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Monochrome Conversion of most digital cameras? YES

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#1 nofxrx

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 05:55 PM

Hey guys(and gals)!

Made quite a stir over on the DSLR forum **HERE** (may not be visible!), and I did NOT intend to do so.
So I apologize to everyone, the OP especially, for having that thread removed/locked..
I should have just posted something here to begin with.
I am very sorry!



What is this post for?
In addition to my current Filter and TEC mods, I am formally introducing my new Monochrome Conversion Modification.
This is still in the final test stage, with completion within the next 2-3weeks (June 1st target date)!
I have been working on this for nearly a year, maybe more, and have been able to only go so fast in my testing and trials..it is expensive doing this, so had to take it slow in order to not kill us financially..
Plus with the baby on the way, frivolous spending has been put on hold! :grin:


I have posted some FAQ's below..
I will be updating this thread as often as possible.
Since CN does not allow you to edit posts after a few days have passed, I will just post new info further below in the thread..


FAQ's:
What is this mod?
This is a removal of the CFA, or Bayer Matrix, of the color CMOS/CCD sensor in digital cameras.
I am chemically stripping the CFA/Bayer Matrix from the CMOS/CCD sensors in pretty much ANY digital camera (models and info below).

What benefits does this modification give you?
Well, it has already been proven that monochrome conversion gains ~2 full stops of sensitivity.
Plus, you are using 100% of the pixels to capture ALL wavelengths.

How can you get color images with this mod?
Just like a mono CCD setup, you can easily add a CFW and LRGB filters and take monochrome images in each channel, and then combine them in PP(post processing) to create color images.
You could also easily shoot narrowband color images as well with a monochrome modified camera..

OR, and this is what I plan on doing, use two cameras at the same time or on different nights. does not HAVE to be the same model, but would make things MUCH easier if they were. You simply use the mono camera to give you your Luminance image, then the stock/standard filter mod camera for your RGB..
You should be able to only use much less color images to get even more detail in your images as the Luminance layer is where all of the 'data' is..the color does just that, adds color to your Luminance..


What about the sensor? will it be vulnerable or open to the elements post-mod?
The sensor will be resealed with the original cover glass **under vacuum**(to eliminate any air that could cause condensation, etc..which would be very bad). It will be perfectly fine, and protected, just like with ANY stock/filter modified camera!


What models are currently supported?
Currently I know of:
Canon models: XS, XSi, T1i, T2i, T3i, 20D, 30D, 40D, 50D, 60D, 60Da(not sure why anyone would do this to a 60Da, but it is possible), 7D, 5D, 5D Mark II, 5D Mark III, 6D, 1D Mark III, 1D Mark IV, 1Dx
****Note**** The Canon T4i, T5i, and others may not be possible as the sensor is a "Hybrid CMOS Sensor" that uses Phase Detection AF pixels *on the actual imaging sensor*, these pixels are dedicated to the AF system, and I have no clue how they may 'react' to this type of modification.
Other models, like some Sony NEX models(or other makes/models) that use this same 'on sensor AF pixels' tech, may also not be possible until further testing is done...
Will update this in the thread below once I have completed testing on them...which may take a while as I get mostly only Canon or Nikon mod requests..
But, if you have one of these models in question, and are up for a bit of an adventure, I would be more than willing to test it out!

Nikon models; D3100/3200, D5100/5200, D7000/7100, and D600...as well as D700, D800, D3, D3s, D4, etc

Sony NEX models; NEX3, NEXC3, NEXF3, NEX5, NEX5n, NEX7, NEX6
**Note** Sony Alpha DSLR(or whatever they call them) like the A57, A77, A99 are not capable, or I do not know YET if they are as these cameras offer IN camera IS(Image Stabilization) which uses some pretty fancy sensor positioning mechanisms and I have not been asked to filter(Baader/etc) modify any of these yet, so not sure if they can be modified at all (for ANY mod, filter or mono!)...

Also, any/most of the M4/3 cameras out there are also capable of being modified, both Filter and Monochrome mods.

And, do not forget the very popular compact digital cameras, like:
The Canon G series or S series.
The Nikon P series, or 1 series, or the new A series.
Or the Sony RX series, particularly the VERY popular RX100 and RX1(24Mp full frame!)

Again, the only models I am not 100% sure of are the ones that use IN camera IS and/or have AF dedicated pixels **on the actual imaging sensor**...
but always willing to try! ;)


Anyways..moving on..

