass we use for this at the moment is Schott RG715.
  • 87
    This dark filter lets in a broader range of IR wavelengths than an 87C, but on some cameras does produce slight false colours due to interactions with the sensor's colour filters.
    "87" is a Kodak/Wratten product name. The actual glass we use for this at the moment is Schott RG780.
  • CLR
    This clear glass provides excellent transmission of IR, visible, and UV light. If you want to use a variety of external filters on your camera then this is the choice for you. This is not window glass or similar, it's a special filter designed for maximum transmission (e.g. Schott WG280).
    NOTE: By default the camera focus will be adjusted for visible-light photography.
  • Baader
    Intended for astrophotography use, this filter passes all visible light through, and just enough of the IR spectrum to cover the hydrogen-alpha wavelengths (emitted by excited hydrogen gas, and of special interest to astronomers).
    The filter is the Baader UV/IR-cut filter from Baader Planetarium in Germany, and will probably be familiar to astrophotographers.
    NOTE: This filter is only available on selected cameras, and is a higher price than the other filters.

Which filter you choose is up to you.


For new orders as of December 2006

These prices include return shipping, taxes, etc. For payment options, please visit our Payments page.

R72 / 87C / CLR / 87 filter conversions

EOS 20D/30D/350D(Rebel XT)8 Mp DSLRAU$350US$290
EOS 400D(Digital Rebel XTi)10 Mp DSLR
EOS 10D/D60/300D(Rebel)6 Mp DSLR
Nikon D50/D1006 Mp DSLR
EOS 1D4 Mp DSLRAU$400US$320
EOS 1Ds11 Mp DSLRAU$450US$350
PowerShot Pro18 Mp compactAU$285US$240
PowerShot G3/G5/G64/5/7 Mp compactAU$240US$210
PowerShot S30/S40/S45/S50/S60/S703/4/5/7 Mp compact
PowerShot S808 Mp compact
(no RAW)
PowerShot G1/G23/4 Mp compactAU$225US$200
Coolpix 54005 Mp compactAU$240US$210

"Baader" conversions

EOS 20D/30D/350D(Rebel XT)8 Mp DSLRAU$450US$365
EOS 400D(Digital Rebel XTi)10 Mp DSLR
EOS 10D/D60/300D(Rebel)6 Mp DSLR

Australian customers: The Australian prices above include GST and return shipping within Australia by registered post.

beside Lilydale Lake
USA/Canada customers: The USA prices are ex-GST and include return shipping via Australia Post's ECI courier service. The customer is responsible for any import duties imposed by their government (typically none for equipment returned after "repair").

Other international customers: Shipping may to your location may differ from the U.S.A. rate. Please contact us for confirmation of the price.

To order

Before sending your camera and money, please contact us to confirm the price and to check shipping details. E.g. for many camera models you should only send the bare camera (with lens/body cap of course) and not waste shipping on batteries/cables/etc, although some cameras are exceptions to this. If you ship us too much gear you may need to pay additional shipping to get it returned to you. This contact also allows us to manage my stock levels of components such as filter glass.

Once we receive your camera, it's typically on its way back to you a week later, although some jobs have taken a while longer.

Which camera should I buy?

This can be hard to answer: each model has a different set of features and we each have a different set of requirements. But we have collected notes about various models in a separate article.


Sensor cleaning:

In converted DSLRs the glass surface visible when you engage sensor-cleaning operation can be cleaned in the same way as you would clean an unconverted camera (this has unfortunately not been true of conversions by some other businesses). We have some notes on this.

Scratched sensor?

If you have an unconverted DSLR with a "scratched sensor" then this conversion is often cheaper than the cost of having the IIRCF/AA component replaced with a new one by Canon. The same probably applies to Nikon DSLRs.

These modifications will void your camera's warranty (typically a 12-month warranty, so it may have expired already). We do provide a 6-month warranty on the modifications.

Unless otherwise noted, all text and images on this website are Copyright David Burren Photography 2000-2010 and may not be used for any purpose without prior consent.

Screen calibration bar