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Ralph Harwood
15th March 2013, 03:30 AM
Hi everyone!

I've finally got round to converting my E-420 to full spectrum, taking out the hot mirror and replacing it with some quartz glass instead. This means that I can now use it for IR photography, or with an external hot mirror as a normal camera.

I chose to go full spectrum rather than just do an IR conversion because I wasn't sure which spectrum of IR would work best for me, and this gives me the option of switching between different IR filters, but being able to use pretty much normal exposures. I currently have an 850nm and a 760nm filter, and intend to get a 720nm and a 650nm filter too, to see which gives the best effect. I've put the first few attempts in an album (my first on here, this is also my first thread).

If people are interested I can put up some pictures of the conversion up, but please don't hold me responsible if you have a try and something goes wrong - I took a chance with this and realised there was a risk of messing it up (checking todays images it does look like I have a dust spot or two under the SSWF which means I'll have to open it up again!)

The other thing I have noticed is that without the hot mirror the images look noticably sharper - the difference without the anti-aliasing filter built into the hot mirror is more visible than I had expected!

Cheers for reading,

Ralph.:)

Stewart G
15th March 2013, 04:25 AM
Thanks for sharing this hack. It's good to hear about and know at least that it's possible (though I'm not brave enough to try myself--the camera would certainly become filled with cat hairs I think). Am looking forward to seeing the images. Bravo!

Ralph Harwood
15th March 2013, 05:40 AM
You are lucky on your side of the pond that there are companies who specialise in these sorts of conversions - there isn't anyone I could find in the UK doing it at the moment, the nearest is in Poland I think. I was lucky enough to be able to do this in the "clean room" at work, however I think my lint free cloth wasn't as lint free as I'd hoped as there are definately a couple of tiny spots on the top of the glass above the sensor now. Hey ho I'll have to strip it and try again.:(

Phill D
15th March 2013, 06:53 AM
Very brave Ralph well done. I'd be interested to see how you did it, but doubt I'd have the courage myself. That windmill shot is lovely.

tomphotofx
15th March 2013, 07:20 AM
There is a magical quality with IR I like this and well done you for doing the conversion.

Tom*chr

angelpaaul
15th March 2013, 07:26 AM
That's a nice shot of Bidston Hill windmill.

mike_j
15th March 2013, 08:28 AM
Converting to full spectrum presumably means that it you fit an external UV/IR cut filter you can go back to using the camera normally?


Sorry - just realised that is probably what you meant by an external hot mirror. I have to use IR-UV cut filters all the time on my Leica M8 which is notoriously IR sensitive. The B+W ones are very effective http://www.robertwhite.co.uk/shop-by-brand/bw.html?cat=753&lens_filter_effect=466&lens_filter_type=256.

There are a few of my IR shots here. http://www.flickr.com/photos/barnack/sets/72157633000895676/

Ian
15th March 2013, 09:06 AM
Have you noticed any problems with moiré since removing the low pass filter?

Also, have you had any issues with focus accuracy using AF or are you using contrast detect (live view AF) to avoid this?

Ian

alfbranch
15th March 2013, 10:44 AM
I would like to see how you did it too.I really like IR and would like to have a go.

Have you noticed any problems with moiré since removing the low pass filter?

Also, have you had any issues with focus accuracy using AF or are you using contrast detect (live view AF) to avoid this?

Ian

Are you considering one to hire out?

Ralph Harwood
16th March 2013, 12:30 AM
Hi everyone!

