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Jim Chung
Vendor - Icodome
*****

Reged: 12/07/05

Loc: Toronto
Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome
      #5606114 - 01/05/13 08:31 AM

Icodome is pleased to announce that we are starting a pilot venture to modify certain model Nikon DSLR to full monochrome capability. This is a very delicate and time consuming procedure adding at least two magnitudes of complexity over the usual IR DSLR modification. To keep prices manageable we will be performing this modification on the early Nikon D40/50/60/70/80 line of cameras which are quite affordable at this time. Despite their smaller 7 -10 megapixel APS sized sensors compared to current DSLRs, the 2-3x in real resolution gain by shooting in monochrome vs Bayer colour and the large pixel sizes give significant advantages to applications like narrowband DSLR imaging.

We are still field testing our 3 converted DSLRs and waiting for a break in weather to do some narrowband imaging.

Meanwhile have a look at full size at this true 720nm IR monochrome image: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4852049/NikonD40IR720nm.jpg

Pricing will be approx camera body costs + $250 which equate to about $450-$650 depending on camera model. This price is actually lower than what some are charging for simple IR modification. I will not modify your camera for fear of damaging your sensor but sell preconverted, tested units. That way I assume all costs of failures and you as the consumer are protected.


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Jim Chung
Vendor - Icodome
*****

Reged: 12/07/05

Loc: Toronto
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #5606115 - 01/05/13 08:35 AM Attachment (236 downloads)

Quick comparison between conventional colour image converted to grayscale (left) and monochrome modified DSLR image (right). Note the increased sharpness (resolution) and significant lack of chroma noise allowing camera to operate at higher ISO without sacrificing dynamic range. Also loss of Bayer layer results in one full aperture stop increase in sensitivity.

Edited by Jim Chung (01/05/13 08:36 AM)


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zerro1
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 08/02/09

Loc: Smokey Point , 48.12°N 122.25...
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #5606307 - 01/05/13 10:50 AM

Well that's retty cool . That looks like something I would be interested in

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guyroch
Vendor (BackyardEOS)
*****

Reged: 01/22/08

Loc: Under the clouds!
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: zerro1]
      #5606401 - 01/05/13 11:38 AM

This is freak'in awesome.

Genius!

One question though, why Nikon over Canon?

Do you even intend to modify Canon? If yes I think I just found a reason to purchase a 5D Mk II and have it MONOfied by you guys... then send it over to JTW or CentralDS to get it cooled. I figure the total price to me would be in the $4000 range. I would pay that price for sure a mono cooled 5D Mk II.

Anyway, you are definitely on the edge here. Good work!

Guylain


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Aquatone
sage


Reged: 03/23/06

Loc: Moraga, CA (Bay Area)
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: guyroch]
      #5606558 - 01/05/13 12:53 PM

Looks very interesting indeed, but I also have to ask why Nikon over Canon which must be more representative of the bulk of DSLR's used in astrophotography and the accessories and software tools associated with them.

I would go for a camera modified like this in a heartbeat if it were a Canon, but the fact that all my existing accessories would be less compatible makes it of little appeal.


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Jim Chung
Vendor - Icodome
*****

Reged: 12/07/05

Loc: Toronto
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: Aquatone]
      #5606784 - 01/05/13 03:02 PM

As you can imagine development costs to reach this stage of reproducible and consistent conversion success is rather high and we have quite an assortment of dead sensors. Nikons happen to be easier to work with then Canons in this regard and although we are also Canon people, we've been pleasantly surprised at how much more ergonomic the Nikon models are to shoot with. We're trying also to keeps costs relatively low to encourage the hobbyists that we cater to. Even if we could convert a Canon 5D Mk 3 would we be willing to chance a $3500 camera and risk ruining it?

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guyroch
Vendor (BackyardEOS)
*****

Reged: 01/22/08

Loc: Under the clouds!
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #5606832 - 01/05/13 03:30 PM

I can certainly understand your point of view. I think it's pretty awesome what you're doing. One day you'll have the process nailed and you'll be able to have both Nikon and Canon MONOfied with a blindfold and both hands tied behind your back

Keep up the outstanding R&D.

Guylain


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guyroch
Vendor (BackyardEOS)
*****

Reged: 01/22/08

Loc: Under the clouds!
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: guyroch]
      #5607322 - 01/05/13 09:24 PM

The more I think about it the more I want one; plus I really want to support your effort and R&D.

Do you have a D80 ready?

I would be interested only if I can see/inspect a 10 minute dark frame. I'm not really concerned about hot pixels or noise, I can process those out. But I am concerned about amp glow. Some older Nikon models were notorious for amp glow so if the MONOfied D80 has some I'm not interested... but if the 10 minute dark frame shows no sign of amp glow I'll buy MONOfied D80 immediately.

Let me know.

Guylain


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Jim Chung
Vendor - Icodome
*****

Reged: 12/07/05

Loc: Toronto
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: guyroch]
      #5607345 - 01/05/13 09:42 PM

Hi Guylain,

Thanks for expressing your enthusiasm and support. I think the D80 will probably still exhibit too much amp glow much like my old Canon 20D. I'm looking at converting a D90 which is significantly more advanced than the D80, appears to have nearly no amp glow from reports and also features the very useful live view ability. If it goes well I'll make sure to keep it for you.


regards,


Jim


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guyroch
Vendor (BackyardEOS)
*****

Reged: 01/22/08

Loc: Under the clouds!
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #5607468 - 01/05/13 10:59 PM

I much prefer the D90 over the D80 that's for sure.

