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Canon 6D - convert to mono by removing the CFA

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#1 nikivan

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 03:18 AM

I have a couple Canon 6D bodies laying around and I am thinking about converting one to mono. There is some information about removing the CFA, but not for this particular camera. Should I risk trying to do this myself, or send it to someone who knows what they are doing? Any recommendations? Please share your thoughts.



#2 sg6

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 06:28 AM

My concern or rather thoughts are the software and how that operates with what is now a mono camera.

Does it for example recognise certain pixels as being red and add in a correction accordingly? If so then removal of the mask means more photons on that pixel and so whatever hits it is (could be) boosted by the DSLR software.

 

It is not likely not a case of just the sensor and filter removal but the software incorporated into the DSLR. You bought a camera system not a standalone sensor.

 

Wouldn't purchasing a mono camera simpler ? Afterall that is what you want and are heading towards.

Reads that the IR cut filters are still in place so you are goiing to have to have those removed and the Bayer mask (CFA) removed - what is the cost for what is still a DSLR even if stripped down a bit.



#3 nikivan

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 11:35 AM

I am using Pixinsight for processing the FITS files, so the only difference would be skipping the debayer step. The biggest advantage is with capturing NB data, since 300% more light would be collected by the sensor. Purchasing a mono camera is certainly 'easy', but a full frame mono is very $$$$. Even if I sell my two 6D bodies there would not be enough money to cover the cost for a single full-frame mono camera. 



#4 Jim Waters

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 11:53 AM

IMHO - I would purchase a mono "cooled" CMOS camera.


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#5 ngc7319_20

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 12:35 PM

Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought the CFA (color filter array) was applied directly to the sensor chip during its manufacture.  Various dyes are deposited on the chip.  Is this incorrect?  Is there are reference for removing the CFA?



#6 nikivan

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 01:40 PM

Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought the CFA (color filter array) was applied directly to the sensor chip during its manufacture.  Various dyes are deposited on the chip.  Is this incorrect?  Is there are reference for removing the CFA?

Yes, it is possible.

https://petapixel.co...rper-bw-photos/



#7 ngc7319_20

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 02:10 PM

Thanks for the link...  Not sure I'd be brave enough to take a wood stick to the sensor and scrape off the top layer...  Has anyone posted high-quality images with this method that rival off-the shelf cooled mono cameras? 

 

Most of the postings I saw did not scrape the CFA to the edges, but left a border with CFA intact. So the usable area is not really full-frame.  Maybe 80% to 90% full-frame area.  And some are reporting bad columns and new defects.

 

It is also difficult to judge the "success rate" of scraping off the CFA.   Not sure if everyone is posting their failures.  Maybe a 6D is half the cost of a cooled full-frame mono camera, but if the success rate of scraping off the CFA is only 50%, then there is not much advantage.



#8 kingjamez

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 02:15 PM

Even with the Bayer matrix scraped off, you still have an uncooled camera. It's a very risky procedure and it's super easy to destroy the CMOS.

 

I think you'd be FAR better off to sell the 6D, and buy a new or used cooled mono camera.

 

-Jim



#9 8472

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 02:40 PM

If I were about to go ahead with this, it wouldn't be with a 6d. Could be a waste if a great camera if it goes south.

You can pick up a used Rebel or early generation MILC for next to nothing nowadays. No great loss if you break it.

#10 nofxrx

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 02:44 PM

As someone who has done quite a few mono conversions, and yes the image quality is pretty amazing with some caveats, I would not suggest doing this DIY unless you: 1) are very technically equipped, in both know-how and tools to work with sensitive electronics. and have near surgeon like steady hands for performing the 'surgery'. 2) have money to burn. Prepare to buy another sensor on Ebay, which for the 6D can be from $100-400.

I do not know of a single person that has ever been succesful with this mod on the first try. I cannot tell you how many thousands I lost trying to develop a method of clean conversion. What your definition of clean conversion is to you will be subjective. It is not easy to get a perfectly clean sensor without damages or artifacts.

I plan on replacing a sensor to perform the conversions. One small twitch or sneeze or a hard particle of dust gets under the tool and you have to scrap the sensor.

 

It is possible. It is not easy.

 

I second the idea of just getting a mono cooled camera.

If you had some limitations where you had to use a DSLR (no PC, etc), then I would suggest getting a cheap camera and trying before you brick a more expensive one...

On the other hand, if you can afford to lose one without breaking a sweat, I would say, why not?


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#11 nikivan

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 05:27 PM

I've done some work on camera bodies before, for example, replaced the control board on one of my 6D cameras. I have a couple of Sony NEX-C3 and NEX-5N cameras I am going to try the mod first. They basically cost next to nothing and I don't have any use for them anymore. 

 

Brent, please let me know how much do you charge for your services and where you are located. I am in Canada, BTW, and in the winter we quite often have subzero temperatures, so cooling should not be an issue.



#12 t_image

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 08:02 PM

I've done some work on camera bodies before, for example, replaced the control board on one of my 6D cameras. I have a couple of Sony NEX-C3 and NEX-5N cameras I am going to try the mod first. They basically cost next to nothing and I don't have any use for them anymore. 

 

Brent, please let me know how much do you charge for your services and where you are located. I am in Canada, BTW, and in the winter we quite often have subzero temperatures, so cooling should not be an issue.

There are 3 obstacles:

#1 getting off the glass that the sensor is usually sealed into. (not speaking about hotmirror/AA filter that are above this-those are easy)....

Such is true with the Sony cameras. I succeeded with an a5000 partially[try #2] (not a full debayer, didn't bother trying to finish-I would periodically reinstall and test and defects started to show up on images)....

I physically broke the glass because it wasn't glued on or thermally welded like some other cameras that are easier to mono-mod.

#2 avoiding the tiny gold hairlike thin wires (nearly microscopic) that connect the sensor chip to the associated board. A strong puff of air can break them. Or an errant shard of glass or accidental nick with a tool....

#3 figuring out how the CFA/microlenses are welded to the sensor silicon substrate and removing the CFA/microlenses without damaging the silicon substrate.

Some earlier cameras only entail taking a piece of scotch tape and the CFA would come up.....

The Sony required a physical scrapping but one wrong scrape and you have a non-functioning camera body.....

I'd say not worth it. Without as said a perfected process you won't have a unscathed sensor.


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