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Infrared on a budget?
I'm interested in experimenting with infrared on a budget. Any suggestions as to which point and shoot to convert, have converted, or purchase already converted would be a great help. Should I try a infrared filter on my DSLR first? It's my understanding an inexpensive conversion would yield better results...

Comments (15)

The best cameras for IR are those Sonys with night shot mode: the F707, F717, F828 and (I think) the H3. Only the last one is in current production. Try posting on the Sony forum - you will get lots of replies.Chris R..

Comment #1

If you've already got a DSLR, just get an IR filter for your favorite lens (make sure it's an 89C or other type that passes IR light and blocks visible, not the other way around) and screw it on. I've done a few shots that way, and if you're looking for a cheap way to get started, that's the best. You'll have long exposure times, so you'll need a tripod even in full sun..

You can avoid that problem with a converted camera. $300-500 isn't inexpensive for me, but your milage may vary. The converted camera will let you get away from the tripod, which can be really nice. Here's one place that does conversions:.

Http://www.lifepixel.com/...faq.html#Whichdigitalcamerasdoyoumodifytoinfrared.

Be aware that your autofocus likely won't work, since those are tuned to visible light and IR diffracts differently. Ditto with exposure. And you won't see anything through your DSLR viewfinder. Basically, IR photography's a big pain, but it's also really rewarding. Good luck, and show us your results!..

Comment #2

I will just expand on why the Sonys are so good for infrared..

The Sonys that I mentioned have a nightshot mode which is intended to be used for nighttime photography using two infrared beams alongside the lens. This produces nasty green pictures and therefore isn't very useful. However, if you block off the beams you can use the camera for conventional daytime infrared photography with a suitable filter..

The only disadvantage is that in nighttime mode you have no ability to change the aperture and shutter speed and the preset exposure is much too high. This means that you normally need an 8x ND filter to reduce the exposure..

The advantage is that you don't have the very long exposure times that you get with an unmodified DSLR and the image that you see through the EVF and on the LCD is the infrared image that the camera will take..

Do a search on the Sony forum for more information.Chris R..

Comment #3

Inspectoreleven wrote:.

If you've already got a DSLR, just get an IR filter for your favoritelens (make sure it's an 89C or other type that passes IR light andblocks visible, not the other way around) and screw it on. I've donea few shots that way, and if you're looking for a cheap way to getstarted, that's the best. You'll have long exposure times, so you'llneed a tripod even in full sun..

Keep in mind that different cameras react differently. I have a Hoya IR filter and between 3 cameras, a Canon 40D, D60 and Rebel 350, the Rebel does the best, followed by the 40D; the D60 was virtually unusable. Wheras the 40D would require say a 30 second shot, the Rebel could get away with 8-10 seconds with the same settings/subject/light..

All cameras auto-focused fine..

Also IR filters are not cheap - they're manageable under 77mm... but at 77mm they run a couple hundred dollars. A 58mm filter on the other hand can be as little as $50-60...

Comment #4

I've recently snapped up a Sony DSC-V1 on eBay for 45 and will open it up soon and remove the IR block filter and replace it with optical glass of the same difference. This way IR exposure times should come way down, enabling even handheld on sunny days. And since ithas an electronic viewfinder, you can actually see an image on the LCD even with a 950nm IR pass filter on the lens, something which you can't do with most DSLR's..

There's a website that lists the 'base sensitivity' to IR for many older compacts:http://www.jr-worldwi.de/photo/index.html?mod_oly_irled.html.

And here's one thats show what's involved in 'modding' one to be full-on IR:http://irbuzz.blogspot.com/2007/10/open-camera-shell.html.

Hope that helps. When I finally have the guts to gut the sony I'll post some of the results...

Comment #5

LifePixel is about $150 more than I'd like to spend ($300 for point and shoot conversion + used camera on eBay)..

PixelMover wrote:.

I've recently snapped up a Sony DSC-V1 on eBay for 45 and will openit up soon and remove the IR block filter and replace it with opticalglass of the same difference. This way IR exposure times should comeway down, enabling even handheld on sunny days. And since ithas anelectronic viewfinder, you can actually see an image on the LCD evenwith a 950nm IR pass filter on the lens, something which you can't dowith most DSLR's..

There's a website that lists the 'base sensitivity' to IR for manyolder compacts:http://www.jr-worldwi.de/photo/index.html?mod_oly_irled.html.

And here's one thats show what's involved in 'modding' one to befull-on IR:http://irbuzz.blogspot.com/2007/10/open-camera-shell.html.

Hope that helps. When I finally have the guts to gut the sony I'llpost some of the results..

Pixelmover,.

I think this is what I think I'm looking for. Were the parts hard to obtain? (optical glass of the same difference, 950nm IR pass filter).

I may start out with the 89C on my D300. The D300 offers Live-View mode. Would I be able to preview my composition, or is the image just too dark?.

My lens choices are:.

Autofocus:AF-S DX VR 18-200MM f/3.5~5.6G.

Manual:50mm f/1.224mm f/2.835-70mm f/2.5~3.528-90mm f/2.8~3.580-200mm f/4.5.