In that case, would you be willing to do a D7000 instead? The new D7000 body is about $825; not sure how much a used one would go for.

I just ran a test with my D90 and D7000 for a 10 minute dark frame and the D7000 is night and day compared to the D90.

Sorry to be throwing you curve balls like this but the D7000 has next to no hot pixels, it's an awesome camera.

I know you said you would not modify a customer's camera but look at my signature, I have DSLRs coming out my ying-yang. How confident are you in your process? I'm thinking I might be willing to risk the D7000 for a MONOfied mod. This would split the risk between both of us.

Send me a PM with your email if you want to take this off line; I'm good either way.

Guylain


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s58y
Postmaster


Reged: 12/12/04

Loc: Eastern NY
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: guyroch]
      #5608614 - 01/06/13 03:09 PM

Interesting development. As soon as we get mirrorless cameras that support tethered shooting and mono plus anti-alias conversion, along with cooling, we'll have a viable substitute for dedicated astro CCD cameras.

I guess, we'll also need low profile filter wheels that can fit between the camera mount and the usual SLR camera lenses.


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Jim Chung
Vendor - Icodome
*****

Reged: 12/07/05

Loc: Toronto
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: s58y]
      #5611169 - 01/07/13 11:35 PM Attachment (89 downloads)

First light under terrible sky conditions, windy with hazy clouds but the first clearish night in nearly 3 months in Toronto.

no flats, no darks, just some curves in PS

full scale here: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4852049/M42NikonD50monoHa%20copy.jpg


A conventional colour camera would only produce a signal in the red channel and would be only either 1/3 the resolution or 1/3 the scale. Much less nebulosity would be apparent after only 30 minutes. I need much longer subs and more of them to iron out the background noise.

Edited by Jim Chung (01/08/13 08:21 AM)


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Jim Chung
Vendor - Icodome
*****

Reged: 12/07/05

Loc: Toronto
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #5611658 - 01/08/13 10:19 AM Attachment (124 downloads)

This time with dark subtraction, better noise control:

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Heine DK
super member


Reged: 03/30/08

Loc: Copenhagen, Denmark
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #5614247 - 01/09/13 06:36 PM

Amazing news and an amazing prize for the mod. Great work.

I'm very happy with my Nikon D700 which gave me good results with AP for a non modified camera. I would love to have a D700 monofied, but I'm afraid Nikon put up a big hurdle for filter removal for recent models due to an IR LED/sensor checking shutter timing. Removing the cut filter opens up not just for h-alpha but also for the signal from the IR LED. This might be removable by dark frames, acting a bit like amp glow on the old models. I'm not sure if this goes for all the newer Nikons.


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Jim Chung
Vendor - Icodome
*****

Reged: 12/07/05

Loc: Toronto
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: Heine DK]
      #5614682 - 01/09/13 11:11 PM

Heine,

That's very interesting information, do you have a website that discusses this issue? Does your D700 have this feature (and you do mean D700 and not D7000, right?).

I just successfully converted a D90 today but of course despite the weather forecast it's cloudy tonight so I can't astro test it. Here's a 10 minute dark taken at room temperature:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4852049/10mindarkNikonD90.jpg


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guyroch
Vendor (BackyardEOS)
*****

Reged: 01/22/08

Loc: Under the clouds!
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #5615088 - 01/10/13 09:07 AM

Quote:

Heine,

That's very interesting information, do you have a website that discusses this issue? Does your D700 have this feature (and you do mean D700 and not D7000, right?).

I just successfully converted a D90 today but of course despite the weather forecast it's cloudy tonight so I can't astro test it. Here's a 10 minute dark taken at room temperature:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4852049/10mindarkNikonD90.jpg




Interesting progress. The 10 minute D90 dark frame is showing sings of amp glow (or light infiltration) towards the bottom right of the frame

Guylain


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guyroch
Vendor (BackyardEOS)
*****

Reged: 01/22/08

Loc: Under the clouds!
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: guyroch]
      #5615224 - 01/10/13 10:42 AM

Actually Jim it looks more like light leak rather than amp glow. Did you take your 10 minute dark frame in a dark room or a bright room?

Guylain


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Jim Chung
Vendor - Icodome
*****

Reged: 12/07/05

Loc: Toronto
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: guyroch]
      #5615235 - 01/10/13 10:51 AM

You nailed it. I just placed the screw cap over the lens opening in the body and put it face down on a couch in my dark living room ... which obviously is not perfectly dark. Probably a very slight leak in the cap. I just wanted to demo that the D90 doesn't appear to suffer from leakage from any onboard IR LED.

