Canon Digital Rebel XSi (450D), XS (1000D), T1i (500D) & T2i (550D) Modification Instructions

by Gary Honis

Comments From Others That Have Done the Modification

NOTE: I provide a low cost modification service to convert your 450D, 1000D, 500D or 550D. CLICK HERE for details.

Thanks to those that have been doing the modification and providing advice and suggestions on the instructions. Over time I will update the instructions with user suggestions. Here are some comments from those that have done the modification:

Skyler - 4/20/08:

Hello Gary -

Good job outlining the procedure to mod the new 450. I mod'd my 40D and used some of the information from stargzr. <snip>

One thing I know that is very helpful is to use a set of surgical forceps. They have long thin noses and work great at grabbing those thin film conductors especially at long angles. Also helps to hold tiny screws in place before screwing them in with mini-screwdrivers. I could not have easily completed by upgrade w/o them. You can use the lesser version that come with many biology dissecting kits as well. Just need to be heavy enough so they don't bend under pressure - some cheaper ones will give way.

Also the other really handy item was Nitrile gloves. I keep the insides of the camera clean w/o leaving my finger oil marks on components and they were just great when I popped out the glass that you showed in your example. I could push on the filter from the other side with the gloves on - one or two fingers at a time and one side at a time with a gentle prying and pushing motion. Since you have more surface area with your fingers, the chance of the filter breaking is minimized. Could not have done that w/o breaking the filter otherwise.

Anyway, just a couple thoughts you can use if you choose but just some personal experience that helped a lot. I have a lot of electronics repair equipment since that is my back ground so that part is not necessarily fair.

<Gary Comment: Thanks Skyler, I'll add those recommendations to the instructions. The forceps should be a help for removing/inserting those tiny ribbon cables>

Because of a hard drive crash, I lost modifier comments sent to me between April and September, 2008. If you have comments you'd like to add , please let me know.

<Gary Comment: Raoul used the modification instrutions not to convert his new 450D for astro imaging but instead to make fine adjustments to improve his camera's autofocus.>

Raoul Trifan - 9/14/08:


My name is Raul TRIFAN and I'm a 32 years computer engineer from Romania.

I've seen your web pages for the first time a few months ago and I was very impressed of what you did in astrophotography. Also myself, like 10-15 years ago, have used to watch the sky very often, using cheap plastic products, and perhaps I'm going to start again this hobby and buy some telescope, also to adapt a digital camera to take pictures straight from the sky (perhaps my old 5 MP HP Photosmart 945).

Anyway, yesterday I just decided to "implement" a few stuffs from (
your web site). Actually, I've managed to adjust my front focus issue from my brand new CANON XSi.

I did repaired small electronics before, like photo cameras and video camcorders, my old HP 945 was opened recently in hundreds of pieces to clean the lenses inside from fungus, I also did cleaned from fungus and dust a CANON 100-300 mm USM and another CANON 28-135 mm IS a.s.o., but I wouldn't do this re-shimming thing without seeing it so
precisely, with detailed pictures and explanations, in your web pages.

The hole re-shimming operation took me about a couple of hours. I managed to remove easily 3 shims, one from each corner, to adjust the front focus. After assembling everything back together my XSi was perfectly in focus now. I've shot some focus chart tests with a CANON 50mm-f/1.8 horizontally and vertically, just to be sure it's OK. I also tested it with 100-300mm, 28-135mm and 18-55mm and focusing seems pretty accurate to my eyes...:) Honestly, I wasn't hopping to work so "near to perfect" from the very first time...:)

Thank you so much for your web pages and I'm sure you'll continue to be a great source of inspiration for many other people like you were to myself.

Best regards,

P.S.: I just love your Bino Chair!


Hello again.

Of course it's OK with me...:) I'll be glad if you'll add some my comments there. The important thing is more people to know how to do it by themselves (but also should be aware of the warranty lost!)

BTW...I have reasons to believe the front focus issues with most of REBEL cameras is a CANON will/intention somehow (or from their calibration software and tools).
Most of the people having these entry-level D-SLR's used to handle Point & Shoot cameras in the past, where DOF was much more thicker. Now, even on 1.6X cropping factor, DOF is really a problem, especially with apertures larger than f/4 and a focal higher than 100 mm. So, most point&shooter will handle a D-SLR like this: point in the eyes/face for focusing, then reframing the subject and shoot the picture. We all know this is definitely wrong, because the camera angle of focusing is different from the angle of shooting, so the final image
will be a bit back focused.
Anyway, these guys I'm sure they'll never observe that their body has front focus issues...:)
Like I said already, I think CANON (and maybe NIKON also) adjusted their tools and software for measuring the focusing on D-SLR bodies in such a way so a bit of front focusing would not be a problem (at least according to their standards). I think so, because there are very few bodies (on the forums) suffering from back focusing, but most has front focusing issues.

