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Nikon V1 IR conversion

nikon v1 infra-red conversion

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#1 renaud

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 17:28

The reaction to the Nikon V1 has been "love it or hate it", I obviously belong to the former category. Now that they are a dime a dozen (well, 300$/€ with kit zoom), I decided to get another one and convert it to IR. I couldn't find instructions online, but the process is quite simple. The usual disclaimers apply: you will void your warranty, you could damage your camera and you may even hurt yourself. Proceed at your own risks.

If you still wish to do this, you'll need:
- a Nikon V1
- an IR filter (or any filter of your choice). I bought mine from Kolari vision, but if you wish to cut your own the dimensions are circa 21*18*2 mm (measured with a ruler)
- a small cross slot screwdriver. I used a JIS 00, but those are hard to find so a Philips 00 should work
- a flat jeweler's screwdriver
- a way to keep track of the screws. I draw a rough outline of the stage I'm at on a leaf of paper, and use adhesive tape to attach the screws where they belong
- Some way to get rid of the dust. I used a visible dust brush, but canned air should do the trick

Step 1 - opening the back
Remove the battery before proceeding.
The back is held in place by 8 screws: two on each side and two on the bottom (the ones near the back side) are obvious. The remaining two are on the viewfinder. To reach them you have to remove the diopter adjustment knob. Using the flat screwdriver lift the sticker (with the +/- signs) and you will find a screw that holds the knob. Once the knob is gone you can remove the rubber eyecup and reveal the last screws. There is also some tape on the left side of the viewfinder, that has to be removed or cut. You can then remove the back. Pull and wiggle gently, there are a few clips. Don't pull too hard, the back is connected to the main board by a ribbon cable on the right. Once it's free, lift the back from the left side, disconnect the cable by lifting the connector (orange circle in the next post) and put the back away.
There is a small frame around the viewfinder, be careful not to lose it.


Edited by renaud, 29 May 2013 - 15:41 .

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#2 renaud

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 17:32

Step 2 - the shield
You are now facing a metal plate, which I assume is designed to act as a shield between the screen and the sensor. Remove the red-marked screws, to reach the top two you will have to dislodge the wire on top. The green screw holds a little copper thingy, note the position of the various tabs to put them back in the right place during reassembly.

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  • etape 1 s.jpg


#3 renaud

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 17:33

Step 3 - the main board
Now the right way to do this would be to disconnect the dozen or so cables and remove the board, but the light was getting low so I decided to take a shortcut. I just disconnected the bottom ones (circled in blue). There is a fourth cable beneath the flat one on the left. Don't forget to remove the screw (red circle) and you can lift the main board. But before going further you'll have to disconnect the red plug (the white and blue wires in the orange circle). As you can see, the area is crowded so be extra careful not to damage anything.

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  • etape 2 s.jpg

Edited by renaud, 10 December 2012 - 08:10 .


#4 renaud

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 17:37

You can now lift the main board and unscrew the three screws that hold the sensor board (the bottom two are hidden by a connector on the picture).

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  • etape 3 s.jpg


#5 renaud

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 17:41

Step 4 - the sensor board
The filter retainer is held in place by four screws. There is a small metal frame clipped to the retainer. Unclip it and release the dust shaker. It is IR-dense, so we will not put it back. I put the frame back, although I don't know if it's useful.
You are now ready to exchange the filter. The blue filter sits on a thick rubber gasket. Lift the filter with the small flat screwdriver (it is lightly glued to the rubber). Clean the sensor glass and the replacement filter and immediately put the filter and retainer in place.

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  • etape 4 s.jpg

Edited by renaud, 09 December 2012 - 20:24 .


#6 renaud

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 17:42

Follow the instructions in reverse order to reassemble the camera. If the camera doesn't start, don't panic, you probably forgot to put the battery back. I know I did…

The camera tends to underexpose a bit in IR, so you'll have to dial some exposure compensation. I haven't had time to do much testing, but I can say that so far I haven't encountered a hotspot with the 10-30mm zoom or the 18mm.

Edited by renaud, 09 December 2012 - 17:47 .


#7 stenrasmussen

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 17:45

Great to see the V cracked open :-)
Machina fotografica necesse est

#8 nfoto

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 17:48

Nice description. Do show us some of the IR captures ...

What kind of IR cutoff for the replacement filter?
Bjørn

#9 renaud

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 18:17

Nice description. Do show us some of the IR captures ...

What kind of IR cutoff for the replacement filter?


I used a 720 nm cutoff filter. As for pictures... Here's the dust shaker (left) and IR cut filter (right). The dust shaker reflects IR (you can see the image of the camera) while the IR cut filter absorbs it.

