In the past three weeks I have successfully converted three archaic point & shoot digital cameras to shoot Infrared. I’ve done a cheap Samsung, and a Canon G1 - both around 3 megapixels. I sold the Samsung, calling it a toy. I also achieved the most successful conversion of the dozen or so that I’ve attempted, on the smallest camera of all that I have done, a 5 megapixel Panasonic Lumix DMC-LC80. It is definitely out of the ‘toy’ class!
I got the Lumix for free- it was headed for the trash; you could call it a survivor. It was manufactured around 2004, and this particular camera was . . .well loved? The silver grey finish around the optical viewfinder is worn away to bare plastic, and half of the icons are mostly worn off of the mode dial. It shows evidence of being dropped a time or two. .. That being said, I have not only converted it to full time IR, I have also effected a delicate mechanical repair to return the lens to complete functioning: it zooms and focuses like it just came out of the store. (Even the lens covers close!)
The optics on the Lumix camera line are made by Leica, and it shows. They are distinctly superior to many other cameras in their class. After the conversion the lens retains all its sharpness. The macro performance is stunning.
Several years ago I paid to have my Canon Powershot A630, 8 megapixel point and shoot converted to infrared. I thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. I’ve made many photos with it that I still love today. But the Lumix is sharper, and the color out of the camera is better. They both have custom White Balance, but the different infrared band pass filters make their spectral responses quite different. The Canon has a filter that rolls off fairly low, at approximately 665 nanometers, allowing extra color saturation. The filter I used in the Panasonic has a 50% transmission cut off at about 680, and it is a steep cut off. So If I had to choose between them, I would currently lean towards the Lumix, despite the limited resolution.
One thing I love about the Lumix spectral response curve is that straight out of the camera (on a bright sunny day) it is a two step process in Photoshopto to get the classic color IR look. Auto Curves, and Channel Swap and you are practically done. Maybe you’ll do a little sharpening or burning/dodging. I don’t know about you, but it usually takes a lot more tweaking to get just the color I want from a digital infrared file.
I do have the camera up for sale on Craigslist, austin.craigslist.org/pho/4525…
(as well as my professionally converted Canon Eos XS austin.craigslist.org/pho/4520…
). The Lumix is listed at $80, and the XS is $459 OBO. There are photos from both cameras in the gallery.
I’m broke! Feel free to contact me with questions if you might be interested.