Anyone IR converted their GX1?

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by BigTom, Jan 14, 2015.

  1. BigTom

    BigTom Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 23, 2011
    Hi all,

    I've got an old GX1 body with some cosmetic damage and hence negligible resale value that I fancy converting to IR. To get it done professionally in the UK would cost in excess of £300, but I could order the filter for under £90 and quite fancy having a crack at it myself.

    I've seen a few videos of people converting other cameras but can't find anything specifically for the GX1. Has anyone done it themselves or know of a guide/video anywhere?

  2. Wasabi Bob

    Wasabi Bob Mu-43 All-Pro

    Tricky Project

    Converting any Lumix MFT camera for IR is a tricky project. The image sensor is covered by the sensor's auto cleaning system, which is also a secondary IR cut filter. If you remove that IR cut filter (the greenish-blue filter just behind the lens), you also disable the auto clean system. The filter has a coil wound around the edge, so it acts similar to a speaker. They apply a high frequency signal which causes the filter to vibrate at about 50 khz, literally vibrating the dust away. Disconnecting that filter will cause an error message upon boot up. It would also remove much of the protection that shields the sensor from dust.

    The primary IR cut filter is part of the mount box ass'y. To remove it you need to disassemble the mount box. Part of the reassembly procedure is adjusting the sensor so it is PERFECTLY parallel to the rear of the lens surface. That alignment is done with a laser jig, so the chances of you doing it are pretty slim. Companies that do the mod use a "calibrated screw driver", with their goal being to put the adjustment screws back to their original settings. It really does not work since the sensor is mounted on springs that are compressed, giving you the adjustment. I've seen cameras that showed visible focus problems in the corners of the image.

    One company in NJ that modifies the cameras installs a small circuit that electrically imitates the resistive / capacitive characteristics of the auto cleaning filter / transducer, thus eliminating the error message.
    • Like Like x 4
  3. BigTom

    BigTom Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 23, 2011
    Hmm, OK. Maybe a bit more involved than some guides would have you believe then!
  4. biomed

    biomed Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 22, 2013
    Seattle area
    Most companies that do IR conversions have clean room that is as dust free as possible. This helps them to avoid dust particles getting between the filter and sensor.
  5. Wasabi Bob

    Wasabi Bob Mu-43 All-Pro

    You are missing the point

    I think you are missing the point.
    In order to get the full IR sensitivity you need to remove BOTH filters.
    Removing the one directly behind the lens defeats the auto cleaning, but more important it removes the physical barrier that prevents 99% of any dust from reaching the sensor.
    Once you remove both filters, now dust can land directly on the sensor's face. Cleaning the actual sensor face is a very critical procedure. Every time you remove the lens you will be getting dust in there.

    What most people don't realize is that the Lumix cameras are essentially a semi-sealed sensor ass'y, so any dust is being cleaned off the filter, not the sensor faced.
  6. Wow... looks like I chose correctly to do a DIY full-spectrum conversion on an EPL1. Sounds like the Lumix cameras are quite involved.
  7. Wasabi Bob

    Wasabi Bob Mu-43 All-Pro

    I can't honestly comment on the Oly cameras since I don't own one, nor have I worked on them. The secondary IR cut filter used by Lumix that doubles as the auto clean system actually adds a very effective level of isolation keeping dust off the actual sensor. I actually tried to scratch the surface of one of those filters and was amazed how durable they are. All of the warnings about how fragile sensor cleaning is really does not apply equally to Panasonic's mirrorless cameras, as you are actually cleaning the filter and not the image sensor. I've often wondered why they don't note this as a desirable selling feature?
  8. The olympus cameras have a filter stack that is separate from the auto cleaning/dust reduction system. There is a rubber gasket between the filter assembly and dust reduction "glass" as well as a rubber grommet around the filter stack. Removal of the dust reduction will still result in an operational camera but I chose to keep it in place to serve as protection from the now unfilter sensor.
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