How much will this modification cost??
This is still up in the air.
I am thinking of doing an Introductory price initially so as to get a few of every model out there taking pics and doing some free advertising for me..
I am not sure how many cameras I will do this introductory price for, or how many of each model I will do..
I am THINKING of something like 2 or 3 of each "most popular models" (T2i, T3i, 60D, 5D2, D5100, D7000, D600, etc) to begin...
IF I do this, I will give the details in a post further down the road..



Obviously, I will/can also do my Filter Mods while performing this Mono conversion.
I will obviously give a discount for "dual mods".

IMHO, I would advise people to go with a Baader Filter mod while doing this Mono Conversion as it will provide the best possible spectral transmissions in the visible, while also blocking all UV and IR...meaning you will not need any additional external filters for imaging with ANY setup/optical configuration.

But obviously I will gladly perform whichever modifications you may want..whether Baader or Full Spectrum..
Full Spectrum would be very beneficial with this mod IF you mainly image with reflectors(newts/RCs,etc)..if imaging with lenses, APO/ED, refractors, etc. I would strongly advise going with the Baader mod along with the Mono Conversion.



Think that is about it for now...
Should be enough to get some stuff going ;)

Please direct any questions to me here AND (please) via PM or Email (email is best for me)..

As always, I am always here and willing to help, and willing to answer ANY/all questions or concerns you may have.


VERY EXCITING stuff!(to me at least!) :grin:


Clear skies!!


Brent Oliver
HyperCams & Mods
DSLR_HyperCams@yahoo.com
977 Spring Street NW
Palm Bay FL, 32907
(321)720-8222 (cell)

#2 canukLX90

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 01:31 AM

OK, you got my interest hyped on a mono Canon. I'll be
contacting you directly about one.

PJ

#3 lambermo

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 10:03 AM

I know of a local vendor that offers physical debayering . At least as option on their Ultimate Deep Cooled Canon 1100D .

-- Hans

#4 nofxrx

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 04:32 PM

I know of a local vendor that offers physical debayering . At least as option on their Ultimate Deep Cooled Canon 1100D .

-- Hans



I am actually talking with JTW right now about a collaboration effort ;)

#5 Greg K.

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 07:04 PM

Sweet!

#6 orlyandico

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 09:21 PM

This sounds very similar / identical to Jim's offering.

I know that both Jim's conversions and the (pricey!) Maxmax ones leave some non-homogeneous areas (but maybe a flat can fix that). It would be interesting to see images from this conversion as well.

#7 zerro1

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 02:43 AM

Jim only offering mono nikon and as far a I've read the risk is all on the person purchasing the service. I'd be interested to hear Brents position.

Brent? if I send you my 1000D for bayer removal, whats my risk if the camera dies in your care?

#8 orlyandico

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 11:25 AM

You pay more if you want no risk.

Maxmax will sell you a guaranteed working 450D for... $2000.

#9 zerro1

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 12:40 PM

You pay more if you want no risk.

Maxmax will sell you a guaranteed working 450D for... $2000.



:rofl2:
I didn't bump my head! what's that 6 times the price of a 450D on the market right now... Kinda defeats the whole idea of DSLR's being a good bang for the buck. Twice the price I get! 6 times? :lol: :lol: :lol:

#10 orlyandico

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 12:43 PM

And I know someone who bought one! for AP!

You can buy a new STF8300M for that price..

#11 nofxrx

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 07:57 PM

Sorry for the delay in reply here, guys...been busy week/end with graduations and weddings, etc...

This sounds very similar / identical to Jim's offering.

I know that both Jim's conversions and the (pricey!) Maxmax ones leave some non-homogeneous areas (but maybe a flat can fix that). It would be interesting to see images from this conversion as well.


This conversion, or the way I am doing will not leave any 'irregularities' around the edges.
I know why the current services may have this as a side effect, and it is because the gold contacts that connect the actual sensor to the sensor package pin-outs are EXTREMELY fragile and impossible to repair(AFAIK, I have not had to yet, so not 100% sure if it can be repaired or not)..

I should have some images up this week showing before and after shots with my XS, and then my T3i later on...though I may keep that as my main COLOR imaging camera and buy a T2i for the conversion test..

#12 nofxrx

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 08:46 PM

Brent? if I send you my 1000D for bayer removal, whats my risk if the camera dies in your care?


As always, with any of my services, if there is an issue I will have it resolved. If that involves buying you a new camera and modifying it again (or not, up to the customer), I will.
That is the cost of doing business like this.
And I stand behind my products.
EVERY modification I do comes with a full 90 Day Warranty on the mod and anything relating to the mod.
EVERY camera sold by me, "pre-modified/converted/etc", comes with a full 6 Month Warranty, on the entire camera!! :)

As always though, my warranties are no different than Canon's/Nikon's. It will cover anything BUT abuse/misuse/dropping/water damage/etc/etc/etc.. ;)
So, I am reasonable with my warranties..but I am also covered.