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Jim Chung
Vendor - Icodome
*****

Reged: 12/07/05

Loc: Toronto
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #5617784 - 01/11/13 06:52 PM Attachment (65 downloads)

I'm dying here in Toronto for some clear weather. Although it's going to be 13C tomorrow which is pretty unprecedented in the middle of winter, the warm weather encourages cloudiness. So I haven't been able to astro test the D90 but I did take this image of my son's pet rabbit preparing to attack after being rudely awakened.


"Run away, run away .... run away" (Python's Holy Grail)

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4852049/YawningrabbitB%26W.jpg (full size)

Edited by Jim Chung (01/11/13 07:14 PM)


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Lightning
sage


Reged: 07/04/10

Loc: Canberra, Australia
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #5618561 - 01/12/13 07:59 AM

The Nikon D5100 would be a better choice for this than the D7000 since it's the same chip but a cheaper camera.

This is awesome work Jim, I hope you can make it into a success business-wise.

[Edit]Given that's you're pulling everything out, a cold-finger cooler would be ace too.[/edit]

Cheers,
Cam

Edited by Lightning (01/12/13 08:00 AM)


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Jim Chung
Vendor - Icodome
*****

Reged: 12/07/05

Loc: Toronto
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: Lightning]
      #5618608 - 01/12/13 08:46 AM

Cam,

Thanks and that's a good call for somebody who isn't familiar with all the different Nikon models. Apparently Adorama in NYC is liquidating their D5100 for only $419 (NEW!) to make room for the new D5200. But like you said, the D5100 has the great 16 MP sensor of the D7000 and the articulated LCD screen is really a back saver for astroimaging. For Canon people this is equivalent to the T3i.


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guyroch
Vendor (BackyardEOS)
*****

Reged: 01/22/08

Loc: Under the clouds!
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #5618966 - 01/12/13 12:19 PM

Quote:

Cam,

Thanks and that's a good call for somebody who isn't familiar with all the different Nikon models. Apparently Adorama in NYC is liquidating their D5100 for only $419 (NEW!) to make room for the new D5200. But like you said, the D5100 has the great 16 MP sensor of the D7000 and the articulated LCD screen is really a back saver for astroimaging. For Canon people this is equivalent to the T3i.




I'll tell you what Jim... at $419 for a new D5100 body I'm giving you the green light to go get one and modify it. If you can MONOfy a new D5100 with success I'll purchase your first D5100 monofied camera as long as the monofied camera does not show any sign of amp glow on a 10 minute dark frame post modification; that's my only requirement for a D5100.

Send me a PM and we can talk $.

Guylain


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Lightning
sage


Reged: 07/04/10

Loc: Canberra, Australia
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: guyroch]
      #5619895 - 01/12/13 10:06 PM

There's a chance I may win my bid on ebay for one too. Even if I don't get it I'll be aiming to pick up this camera for a while yet - it's awesome. Once I get one I'm keen to send it to you for modification.

Question, does this remove the micro-lens array? Given that you gain a full f-stop it's probably irrelevant, but I'm just curious.

Cheers,
Cam


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Jim Chung
Vendor - Icodome
*****

Reged: 12/07/05

Loc: Toronto
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: Lightning]
      #5620201 - 01/13/13 05:35 AM

Yes, the microlens layer is also removed.

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Jim Chung
Vendor - Icodome
*****

Reged: 12/07/05

Loc: Toronto
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #5625735 - 01/16/13 07:52 AM

Well, it was supposed to be clear last night and then the forecast changed rapidly and it wasnt. And no prospects for at least a week.

SO the only new news I can offer is that I going to offer my current stock for sale:

Nikon D50 with original box and all original accessories and 2 extra batteries with 17200 shutter actuations. $425


Nikon D40 with only 4800 actuations but no accessories, one battery. $375

Nikon D90 with original box and accessories, 12000 actuations. $650

These cameras have no glass covering the mono modified sensor so care must be taken to keep the camera body sealed between uses with body cap (The D90 does have the vibrating dust reduction window present so the sensor is protected) Autofocus is not calibrated. Must shoot in RAW and extract data without color interpolation via open source software such as dcraw.

Shipping & handling will be extra, about $35-40 throughout North America via Canada Post.

The cameras currently work perfectly .... but they are at least 8 years old with an unknown history of previous ownership (meaning who knows how they were previously treated). There is no warranty implied, this is an opportunity to try true digital B&W imaging at a small cost, a tiny fraction of the $8000 Leica Monochrom or if you can find them the $5000 Kodak 760M. You can check out my feedback on Amart to know I am an honest and ethical vendor.

Edited by Jim Chung (01/16/13 07:56 AM)


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guyroch
Vendor (BackyardEOS)
*****

Reged: 01/22/08

Loc: Under the clouds!
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #5625818 - 01/16/13 09:11 AM

Jim,

The brand new D5100 I purchased this weekend is late begin delivered. The ebay seller said one of his employee sold his last in-store unit the same day I purchased it from him on ebay. Anyhow, he is due to get his next shipment from Nikon early next week and will ship me the new D5100 then. I'll send it your way immediately to get it MONOfied. You'll be cracking open a brand new Nikon this time Looking forward to getting it back from you

Guylain


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Alfredo Beltran
sage


Reged: 08/01/10

Loc: Bogota, Colombia
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #5626996 - 01/16/13 08:49 PM

Hi Jim

It would be really interesting to see a MONOFIED Canon because the accesories and software of most of us are made for Canon

Any plans of doing so?


