You Do NOT have to spend a fortune to do IR!

How To Do It On The Cheap!


I know, this was supposed to be a post on the GH2 tests but I have been getting a lot of email and comments about the assumed high cost of getting into Infrared Photography!  This insane notion needed to be stopped before it got any further!

If you have an extra camera system laying around you can reasonably expect to send it off for conversion for $200-$300.  Yes that is a lot of money but the expansion of your artistic mind set that Infrared will give you will be worth it.  But there is a cheaper way!

EBay is a great place to find used digital camera systems already converted to Infrared!  I have purchased several of these used IR camera systems in the past year for next to nothing and have NEVER had a problem with a single one that came from EBay!

So far I have purchased from Ebay:

  • Canon G10 at 720nm for $350 (G10’s are in high demand)
  • Canon G9 at 665nm for $300
  • Canon 10D at 850nm for $250
  • Olympus E-P1 at 720nm for $300
  • Canon 20D at 590nm that I picked up for $300.00!

Why you ask did I purchase all of these system?  Well I TEACH Infrared Workshops and as part of that I have loaner cameras so that my students can try different camera systems before they decide on what type of camera and what conversion they like the best!  But the real point that I am trying to make here is that YOU DO NOT have to spend a lot of money and that EBay is your friend!

Point and Shoot cameras are very inexpensive and are light and easy to carry.  This means that you will always have a IR system on hand.  Mirror-less SLR IR systems like the GH2 and OLY Pen systems give your the advantage of interchangeable lenses and are small and light.  DSLR IR systems have the advantage of being able to share lenses and accessories!  If you shoot Nikon, do not be afraid to buy a used Canon camera and a cheap lens and vice-versa!

Go back through this blog and read the posts on the 14 IR camera systems that I have tested!  You will notice that I tend towards smaller lighter and cheaper cameras!  There is a whole world out there full of people with IR systems that are upgrading to something newer and cooler (in their eyes!) who would jump at the chance to sell the old ones for funds to add to their new ones.

Beware of buying from friends in camera clubs as they are looking to recover ALL of the money they spent both for the camera as well as the conversion!  As I said EBay is your friend!



10 comments on “You Do NOT have to spend a fortune to do IR!

  1. hii, i comment on your post again,i love your blog. i came from indonesia,for many years try to reduce the high cost of infrared camera, i hate the exclusively of fancy DSLR infrared converted, makes only rich people can buy the camera. And finally i can make it with just US$60 5Mp brica camera with aditional cost for color filter from tian ya and resin infrared filter form hitech and cokin . When i share the result in indonesia forum, many people ask me to sell the camera. And finally more than 40 camera sold within 3 month. Now i developed to use a better camera like benq and canon. no one compain,every buyer are happy. and some of them already have their DSLR converted, and still buy my pocket infrared.

    The result of pocket camera, in my opinion, worth with the price. i have converted all of my camera, 2 brica pocket camera, prosumer fuji S700 and canon G7, and a dslr 1000D.
    And which camera will always be on my side everywhere? my brica.
    The problem of carrying big fancy infrared camera if you already have, you must well prepared to take a photograph.
    It wont fit on your pocket. And you never know what will happen on your journey. When nice scene show up, you will say, auch, i forgot to carry my camera 😀
    here is my gallery for just $60 camera and i sell it for $80 with extra filter in indonesia, with ability to full spectrum , tianya red filter and hitech infrared filter.

    • Shade, this is VERY interesting! I have not ever seen the Brica! How long does it take you to do the conversions? Do you replace the hot mirror with clear glass? I am proud to know someone who does this on the side and makes a small business out of it!!

      Send me a note via email with all of the specifics and I will post it for you on the Facebook IR group and perhaps it will generate some sales for you!

  2. Hi from Spain. Great site. Thank you for sharing.

    I want to convert one of my DSLR cameras to IR. After reading your articles i have decided to go for a dedicated 590nm conversion. I like the gold effect, and i´m going to do a lot of country-side landscape.

    I have 4 Olympus DSLR cameras, and the 2 of them that don´t mind to loose for color work are:

    – E500: with kodak 8mp CCD sensor (no live view)
    – E520: with panasonic 10mp CMOS sensor (with live view)

    Which camera would you convert? I read somewhere that CCD is better than CMOS for IR work, is that true?