Also, I did not mention something else regarding the shims: there are 2 colors of thin shims - silver and yellow. I am unable to check if one is thicker/thinner than the other. With a 3X magnifier glass silver and yellow shims seem exactly identical, but I'm sure there should be a reason why there are 2 colors, right? Anyway, I removed 2 yellow shims and 1 silver shim. It was like this:

1 thick shim + 1 thin silver shim + 1 thin yellow shim on the upper left corner,

again 1 thick shim + 1 thin silver shim + 1 thin yellow shim on the upper right corner and

1 thick shim + 2 thin silver shims on the lower left corner of the CMOS sensor.

Could it be much harder than that? I wonder how did they managed to do micro focus adjustment in their new cameras like 1Ds, 50D, 5D MkIII? Is CMOS sensor moving or something? I don't think so, but I'll try to find out "How do they do it?" (I'll watch more of Discovery maybe...:D)


<Gary Comment: Very interesting Raul. On the Digital Rebel 300D the shims were all "brass" color. On the 450D I didn't take off the shims, but I have a photo of them here. Based on the photo of the shims in the above link, the shims appear to be brass color and not yellow or silver, but maybe I see the edge of a yellow shim under the top brass shim. You may be right about Canon's settings for front focusing. I once had a link to a diagram of the auto focusing mechanism for the 450D with what apeared to be an AF adjustment screw. I couldn't see an easy way
to get at the adjustment screw without removing more parts of the 450D so I didn't explore it. I've since lost that link because of a hard drive crash. Gary>



I'm not very good in interpreting the colors, but to me it looks like a cheap 14 carats gold without the shining...:) So, I think you're right about the brass color.

The silver shims are placed immediately under the brass shims, on the second level. So, if you don't take out the brass shims you're not able to see the
silver ones. It's like that: on the first level you'll find the brass shim, on the second the silver shim and on the third it's the big thick shim (which happens to be also brass color).

Anyway, on my camera in the left bottom corner of CMOS sensor I've found 2 silver shims instead 1 brass + 1 silver...I don't know why, but I deduced from here that brass shims may not have the same thickness like the silver ones.

I have attached 2 pictures representing the 3 shims I've removed; you can see the 2 brass shims and 1 silver shim I was talking about. On the 2'nd image I've sticked the 3 shims on strong black adhesive tape, so I don't loose never know when you may need one shim in the future...:)

If you'll find again that link about AF adjustment screw, please let me know. I don't remember to see any screw inside my camera.


Brent Mayndard - 11/3/08:

Hi Gary,

My name is Brent Maynard, and I just wanted to thank you personally for your web site. The 450d was the second camera I modified using your site. The first was the 300d, which I still have. I used the Baader filter from alpine astro, and all seems to be working well with the camera. I did have two questions though.

First, on page 3 of the instructions, step 20, how did you get the long screw out next to the view finder? I could not get to the screw , no matter what type of screw driver I used. I ended up drilling a small hole right over the screw that allowed me to get access to the screw. How did you get to that screw? I’m getting ready to modify a friends camera, and don’t want to drill if I can avoid it.

<Gary Commnet: Some modifiers were able to get the screw out with a driver; others have drilled a small hole in the plastic and I have updated Step 20 to include an althernate method of removing the screw. >

Question 2:

Concerning the Low pass filter 1 and 2 on the 450. Since I used clear glass on the 300D, I still needed some IR cut when doing astro photos. I use a B&W 486 IR/UV filter that has a nice straight cutoff at about 700nm. Looking straight thru this filter is clear, but when you angle the filter you can see the reflected far red light just like I have seen in other IR filters (not green). But with the Baader filter I saw no red reflections. But on the Low pass filter 1, If you hold it and an angle, you can see the reflected red light similar to the B&W filter. Does the Low pass filter 1 do some IR blocking as well? And does the Baader filter cut/reject at a longer wavelength? I’m just curious how this Baader filter works.

Thanks again for you great web site.

Here is an image from the 300d using a 105mm Nikkor f2.5 lens.

Here is an image (pre-modified) from the 450d using the same 105mm lens.

Haven’t processed anything yet since the modification, but the camera works fine. I also use the filter for regular use.