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Jim Chung
Vendor - Icodome
*****

Reged: 12/07/05

Loc: Toronto
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: Alfredo Beltran]
      #5627094 - 01/16/13 09:56 PM

Alfredo,

That appears to be the general consensus too. I may go back and attempt again with Canon sensors, I had little luck with the five 10D sensors that I destroyed. If people support me with purchasing the converted Nikons then I will have some extra development funds to go forwards and experiment with the Canons some more.

A little mea culpa here, this Icodome venture is just for fun and the challenge of accomplishing something for fellow astro enthusiasts. I don't need it to make a living, I have another profession during the day.


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guyroch
Vendor (BackyardEOS)
*****

Reged: 01/22/08

Loc: Under the clouds!
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: Alfredo Beltran]
      #5627146 - 01/16/13 10:30 PM

Quote:

Hi Jim

It would be really interesting to see a MONOFIED Canon because the accesories and software of most of us are made for Canon

Any plans of doing so?




Ah, that is about to change. BackyardEOS is about to have a twin sister. I just purchased 4 Nikons DSLR. One of my project in 2013 is to release BackyardNIK to support Nikons DSLR.

Guylain


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ValeryD
Vendor (Aries)
*****

Reged: 11/26/05

Loc: Kherson, Ukraine.
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #5627355 - 01/17/13 02:09 AM

There is a nice and inexpensive now Canon 40D. Why not offer their modification?

Be sure, Canon market in astronomy is 20x or more as larger than all other brands together.


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Nocturnal
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 09/14/05

Loc: CT, USA
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: ValeryD]
      #5628014 - 01/17/13 12:38 PM

I've dreamed of removing the bayer matrix from my QHY8 for a while now. In fact I'm surprised no one here hasn't asked you yet to do the mod to Sony 453 based cameras. After all the QHY8 uses the sensor on the carrier from an old Nikon (I forget which model but I'm pretty sure you listed it).

I've long wanted a monochrome camera but always felt Sony sensors were superior to Kodak ones and Sony doesn't make large monochrome ones


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Jim Chung
Vendor - Icodome
*****

Reged: 12/07/05

Loc: Toronto
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: Nocturnal]
      #5628192 - 01/17/13 02:29 PM

Sander,

I had the exact same thought a month ago since the QHY8 uses the same Sony ccd found in the Nikon D70/D80. Why not pick up a used one for say $800 and make it a monocamera. The Qhy8 was always a nice camera with excellent noise performance once cooled. I think I'll start looking around!


Jim

Edited by Jim Chung (01/17/13 02:44 PM)


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Nocturnal
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 09/14/05

Loc: CT, USA
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #5628329 - 01/17/13 03:37 PM

Keep us posted Jim! There are tons of '8s and related cameras out there and more than a few of us must have lamented the fact we can't get the same camera in mono.

Good luck with your endeavor.


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Jim Chung
Vendor - Icodome
*****

Reged: 12/07/05

Loc: Toronto
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: Nocturnal]
      #5633025 - 01/20/13 11:29 AM

Ok,

Some lowered prices to clear my stock so I can raise some capital to purchase a QHY8 and a Nikon D5100.

The D50 is now only $375.

The D90 is now only $550. Both come with original boxes and all original accessories and extra batteries.

The D40 is sold.

I have another D40 with original box and stuff but the the right and up navigation buttons on the 4 way controller don't seem to work although you can still access all menu functions with the other two direction buttons. It seems to shoot fine with under 8k actuations but I'm suspicious of the previous owner passing me a iffy camera so I'll blow it out for costs - $180 <<sold>>


Jim

Edited by Jim Chung (01/21/13 09:28 AM)


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Jim Chung
Vendor - Icodome
*****

Reged: 12/07/05

Loc: Toronto
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #5635919 - 01/21/13 11:10 PM Attachment (76 downloads)

WOOOHOOOO! First real clear night in over 3 months, but verrry cccold at -12C!

Good test for the monofied Nikon D90, unguided 2 minute exposures for a total of one hour showing fantastic Ha cloud details that would never be captured with a conventional Bayer layered DSLR in such a short integration period. Image shrunk 50% to fit size constraints and mask the lousy unguided star shapes!


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guyroch
Vendor (BackyardEOS)
*****

Reged: 01/22/08

Loc: Under the clouds!
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #5637920 - 01/22/13 10:42 PM

Nice shoot Jim with the D90.

I just got my brand new D5100 today. I took a 10 minutes dark frame and it shows no sign of amp glow or light leak; which I was expecting for a D5100.

I'm also very impress with the amount of noise (or lack thereof) on the 10 minutes dark frame at about 22 degrees Celsius ~ almost no noise at all

You'll be cracking open a brand new D5100 with a whooping 1 shutter actuation

Can you send me a PM with your complete address and I'll ship the camera as soon as possible.

Thank you,

Guylain

Edited by guyroch (01/23/13 06:55 AM)


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JoseBorrero
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 09/04/09

Loc: Puerto Rico Island
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: guyroch]
      #5639132 - 01/23/13 03:48 PM

Anytime soon backyardnik?

