DSLR Modifications by Hap Griffin
|So, why should you modify a perfectly good DSLR for astrophotography? All DSLR's have sensors that are naturally sensitive to infra-red light. The manufacturers install IR filters to keep most IR energy from reaching the imaging chip to maintain a correct color balance similar to what our eyes see. Unfortunately, these filters also attenuate hydrogen-alpha light which is very important for capturing the red nebulosity in astronomical photographs. By removing the stock IR filter or replacing it with clear glass or another IR filter that is transparent to hydrogen-alpha, the camera's sensitivity for astrophotography is greatly increased.|
the 2012 RTMC Clyde Tombaugh Memorial Award
Innovation in Astronomy
Here's what my modified camera owners are saying...
"Imaged the Pleiades Saturday night with the new filter on the Canon 350D and I'm very pleased! Taken through a Stellarvue 85mm refractor at f/5.8. 16 X 5 min. at ISO 800. The filter seems to work great. Thank you so much. Count me as a satisfied customer!" - DW
"I had the chance to use the camera last night. This thing is amazing!" - AD
"I had the filter removal mod done by Hap Griffin and am very pleased with it." - BB
"Please feel free to use my name as a reference if someone is looking for someone to talk to about your filter removal "service". I was very satisfied with my experience working with you and I'd be happy to share my experience with others." - EP
"I have been meaning to tell you how happy I am with the modified camera. I have one of the early Baader modified cameras. I used it from my driveway with a Hutech LPS and the results are amazing. I was able to take ten minute exposures in somewhat light polluted skies. You can see the results on my website." - AD
"The Rebel XT you modified for me works excellently. Here is the Rosette Nebula from last night." - MH
"Like WOW...and not to sound
to corny ...but I only wish I would
have done this earlier." - GG
"Just wanted to let you know that the camera performed beyond my expectations!" - GT
"Either way you go, I highly recommend Hap Griffin's option #3 mod. The camera is much more sensitive now...especially in Ha. I don't mean a small change...it's huge!" - DD
"I'm processing yet another Heart right now - shot with your mod. Your fix to my camera falls into my top ten list of all time great things! - GG
"Take my word on this - DO IT, YESTERDAY! Images get much better, and processing is a lot easier with saturated images. Hap does a great job." - H
"I had HAP modify My 400D and it is awesome." - J
"BTW - The service provided by
Hap was top notch and he was great to deal with." - CA
"Needless to say, I love the modified Rebel camera I purchased from you!" = SB
"I still believe that camera modification is NOT for everyone... but if astrophotography is more than just a passing fancy for you, you really should get your camera modified. And if I may make a recommendation.
"Whichever route you go, I wouldn't hesitate recommending Hap to perform the service." - DS
"Whether practical to do a clear filter or not, I would feel more confident having Hap modify my camera than to have H_____ do the mod." - LM
"I wish to thank you for the fine work you did on modifying my Canon 50D a few months ago. I have been really impressed on how well it performs in the HA." - P.S.
"Thanks for the well done job. The improved sensitivity of the camera to Ha λ makes the mod indispensable for astro-imaging!
"I had my 4 month old (still under warranty at that time) sent out to Hap Griffin to modify. He did a great job and replaced the IR filter with the Baader UV/IR filter and it works excellent. I noticed right away a huge difference in the amount of Ha emission nebula that was captured in the same time frame that the new modded 40D had over to previous non-modded 40D. I also use this camera a lot for daytime pictures with a custom WB and it works very well with good color balance." - C.A.
"You modifed my 30D last Oct..can't thank you enough for the fine job!" - P.F.
"I think you did a fantastic job. Thank you.
My Canon T2i works much better as a regular camera than I expected." - B.G.
Available Modification Options:
|Canon Camera||Option 1||Option 2 (Full Spectrum)||Option 3A||Option 3B|
|Digital Rebel 300D||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Digital Rebel 350XT||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Digital Rebel 400D/XTi||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Digital Rebel 450D/XSi||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Digital Rebel 1000D/XS||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Digital Rebel 500D/T1i||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Digital Rebel 550D/T2i||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Digital Rebel 600D/T3i||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Digital Rebel 650D/T4i||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Digital Rebel 1100D/T3||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
The New Astrodon Full Spectrum Option 2 modifications
are available NOW!
Option 1 - IR Filter Removal Only - $200.00 plus return shipping cost of customer's choice
This option opens up the camera for full spectrum operation. External filters must be used to select or reject various wavelengths as needed. Normal camera lenses will NOT be able to come to focus at infinity and therefore cannot be used for astrophotography. Due to the removal of a section of glass from the optical path, the camera's autofocus and optical viewfinder will be out of calibration. For astronomical use, this may not be an issue since telescopes can focus through infinity but software focusing techniques will be required. In refractive optical systems (refractors, SCT's with refractive corrector plates, or any telescope with an integral or external focal reducer), an external IR block filter must be inserted in the imaging chain such as a Baader UV/IR Blocker or Astronomik L Clip-In Filter.
