Thirty Days (#18): NIR camera conversion

John modified a point-and-shoot camera to capture near infrared images. This is half the puzzle in building NDVI images for analyzing crop health.

Information on the conversion can be found here:

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Comment by David Anders on May 24, 2013 at 5:00pm
What make and model camera was converted Josh?
Comment by LanMark on May 24, 2013 at 6:15pm
What is the differences in optical distortion with the modified camera sensor stack?

also make sure to always shoot raw for ndvi work.. Jpg really messes with the image/pixel data... You can use the canon DPP software to correct the images CA and other optical distortions like barrel distortion.

Comment by David Anders on May 24, 2013 at 7:50pm

Good point Mark re shooting in RAW.  But I think that really should be the standard if you're doing anything with aerial photography (IR or not).  With storage space being so cheap it's not really a problem anymore.

Comment by Jared S on May 24, 2013 at 7:57pm

Josh, what is the difference between this and a professional multispectral camera (tetracam).

Comment by LanMark on May 24, 2013 at 8:23pm
Tatracam is $7k+, 3MP sensor and a USB 1.0 interface.. A lot of the specs seem like 10 year old technology... Plus I wouldn't fly a $7k+ camera. Cameras like this are 12MP or more.. USB2.0 and/or SDHC cards... And more like $700. sorry not a tetracam fan.. Old tech and a extreamly high price point and lacking results.

Comment by Gary Mortimer on May 24, 2013 at 9:38pm

I think this is going to be the first Kickstarter I ever back It has potential!

Comment by Joshua Ott on May 24, 2013 at 10:38pm


It's a Canon Powershot, I'll check the model number when i'm back at the office tomorrow.


We just did a quick conversion by pulling the IR blocking filter and using a dark blue lighting gel on the lens, not even a proper glass filter, so plenty of distortion.


See my answer above and LanMark's earlier. This is just a hack, but it's a useful image on some level ;-)


That project is what inspired us to try this!


That is why I chose them to photograph, I want to see what stress looks like.

Comment by Gary McCray on May 25, 2013 at 8:38am

Removing IR blocking Filters is good for Near IR lasers (780 nm) as well for ranging.

Be interesting to have some DIYers out there report on various cameras suitable for this and resulting IR usability.

A lot of the CCDs will work fairly far into the IR range and some of them are more sensitive in IR than visible.

Comment by Ned Horning on May 25, 2013 at 10:21am

Lots of good info about these conversions and the kickstarter Gary Mortimer mentioned at the Public Lab sites: and and the site for the NIR camera:

Comment by Joshua Ott on May 25, 2013 at 10:56am

That's a good link Ned, I was studying their tutorials on constructing NVDI with Gimp yesterday, but ran out of time to finish putting the composite image together for this post.


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