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guyroch
Vendor (BackyardEOS)
*****

Reged: 01/22/08

Loc: Under the clouds!
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: JoseBorrero]
      #5639784 - 01/23/13 11:37 PM

Quote:

Anytime soon backyardnik?




Sometimes in the second half of 2013. This is still a weekend/weeknight thingy for me so time is my enemy for sure

Thanks for asking.

Guylain


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Jim Chung
Vendor - Icodome
*****

Reged: 12/07/05

Loc: Toronto
Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: guyroch]
      #5644410 - 01/26/13 01:29 PM

The D90 is now <<sold>>.

Only a single D50 is left $375 or open to offers. ((pending))


Jim

Edited by Jim Chung (01/26/13 08:27 PM)


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Mary B
Vendor - Echo Astronomy and Electronics
*****

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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #5644822 - 01/26/13 05:57 PM

30x2 minutes canon 450d modified



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Jim Chung
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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: Mary B]
      #5645082 - 01/26/13 08:31 PM

Mary,

It would have been helpful if you had included some text with your image because right now I have no idea why you posted this image on MY THREAD. I really fail to see the relevance of it, perhaps you would be so kind as to remove it.


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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrom new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #5645631 - 01/27/13 08:51 AM Attachment (33 downloads)

This morning I just finished converting my first Nikon D5100 to monochrome! Can't wait to try some narrowband imaging!


Down the street with 720nm IR pass filter on D5100 (full size):

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4852049/D5100IR720nm.jpg





Edited by Jim Chung (01/27/13 11:08 AM)


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bilgebayModerator
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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: Mary B]
      #5647957 - 01/28/13 12:02 PM

Guys, I am in! Jim will kindly purchase a brand new D5100 for me and modify.

This was my dream since I have started astroimaging with a DSLR.

I must confess, BackyardNIK has a great share in my decision making process!

Nikon Brotherhood


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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: bilgebay]
      #5649447 - 01/28/13 11:06 PM

Quote:

Guys, I am in! Jim will kindly purchase a brand new D5100 for me and modify.

This was my dream since I have started astroimaging with a DSLR.

I must confess, BackyardNIK has a great share in my decision making process!

Nikon Brotherhood




Thanks Sedat. You were one of the first adopters of BackyardEOS back in the days and now you'll be one of the first for BackyardNIK. WooHoo

Guylain


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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: guyroch]
      #5649638 - 01/29/13 02:10 AM

Guylain, I am even willing to pay for BackyardNIK as of today! I have no doubt at all that it will make the life of Nikon owners extemely easy!

I will have a mono DSLR, it will be my first Nikon ever and it will be contolled by your brainchild, BackyardXXX! Woohoooo me! What else can I wish for !


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guyroch
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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: bilgebay]
      #5649760 - 01/29/13 06:57 AM

Quote:

Guylain, I am even willing to pay for BackyardNIK as of today! I have no doubt at all that it will make the life of Nikon owners extemely easy!

I will have a mono DSLR, it will be my first Nikon ever and it will be contolled by your brainchild, BackyardXXX! Woohoooo me! What else can I wish for !




No prepaid... although you're not the first one to suggest it.

The D5100 is also my fisrt mono DSLR, my first attempt at astrophotography with a Nikon.

What else you can wish for... how about no clouds for a full month when we get our mono DSLR

Regards,

Guylain


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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: guyroch]
      #5650186 - 01/29/13 12:17 PM

Quote:


What else you can wish for... how about no clouds for a full month when we get our mono DSLR

Regards,

Guylain




And no moon....


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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: guyroch]
      #5651590 - 01/30/13 03:51 AM

Quote:


What else you can wish for... how about no clouds for a full month when we get our mono DSLR

Regards,

Guylain




That, Guylain, I am wishing for all the time I will quadruple my wish time and dither between wishing sessions so that when our D5100 cameras arrive, we can immediately start shooting!


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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: Jason B]
      #5651592 - 01/30/13 03:54 AM

Quote:



And no moon....




Hi Jason,

I guess, we will not be minding moon being around with our mono cameras We can shoot narrow band just for bragging What do you say Guylain


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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: bilgebay]
      #5651701 - 01/30/13 07:12 AM

Quote:



Hi Jason,

I guess, we will not be minding moon being around with our mono cameras We can shoot narrow band just for bragging What do you say Guylain




Hi Sedat

I was wondering about this. Given the size of the APS-C sensor, what filter wheel could be suitable to keep the right focal distance? I also think filters should be 2" to avoid serious vignetting. Do Nikon DSLRs have the same focal distance as Canons (55 mm with T-ring)?

Also, to do narrow band typically 15 min are needed, so how will thermal signal affect each sub? At very long subs the cooling capabilities of CCD cameras is more important...


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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: Alfredo Beltran]
      #5651712 - 01/30/13 07:27 AM

Hi Alfredo,

I am planning to use this camera with Hyperstar. So exposures will be much less than 10 minutes for narrow band and maximum 2 minutes for LRGB exposures, depending on the target. I don't think I will have a problem with the thermal signal.