Phil D - I'll try and get a how I did it post up soon - I've taken the pictures but I need to edit them a bit first (and my free trial of paintshop pro just ran out :(, I guess I'll have to decide if I'm going to buy it or photoshop elements)

Tom / Paul - Thanks very much:)

Mike J - I'd love one of those B+W filters, but they cost more than the whole conversion did!!! Mine is a cheapy from china just to prove the point that it works (maybe not better value, but only £14)

Ian - the only time I have noticed moire (excuse the lack of / above e - can't figure out how to make this computer do it!) is shooting at a testcard designed to test the high speed cameras we use in work - otherwise I'm just noticing a greater level of detail in the pictures - for example in the picture of bidston hill trig point in my album there are some gorse bushes on the right hand side - on the full size image you can see every thorn! As for the AF system - it seems to work as normal with the hot mirror, when using the IR filters I'm only using LiveView so far and it seems to work well with the contrast AF. The LiveView and contrast AF was the main reason I chose to modify the E-420 rather than the E-500 I'd originally bought for the project.

Alf - I believe that Ian has a IR converted E-PL1 available for hire, which was professionally converted (I certainly don't consider myself a professional camera technician!) which may be better for you to use as mine seems to have a couple of spots on at the moment (I'm going to strip it again next week to try and remove them).

Finally can I say thankyou to everyone for their interest in this my first thread - I really feel welcome in this community!

Chevvyf1
16th March 2013, 07:33 AM
Ralph, Thanks for sooo much info :) I have been teetering on sending an E-1 to the USA for conversion ... maybe I shall do it or pm you :D

I was thinking of creating a"clean room" space (sucking all the air/dog hair and ambient skin & dust particles ...) out of my pop-up studio (with a cover over it) *yes and wearing a shower cap myself and clean white overalls to do the job :) :D

ps I have my "building PCs tool kit" of soft and plastic tweezers for removing delicate items :)

Zuiko
16th March 2013, 09:39 AM
A very interesting project, Ralph. I look forward to seeing some more pictures - the windmill is great! :)

Bikie John
16th March 2013, 10:14 AM
Very effective shot, Ralph. Looking forward to seeing some more.

Ian - the only time I have noticed moire (excuse the lack of / above e - can't figure out how to make this computer do it!)

Acute accents on vowels are easy, (in Windoze anyway, can't speak for Mac/Linux) - just press the AltGr key (to the right of the space bar) at the same time as the letter key. Et voilá! Works in upper and lower case.

Marvellous what you can learn at Spanish evening classes :)

Adiós ... Juan

Imageryone
16th March 2013, 01:28 PM
This is way over my head, but very interesting . The windmill shot is super.

Ralph Harwood
19th March 2013, 05:34 AM
Hi Everyone!

Chevvyf1 - Good luck with your conversion if you decide to go through with it. I haven't had chance to have a look inside an E-1 yet (apparently there's no second prize in an e-bay auction) but it shouldn't be too much more complicated than an E-420 or an E-500 which I have taken apart. I would avoid the versions with the IS though as they look more difficult. I found a thread on fourthirdsphoto.com where someone converted an E-1 which might be interesting (couldn't get the pictures up on my computer for some reason). It's at http://forum.fourthirdsphoto.com/f52/my-ir-converted-e-1-a-29059.html. There is also a thread on this site http://digital-photography.pl/tweaking-olympus-e-1-antialiasing-filter-replacement/#more-99 about changing the anti-aliasing filter which is the same job.

Do you plan to convert to IR or do a wide spectrum conversion? The only problem I can see with a wide spectrum conversion would be the lack of LiveView, so you would be shooting blind. On the flip side if you convert to IR you are limited to one frequency of light and you would also have to place some filter material over the AF sensor in order to get it to focus correctly. The other option is a cheap E-410 / E420 for about £60 to convert, which would mean not worrying about damaging a lovely camera like the E-1, and would give you the option of LiveView and full spectrum (I'd like to try shooting in only UV - I just need to find a UV pass filter that doesn't cost more than my entire camera collection!)

To everyone who has expressed an interest I'll put my quick how to up soon I promise (I've currently mislaid the camera I took those photos on as I haven't picked up any other camera than my converted one since it's been done!)

Also thankyou to everyone for their kind comments on my picture - hopefully I'll get more sunny days to take some more!

