DIY IR Photography w/ Nikon D40


Please note that this post is not a tutorial for how to convert your own Nikon D40. I followed this post on DPReview(rip…) forums. In the event that the forum is down, I have a back up version here.

The Nikon D40 is a entry-level DSLR released in November 2006. It has a 6 megapixel DX format sensor(APSC). In 2023, its biggest attractions for me are that it is dirt cheap and has a easily removable hot mirror, making it the perfect candidate for a DIY full spectrum modification. It also have the added bonus of the ability to use almost all modern Nikon F mount lenses. I got my copy of the D40 from UsedPhotoPro(the used gear department of Roberts Photo) for $29 and it was in mint condition with around 6500 shutter actuation.

Here are some pictures of the conversion process:

The conversion process went relatively smoothly. Only 1 wire need to be de-soldered and everything else are connected via ribbon cables. A screw on the outer casing stripped, and I had to slightly crack a corner of the outer housing to get that removed, a perfectly acceptable solution for a $30 camera.

Everything still works after the conversion, though the autofocus is no longer accurate due to the absent low-pass filter as well as the wave length differences of IR light. Since human eye can’t see IR either, focusing becomes a guess game. Certain commercial IR conversion companies like Kolari has a method to retain the autofocus functionality, by inserting a piece of transparent glass in the place of the low-pass filter. However, the glass need to be a particular thickness for different cameras(which can be figured out by trials and errors, but I don’t have a bunch of random optical glass laying round), and those conversion services usually cost an arm and a leg.

With my newly converted full spectrum camera, I tried some colored IR photography:

These pictures have their colors modified slightly in post. I am still learning to edit full-spectrum pictures so these are definitely not the ideal results. Hopefully, one day I will be able to recreate the look of the legendary Aerochrome.

Here’s a bonus photo of the lidar on my iPad Pro:

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