The Nikons, I just learned from another thread, has 46,5mm back focus from bayonet to sensor. Filter wheel is not an option with camera lenses and Hyperstar. For Hyperstar, I will buy the relevant adapter from Starizona and for camera lenses I will develop a solution to fit a 2" filter inside the camera of an off the shelf solution is not available.

For shooting with a refractor or SCT, I will be using a filter wheel without an issue I believe.


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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: Alfredo Beltran]
      #5651719 - 01/30/13 07:34 AM

Hi Alfredo,


Although it's always nice to get a full well of photons, it's not necessary to have 15 minute subexposures for narrowband imaging. I've gotten good data with my QSI532 using the extremely narrow Astrodon 3nm Ha filter with just 5 minute subs. What's important is the SNR and the Nikon D5100 appears to have good noise control so you can get by with much shorter subs. You can see in my earlier posting with the much older D90, I only used 2 minute subexposures with a 2" Baader Ha filter (7nm window) and got very good results, especially for a DSLR!


Jim


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Alfredo Beltran
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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #5651820 - 01/30/13 08:55 AM

Jim: By all means that is an impressive shot. I think the plus of a mono DSLR is the FOV compared to CCD cameras and the cost.

Sedat: I agree. Hyperstar exposure times are a lot lower, so that will take care of it. At prime focus with a low thermal signal camera and cold ambient temperatures thermal noise shouldn't be a huge issue

Best regards

Alfredo


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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: Alfredo Beltran]
      #5653275 - 01/30/13 09:50 PM Attachment (32 downloads)

Quote:



I was wondering about this. Given the size of the APS-C sensor, what filter wheel could be suitable to keep the right focal distance? I also think filters should be 2" to avoid serious vignetting. Do Nikon DSLRs have the same focal distance as Canons (55 mm with T-ring)?






I'm using a Quantix KAF6303E mono camera 33mm diagonal sensor. The snout of the CCD is designed with a nikon lens connection and distance from sensor to lens connection is 46mm. Filter wheel is connected to a Nikon T-ring so I suppose that adds about 10mm. I'm using 2" mounted baader filters in an Orion manual filter wheel and see next to nothing for vignetting at 35 second Luminance and even 10 minute narrow band subs through my AT65EDQ or my AT66ED.

A similar config on one of these DSLR's should work well... at least well enough that flats could clean it up "IMHO".

Edited by zerro1 (01/30/13 09:55 PM)


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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #5665756 - 02/06/13 06:06 PM

Can someone clear up a little bit of info for me? I have read the 5100 offers "Visually Lossless" compression, whereas the 7000 has a RAW NEF mode with no compression. From what I can gather, the only difference is that the highlights in the 5100 are affected by this, but most reviews of these camera do not use them for super long exposures of star fields Since a few folks have both cameras it might be interesting to see if there is a difference, thought how a difference would be measured is beyond my meager abilities however

Mike


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orlyandico
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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: MikeCMP]
      #5676962 - 02/13/13 02:30 AM

Jim, so how goes the QHY8 conversion?

I assume after removing the Bayer filter and micro-lenses, the cover plate is still replaced so the sensor is not bare?

Isn't there going to be a measurable reduction in QE with the micro-lenses gone?


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fetoma
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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5685219 - 02/17/13 01:22 PM

I believe Jim ran into a snag on the QHY8 and put that project on hold for now.

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orlyandico
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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: fetoma]
      #5685248 - 02/17/13 01:37 PM

He told me he has so many Nikons to convert that he's postponed the 8.

In answer to my prior question.. in the KAF-3200 product sheet it shows about 20% reduction in QE if there are no micro-lenses (E vs ME model).


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ccs_hello
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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5685361 - 02/17/13 02:44 PM

Please note teh referred KAF3200 mono is a
(1) large pixel 6.8x6.8um,
(2) monochrome (not Bayer array),
(3) full-frame readout (i.e., not interline type) thus much less circuit,
(4) CCD

The story on CMOS RGBG primary-color Bayer 4.78x4.78um active-pixel (typically 4T structure) image sensor is quite different.

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello


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fetoma
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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new [Re: ccs_hello]
      #5685464 - 02/17/13 04:14 PM

This is a quote from Jim in another post:

"With regret I have to announce a halt to my QHY8 monochrome conversion development. QHY does utilize a Nikon sensor platform from the D40/D50 family but while very similar and definitely a Nikon product, it is neither a D40 or D50 sensor board but some strange hybrid. Releasing the board was difficult because QHY decided to cover the PCB surface with a silicone sealant which effectively becomes a glue. I must have been tired as well because I damaged the sensor wires while removing the Bayer layer and now have to contact QHY to see if they have any extras. The idea of just swapping Nikon D40 sensor boards is definitely not feasible."


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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrom new [Re: fetoma]
      #5686296 - 02/18/13 12:41 AM Attachment (51 downloads)

Had some nice clear skies tonight so I tested a newly converted D7000 for a client in Rome. This is the very large Rosette Nebula. You can see a full sized center cropped version here:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4852049/RosetteNikonD7000b.jpg


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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrom new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #5686298 - 02/18/13 12:42 AM Attachment (57 downloads)

Here's a center crop at 100%, no dark subtraction was used since I couldn't really see any thermal noise, a very quiet SONY CMOS sensor.