Cheers,

Ralph.

Ian
19th March 2013, 10:42 AM
Don't forget we have a converted E-PL1 available for hire - £39 inc.VAT (not including delivery) for the minimum three day hire. Here is a sample from this camera:

http://dpnow.com/galleries/data/547/P4200199-Edit.jpg (http://dpnow.com/galleries/showphoto.php/photo/23822)
False colour (red and blue channels swapped)

http://dpnow.com/galleries/data/547/P4200199-Edit2.jpg (http://dpnow.com/galleries/showphoto.php/photo/23823)
Mono

Our hire prices are here:

http://e-group.uk.net/hire/prices_january2013.pdf

Ian

Falk
20th March 2013, 11:10 PM
Interesting thread, thanks Ralph!
In the past I've played some with IR720 filters on my E-520 and E-30 and C-740UZ before that. I always thought IR-photos look great. But the long exposure times plus the need for a tripod are to blame that I have not produced much in this field.
If you would post an how-2 of your way to convert an E-420, it would be much appreciated. I think I would be willing to risk a total loss of a body in trying - if it seems at all possible for me to do ...

*chr Falk

Ralph Harwood
21st March 2013, 01:06 AM
Hi there Falk!

I'm in the process of putting it together now! should be on in the next few hours (I hope!)

Cheers,

Ralph.

Chevvyf1
21st March 2013, 01:34 AM
Hi there Falk!

I'm in the process of putting it together now! should be on in the next few hours (I hope!)

Cheers,

Ralph.

WoW ! Someone else woke early :eek:

Ralph Harwood
21st March 2013, 01:51 AM
Hi everyone!

Here is the long awaited (because it's taken me ages to get round to it) full spectrum conversion "how I did it". I will say here and now that this is not a set of instructions, I was prepared for the camera to be a total loss, and I cannot and will not be held responsible for any loss or damage to anyone else's cameras from trying this at home! (I don't think anyone here would try to sue me, but you never know!:eek:)

I will also give the health and safety warning - camera flashes use high voltages which can remain long after the batteries have been removed. Do not try to short out the flash capacitors as this could cause damage to you and the camera - I just left the battery out for several hours before starting, but I didn't touch the flash capacitors just in case!

Due to the high number of pictures involved I will probably have to do this post in stages - please bear with me:)

The first stage is removing the eyepiece - first remove the rubber eyecup and then remove the four small screws behind it. I had a small divided tray, and put the parts removed for each stage in a compartment.

http://e-group.uk.net/forum/picture.php?albumid=307&pictureid=1552

I then removed the five small screws arrowed in the next picture - the screw which isn't arrowed can remain in situ.

http://e-group.uk.net/forum/picture.php?albumid=307&pictureid=1551

There were two further screws behind the compact flash cover which also required removing - the compact flash cover will come off as the case is eased open.

http://e-group.uk.net/forum/picture.php?albumid=307&pictureid=1555

Once the screws were out I was able to gently ease the case apart.

Please read on in the next post!

Ralph Harwood
21st March 2013, 02:00 AM
How I did it post continued:-
http://e-group.uk.net/forum/picture.php?albumid=307&pictureid=1549

I now had to carefully remove the ribbon cable going to the back by gently lifting the black clamp (it pivots upwards from the edge) and gently ease out the ribbon cable

http://e-group.uk.net/forum/picture.php?albumid=307&pictureid=1554

Once the cable was released I could then put the back of the camera to one side. You can now see the main board of the camera and the sensor assembly next to it. I now removed the two pieces of black tape holding the wires and ribbon cable in place

http://e-group.uk.net/forum/picture.php?albumid=307&pictureid=1548

I then removed the ribbon cable and held it back out of the way with some electrical tape, and desoldered the two wires which run across the back of the sensor assembly - they probably could be left in place but there are three small washers under the sensor assebly which set up the focussing, and if you loose those you are in a world of trouble, so anything to make it easier to remove!

http://e-group.uk.net/forum/picture.php?albumid=307&pictureid=1560

Please read on in the next post!

