Infrared digital camera


ThinkGeek has an infrared point-and-shoot digital camera in stock for $130: "You'll notice that during the daytime in night vision mode you can see through some types of clothing, paper and other various thin materials. ... Important Note: Respect the privacy of your fellow humans and don't use the Midnight Shot NV-1 Night Vision Camera for evil."


    1. Answer: It’s not for shooting people.

      Trees and other natural objects give off IR and have an entirely different surreal look when shot with IR:

      Most point and shoot cameras have an IR filter either in their lens or just before the sensor that requires modification (because it can “see through clothes!” really badly) before use, this saves the time and energy of cracking open your new camera.

      1. @tyger11, of course its different, that’s why it a Bell & Howell. They don’t use the term infrared in the product title but in the product description, it exactly what it is. And the pixes are much greater with the B&H model.


        Digital zoom: 5X, LCD display: 2.7 inches wide
        Infrared night vision, 12 Picture Modes, 11 Scene Modes
        Automatic face detection and smile shutter, Programmed auto exposure, One-touch movie mode, Slideshow playback and Night scene mode
        SDHC card expandable up to 16GB, PictBridge enabled, USB 2.0 output
        Package includes 2GB SD card, image editing software, li-ion battery, camera pouch, hand strap, instruction manual
        Technical Details
        Brand Name: Bell + Howell
        Model: S7-B
        Optical Sensor Resolution: 12 MP


        Digital camera allows you to shoot in absolute darkness
        Shoot still shots or video
        Experiment with Infrared photography that lets you see through some types of fabric and materials.
        Built-in Invisible IR illumination
        Switchable between regular shot and night vision mode
        Sensor: 1/2.5″ CMOS 5.0 Mega Pixels
        Lens: f=7.45mmm
        Image Size: 1.3M: 1280 x 960 – 3M: 2048 x 1536 – 5M: 2560 x 1920 – 9M: 3488 x 2608 (interpolated) – 12M: 3920 x 2490 (interpolated)
        Digital Zoom: 8x
        LCD Display: 3″ LTPS LCD
        Focus: Fixed
        Focus Range: 0.4m ~ Infinity / Macro 0.12 – 0.4m
        Shutter: Electronic
        Shutter Speed: 1/4 – 1/3000 seconds
        Exposure EV: AE/+-2EV (1/3 EV Step)
        Flash: Electronic Flash
        Night Vision: IR Illumination
        Internal Memory: 16M
        External Memory: Uses standard SD cards up to 8GB
        Photo Format: Jpeg
        Video Format: AVI
        Video Resolution: 640 x 480
        Battery: 900mAh 3.7v Li-ion
        Dimension/Weight: 97x59x18mm, 108.5g

  1. While I think the line about seeing through clothes is a cheap sales tactic and I’m sure any image garnered that way will look awful. Should people have an expectation of privacy against having such images taken? Apparently the answer is a definite no if you are wanting to get on an airplane.

  2. Here’s an idea: get one of these, and hang out at the airport photographing TSA agents with it.

    1. As I am about to board several airplanes with several security checks, this idea really appeals to me!

  3. Or, instead, buy a cheapo disposable digital camera for $20, rip the IR filter off the CCD (it’s a freen piece of plastic), and put a piece of developed film in front of the lens.

  4. The camera in the iphone does not have a pass filter and will take photos with an infrared filter in front of it.

  5. Huh. Thought I’ve read that it was illegal to sell point & shoots without an IR filter? Guess not. I can see some perv buying this and putting some black tape over the name in the corner.

  6. Some webcams use an IR filter as the first element in the lens, which can be carefully removed. Or, not so carefully in the case of my old Philips PWC680 webcam that I’ve had for about ten years, which got dropped. The rubber cushion fell off and it landed on its lens, dislodging the plastic ring that holds the IR filter on but leaving the rest of the lens intact – instant IR webcam!

    Colour neg film that has been completely exposed (ie. has turned black) is actually transparent to IR, so you can filter out all the visible light and only see IR.