I think the 24mm f/2.8 is my best bet since the autofocus becomes useless and the 50mm f/1.2 probably isn't wide as I'd like..

Thoughts?.

Thanks everybody, Brian...

Comment #6

A conversion, depending upon the camera, will cost between $250 and $400. I would choose a lens with a smaller threaded end and buy a Hoya R72, learn the technique (tripod, compose and focus, then add the filter and shootyou'll do best in M). Shoot with that and see if you are still interested in it before investing in another camera body..

I've shot IR off and on for years (since the G1) and have just decided to finally get a 10D body converted (on it's way to Lifepixel for conversion). I considered getting a digicam converted (like my Canon G9) but opted for a DSLR which will give me much greater flexibility in lenses, styleand I will be able to handhold if I choose..

Don't forget, except for a few cameras, IR shots generally require postprocessing also..

DianeDiane Bhttp://www.pbase.com/picnic/galleries..

Comment #7

Remy,.

I honestly have no idea if the D300 will show anything in LiveView if you put an IR pass 950nm filter in front of the lens. Maybe with a weaker one like an 800 or so... Perhaps a question for the d200/d300 forum?.

IIRC the D300 is not very sensitive to IR at all, so it will require long exposures and a tripod to use. And for the same reason may not show anything even in LiveView?.

I meant optical glass of the same thickness, 'difference' was a writing error .

I've read that the IR block filter should be replaced with "optical glass of the same thickness within a tolerance of 0,1mm and the same refractive properties"..

No idea how to measure the refractive properties, but I have a tool that will measure the thickness accurately enough. As for the 'optical glass', I've heard people use microscopic slides. I 'plan' on being lucky enough to find a multicoated lens protection filter of the same thickness and cut/grind that to size. Maybe plain optical glass will do, but I guess IQ might be better if it is coated...

Yes, a lot of assumption on my part, but to me the modding is half the fun! Watching McGyver at dinner for several years must pay off in the end, right?.

As for the 950nm IR pass filter, I got that from an eBay seller in HK. Sure, it is not a KatzEye, Hoya or B&W quality, but, like you, I'm keeping the costs down. If I really like the results I might spend more money on better gear, for now it is just a bit of fun. I think I paid arounf 12 for the 52mm filter, including shipping..

Hope this helps!..

Comment #8

PixelMover,.

I could try bringing my D300 to a camera store and try a filter before buying it, but the mod on a used P&S seems to be the way to go..

I have to admit the mod is half the fun, but I think I'm a little intimidated about finding the glass piece. The tutorial mentions that the place that sells it is for EU customers only. I have seen other tutorials on the Internet. I'll do a search and see what I can find. Please keep me informed if you find a solution..

Chris R-UK wrote:.

The best cameras for IR are those Sonys with night shot mode: theF707, F717, F828 and (I think) the H3. Only the last one is incurrent production. Try posting on the Sony forum - you will getlots of replies.Chris R.

I'll start the search with the Sony models Chris R-UK mentions. Too bad the forum search is still down...

Comment #9

A while back I was involved in a thread that concluded it is not necessary to replace the hot mirror with a glass plate for P&S cameras..

That's because P&S autofocus takes place on the same sensor used to take the photo. This was confirmed by people who've done it. Just remove the hot mirror..

There might be a risk that a mode like "Starry Night" that does not try to autofocus & sets itself to infinity focus which would be a little off because the absence of the glass plate but this is a small price to pay..

In any event, you can try it - just remove the hot mirror and try the camera with an external IR filter; it'll probably work ok - if not, add a compensating plate..

Dave..

Comment #10

Don't know what your budget is but you might want to check out the following -.

July 13, 2007  Fujifilm today announced it's newest infrared DSLR geared for law enforcement and scientific fields, the IS Pro. The camera can detect ultraviolet, visible, and infrared light. The camera includes Fujis Super CDD Pro and Real Photo Processor Pro, adding Live Image Preview and Fujis post capture face detection. The new IS Pro system is also offered with additional filters and lens accessories at a price range of $2599.95 for the IS Pro body alone to $4999 for the full forensic kit..

They had several earlier models that might be available used..

Don..

Comment #11

How about an Olympus Sp-310? There is a link in the forums on how to remove the hot mirror. It only took about 30 mins to convert (most of that time cutting the ir filter to size) Works great! The only thing I did differently from the posted instructions was to remove the foam gasket and glue the ir filter to the sensor. Bought the camera for $80 on ebay. Filter material from Edmund Scientific was another $15...

Comment #12

Do you think you might be able to halp me find the thread. I cant seem to find it...

Comment #13

Actually, I think the current Sony camera with nightshot is the Sony H9..

That's an interesting idea, actually, and I had never thought about the H9 being a good IR camera. I'll have to look into some H9 IR phtoos...

Comment #14

Here it is..

Http://forums.dpreview.com/...ms/readflat.asp?forum=1008&message=22877060.

Just copy and paste into address bar. I had focusing issues when I mounted the filter according to instructions. Cutting the filter to the same size as the hot mirror and glueing to sensor took care of that. Just be careful with the type of glue you use...

Comment #15

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