I did this hack last month and wrote a basic draft post which had been neglected and forgotten about. An excellent blog post by Dan James of 35hunter about classic digital cameras reminded me of the draft and the Lumix I modified.
Without rambling on, I think that it is an interesting contradiction that a 12-year-old camera is not ‘retro’ or ‘classic’, while other equally or nearly as old devices such as flip phones, MP3 players, CRT monitors and video game consoles are considered worthy of such attributes. This could be down to appearances. On the surface, appearances have not drastically changed for the compact or the DSLR, looking more or less unaltered over the recent decade while the technology underneath performs the same role: the photographic act, all be it more efficiently as technology has progressed.
This compact Lumix was laying around the house doing nothing and it seemed a waste not to use it for some project. The sensor is a CCD which produces impressive tonal ranges and bright colours. I decided to convert the camera to record infrared light and try infrared photography. Repurposing and in some ways upcycling the camera into something new.
With an infrared filter on the lens, which I eventually glued in place, the results are punchy. The camera does not support RAW but shooting in the black and white mode produces jpegs that are usable without any post. Here are some sample shots, nothing special, just experiments and having fun on sunny walks. Different contrast settings and filters were used.
This conversion has got me thinking about repurposing digital compacts while film equipment prices are getting silly digital equipment for projects like this is tempting.