One case, which is VERY recent, was a "Pre-Modified" Full Spectrum 5D Mark II that a customer ordered from me.
He received it in perfect working order. Used it several nights and was perfectly happy.
Then one night, the camera would not shoot an image, it would turn on and everything but once you hit the shutter it would "Err 20, Shooting is not possible, etc".
He sent it back to me to fix.
While in route to me, we were just talking and he said that he remembered hearing a loud thud coming from downstairs where the cleaning lady was at a few days back, when he went to ask what happened, she said "oh, I was just moving some stuff".. ;)
When I received the camera, there was a clear indent to the mode dial where it had fallen. I document ANY and everything on the cameras I sell IF there is a mark to document...this was not there before. I opened the camera up to see if there was anything I could fix and could not find any issues..none..so this was a job for Canon..
And the customer was completely cool with that assessment as it was the only logical conclusion since it worked fine one day and then all of a sudden, after the cleaning lady came, it stopped working.
What did I do?
I sent the camera into Canon CPS under my Gold Level CPS account, which has a 30% discount on repairs and a 3 day turn around. The camera was back in his hands within ~6 days after he sent it to me..
And he is happy as could be!
I do not want to name any names since he may not want that...but I guarantee you, he was perfectly happy with my services and the extent I went to to get his new camera back to perfect working condition.
IF I had not seen that mark on the mode dial, *I* would have covered any and all repair costs ;)


Obviously, I hope, if you looked at my feedback on any site I frequent(here, AstroMart, POTN, Fred Miranda,etc), I stand by my services and will always provide the absolute best service and products possible. I will go above and beyond to insure every customer is 100% satisfied with my services and/or products! :grin:


(note, I am not saying this to you specifically, Robert..I know you know most of this already being we have worked together before! Just trying to relieve some people's minds about doing business with a vendor like me! :) )

Cheers!

#13 orlyandico

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 10:32 PM

Brent, still haven't answered the pricing question..

Would you consider modding a DSLR-sensor-based astro camera? I have a QHY8 that I would dearly love to convert to monochrome, but Jim has stopped doing QHY8 conversions for the meantime and the "no fuzz around the edges" that you claim intrigues me...

(the QHY8 uses the sensor and board from the Nikon D40)

#14 canukLX90

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 12:42 AM

So, now the waiting starts! I just hope it comes with
a "clear night sky certificate" :lol:

PJ

#15 nofxrx

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 09:03 PM

Brent, still haven't answered the pricing question..


I am doing this on purpose as I have not finalized everything, yet ;)
But, if you look at all of my services, I always price things VERY competitively and typically cheaper than most other places, while offering the exact same level, or higher levels, of quality and service/support/etc. :D :cool:

I am pretty set on doing an introductory pricing for the first 10-20 customers, depending on how many "first responders" I get..
It will most likely be ~1/2-2/3 normal/full costs.


I will have the prices and specifics set later this week or next with the start date set for the 1st of June.


Would you consider modding a DSLR-sensor-based astro camera? I have a QHY8 that I would dearly love to convert to monochrome, and the "no fuzz around the edges" that you claim intrigues me...

(the QHY8 uses the sensor and board from the Nikon D40)


I have never owned, or even seen a QHY8 in person...BUT, I see no reason why I could not at least look at the camera to see if it is able to be converted..
There is always a first time for every model. That has been the way for me for the last 5-6 years with dozens of models.
Never once have I been hesitant to open up a new model and see how to modify it properly.
Every model from the 350D to the 5D Mark III/1D Mark IV, and Nikon D50 to the D3s... ;)

I cannot guarantee that it will be possible to do a monochrome conversion on the QHY, but I will gladly try, or at least take a look at it for free..

That goes with ANY/most digital cameras..whether P&S, compact, mirror-less, DSLR, SLT, M4/3, rangefinder, medium format, etc, etc...or even Astro CCDs..

I will never turn down the opportunity to modify something new! That is the only way we can progress further in anything..trying something new.. :grin:

#16 nofxrx

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 08:33 PM

Update: Procuring the final chemical needed has proven much more difficult than anticipated..
I will not meet the June 1st projected start date..sorry.

I should know more within the next week or two to finalize this and get the mods/conversions going, with set prices, etc.

Thanks for your patience! :)

#17 canukLX90

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 01:06 PM

Thanks for the update Brent. Really looking forward to
using one of your DSLRs converted to mono.

