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Tutorial (link): Infrared IR using a Digital Camera

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  • Tutorial (link): Infrared IR using a Digital Camera

    The author describes an interesting technique...

  • #2
    Danny, I've been practicing near-IR with my Olympus 2100 for a while after reading about it on the DPreview forums and seeing people's work on PBase. What some folks have created is strikingly beautiful, but even my practice shots are fun because the "look" can be so different from typical B/W. I always wanted to try film IR, but I knew that I'd never be willing to go thru all the steps of changing the film in a black-bag etc., so when I heard about digital IR, I was thrilled to find that one of my cameras was considered very sensitive to IR.

    If I'm able to get the Nikon D50 (or the next iteration of Nikon), I have some lenses that I'd love to use for near-IR shooting.

    Here's a couple of images I made lately just to give you an idea.
    Attached Files


    • #3
      Here are a couple of links to PBase images (and galleries) that anyone interested in IR work should see --
      Attached Files


      • #4
        Very cool pic, CJ...

        It wasn't clear to me in your summary... Was this shot taken with a digital camera? If so, describe the technique. I find this facinating.


        • #5
          Originally posted by DannyRaphael
          It wasn't clear to me in your summary... Was this shot taken with a digital camera? If so, describe the technique. I find this facinating.
          Definitely a digital camera -- if you have one that is sensitive to infrared (as I recall, one test is to look at a TV remote control thru your camera's (EVF, not optical/glass) viewfinder or LCD in a dark room -- press one of the channel changer buttons etc. and see if you see the light -- if so, your camera is probably sensitive to IR and can be used for IR photography).

          All you need to ADD to your IR sensitive digital camera is an IR filter -- a Hoya R72 is a common one, and is the one that I bought and use. There's a lot of webpages on digital IR (or near-IR which is more correct, I guess). Some folks recommend using tungsten white balance, and I've used it so far, but I want to try different WB and see if it makes any difference. Focusing is an issue, even if you focus before you add the IR filter because IR waves have a different ___(something I read a few days ago and don't remember the wording). You need a bright day to help with the exposure thru the dark filter, but having clouds in the sky can really add drama to the images, as you can tell by some of the examples on PBase.

          As far as post-processing, there's a number of choices -- you can simply desaturate it, switch the red and blue channels via channel mixer etc. and then desaturate or add colors -- as you wish. Each camera seems to have a different "look", but from what little I understand, the colors are "false color", not actually caused by IR.
          Attached Files
          Last edited by CJ Swartz; 01-18-2006, 10:54 PM. Reason: clarified type of viewfinder or LCD for IR testing


          • #6
            Here is a link to some of my infrared galleries ...


            All of these were taken with my Olympus C2100UZ, which is absolutely one of the best (unmodified) for digital IR photography. I use a Hoya R72 filter. I take the shots all in color (so the originals have a reddish hue). Then I convert them by using two adjustment layers: 1. Channel Mixer on average set to Red +25, Green +55, Blue +20 -- Monochrome checked and Constant set to +4. I also used a Curves adjustment layer to bump the contrast slightly. By using layers, I can adjust slightly for each picture if needed.

            Newer digital cameras are much less sensitive to the IR spectrum. I have taken some with my Canon 10D, but the exposure is much longer. The 20D is even less sensitive. While the C2100 can be handheld, the 10D requires a tripod. Then there is the issue with the 10D of which lenses will work with IR and which will not. And it's difficult to focus with the filter on because you can't actually see anything. The cheapie Canon 50 f1.8 is quite sensitive, as is the Canon 17-40. There is a list somewhere on dpreview indicating which lenses folks had tried successfully. Although the Canon D30 was pretty IR sensitive, the D60 was not. However, if you have a "spare" unused model of either of these cameras, or the original Digital Rebel, or one of several Nikon models, you can pay to have it modified for IR only use at a number of sites on the web (,, -- to name a few). Search google for "infrared conversion" for additional sites as well as reviews on these conversions by folks who have had them performed. You can also check on eBay for some of the older, more sensitive cameras like the Minolta 7D (not the 7Di), the Nikon 950 or the Sony F717.

            If you like the look of infrared but don't have a good ir-sensitive camera, it is also possible to simulate the look (somewhat) using Photoshop or a number of plugins. The latest issue of Shutterbug magazine has an article describing some of these techniques.

            These sites has a wealth of information on digital IR, although I'm not sure how recently they have been updated:

            Warning: digital IR can become really addictive, but you can also make some stunning B&W pictures.


            • #7
              Thanks, CJ, for the additional info. Your pics are awesome. I've been reading DPR threads for the past hour or so. This is so kool! Looks like the D70s is IR aware, so the next toy on the wishlist will be one of those IR filters.

              "Too many toys, not enough time (or money)!"

              - - - - -

              Mary! How are you?

              Haven't seen you at DPReview in a long time, but great to have you pop in here. Welcome aboard. Your IR gallery is spectacular.

              Thanks to you, too, for all the info and links. I'm predicting I'll be net surfing many hours tomorrow reading digital IR info. I had no idea this was possible.

              - - - - - -

              Geography lesson:

              I'll bet you and CJ live semi-close together in AZ, no?



              • #8
                Mary, I love your IR gallery. The Arizona images are wonderful, and I think your choice of tone for the Taos gallery was a nice touch. You have some excellent color images also -- nice eye!


                • #9
                  Re: Tutorial (link): Infrared IR using a Digital C

                  Hi All

                  OOOPSSS!!! Hope I am not to late here - 2012 not 2006

                  Have just got into photography and am OBSESSED with Color Infrared images - both in Photoshop and from cameras - Point & Shoot and DSLR

                  Right now am looking both directions Photoshop and cameras - but without converting them to IR

                  Am about to receive a Nikon D40 DSLR and want to test with an external Hoya72 Filter and also --->>>

                  IF there are any actions on the forum to give a color IR image from jpeg or RAW image I would love to try

                  Cheers for years