Thanks again, Brent Maynard

<Gary Comment: I don't know if the Low pass filter does any IR blocking. Canon publishes this about the Low pass filter: "The EOS Rebel XSi has a new coating on the front surface of the low-pass filter, to increase its resistance to dust sticking to the sensor." I've questioned Bob at Alpine Astro about the DSLR Baader replacement filter since it seems to allow some IR to pass, he was suppose to ask Baader for a filter curve but I have only been provided with the standard Baader UV/IR filter curve. Looking forward to seeing some pics with your modified 450D. I just got a large 20"X30" print made form Walmart Online of the horsehead that I did last New Moon, and I was blown away by the detail you get from this camera. >

Hi Gary,

Thanks for the response. I was looking at the ICEINSPACE forum today, and it looks like people playing with the 40D and the Baader BCF filter have the same question. It looks like it may just be clear glass with no cutoff at all, just a replacement with the correct refraction index to keep autofocus working. There is also some technical info on the canon site that talks about a IR reflective dichroic mirror coating on the filter 1, and filter 2 being a absorption filter (green).

This may be why the modified cameras show a significant sensitivity to IR. The canon filter 1 may allow some IR through, and the Baader BCF just passes everything. I’ll do some tests with my friends camera before we modify to get before and after, also using the B&W 486 UV/IR cut filter to the results. You can use my comments as well as links.

Thanks again, Brent

<Gary Comment: The link to the Canon filter info you provided is for the Digital Rebel XT, EOS-1D, EOS-1Ds, EOS-1D Mark II, and EOS Digital Rebel. It is a single "multi-layer low-pass filter" and the 450D (XSi) is a different filter setup with two separate filters. I found an XTi white paper online that has this:

"The infrared-blocking, optical low-pass filter is an integral part of the sensor package, and is divided into two individual components for the first time. Low-pass filter #1 ispart of the Self Cleaning Sensor Unit. Its front surface is coated with a dichroic mirror that reflects infrared wavelengths. LPF #1 also separates the subject image into twoimages horizontally. The phase plate, or phaser layer, converts the images separated by LPF #1 from linear polarization to circular polarization and prepares these polarizedcomponents to be correctly separated into four square images by low-pass filter #2. The hybrid infrared-absorption glass reflects and absorbs infrared light, effectively suppressingred ghosting and color casts caused by reflections on the sensor surface. The subject image divided into two images horizontally by the low-pass filter is separated vertically into two images by low-pass filter #2. "

So, based on the above, it seems both LPF #1 and LPF #2 do some IR filter blocking in the XTi which has the same two filter setup as the XSi.

When I did the XSi mod with the Baader DSLR replacement filter, I thought the Baader filter looked weak visually compared to the 1.25" and 2.0" Baader UV/ IR cut filters I also have. You may be onto something thinking that the Baader replacement is nearly a clear optical glass, and the IR blocking that is being done is by LPF #1. We really are reliant on Baader publishing a transmission curve for its filter.>


Gary, Just wanted to let you know that the second 450d was modified successfully. It was for Jeff Ball, he said you two have met before. He does some marvelous astro work.

Thanks again.


btw, here is a new m31 that I’m working on.

Alan Robinson - 11/29/08:

Hi Gary,

Just a quick email to let you know that I am in the middle of modding my 1000D as per your instructions. Only difference that I have found so far is that you have to cut the plastic on the left of the viewfinder to get the left top long screw out as displayed in figure 20 on page 3.

<Gary Commnet: Some modifiers were able to get the screw out with a driver; others have drilled a small hole in the plastic and I have updated Step 20 to include an althernate method of removing the screw. >

The disassembly went ok but couldn't manage to get the old IR filter out intact and ended up breaking it to get it out. Also the thin black gasket got broken as well but managed to glue a new Baader IR filter in ok with some glass glue but when I was trying to clean some smears off it I seemed to have made it 10 times worse so am at a standstill until tomorrow when I can go to my local camera shop and see if they can sell me something to clear it.

Hopefully then I will be able to reassemble the sensor and the rest of the camera.

Will keep you informed of progress!!

Thanks, Alan


Hi Gary,
Camera together again and I think working ok.

I got some lens cleaner this morning from my photographic shop but ended up clearing the new IR filter with washing up liquid and rinsing it under warm water and then using hair dryer to dry it with. It seems it wasn't glue smears but greasy smears. The IR filter wasn't 100% clean when it went in but it was as good as I could get it and no screws left over !! :-)

All functions seem to work ok including auto focus in auto mode and the live view is a sea of red so all seems good. It was pretty dark when I finished this afternoon so couldn't get any daytime shots I don't think there is too much dusk/marks on the sensor.

