Camera upgrade complete!

A week or so ago, I finally broke and ordered a new SLR body. After a lot of deliberation, I chose the Nikon D90. I had considered the D300, but (a) its waaay more expensive, and (b) it is quite a lot heavier. Considering the D90 has the same CCD as the D300, I felt it was the better choice for me.

I think this was a very good idea; I was beginning to find the D50 slightly inflexible due to the limited number of hard controls on the body. Diving into the menu constantly was fiddly, and consequently I never really did so. The D90 has pretty much everything exposed as a physical control, has a much larger screen, much higher CCD pixelcount and so on.

All this meant I had a spare D50 SLR body sitting around: what to do with it? Well, if you’re me, apparently what you do is go to Lifepixel and order one of their replacement D50 IR-pass filters. My previous IR pictures were all taken using a Hoya R52 IR filter on the end of the lens. Since there is an IR-cut filter built into the D50 body, this meant exposure times were increased, the autofocus didn’t work and so on.

The difference with the new filter is that, following the instructions, you open the SLR, remove the standard IR-cut filter from the CCD and replace it with the new IR-pass filter. Reassemble and you have a pure IR camera!

It arrived this afternoon. It took me about 45 mins to do the job, and then I headed out to the Botanics. The job itself was very straightforward; simply take the thing to bits, desolder the noise shield at two points, and replace a piece of glass. The tricky bits were: removing dust, and electrocuting myself slightly on the flash capacitor twice.

I’m still processing the pictures, but its amazing how different it is not having the faff of focusing, screwing on the R52, using a tripod etc. I just compose the shot as normal in visible light, and take the picture in IR.

I did notice the difference going back to the D50: the D50 is still a great camera, but I’ve already got so used to the enhanced capabilities of the D90 in only two weeks, that its a massive step back.

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