Option 2 - Full Spectrum - IR Filter Replacement with Astrodon Clear
Filter - $320.00 plus return shipping of customer's choice
By replacing both the IR filter and the front filter used for the dust cleaner function with an Astrodon clear filter of the proper thickness, the optical viewfinder calibration and autofocus with normal lenses is retained. External or clip-in filters are used to customize the camera's response for the use at hand...astronomical, normal photography, or IR imaging. In refractive astronomical optical systems (lenses, refractors, SCT's with refractive corrector plates, or any telescope with an integral or external focal reducer), an external IR block filter must be inserted in the imaging chain such as a Baader UV/IR Blocker or Astronomik L Clip-In Filter. For normal daylight use with camera lenses, an external IR blocking and color correcting filter must be used such as the X-Nite CC1 filter from MaxMax or the Astronomik OWB Clip-In filter. For IR photography, a lens mounted IR filter or an Astronomik Pro 742 IR Clip-In filter may be used. Thus, with this modification and external filters, the camera becomes a triple-use device...astronomical, daylight and IR all in one! Detailed information on this modification can be found HERE.
Option 3A - IR Filter Replacement with Astrodon UV/IR block filter - $320.00 plus return shipping of customer's choice
For astronomical use, replacement of the stock filter with one that is of the proper thickness and passes hydrogen-alpha light but blocks IR is the most versatile modification. The camera can be used for astrophotography with a telescope or normal lenses. An external IR block filter is NOT required for refractive optical systems and the autofocus and optical viewfinder remain calibrated. The camera can be used for daylight photography in the manual and program modes with a stored custom white balance (described in the camera's owner's manual). The Astrodon DSLR filter is the same premium quality filter as that offered for luminance filtering in high-end CCD cameras. Imaging Infinity is the exclusive provider of DSLR modifications in North America using these very high quality filters. Detailed information on these filters can be found HERE.
Option 3B - IR Filter Replacement with Baader UV/IR block
filter - $300.00 plus return shipping of customer's choice
For astronomical use, replacement of the stock filter with one that is of the proper thickness and passes hydrogen-alpha light but blocks IR is the most versatile modification. The camera can be used for astrophotography with a telescope or normal lenses. An external IR block filter is NOT required for refractive optical systems and the autofocus and optical viewfinder remain calibrated. The camera can be used for daylight photography in the manual and program modes with a stored custom white balance (described in the camera's owner's manual). However, the supply at this time of these special filters is limited...contact me via email before shipping your camera to check for availability.
IMPORTANT - PLEASE READ:
Be sure that you understand that these modifications will void any remaining manufacturer's warranty. Not being a Canon dealer, I cannot warrant cameras that are sent into me for modification. However, I test each camera before any work is done to detect any latent issues...if any are found, the camera will be returned un-modified. I guarantee that you will receive your camera back in fully working condition, except obviously for the changes described above for your particular modification. If you have any questions regarding my work or reliability, I would invite you to ask on any of the popular DSLR astrophotography discussion groups on the web. I have performed well over 800 DSLR modifications and have a lot of satisfied users out there!
While modified cameras can be and are used for everyday photography using either external color correction filters or a custom white balance as described HERE, please be aware that these modifications fundamentally alter an important part of your camera's optical chain. We are modifying your camera to make it function better for a specific application ... astronomical photography. If you are using your camera for professional portrait work or similar applications where absolute color accuracy, pinpoint autofocus with normal lenses, and a pristine factory clean optical system are important, I would recommend obtaining a second camera to modify. The prosumer line of Canon cameras do not offer significant advantages for astronomy over the less expensive and lighter weight models and I often recommend one of those lesser expensive models to dedicate to astrophotography rather than modifying the family DSLR for astronomical work.
Stringent precautions are taken during the modification process to avoid the deposit of any dust particles on the optical surfaces. The sensor and filters are cleaned and checked as the modification is done and multiple test flat field images are taken and kept on file for every camera following each modification. Occasionally, microscopic particles can find their way in or can work loose from the sticky tape filter gasket during shipment but can be completely removed from images with proper flat frame calibration as is normal for all astronomical photography. Some models of cameras have the ability to map these microscopic spots and adjust for them so that they are not visible.
Be sure that you understand that these modifications result in a greatly increased sensitivity to reds. That is the whole point of the modification. The increased red in the images can easily be compensated for in processing or by using an "at capture custom white balance" along with processing software that can utilize it, such as ImagesPlus.
Every effort is made to salvage the original filter from the camera in good shape so that it can be replaced later if desired. In most cases this is possible and the original filter will be returned to the owner. However, in some models (the 400D/XTi in particular), the filter is securely glued in place and is almost always damaged in removal.
Payment in the form of a check or money order should be sent along with the camera to the address below along with a description of the modification option desired. If you desire to use PayPal instead, please contact me at email@example.com before payment. Please supply instructions on the desired return shipping method (insurance for the full value of camera is mandatory) and add sufficient funds to cover the cost. I prefer to use USPS Priority mail for domestic shipping which generally runs $20 with insurance and delivery confirmation. Turn-around time will depend on my work load, but should normally be less than a week once I receive your camera. If you need a quick turnaround, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org before shipping the camera to check on my current lead time. Also, contact me directly for information on other DSLR's as their modifications become available.
When shipping a camera, please include only the body (I have lenses, batteries, memory cards, etc. used for testing) and ship it to:
Southeastern Laser Center
2610 Hardee Cove
Sumter, SC 29150
Thank you for your interest!