Will have to give it a go outside if the clouds would clear. Thanks for all your help and great instructions.

Thanks, Alan


Hi Gary,

Apart from the obvious things like number mega pixels, lcd screen size, auto focus points etc I think that the 1000D is just a "poor" man's 450D. It was a very hard decision I had to make between the 100D/450D, finally swayed a bit by the cheapness of the 1000D etc.

As for your instructions for moding the 1000D, no they do not need to change at all because the inside of the 1000D is identical from what I can remember to your pictures. This includes screws and ribbon cables and indeed the sensor assembly itself. LOL, I even managed to smash the existing IR filter like you!!

I managed to take some flats this lunch time and have used these in conjunction with my existing M57 & 45 pictures and have reprocessed them again. The flats seemed to have removed most of the artifacts from the picture so perhaps I won't have to do surgery so soon now!!

New pictures here:

Jerry Wise - 12/17/08:

CN Post: I bought one for $559.00 from Amazon Sunday night. Zero shipping and it arrived yesterday. I tested it this morning and then followed Gary Honis's excellent instructions for modification. I just removed the filter with no replacement for now. I missed one ribbon connector (far upper right on PC board under a second ribbon cable) on putting it back together. Also sneezed and lost one screw. Other than that it works fine. I have to say it's not for the faint of heart or large of hands doing that kind of work. Lots of intricate detail. Neat thing is, looks like all the features of my 20Da are now standard. (Except for an AC battery adapter to prevent constant battery swapping. Haven't located one of those yet.)

A really big thanks to Gary. Excellent work sir.


<Gary Comment: Jerry, Congratulations on the successful mod! The battery adapter you need for the XSi is the "ACK-E5 AC Power Adapter Kit". You can get it from camera shops and also on ebay. A hard drive crash caused me to lose a lot of user comments from those following my instructions for the 450D modification. If you can send me a note with any comments you have or recommendations for others, I can add them to the web site. The ribbon cables and connectors keep getting smaller in the newer cameras and good lighting helps to see what you're doing.>


Lighting is most important Gary.

I did the modification on a large desk. A 12" x 19" sheet of paper taped to the area under the camera made a nice white background critical for locating wayward screws. To the left of the camera I taped two 8" x 10" sheets of paper. On the paper, starting from upper left, I drew a series of boxes down the page. As the screws and parts came out I placed them inside the boxes in sequence. Then penciled in the screen number(from your instruction video) in the box. Easy reference and quick.

A very helpful tool is a magnifier/light cap<snip> . While helpful, more light would still have been appreciated. The gloves were a very good idea. No smudges on any of the parts when done. Just as stated, the blue glass filter worked out of the frame with thumb pressure and without breaking. I tried several kinds of synthetic gloves and ended up using latex surgical gloves (Walmart). Latex gives a good grip but also fits snugly over the finger tips. Much better control over the small screws.

Overall, not a bad job given your instructions. I would never have attempted it without those clear pictures and sequenced instructions.


Anat Ruangrassamee: 1/3/09:

Dear Gary

Thank you for your instruction on the IR filter removal for 450D. I completed the modification without any screws left behind :) I didn't install any replacement glass on the CMOS chip because I want to use it for IR photography as well as astrophotography. Good news is that the camera can still reach infinity because the removed filter is very thin (0.57 mm).

I had a chance to test the Baader UVIR cut filter for 450D. It seems that the IR cutoff is very weak. I post my test results at: HERE

I had to drill the plastic cover to reach the long screw behind the viewfinder. The photo is attached. However, I think that it is not necessary to do so. Modifiers should prepare a few screw drivers (flat and phillips types) and use the one that grab the screw. It is better to start with a flat screw driver because it is less likely to damage the screw head.

Thank you very much for your effort.

Best regards,

<Gary Comment: Thanks Anat. I have added Anat's photo of the drilled hole to the instructions.>

Michael Pietschnig - 1/5/09:

Hello Gary,

Thank you very much for sharing your extremely precise, thorough and well written filter-removal procedure for the Canon 450D DSLR via the web.

I found it today and, since you mention in it that some folks had used it successfully to modify the 1000D, went straight ahead to modify my own
1000D according to it. It took me about three hours, and it was successful at the first attempt.

I came across some very minor discrepancies. Probably the 1000D is
different in these areas. I try to list them below:

<Gary Comment: I have added Michael's 1000D differences to the 450D instructions>

For everything else in your procedure, I can confirm that the 1000D is
identical to the 450D.

I'm now hoping for dark and clear skies to try it out!