Edited by Jim Chung (02/18/13 12:43 AM)


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Brad
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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrom new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #5686728 - 02/18/13 10:15 AM

Looks great!

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jb300
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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrom new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #5710947 - 03/03/13 04:28 PM Attachment (64 downloads)

Hi Jim, I have sort of figured out how to use the monofied Nikon d90 I purchased on my Hyperstar lens equipped N11GPS. I am taking 30 second subs with an Ha Astronomik EOS clip-filter inserted sideways in the Nikon body. Now, 30 seconds is not very long for an Ha image, but I have gotten some decent results. I am not real proficient at processing images, I am just learning, but I am proud of my results and very happy with my monofied camera. I am amazed at the sensitivity the d90 is showing. Just thought you would like to know. I have attached one of my latest images. It is of ngc2359, Thors Helmet, and is a stack of 30 second Ha subs taken with my Hyperstar lens. Thanks for the great camera.
Jim

Edited by jb300 (03/03/13 04:33 PM)


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Campos
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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrom new [Re: jb300]
      #5711976 - 03/04/13 06:26 AM

Hi guys,

This is historical....to all that said that it could NEVER be done, remember that when the Wrigth brothers said that man would fly everyone said that they were nuts! Never understimate human ingenuity, remember this.
I cant wait to see more results, please keep us updated of your work.

Best wishes,

Lus


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Ricky
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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrom new [Re: Campos]
      #5712182 - 03/04/13 09:58 AM

Jim,
Great work! What available cams do you have in inventory?


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Jim Chung
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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrom new [Re: Ricky]
      #5712715 - 03/04/13 03:09 PM

Hey Ricky,

Since I've moved my conversion to current Nikon DSLR models I've discovered with increasing pixel density comes increasing complexity and danger! I've had success (and failure) on the D90, D5100 and D7000. The D90 is the easiest but the sensor on D5100/D7000 exhibits incredible low noise performance. I'm basically converting cameras on a per order basis but have to stress that you have to be prepared to risk your investment in case of failure (at which I will not charge for my services). This is not meant to be a cheap alternative to dedicated monochrome astrocameras but to give you a DSLR that can shoot in monochrome and all the advantages a DSLR gives (like real IR photography).


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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrom new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #5714086 - 03/05/13 10:02 AM

I've been at the receiving end of a success D5100 mono conversion from Jim... but with every new gear comes the cloud spell. My monofied D5100 has yet to see first light

Guylain


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Ricky
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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrom new [Re: guyroch]
      #5714821 - 03/05/13 04:28 PM

Thanks Jim!

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Ricky
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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrom new [Re: Ricky]
      #5714850 - 03/05/13 04:40 PM

Jim,
Keep us up to date on your camera inventory...im leaning towards picking one up from you!


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fetoma
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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrom new [Re: Ricky]
      #5733029 - 03/14/13 09:27 PM

And your QHY8 adventure Jim!

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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrom new [Re: fetoma]
      #5755070 - 03/24/13 09:58 PM

Q? what are you guys using for capture software being a Nikon DSLR? or are you just using the Cards?
Mitch.


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guyroch
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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrom new [Re: starhunter50]
      #5755083 - 03/24/13 10:07 PM

Quote:

Q? what are you guys using for capture software being a Nikon DSLR? or are you just using the Cards?
Mitch.




I'm using an intervalometer for now but I'm working on BackyardNIK for Nikon cameras; I'm aiming towards end of calendar year 2013 for a beta release.

I'm really loving my D5100 monosensor camera.

Guylain


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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrom new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #5757274 - 03/26/13 12:02 AM

The M42 and Rosette images seem to show significant background brightness variations that mimic nebulosity, but are not actual nebulous parts of these objects and appear to be imaging artifacts. Could this be a byproduct of the process used to remove the color filter layer or possibly frost forming on the imaging sensor?

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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrom new [Re: *skyguy*]
      #5759493 - 03/27/13 01:32 AM

Hi Skyguy,
Can you be more exact which background brightness variations you consider as imaging artefacts?
I have visually compared above image with this one, which I randomly find on internet and looked deep to me:
http://www.aznightsky.com/images/M42%20900-5.jpg
but I can not detect it.


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Jim Chung
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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrom new [Re: Cyclop_si]
      #5780217 - 04/05/13 05:34 PM

Just delivered a Nikon D90 and a D5100 to two new users!


Skyguy, I think that there is not complete uniformity in the Bayer layer removal process but the use of flat frame subtraction should address this. These cameras are not intended to replaced dedicated cooled mono astro cameras.


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orlyandico
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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrom new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #5783018 - 04/07/13 01:40 AM

BTW Jim. Someone I know bought a Maxmax (as you know those are quite expensive). They also don't have complete uniformity in the removal of the Bayer filter. Particularly at the edges of the sensor but even across the center there can be some banding.

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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrom new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5783505 - 04/07/13 10:38 AM

Thanks, that's good to know!