Ralph Harwood
21st March 2013, 02:08 AM
How I did it post continued :-

I then desoldered the ribbon cable earth-strap for the mainboard to sensor assembly cable (this is the one you have to be a bit careful and a bit brave to do as it is easy to melt the cable)

http://e-group.uk.net/forum/picture.php?albumid=307&pictureid=1561

I then carefully held the cable back out of the way with more electrical tape. This then gave me access to remove the three silver screws holding the sensor assembly

http://e-group.uk.net/forum/picture.php?albumid=307&pictureid=1559

and then remove the sensor assembly very carefully, lifting straight up making sure I didn't disturb the three washers underneath.

http://e-group.uk.net/forum/picture.php?albumid=307&pictureid=1558

Please read on in the next post!

Ralph Harwood
21st March 2013, 02:45 AM
How I did it post continued!

With the sensor assembly now removed, I could remove the SSWF filter in front of the sensor array. This is the point at which it becomes very important to keep dust down to a minimum. For the next few stages until the SSWF was refitted I wore vinyl gloves (none powdered) to avoid fingerprints and dust particle from my hands. I was working in our workshops "clean room" (this is a relative term as the rest of our workshop can be quite dusty) which has a filtered air supply again to keep dust dwon to a minimum. The sensor array is supported on it's metal mounting plate to avoid damaging the delicate circuity on the back (the pens were just the right shape and height). The SSWF filter is held on by three screws holding a plate over it and it has an o-ring behind it which in my case was slightly stuck to it (you need to carefully prise it off). The SSWF filter can now be lifted and moved out of the way.

http://e-group.uk.net/forum/picture.php?albumid=307&pictureid=1556

Once the SSWF filter is out of the way you can VERY carefully prise out the metal clip which holds the hot mirror in place. I was unable to remove this without bending it, and decided not to try and refit it due to this and the fact that I am sure olympus have a special tool to fit it.

http://e-group.uk.net/forum/picture.php?albumid=307&pictureid=1553

Once you have removed the clip you can carefully remove the hot mirror and fit your choice of new glass - I went for a piece of Spectosil 2000 fused quartz glass from UQG optics sized 22.5mm by 17.5mm by 3mm, ever so slightly larger than the hot mirror removed so it is firmly held in the rubber surround. It is vital that there is no dust or smears on the glass when it is fitted as you will not be able to remove it once it is screwed back together (First attempt has been a slight fail as there are a few dust spots on the images - I'm hopefully going to strip it and redo it having given the glass another good clean).

http://e-group.uk.net/forum/picture.php?albumid=307&pictureid=1550

Once the new glass is fitted it is very much a case of refitting is the reverse of removal (for all you haynes manual fans out there!) with the only issues being ensuring that all the resoldering is done and the ribbon cables are all fully seated before reclipping the clamps.

If anyone is interested in doing a conversion I can pm them a copy of my invoice for UQG optics so they can order some glass the same, mine was £57 including VAT and postage, the service was really quick and the glass looks very professionally cut (they normally work for industry and universities).

Ralph Harwood
21st March 2013, 02:53 AM
I would also like to say that I wouldn't have even attempted this without reading this post first :-

http://digital-photography.pl/olympus-e-400-wide-spectrum-conversion/

which gave me not only the inspiration but also a very good idea of what to expect when I did mine.

Ralph Harwood
21st March 2013, 02:56 AM
WoW ! Someone else woke early :eek:


Not quite - I work nights and managed to get this done in my dinner break!

Chevvyf1
21st March 2013, 03:07 AM
Not quite - I work nights and managed to get this done in my dinner break!