Cheers

PJ

#18 nofxrx

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 12:43 AM

*UPDATE*

I cannot for the life of me get any Canon sensors Monochrome converted...I have found that Canon uses a special CERAMIC coating on their sensors (above the CFA) which means you have to use an abrasive..and finding an abrasive, machine, technique, etc to do this kind of extremely fine pitch work is very difficult, and expensive.

But Nikon, Sony, M4/3, Mirror-Less, etc cameras? I can do ANY of them! Easily too...well, as easy as you would think it could be. compared to the Canon's, a walk in the park.

I would have to price Canon mods at 2-3x the cost of the other brands at this point...so until further notice, Canon is not on the table..
Sorry!
(But I am working on this constantly, so this WILL change eventually! I am remaining optimistic on this as much as possible! :) )


So...prices..?

For most Nikon, Sony, etc DSLR under $1200 (current retail or used market value): $275
For the same, but for $1200-2500: $375
For $2500 and up: $495

For most Mirror-Less (MILC) camera (including, but not limited to: Sony NEX, Panasonic/Olympus/etc Micro Four Thirds, Fuji X series, etc, etc) under $1200: $255
For $1200 and up: $355
(FYI, this does NOT include Leica!...please inquire if you happen to want to turn a Leica into a modified camera ;) )


This is actually a better deal as MILC's tend to require a LOT more time and literally dis-assembly of the entire camera is required...


I will also give you a very nice discount on doing the Filter Modifications while performing the Monochrome Conversions. Please inquire as prices vary greatly with models and modifications..

Any questions, just ask!

Cheers!
Brent

#19 rainycityastro

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 04:52 PM

Hi Brent,
This is pretty exciting!
Do you need to remove the microlenses to do the mono conversion?

--Ram

#20 canukLX90

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 12:42 AM

Well, that is a bit disappointing to hear about the mono
Canon process. But maybe this will be a win for Nikon
users...???...especially if BYNIK becomes available.
Thanks for the update and price info Brent.

PJ

#21 orlyandico

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 07:21 AM

Jim also mentioned that he could not do Canon mono conversions, He said there's some sort of cover glass on Canon sensors that can't be removed. It's probably the same thing..

#22 nofxrx

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 05:28 PM

Well....I will have proof soon, but I think I have cracked the Canon sensor Bayer 'mystery'...
If you have not been following this thread **HERE** , you can see where I found info to try a method that was so simple I never even thought of it...
I mean VERY simple.
(note, it is NOT the technique described by the OP, it is in the link further down in that thread, or stargazerslounge Canon Bayer Removal )
Basically, using a very light abrasive and carefully using a Dremel with a cloth polish bit..
I have tried chemicals(TONS of them!), other abrasives, and quite a few other really out there ideas...and never once thought it would be this "easy"...well, easy to purchase items, unlike some of the chemicals needed for other sensors..


FWIW..
I do not mind sharing "my secrets" because 1) it is not a secret anyways(LOL), and 2) I do not think that information like this should be kept secret...power of information. :rockon:
if you want me to do this stuff(mod/conversion) for you, great!
If not, hopefully it helps you figure out if/how you do it yourself! :)

I am not the best salesman, am I? :lol:


ANYWAYS..
Stay tuned. The Canon Mono Conversion is coming!! :fingerscrossed:


Prices WILL be higher than Nikon/Sony,etc as this requires a LOT more work.
I will try to keep the price reasonable, though.


Cheers!

#23 nofxrx

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 05:29 PM

Oh, and I WILL be offering "Beta users" discounts!
Inquire for more info ;)

#24 nofxrx

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 05:32 PM

Hi Brent,
This is pretty exciting!
Do you need to remove the microlenses to do the mono conversion?

--Ram


YES!!
Micro-lenses are gone doing this mod.
Removing them decreases performance a VERY little bit, but removal of the Bayer increases the performance so much that it easily over-shadows the negative effects of removing the Micro-Lenses...

So in other words, yes this removes the micro lensing, but it is still worth doing as your camera WILL be more sensitive.

BTW, sorry for not keeping on top of this thread...been a bit busy lately getting the house, and myself, ready for this baby..or as ready as we can be.. lol

Cheers,
Brent

#25 nofxrx

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 05:36 PM

there's some sort of cover glass on Canon sensors that can't be removed.


Correct..
I have been told by a few engineers in the IC process and development areas that it is possibly a ceramic protective coating of some kind...
My personal though is that it might be that the actual Bayer Matrix is made from a glass or ceramic material/substrate, instead of plastic like most manufacturers use..

But, in any case, it is a massive PITA removing it! :)






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