DIY Guides

Why Do We Need To Calibrate Infrared Converted Camera

Calibration in infrared camera conversions is very important. The infrared converted camera must focus the infrared light. Infrared light bends a bit different from visible light so we adjust cameras focusing system.

Download Our Infrared Photography Guide

Infrared photography guide
  • How to take infrared pictures with a digital camera
  • What are infrared filters available
  • How to process infrared images
  • How to modify a digital camera for infrared photography
  • How to modify a digital camera to a full spectrum

Compact cameras and compact system cameras (Fujifilm S2980, Canon EOS M, EOS M3) usually do not require re-calibration. Some models require sensor leveling.

The sensor leveling is needed to achieve even focus throughout all the image.

If the sensor is not leveled properly, the image will not have even focus plane. Basically, this not always will be noticeable. Probably it will show itself if we take a picture of a flat surface i.e. a wall.

If the compact camera or compact system camera can’t focus we move the sensor to the back. Usually, a 0.5mm distance is enough.

Calibrating Infrared Camera using Sensor Shifting

Here is how we calibrate infrared camera that has a separate focusing sensor (DSLR).

DSLRs require re-calibration (a sensor shift) and some DSLRs also require sensor leveling.

For example, the IR converted Canon 1200D will require a sensor shift to the back 0.5mm and sensor leveling.

The Canon 1100D will not require sensor leveling because the sensor is not fitted on springs. It will need only sensor shift to the back (done with 0.5mm washers).

How we shift the sensor. For sensors that are fitted on springs, we simply increase sensor distance from the chassis for about 0.5mm.

For sensors that are without a spring fitting, we use simple washers (0.5mm).

This sensor shift will allow us to use any lens on 50mm focal length with the quick focus feature.

Full Spectrum Converted Camera Calibration

What about full spectrum conversions? Full spectrum conversions do not require focus re-calibration. It does, however, require sensor leveling on cameras with sensors fitted on springs.

Canon DSLRs need sensor shifting to the front by 0.15mm.

If we use a full spectrum DSLR for infrared photography then we place an IR filter on the lens. We can’t use quick focus because we can’t see anything. So we use Live View mode and the camera focuses perfectly all the time.

Some cameras like the Fujifilm X Pro require additional clear glass to be fitted in full spectrum conversions because they can’t focus otherwise.

Some digital compact cameras like Fujifilm S2980 require sensor shift to the front. We simply adjusting three screws that the sensor is fitted with.

If the camera still can’t focus we simply remove those springs and the sensor then shifts a bit more to the front and the camera is able to focus.

Some info about this topic on LifePixel website.

Please visit our shop to find infrared converted camera that suits your needs.

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