How-To Geek

Remove a Digital Camera’s IR Filter for IR Photography on the Cheap

Whether you have a DSLR or a point-and-shoot, this simple hack allows you to shoot awesome IR photographs without the expense of a high-quality IR filter (or the accompanying loss of light that comes with using it).

How does it work? You’ll need to take apart your camera and remove a single fragile layer of IR blocking glass from the CCD inside the camera body. After doing so, you’ll have a camera that sees infrared light by default, no special add-on filters necessary. Because it sees the IR light without the filters you’ll also skip out on the light loss that occurs with the addition of the add-on IR filter.

The downside? You’re altering the camera in permanent and warranty-voiding way. This is most definitely not a hack for your brand new $2,000 DSLR, but it is a really fun hack to try out on an old point and shoot camera or your circa-2004 depreciated DSLR.

Hit up the link below to see the process performed on an old Canon point and shoot–we’d strongly recommend searching for a break down guide for your specific camera model before attempting the trick on your own gear.

Are You Brave Enough to IR-ize Your Camera [DIY Photography]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 09/4/12

Comments (3)

  1. r

    …or you could just use an Infrared (or similar) filter effect available in most photo-editing programs & tweak it as you like.

  2. jeroen

    Using a filter on the non-IR light that reaches the sensor in the normal state can only imitate the hack to some extent. For instance, pointing a “sending” IR remote control at the camera during exposure has very different effects.

  3. Phil

    If you remove an IR filter your white balance will be _WAY_ off, especially for normal daylight photography. CCDs are sensitive to visible and IR light, hence why IR blocking filters are there in the first place.

    Another choice is to remove the IR filter from a cheap webcam. Sometimes the IR filter is part of the lens, but most of the time it’s just a dark red circle of plastic behind the lens. It gives interesting effects and is especially useful if you’re modifying the webcam for astronomy applications.

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