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  • IR cut.JPG


#10 Larry

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 09:57

If this works well, I expect that once word of this gets around, it will help Nikon sell its huge surplus of V1 ... along with a couple of FT-1 as well.

Edited by Larry, 10 December 2012 - 09:57 .


#11 crowecg

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 10:00

If this works well, I expect that once word of this gets around, it will help Nikon sell its huge surplus of V1 ... along with a couple of FT-1 as well.


I've been thinking something similar. Perhaps go for a multispectral conversions and swap between an external R72 and IR-block to keep the option of a small general purpose camera.
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#12 Chris Wahl

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 16:45

Thanks for sharing this information and I am really curious how the results turn out to be ...

This is surely worthy to be a featured post ... I moved it to the Mirrorless "Featured Posts" Board and left a link here so that it is still in the UV/IR context ...

thanks Renaud!

Chris

PS: Well ... i wanted to move it but the required button is not yet available ... stay tuned :)
PPS: Done

Edited by Chris Wahl, 10 December 2012 - 20:48 .

Never mind the words ... just hum along and keep on going...

#13 Dallas

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:34

Great post, Renaud! Thanks for picking this up as feature-worthy, Chris. :)

#14 slothead

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 01:38

I will be interested to see what functions the V1 can turn into IR products. I converted my D5000 and was pleased that it could record IR video with no problem at all. The V1 has so many video options it could be quite interesting with some imagination.

Tom
Cameras: Nikon D800, Nikon P7000, Oly E-P2IR, Oly OM-D E-M5
Lenses: Nikkor 24mm f/2.8, 28mm f/2.8, Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D, Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D,
Nikkor DX 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6, Nikkor 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR, Nikkor Reflex 500mm f/8,
Panasonic 12-45mm, Pana 14-140, Pana 100-300mm, Oly 14-42mm, Oly 45mm f/1.8, Oly 75mm f/1.7, Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro, Tamron TC 1.4, Gitzo GT3541L


#15 renaud

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 11:20

I've been thinking something similar. Perhaps go for a multispectral conversions and swap between an external R72 and IR-block to keep the option of a small general purpose camera.


I've been doing this for some time with another camera (a full-spectrum converted canon G9), but wasn't satisfied with the visible light results. It's very difficult to find a UV-IR cut filter that matches the camera's internal filter. As a consequence, getting the white balance right for visible shots is delicate and tedious. I ended up getting another camera for visible shots, and using the converted G9 for IR only. So my preference is for a two-camera setup, which I've just replicated with V1s.

I will be interested to see what functions the V1 can turn into IR products. I converted my D5000 and was pleased that it could record IR video with no problem at all. The V1 has so many video options it could be quite interesting with some imagination.


I'm not very fond of the V1's special modes (motion snapshot and the like) and haven't tested them, but I don't see why they wouldn't be available in IR. Regular video works in IR just like in visible light. In fact everything works as usual. Auto white balance gives a very red image, but a custom white balance will neutralize the color should you want to.
As I've said earlier, the only (very minor) problem I've encountered is that the images are a bit underexposed. I don't know what causes this. The metering may be expecting a certain ratio of the three primaries, and get fooled by the extreme imbalance involved (red being much stronger than the other two). Anyway, this behavior seems consistent, so adding one stop of exposure compensation takes care of it once and for all.

I understand the demand for pictures, but in my hemisphere there isn't much sunlight outside of work hours, so all I've done so far is at home. I'm not willing to post pictures of my family on the web, and I don't think you'd be interested anyway. You'll have to take my word for it: the results are very similar to those of equivalent (700 nm-ish) conversions I've seen and used.

Edited by renaud, 12 December 2012 - 11:24 .


#16 Tejpor

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 12:04

Impressive work you have done! Nikongear is a place of real experts and experimenters :)

#17 jramskov

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 10:47

Very nice. Looking forward to see som shots!
Joergen Ramskov
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#18 renaud

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 17:18

The weather was fine today, so I had the opportunity to test my new toy outside. Here are a few pics. Looks like infrared to me.

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#19 JamesT

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 20:23

Great article and I'm almost motivated to pick up another V1 for $299 to play with. The only part I'm hung up on is having to craft my own custom IR filter. I wish there was something commercially available pre-cut. That would make this this project a lot more accessible for me...

Edited by JamesT, 21 December 2012 - 20:23 .


#20 stenrasmussen

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 20:39

The easy way is to get an IR bandpass resin filter from www.edmundoptics.com and cut it to shape with a fine-toothed saw. Put tape on both surfaces before cutting and Bob's yer uncle!
Machina fotografica necesse est





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