Conversion of a Kodak DC-3400 for IR capture

The conversion of a Kodak DC3400 point & shoot for infrared capture is not a very complicated operation. As far as tools go you do not really need anything else than a smal Phillips screwdriver and a pair of tweezers. A reasonable amount of manual dexterity is required too, be too heavy handed and you can easily wreck your little Kodak.

A clean desk and proper lighting are for obvious reasons also recommended. Some small containers for the screws you will be removing are useful, especially because the screws are not all the same length.

Take reasonable precautions against discharge of static electricity, these can wreck the electronics. If you do not want to spend ages to remove dust specks that have ended on your CCD make sure your work area is clean. Really clean.

Last but not least: don't poke in the inside of the camera where the flash circuitry sits. The voltage in the flash capacitor is nasty at best!

Note that my camera had suffered some gravity induced damage (== it was dropped, most likely multiple times) before I acquired it on for a couple of EUROs. Some pictures are from the second camera I converted, that one looks better.

I have outlined how to accomplish it in a step-by-step photo shoot.

Re-assembly is basically the above steps in reverse order. Be careful to put the right length screws into the right locations.

Given that I wanted a flexible solution to mount various filters on the lens I turned a brass spacer ring on my lathe to mount a 35.5mm filter mount on the little Kodak. That brass spacer ring plus filter ring I glued on the front of the camera lens. I can now mount different filter types by putting them in a surplus 35.5mm filter ring (acquired for a 1 EURO each at a camera fair). In retrospect I would probably better have used a 37mm ring, as there are IR filters readily available in 37mm for IR work with video cameras.

My IR camera with it's lens extended next to its conventional brother with lens retracted

Image quality using a Wratten 87C filter plastic foil (0.4mm thick) that I bought from Willem-Jan I personally find very satisfying. These pictures are from the #1 camera, so with the polished-off IR filter.

Below an (uninspiring) test shot with the #2 camera. The DIY filter appears to work as anticipated.

A side by side testshot with the polished filter (camera #1) versus the one with the cut-down UV filter (camera #2) reveals that under difficult lighting conditions the #2 camera wins hands down. The polishing has left tiny scratches that give rise to flare with bright light directly entering the lens.

Further plans

Last but not least I would like to find a piece of suitable IR-blocking filter glass that I can use to make the converted camera behave "normally" again. Suggestions on where to find suitable glass are very welcome.

Feel free to send me email on the conversion.

© Wilko Bulte, 2007.

Last update: Sun Dec 2 13:49:05 CET 2007