WoW ! I just enjoyed reading and absorbing all this ! Thanks muchly :)

Now the BIG Q ? :eek: Is the E-1 the same inside ? :eek:

Ralph Harwood
21st March 2013, 04:45 AM
Hi ChevvyF1!

I really don't know what an E-1 looks like inside - I did bid on one on ebay which was listed as not working with a view to having a look inside to see if I could fix it however I was beaten buy another member of this forum, Chris Pattison. I have found a couple of things on google about modifying them, however I haven't managed to find any good pictures to see.

Your thoughts about using your portable studio for working on the camera sound good - you've probably got as good a chance as I had of keeping the dust out. I would suggest a small bulb blower as well to blow any dust away - I think my mistake was that when carefully cleaning the inside of the SSWF filter with a cloth I just managed to push the dust to the edges - and then after turning the camera on and off a few times I managed to dislodge the dust so when i turned it portrait all the dust fell onto the glass and has stuck. Hopefully on my dinner break tonight I'll take it apart and try again.

Now for my next project - the infra red flash to go with it so I can take photos in the bat house at chester zoo!

Bikie John
21st March 2013, 10:28 AM
That's really interesting to a pervy geek like me - many thanks Ralph for making the effort to share it with us. It will remain in the far theoretical realms as far as I am concerned though!

Ciao ... John

Jim Ford
21st March 2013, 10:56 AM
I really don't know what an E-1 looks like inside

ISTRC reading that the E1 is very easy. There's no on-board flash and plenty of room inside.

Jim

mike_j
21st March 2013, 11:55 AM
Interesting, very interesting!

I wonder whether a micro four thirds would be easier because the sensor is always exposed and accessible. Now where's my OM-D and the big screwdriver???

Ralph Harwood
22nd March 2013, 04:38 AM
Hi there everyone!

I'm not sure about the micro four-thirds being any easier as I think you would still have to remove the sensor from behind the shutter, for the simple reason that I think the SSWF filter glass is larger than the shutter aperture (I know you can open the shutter for cleaning, but I don't think youy get to see the whole of the SSWF filter glass). Therefore you would still have to open the camera up and remove the sensor from behind the shutter mechanism. That being said, the E-PL1 seems to be a popular conversion to do (I haven't added on to my collection yet, but do keep getting tempted!)

Second attempt at cleaning behind the SSWF today, it looks like I've got all the bits of dust today, I'll just have to see how it goes. Now for some sunshine (he says, watching the snow fall).

Cheers, Ralph.

Falk
27th March 2013, 03:09 PM
Hey Ralph,
wanted to say Thanks a lot! for your effort in putting this how-2 together - and also for providing the links, which I will follow soon.
All this looks a bit more complicated then I had thought though. And with the price tag of that Quartz glass plus an spare E-body, which I don't currently own, it get's a tud out of the fun experimental corner into something serious. I will have to wait till I can get a bargain somewhere ...

*chr
Falk

Ralph Harwood
27th March 2013, 11:36 PM
Hi there Falk!

The glass was quite expensive, but the quality is what you are paying for - the cheaper glass can have tiny bubbles in which will leave permenant spots on your images. The extra body isn't that much of an expense though - E-410 and 420 bodies seem to be going for about £70 on ebay every so often (mine was £60 because the eyecup was missing and the card cover won't stay shut - I had a spare eye-cup anyway and 2" of electrical tape sorted the door!)

The total cost of the project - £120. To put this into perspective the bodies on ebay that have been converted professionally in the states are around £300 plus postage and import taxes - making them well out of my price range.

The other option is renting from Ian on the forum - he has an IR converted E-PL1 available to hire. For me this was a more limited approach as it is a fixed wavelength conversion - with mine I have a little more flexibility, but if you aren't sure how much use you will get from a converted camera it may well be worth trying first for a few days before committing a large wedge of cash.

I'm glad you enjoyed the how to, and I hope it will inspire people to have a go, it's always easier to be brave when you have seen others have succeeded!;)

Happy tinkering,

Ralph.

