Camera for infrared photography

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by caroline_collier, May 26, 2017.

  1. Hello Everyone,

    I'm interested in trying infrared photography. I've actually thought of converting a camera before, but never did it. Can I just ask for an opinion? I have a very old Nikon D50 that I could send in to be converted for $275. The website Kolari Vision has an already converted point and shoot Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS35 for $280. I know the D50 is so old that I thought maybe the technology of the point and shoot might produce better images, but I don't know much about point and shoot cameras. I know that what I'd lose is a lot of control, but I just wanted to hear others' opinions on the quality difference. I considered getting a D3300 that is already converted, but its twice the price and I don't know if I'm truly going to stay interested in infrared photography. Thoughts?
  2. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    What Lenses do you have to use on your D50?

  3. Everything you buy for toes dipping purposes, that will not hold up to your demands later, is wasted money. If you aren't sure what you'll like in the long run try to figure out what might reduce your losses when you resell it.
    The D50 seems like the oldest entry level camera available and going for 75 Euro/$. It is unlikely you'll recover much of the almost 4x higher conversion cost. Somebody shooting DX would be most likely content getting a 3000 series body for their bit of infrared. I guess whoever buys your D50 next year will probably upgrade quickly to something in the 10MP+x ballpark.
  4. Caroline, you don't have to get the camera converted to do infrared. Early DSLR's like the D50 are more sensitive to it than later ones, which have stronger internal filtering. Just get hold of an infrared filter to fit your lens. You can't see anything through this filter, so you have to compose and focus before fitting it, then shift the focus to the infrared mark on the lens. A tripod is essential as the shutter speed is going to be measured in seconds, so the technique is mostly restricted to landscape shots. I use manual exposure and judge it from the histogram, as auto exposure doesn't work at all well with infrared. Sadd1000.jpg

    It is a slow process of course. Here's one I did with my old D1X with an IR720 fitted to a 20mm manual focus lens.
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  5. I agree with John. i would search the internet for information on any filter built into your camera that might prevent using an IR filter in the lens. If it is possible, I would use the 720 John recommends. About $70 for a 77mm. Here's a shot from a d700 so equipped. infrared bk yd.jpg
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  6. I hadn't even thought of a filter. Thank you so much for the recommendation! I will go that route! :) It is landscapes that I'd like to do, so the filter/tripod should work great. Both photos are so beautiful. Thank you for sharing them!
  7. PapaTango

    PapaTango I See Things

    Of course, there is the 'old school' way to do this! Rollei still makes an ISO 400 infrared film in 120 MF size--and Ilford ones in 35mm & 120 that are sensitive in the red to about 740nm. With an added deep red #29 filter you have spectacular shots!
  8. The modern films don't have the sensitivity of the old HIE.

    I've experimented some with the Rollei in 35mm. With a deep red filter(#25 or #29) it more or less looks like a standard panachromatic film shot through those same filters at that range.

    You really need a full blown IR filter, and don't cheap out with an Ebay Special. Get the Hoya R72 or B+W equivalent-they're not cheap, but will serve you well whether using film or digital. It was kind of painful for me, as in 12 years of fairly serious photography I don't think I've ever bought a new filter-lately I've been picking at the local camera shop that has a card catalog with thousands of filters in it.

    In any case, I have metered the Rollei film at ASA 6 without the filter in a Nikon F3. Depending on where/what I'm doing I will sometimes remove the filter, compose, focus, meter, put the filter back on, move to the IR index mark, and shoot. As I get to know a scene, I'll often skip meter, will zone focus, and just eyeball the composition. In bright sun, I can generally shoot at 1/125 at anywhere from f/1.8 to f/2.8 or so. Bright sun is really where you want to shoot IR anyway, whether film or digitial.
  9. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member


    That was the main reason why I asked caroline exactly what lenses that she had to use on her D50.

    I believe that not all lenses that can fit to a D50 will have the IR refocus markings on them.

  10. I do need to look at the lenses to see if they have a focus mark. I have a 28 mm, 50mm, 28-80, and 70-300 that I bought a long time ago with my F100 camera. Those probably have the mark. I have a D750 that came with a 24-120 lens. I had thought of converting the D50 because I don't use it anymore, but if I'm just using a filter I'll use the D750 and either my 28mm lens or the 50mm lens. I'll definitely get the Hoya filter. I didn't even know they still made infrared film. My brain doesn't go to film as an option automatically anymore- that's sad. I think they discontented the one I tried years ago. In any case I'll start with the filter to play with it and maybe I will order some film and break out the film camera later.