    As i am a almost ruined handyman person, i feel condident to do the conversion myself (already found out info on the internet for both models), but if i had to order the filter to my local opticians, what indications should i give them:

    – the pass band starts at 590nm ending at… 1000nm?… 1200nm?
    – any specific type of glass?

    I hope you can help. Thanks in advance and congratulations for your great work and site.


    • Hello and thanks for the comment. I would go with the higher resolution camera with live view. Then consider conversion to 590nm. This will allow you to change it by simply adding external filters to the lens as you go up in nano meters! Order your filter glass from either, or Do NOT go to others for IR glass. This is because the THICKNESS of the glass filter is just as important as the filter range. Get it wrong and your focus will be shot!

      The CMOS sensor will give lower noise levels…

    • Hi again Mark.

      The addiction has already started! Last night i did the conversion my self. I chose the olympus e-520, and used a spare red cokin filter (003). By chance this filter is half the thicknes of the hot mirror of theese cameras, so i did cut two pieces of glass and put them in place together.

      The focus is working all right. Just made a couple of trial shots this afternoon, and apparently everything is fine. And they look terrific!

      I am so excited!

      I don´t know exactly what light band i am getting with this red filter, but i read somewhere that it is similar to the B+W 090. I hope i can get the golden tone because i love it in your pictures! If not, i could try with the orange cokin filter. Will see.

      Thank youuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!


      PD. I hope you can see the sample images, uploaded to my server:

      • Sergio, I am so GLAD that you have done the conversion! Your links are broken and I cannot find your images but perhaps you can email them to me…

        The Cokin 003 is a wratten 025. This means that it is a 590nm filter or the “Goldie”!

        Be VERY CAREFUL with this conversion as the Cokin is a RESIN filter and will scratch if you even think about touching it! You may want to take a look at the B+W 090 filter from Amazon for about $30.00. It is a Schott Glass filter and you could cut it out to fit the camera!

        Congratulations on your addiction! I hope to see great things from you.

        Have you joined the Facebook Infrared Photographers group yet?

        Remember… Send me a image to see!!

      • Sorry, i used the wrong slash. I hope the links work now. They are not great pics, but are my first ones!

        Actually, i had to cut the cokin resin filter scratching it. As i also do photo framing, I have a proper, basic tool (for cutting the methacrylate… a sharp metal thing) and scratched several times both sides of the filter. Afterwards had to apply presure to brake it, rub down the borders with a cutter to mach the original size, take off the protective tape i put before, wash, polish, clean, blow, etc…

        The two pieces of resin filter were not perfect: had some very little spots and one or two very light scratches on it. I was so ansious that couldn´t wait to order a new red filter and got the used one (although it had very little use, as i used to like more the orange and yellow filter when shooting B&W film in the past). Nevertheless, this marks don´t appear in the pictures! Maybe if i use the smallest aperture they could end up showing up. Don´t know.

        Of course, Schott glass would be better!

        I´ll have a look to the B+W 090 filter. If it is 1,5mm thick, then it could be a better option for my modified camera, as the hot mirror to be replaced is 3mm thick. Or if it was 1mm thick, maybe i could use three layers. Thanks for the advice!

        An this is a picture of the E-520 with its stuffing removed:

        To anyone reading this: I DON´T ENCOURAGE YOU to do the modification UNLESS YOU ARE VERY PATIENT, CALM, SKILFUL, STEADY HAND, familiar with soldering, and you know very well what you are doing. It has been fun for me, as well as very hard job. But it probably could be a nightmare for you.

        Thanks again Mark. I have renewed illusion for photography!!

        BTW, i don´t use facebook, so i´ll keep visiting your blog to see your progress, and will let you know about mine.


      • Thanks for the update and images! They both look great. You are indeed able to get the nice warm tones of the goldie filter.

        But… The 3rd picture of the camera apart! ICK! That is not a job that I would like to tackle so I give you credit for undertaking it!

  3. I purchased an Olympus C-2000z off Craig’s list for $30 “just to play around with it”. It yields some of my favorite images but it is only 2.1MP! I got a “tube adapter” which allows the use of standard filters. I am currently setting it up to do panoramas (“vertical” orientation of camera). It yields outstanding faux-color infrared with the Hoya R72 and outstanding b&w with the B+W 093. 🙂

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