DIY IR Photography v2: Sony NEX-5N


A while ago, I converted a Nikon D40 to take infrared photos. However, DSLRs have a major issue with IR photography: focusing. DSLR uses focus sensors(usually phase detect) that is calibrated for visible light. We can’t manual focus either since we can’t see infrared. Also, removing the IR filter/low pass filter also changed the focus distance of the sensor. As a result, the infrared photos taken with a DSLR is usually out of focus. In fact, I usually take a dozen photos at slightly different focus distances in order to find one that is in focus.

The easily solution to this is to modify a mirrorless camera instead. Mirrorless cameras focus via the sensor, thus it will focus perfectly fine after the modification. The camera I chose for this modification is a Sony NEX-5N. I managed to got 2 of these for $50 total, partially due to the fact that both have broken display. The seller did include replacement screens, which they did not have the time to install before moving to another continent. I replaced the screens myself, and modified one of them to IR. These older mirrorless cameras also have the advantage of clipped-on low pass filters. Most modern mirrorless cameras have glued-on low pass filters that is a huge pain to remove.

Here are some photos I took on a cruise to Mexico. I have also improved my editing workflow to generate images that I like more(compared to the previous workflow).

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