  7. I bought an excellent professionally-converted IR digital camera from Kolarivision (on eBay though). They basically take high-end compact cameras (e.g. Lumix), remove the IR filter, and replace it with one that passes IR.

    The main purpose of an IR camera is taking beautiful, striking photos of landscapes/architecture – skies frequently come out looking stunning.

    The “sees through clothes” thing is kinda true, but not really. It can see through very thin, close-fitting materials, which in my experience has only happened a couple of times, but then I don’t go out looking for that kind of shot.

  8. Seeing forbidden nipples may be quite the selling point, but at that cheap, I’d be more interested in modding it for astrophotography if it can be remotely controlled through USB. What’s the diameter of the lens extension there? Less than 1.25″?

    I’m not yet ready to spend the money on a nice CCD, and not willing to have my Canon DSLR modified until I can afford to step up to better model. So that might be a fun way to screw around with a wider light spectrum on the cheap.

  9. Yes! I can’t wait to SEE through ANYTHING!
    Please rush me my exciting X-RAY SPECS

    I have enclosed $1.75 plus $.50 s/h.

    Allow 8 weeks for delivery.

  10. I bought this camera about 2 weeks ago, it’s pretty cool. I think it’s a rebranded Yashica, but I’m not sure. I haven’t used it to see through clothes, so can’t speak about that.

  11. IR film was expensive, with VERY expensive developing. In theory, you should be able to duplicate the functions of speciality film with a digital camera, it just doesn’t seem to be as simple or as readily available as I hoped it would be.

    Yes, landscapes look surreal, sometimes amazing. I’ve also seen some great shots of NBA players taken with IR film. The guy used a flash, which normally isn’t allowed at games, but it was covered with an IR filter so it didn’t affect play. Especially interesting to be were the shots of tattoos on the dark skinned players, they were much easier to see in the IR spectrum.

    Oh! Here’s the article:

    1. IR film isn’t very expensive, $10 a roll; nor is it expensive to develop, you use the same chemicals as any other B&W film. The IR filters can be had on the cheap online as well.

  12. Don’t forget, you can make GIANT IR FILTERS using a couple layers of Congo Blue theatrical gel. Humans see this filter as opaque black. IR cameras can’t see it, it’s transparent. Build some “They Live” alien propaganda signs which appear as shiny black squares to human eyes.


    Also, many black t-shirts are made with blue/black dyes, dyes which appear white in the near IR. Sharpie markers are carbon-black, and the writing appears black in the IR. Make your own IR t-shirt messages:

  13. Does this work without the flash? is there enough ambient light inside? what about outside at night?

  14. Any thoughts on using these low-end infrared cameras to detect heat leaks/insulation problems?

    High end energy audits use fancy IR cameras, and DIY folks try to use infrared guns instead, and map out the point measurements(*).

    Can anyone with such a camera try pointing it at your walls / ceilings / windows and let us know how well they can display heat gradients?


    1. Thermal imaging cameras like those made by Flir and Fluke use very long IR wavelengths, 8~15 micrometers. Night vision scopes and IR cameras use near infrared, 0.7 ~ 1.4 micrometers.

      Like ultraviolet A, B & C, IR has different regions with different uses and effects.

      The Flir i3 is only about $1200, quite cheap for thermal imaging. Still a lot more expensive than an Arduino servomotor controlled Melexis sensor…

      1. yeah, anything emitting black body radiation at wavelengths that this camera would see would probably burn you if you touched it.

  15. If you remove the IR filter from a standard digital camera you really need to recalibrate the lens. They are a real pain to clean if you get a fingerprint on them.

    1. The lens doesn’t need calibration, the auto focus does. IR light doesn’t focus at the same point as visible light does. Some lenses have a dot to show how to correct focus for IR light.

  16. I’m a paranormal investigator and we use infrared to see between the uv lights that our eyes cant see and it picks up things we cant see. its a great tool to use in the investigations. But, you WILL NOT SEE THROUGH CLOTHES. It only blocks out the uv light and sees the light spectrum we cant see. thats all.

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