Hi Gary,

thank you for your reply!

You are very welcome to use any of my comments which you find useful for your website.

If you do, here are some additional comments which I didn't list right away:

<Gary Comment: I have added Michael's 1000D differences to the 450D instructions>

I just removed the filter and did not install anything in its place (actually, this was mostly driven by my desire to get the mod done, and I had no replacement filter available). Instead, I ordered a 2" Baader Luminance-channel filter which provides UV and IR cutoff (its UV cutoff is not perfect but I am confident that the sensor will not respond to anything below 380nm anyway). Its passband is from 400nm to 700nm. I feel that using an external filter gives maximum flexibility; I might even use an IR passband filter for IR imaging. The cost for this 2" filter is practically the same as for the Baader "BCF" camera filter.

For me, the modified 1000D is a dedicated astro cam. I have an unmodified 350D which I use for normal photography.

I agree that the 1000D is very well suited for astro images. I decided to buy it last week when I learned of its Live-View&Zoom feature to use for focussing. This really is a great feature! With it, focussing finally is how it always should have been. I had a chance to shoot with it (pre-mod) through my Williams 72 Megrez + 0.8 reducer, and the stars are pinpoints across most of the image. There is some aberration at the edges,but this is due to the optics. Aside from that, I find that there is no noticeable amplifier glow, at least not with 2-minute exposure. It is definitely much less than in the 350D. Also the LCD display is much more readable, and I find the user interface much better when compared to the 350D.

Also I think that the 12 bit ADC in the 1000D is perfectly adequate in light of the system noise performance. What good is it to digitize to 14 bits when I have an rms pixel noise of about 0.1% of the dynamic range?

I am also very pleased with the power consumption. With the standard rechargeable battery pack fully charged, I collected 160 exposures of 120 seconds each (more than 5 hours of total exposure time) at 0 centigrades (32 Fahrenheit) ambient temperature.

In short, I am very pleased with the 1000D. It met or exceeded all my expectations.

Kind regards,

<Gary Comment: Thanks Michael. Your detailed notes on the differences between the 1000D mod and the 450D mod have been added to the instructions and will be of great benefit to those modifying the 1000D>

Andrew Hubbard: 1/17/09:

Dear Gary,

Just done the mod, no probs at all apart from when I put the imaging chip back in the little black paper around the first filter was lifted abit and slowed my shutter stripped and straightened it out now alls cooool.

Thanks very much for putting the time and effort into such a selfless project.

Kind regards,

Andrew Hubbard


Edward Plumer 1/18/09:


I just finished performing the IR mod on my 450D per and it went well. I have tested autofocus and done an preliminary day-time "flat" image to determine how much dust I might have left between the filter sandwiches. I think there is one minor spot. Tonight, barring clouds, I will give this a test on an Halpha targe.

A couple of notes of feedback if your are interested:

Cotton gloves: A note of caution here. When tinkering with the plastic casing that holds the IR filter, I used the cotton gloves. That holder has residue of the double-stick tape which holds it onto the metal CCD housing. Cotton glove touched this residue and grabbed a bunch of fibers which plagued me for the rest of the project. Next time I would just stick with the Nitrile gloves which I used for the rest of the project.

Drilling. I was unable to to the mod without drilling the access hole for the uppermost long screw holding the CCD assembly.

Cleaning the filter: Filter received with some spots on it. Had a rough time trying to get all streaks back off. Any notes you have on cleaning the new filter would be useful for others.

Body screws. These really do need a #000 philips as you state. I tried initially with a philips from a standard jewelers screwdriver set but that strips the heads.

Screw tracking. I made up a sheet of paper with numbered labels for each step next to a strip of double stick poster tape. I also labeled which screws came from which holes.

Extra screw. On the 450D, I also found a screw tucked behind the left most neck-strap, like was reported for 1000D

Different sizes. The upper left screw behind the viewport is longer than the bottom two. Might be worth noting.

Cutting tape: Behind the rubber thumbrest that we remove early on is a heavy layer of double-stick tape. I found I need to use an exacto knife to slice that along the camera body seam in order to get the camera apart.

Thank you very much for the detailed instructions!


Edward Plumer
Austin Astronomical Society

Some astro links by those that have done the modification:

Alan Robinson:

Jerry Wise:

Brent Maynard:

David Rankin:

Paul Romero:

For more discussions of DSLR Modifications join the DSLR Modifications yahoo discussion group at:

If you completed the modification and would like to let me know how it went for you, you can contact me at the following email address:

I will add any comments to the modification instructions that might be helpful to others and a link to your site if you wish.


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