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JustinLT
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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrom new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #5796717 - 04/13/13 02:30 PM

The rosette nebula picture is stunning and this option would be clearly a no brainer for someone, who cannot afford expensive mono CCD (well, APS-C size mono camera costs a fortune for sure), but...
The whole picture looks like it would be taken through some clouds or there is something split on the sensor. On the edges of the nebula (apparently it is all over the picture) there are some artificial nebulosity, that shouldn't be there or at least look like that, according to all the pictures on the internet taken with CCD. I wonder what is it. In other case I would be already ordering the camera.


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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrom new [Re: JustinLT]
      #5796729 - 04/13/13 02:38 PM

the artificial nebulosity is due to non-perfect removal of the bayer sensor. as i noted above, even the $2000 maxmax mono DSLRs have these issues.

i think a flat could get rid of them. you really have no choice if you want a cheap APS-C mono sensor.

Jim, do you think you could post an image that has been processed with flats? i'm sure everyone wants to know how bad the non-uninformity is and if it can be removed. i see no reason why not.


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JustinLT
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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrom new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5798496 - 04/14/13 02:33 PM

Would be nice if you could post the flat picture as well.

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orlyandico
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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrom new [Re: JustinLT]
      #5799754 - 04/15/13 12:57 AM

maybe the flat looks terrible and would turn off potential customers.

but the reality is even terrible looking flats subtract out nicely.


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JustinLT
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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrom new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5800033 - 04/15/13 08:58 AM

Well, if they are willing to attract more customers, there are few main steps they need to do:
1. Provide the unprocessed picture (already done). From this we saw, how the process negatively affects the sensor. Without further details, this will hold many folks back from buying this modification.
2. Provide the flat samples of at least 2 cameras. In this way the community will see, what is the actual damage to the sensor and how the debayering process affects the image quality.
3. Provide a flat subtracted and processed image. Would be even more convenient, if community could have a chance to process few light images + few flat images, so people that are interested could see, how the technique works for them on this current mod.

Well, at least this is my thinking. I was one step close to make an order, before I saw the signs of bayer removal. I did some digging on the internet, so one guy used a dremmel with sponge and some abbrasive material to wipe the microlenses and CFA, the daylight mono pictures looked realyl nice, but once he posted a flat, it was terrible as there were visible uneven patterns of polishing.
I suppose more convenient way is to use some chemical solutions, as the CFA are polymers and can be decomposed, but not sure if this does not affect the photodiodes underneath. Would be interesting as well to hear, what technique is being used (if not a big secret, but it must be either polishing or chemical treatment), but even solutions are leaving micro particles on the sensor as none of them is 100% pure.


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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrom new [Re: JustinLT]
      #5800506 - 04/15/13 01:07 PM

Hi Justin (?),

I'll be happy to provide some flats examples. Just a little busy with my regular job. I have no problem revealing that this a solvent based process because that is the simple part of it. The rest of the procedure requires surgical skills performed under a microscope with the stress that one false move could ruin several hundred dollars worth of DSLR!

regards,


Jim


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Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrom new [Re: Jim Chung]
      #5801985 - 04/16/13 04:29 AM

Let me guess... using a needle to gently scrape off the softened bayer layer under a binocular microscope?

Doesn't sound like a great deal of fun... and doesn't seem terribly profitable either (unless you've gotten it to the point that you can perform the operation quickly, from long experience) - or, like that guy who carves statues and scenery out of matchsticks, you like the challenge

http://www.odditycentral.com/pics/incredible-miniatures-carved-from-matchstic...


I think that's the reason why Maxmax charges $2000 for a modded Canon 450D...


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JustinLT
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Reged: 07/25/12

Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrom new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5807162 - 04/18/13 05:06 PM

Well, the most accurate job would be to use oxygen plasma reactor and do the same descumming process as it is done during litography of the sensor. Sometimes it is good to think "go back to the start", as you can remove the bayer matrix the same way it was done during litography. I don't think something would be more accurate than a particle based process. Oh, and oxygen plasma affects polymer based materials (like CFA), but does not affect the glass. If I'm not mistaken, there is a thin glass layer below the CFA aray to cover the photodiodes.
Well, small issue: you would only require about 10k+ USD for the mini lab grade plasma reactor, though it's not that much. Well, I'm sure smart guys can do it at home, you need to create vacuum and some electromagnetic field and flow oxygen through it (some even tried to do nuclear reactors ). Bus someone interested in the mono DSLR business could consider this option. Maybe MaxMax guys are doing the same, but I think it's solvent as well.
I'm not sure, but with such equipment maybe it would be possible even to create mini lens arrays, as you lose some QE when you remove those, but it would be terribly difficult process to measure. So, plasma etched mono sensor+minilens array(if possible, but hardly)+decent cooling technology and you have something relatively close to CCD camera. Now what would be the difference between APS-C size DSLR and same size CCD camera? What about full frame sensor? Price difference would be 5-10 times (depending on DSLR and CCD). Here's the business plan on the table.
Now, who is smart and brave enough to do that?
Oh, and I know those plasma guys can help and determine if it works by doing tests on their lab. I suppose all you need is several broken sensors and few for final tests.
Damn... I talk too much...


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poita
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Reged: 07/25/11

Re: Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrom new [Re: JustinLT]
      #5977070 - 07/17/13 11:51 PM

If I can see some flats, then I am in!

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