Firephinix
27th June 2013, 12:04 PM
hi

Could you mail me the details for the glass please

OM USer
27th June 2013, 01:56 PM
Still no idea what a "hot mirror" is but it all sounds jolly interesting.

Ralph Harwood
27th June 2013, 05:17 PM
Hi there everyone!

Fire phinix i'll have to send it later, the e-mail is on my works computer.

OMuser, the hot mirror is a piece of glass fitted in front of the sensor that allows visible light through, but reflects infra red and ultra violet light which the sensor would be able to see and would have a detrimental effect on the image. When I have done my conversion I have removed this and fitted a piece of quartz glass instead, which allows everything through, but now if I want to take a normal photo, I have to fit an external hot mirror in the form of a screw on filter. Hope this helps:)

Cheers,

Ralph.

Firephinix
10th July 2013, 05:41 PM
Hi Ralph

Thanks for the info and your guide for how to do it, which I have now done :)

Just a quick question what settings do you use for your pics? Obviously in manual but iv been playing around and can't quite seem to get it right. Iv got a 760nm filter but I have got some more coming soon.

Thanks again

Firephinix

Simon Bee
10th July 2013, 07:58 PM
there isn't anyone I could find in the UK doing it at the moment,(

Take a look at www.advancedcameraservices.co.uk

Regards

Simon

Wee man
10th July 2013, 10:57 PM
Wow! I just used to eat in my lunch hour, what a great peice of work thanks for the discription. looking forward to more photographs.

Ralph Harwood
10th July 2013, 11:18 PM
Hi Ralph

Thanks for the info and your guide for how to do it, which I have now done :)

Just a quick question what settings do you use for your pics? Obviously in manual but iv been playing around and can't quite seem to get it right. Iv got a 760nm filter but I have got some more coming soon.

Thanks again

Firephinix

Hi there Firephinix!

I'm afraid there is no great secret to using it - I tend to use trial and error! The focussing on mine seems to work well (S-AF on Liveview which uses contrast autofocussing), exposure can be a bit hit and miss. Because your eye isn't blocking the viewfinder you should really have the blanking plate fitted to stop stray light affecting the exposure. I tend to use the Aperture setting (somewhere between f8 and f16) and have a few tries at various exposure compensation levels to get the best image on the screen and use the RAW image with photoshop elements 11 to get the exposure perfect. I also tend to use ISO 200 to give myself some headroom to make sure I don't over expose massively.

Other than that it is a case of choosing a nice sunny day and experimenting! Enjoy your newly modified camera!

Cheers,

Ralph.

PS thanks for the info Simon, I didn't find them when I was looking around, if anyone has tried them on the forum I'd be interested to hear their opinions.

Firephinix
11th July 2013, 11:44 AM
yeah focusing works really well iv tried different setting ect but the post processing doesnt seem to come out as well as the ones iv seen on the net, thus thinking its the settings but i guess its a case of practice, practice and more practice. i dont use photoshop im using gimp which i have found some tuts on the tube about but as i said cant seem to get it right :(

Ralph Harwood
12th July 2013, 12:38 AM
Hi there Firephinix!

I have the same issues with post processing when I try to get false colour images (blue skies and white trees) with the 760nm filter or the 850nm filter - both of these seem to work better with black and white images. I have had some limited success with 720nm filters and even a 650nm filter both of which seem to work ok when you channel swap the red and blue channels. I'll post some images later if I get a chance to get them off my computer.

The great advantage of the full spectrum conversion is that it takes only seconds to swap between the filters!

Cheers,

Ralph.

OM USer
12th July 2013, 10:30 AM
...the hot mirror is a piece of glass fitted in front of the sensor that allows visible light through, but reflects infra red and ultra violet light which the sensor would be able to see and would have a detrimental effect on the image...

Ralph, thanks for the explanation.