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Jim Chung
Vendor - Icodome
*****

Reged: 12/07/05

Loc: Toronto
Icodome now converting DSLRs to true monochrome new
      #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 (244 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: California 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 (101 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 (139 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 [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 (74 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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