01 March 2011

Le Zot IR Camera Conversion

I was having one of those days, and on this day I found a speck of dust on my sensor. I broke out my Delkin sensor cleaning kit to clean off the sensor. With the lighted scope, I found the piece of dust and move forward to remove it with the dust swab. Unfortunately, to my dismay, the dust wouldn't move. Damn, somehow a small particle of dust that look like a giant hair in a photograph got under the sensor filter. So now I had to send it off to Canon for deep cleaning. To my dismay even though I told them where the dust was they just did a regular cleaning which was  done by me, and charged me 50 bucks. Then they told me it had to go in for repair to get the particle of dust out from underneath the sensor filter. This was going to cost about $650, and they told me for just a bit more I could get a refurbished 40D, which is what I had sent them. I wasn't ready to slam down $650 on basically a backup camera, since I own a 7D. However, I thought I would search around for someone who might be able to repair it.

Just a quick test photo in front of the house.

In my search, I came across a small repair company in Burlington, Vermont. The company's name was Le Zot. So I e-mailed them asking them what the cost of the repair would be to remove the filter, clean it, reinstall it and sent me back my camera. Peter at Le Zot promptly replied to me $250. I thought that was a much better deal.  Then I noticed they also did IR conversions, which I had thought about doing for some time. I e-mailed Peter back later asking the cost for an IR conversion, plus taking the dust out. And I found out it would only cost hundred dollars more and that was with an internal R72 infrared filter. So I figured what the hell, I will go all the way with the IR conversion. As it was sent ground to them, and it took about a week and a half to do the conversion, and then ground coming back, it took about three and half weeks. Even so, this is not my only camera, so the time it took was not critical, though I was excited to get my camera  back, to try out the new system. When I finally received my camera with the IR conversion, I pulled out my 50mm lens and gave a test run. I was happy with the results, as they made the necessary white balance adjustments and set the color profile to what they thought was optimal.  And I was elated with the first images I took. They did change the image settings from RAW to JPEG, so I decide to switch  back o RAW.  In RAW the images come out as you would expect from a infrared image, with a red hue which would need to be converted in Photoshop. So with some experimenting and reading up on the best way to convert, I could  convert my images to what a typical IR would look like. The nice thing about when it's set to JPEG the images come out automatically to what I'm looking for, but under RAW, a conversion needs to be done. So with that, I will have to set up some actions or presets in order to get a baseline for my IR images.

Peter at Le Zot was very helpful, entered all my questions promptly. They did great work and I would highly recommend. Turnaround time can be a little faster if I had upgraded my shipping but for the work that was done, it was well worth the wait.

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