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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Still Life, B/W & Experimental Talk
Thread started 15 May 2016 (Sunday) 23:42
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Very beginner IR question

 
waylandcool
Senior Member
Joined Jun 2007
Far NW Suburbs of Chicago
May 15, 2016 23:42 |  #1

I want to start messing around with IR photography. I'm going to be using my 5Dc. Can I just use an IR filter to get started or does the body need to be converted first, then the filter used. If I can start off with just a filter, what filter works best. I'd like to start off with my 40mm STM lens.




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Picture ­ North ­ Carolina
Gaaaaa! DOH!! Oops!
8,954 posts
Joined Apr 2006
North Carolina
May 16, 2016 09:18 |  #2

The whole point of a conversion is to be able to shoot without a filter - and to shoot (basically) normally.

Only good advice on getting a IR filter is to get a real IR filter. Do the research and be willing to pay more. Over the years there have been tons of people on this forum who (thought they) picked up a IR filter on ebay at a good price only to discover it was only a red filter. If you shoot with an unconverted, filtered camera be aware that some scenes will need to be shot at REALLY slow shutter speeds.

I've had two cameras converted by Life Pixel. Sold one, still shooting with the other. If I had to go back to shooting unconverted and filtered, I would not shoot at all. It is significantly different.

Go to Lifepixel.com. There's tons of info all over the site about IR.


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Wilt
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May 16, 2016 09:40 |  #3

The first issue with shooting IR is that the sensor in the digital camera is NOT very sensitive to IR light, because it has an IR blocking filter...
'Infrared' is the part of the electromagnetic spectrum with wavelengths longer than the visible light. Infrared radiation is usually discusses as three parts:

  • Near Infrared (700-1200 nm),
  • Mid Infrared (1200-3000 nm), and
  • Thermal Infrared (3000nm-1mm).


IR photography uses Near Infrared. But digital camera CCD and CMOS sensors are sensitive to visible light with wavelengths between ~390 and ~700 nm.
If you can see the beam of infrared light, your camera’s IR filter doesn’t fully block IR light and some makes it through to the sensor. This means your stock digital camera is capable of capturing near infrared light, unmodified but the exposures may be quite long.

The second issue is that the IR filter merely PASSES IR light while suppressing much of the visible spectrum. Because infrared film is sensitive to visible light as well as infrared light a special infrared filter needed to be attached to the front of the lens to block all visible light and only pass infrared light.

The third issue is that Infrared light, being located to the right of visible red light, has a longer wavelength and focuses at a slightly different point. Because of this most lenses have a red infrared focus dot offset from the regular focus mark.

With Digital, it is still possible to shoot digital infrared photography with an unmodified digital camera but the exposures become quite long and in most cases require a tripod, not to mention the need to place an infrared filter in front of the lens to block visible light. After a digital infrared photography conversion it is possible to photograph infrared images hand held at low ISO speeds and without the need for infrared filters.

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waylandcool
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Joined Jun 2007
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May 16, 2016 09:51 as a reply to Picture North Carolina's post |  #4

Do LifePixel replace the mirror? I recently had to do a DIY mirror fix on the 5D.




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rwmson
Senior Member
Joined Aug 2009
Cherry Hill, NJ USA
May 17, 2016 07:22 |  #5

No, they replace the filter that sits in front of the sensor with a piece of glass that passes IR wavelengths.


a gobba gobba glass

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Picture ­ North ­ Carolina
Gaaaaa! DOH!! Oops!
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North Carolina
May 17, 2016 11:01 |  #6

They also modify the focal plane and other things that are different in IR shooting. My cameras were done years ago, but if still the same they give you a choice of sending a lens along with the body to fine tune the focus to that lens. I didn't. I did the generic focus thingy and it works just fine with all my lenses and at all apertures.


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absplastic
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Post has been edited over 1 year ago by absplastic.
Jun 04, 2016 16:33 |  #7

You have to modify the camera to replace the IR-blocking filter (also called "hot mirror" because it reflects IR, but not related to the mirror that flips up) with something else, and there are two main options with different pros and cons.

Option 1: You replace the hot mirror with a filter than passes only (or mostly) IR. This kind of filter looks like almost black glass since it passes very little visible light.

Pros:
- You can look normally through the optical view finder, in full color, because the IR filter is on the sensor not the lens.

- In live-view only, the camera's metering works and you will see what you're framing (WYSIWYG) on the LCD screen. This means IR video is possible too. Normal non-live-view TTL metering does not work correctly, since that metering system sees the full-color view.

- You can use any lens without needing IR filters for each lens filter thread size.

Cons:
- Your camera is now IR only; you cannot take a normal full color or UV photo, nor can you experiment with different wavelengths of IR filter. You have committed to one filter type.

Option 2: You replace the hot mirror with neutral glass that passes all wavelengths ("full spectrum"). In some cameras you don't have to replace the hot mirror with anything, but most of the time clear glass is needed for spacing reasons. You use filters on your lenses as normal (so IR filter on the lens for IR photos).

Pros:
- You can still use the camera for full color photos, though an IR-blocking filter on the lens is now recommended for good color rendition.

- You can experiment with different cutoff wavelengths of IR filters ranging from deep IR to ones that let in more visible light and give hybrid IR/color images. You can also use the camera for UV filters, and other filters for astrophotography.

Cons:
- You can't see anything through the optical viewfinder with an IR filter on your lens!! You can still see an image in live view, and shoot video though. This is a deal-breaker for me, I'd want to be able to use the optical viewfinder to frame my shot.

- You need to buy expensive IR filters for each lens you want to use for IR photography, if they have different filter thread sizes.


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Very beginner IR question
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