    Thanks for all your suggestions everyone!
  11. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks for answering my questions. There were secondary reasons for my asking.

    You'd probably be best to stick to using your Prime Lenses in any case, whatever camera you use. There are lens optics / lens design reasons why Prime Lenses generally are less likely to exhibit IR Hot Spots.

    Also note that you might attain better results using the D50 rather than the D750: this is because as already mentioned by John Seaman: "Early DSLR's like the D50 are more sensitive to it [IR] than later ones, which have stronger internal filtering." I am not familiar enough with those two Nikon cameras to make a definitive statement, but it doesn't matter, you can try both.

    I was searching for this thread earlier [LINK] - just found it - maybe it will be of use for an initial exposure guide and other information.

    These might assist as a guideline too, made with a Fuji x100s and an Hoya R72 Filter:



    I still have IR Film in the deep DEEP freezer - haven't used that medium for several years.

    Images © AJ Group Pty Ltd Australia 1996~2017 WMW 1965~1996
  12. Thank you so much for the information!
    Your photos are absolutely beautiful!
  13. I'm sort of pleading ignorance and also talking out my rear, but you'll want to double check on using your F-100 with IR film. Some newer cameras use IR for indexing and other purposes, and can fog or otherwise mess up IR films. I'm not sure if that's the case with the F-100 or not.

    I've been doing all of my IR photography with an F3, but there's nothing particularly special about that camera. IF the F100 does have the IR problem, I might suggest picking up an F4 for ~$150. With some limitations, it will work with your newer lenses. It won't activate VR, and G lenses will only work in "P" and "S."
  14. You can get IR filters for low prices, brand new and mailed from China. Maybe not as good, but not so bad if you just want to play around.

    You want to find the camera model with the worst IR cut filter, which in DSLRs is the earlier models.

    I think some point and shoot also have poor filters, but I don't know which ones.

    I have some 5R flashbulbs, waiting until I find a good use for them.
  15. As others have suggested, IR filters would work, but you'll need a tripod, long exposures and IR focusing. If you just want to try it out, then that may be the least expensive option (other than film). But if you do get into IR, I would suggest having a body converted to full-time IR by Kolari, Lifepixel or others. If you do get a body converted, Kolari recommends a mirrorless body rather than a DSLR. A converted body will allow you to focus and expose normally, although with false color IR, you'd have to set white balance, so make sure the body you choose allows you to change WB.

    I shoot IR with a Kolari-converted Sony A7R. It is converted to full spectrum, so I use IR filters (primarily 590nm and 850nm) to get the IR effect I want, or a color-correcting hot mirror filter to shoot "normal" images. Of course, you can choose other conversions, e.g., dedicated to 590nm or 665nm or 850nm, etc... Here are some examples with the 850nm filter.




    From the same body, here are a couple of "regular" photos with a color-correcting filter:


    Last edited: Jun 17, 2017
  16. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    I picked up a used Ricoh GXR and ir modified module for very little. Don't use it a lot, but it is some fun. Check out the black cat. R0010414.JPG
  17. I bought and played with a couple of Ebay cheapies. Most did reliably cut-off at their specified value(I only bought 720nm filters) and were more or less visually opaque, but showed pronounced transmittance up past 400nm or so. This might not be a big deal in digital, but it kind of kills IR film.

    I finally bit the bullet and bought a Hoya R72. I think it was around $70 from B&H. I bought the 72mm version, although now that I'm into a system that mostly uses 77mm filters(Mamiya RB67) I wish I'd gone ahead with a 77 or 82. As long as you're not using wide angles, cheap step-up rings will serve you fine and IMO are a better choice that buying an expensive filter in every size(for a lot of SLR users that's going to be 52, 55, 58, 67, and 72).
  18. Hmm, I don't know about above (in energy) 400nm. I could also put on a UV filter if I worried about that.

    The eye has some sensitivity past 720nm, so in sunlight you can see just a little bit through one.
  19. Moderator note: the contents of this post has been deleted.

    User "lilichin" - Please do not double post your questions in different forums, doing so contravenes the User Guidelines and Terms of Use - and there are good reasons for this rule.

    [Please see this LINK to the other posting]

    In any case, your question will probably harness more responses as a NEW thread in "Film and Processing" Forum
  20. Thanks, sorry for this! best, lili
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