Infrared Photography - Hints, Tips, Processing and Show Your Shots!

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So, thought I'd start a thread in the hopes of it perhaps becoming a bit of a resource at the same time for newbies to IR (like me)?

Felt like I've wanted to try IR for a while now and just got hold of a Panasonic G3 converted for B&W (850nm) IR. Reason for going for the panasonic was simply cost, £130 for a camera already converted which would fit my olympus MFT lenses was a no brainer also wanted the B&W as I personally prefer it to the other IR colour versions. But that's just me.

Anyway, Im wondering if anyone has any hints or tips, eg best sort of conditions for shooting in, or possibly any processing guides they've used that have been useful.

I've seen only one thread on here fairly recently about IR asking if anyone else does it and therefore am shamelessly tagging all the TP'ers that replied as they ovbviously could contribute some titbits (I'm hoping) but no pressure if not :) Those contributers are @photographer100 @bumper @GreenNinja67 @Lindsay56 @ancient_mariner @Chalklers @Petrochemist
 
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Cheers for the mention Paul.

If the weather looks flat and boring that's when I think of taking the IR camera out. You can make some dramatic shots that would just look dull in colour or normal monochrome.
I also have the G3 but has a full spectrum conversion (although presently I only have a 720nm filter).

If you haven't got it already get hold of SilverFX Pro. You can really get some bold effects in IR B&W with it.
 
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The number one tip I think is that for the most striking results, wait for a bright sunny day. Just the sun going behind a cloud completely changes the effect.

My second tip is that you don't necessarily need an IR converted camera, although the results won't be as crisp. Older DSLRs often don't have a particularly strong IR filter. I use my old Nikon D40 as is, although it does result in very long shutter speeds once you've put an IR filter on it. I quite like the more ghostly results you get. My D7000 on the other hand, is useless.

RAW mages will look bright red on an unconverted camera, so it's worth setting it in monochrome mode so you can see what you will get. Processing is usually a matter of attending to the levels as the RAW images tend to be rather low contrast. The attached image was taken on a very windy day.

conwyinfraredSMALL.jpg
 
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Fuji Dave

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Glad I saw this as I have two Hoya R72 filters somewhere, so must dig them out and try.
 
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Donnie
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Cheers for the mention Paul.

If the weather looks flat and boring that's when I think of taking the IR camera out. You can make some dramatic shots that would just look dull in colour or normal monochrome.
I also have the G3 but has a full spectrum conversion (although presently I only have a 720nm filter).

If you haven't got it already get hold of SilverFX Pro. You can really get some bold effects in IR B&W with it.
Already got SilverFXPro, just never used it much I have to admit, but will have to give it a whirl with some IR stuff now :)
 
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Noise reduction on or off in camera? What's the consensus?
My take, for an unconverted camera, is to turn it off. I use a 1Ds III, and with that you just double the (very long) exposure, for no discerable benefit. Either with or without, you will end up with bags of noise and probably some hot pixels. Dfine2 is good at dealing with industrial levels of noise.

For a converted camera, I would probably leave it on.
 
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Donnie
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Cheers Boots, yes I should have said it's already converted (y)
 
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I'm well & truly bitten by the IR bug :)
For me the ideal option is a mirrorless camera converted to full spectrum, used in conjunction with filters in front of the lens. This combination allows a vast variety of types to be explored including filters that give UV & IR with little to no visible, combinations of visual & infra red & the standard IR only shots.
With an EVF (or live-view) you can see to frame / focus etc just as you would with a normal camera seeing whatever the sensor sees.

When I first started out playing with IR it was with an older DSLR (unconverted). The Pentax K100d I used is fairly IR sensitive so could shoot handheld with faster lenses.
An example with this set up is:
Infra red Panorama by Mike Kanssen, on Flickr
Multiple handheld shots stitched with MS ICE.
Note not all older DSLRs have this much IR sensitivity, the K100d & Nikon D70 are among the best, Canon models tend to have much stronger hot mirrors.

My next step was to try an old Sony camera that had the 'Nightshot' feature. Not wanting to spend a lot I went for the DSC V1 a basic compact camera, which proved to have a few drawbacks - Controls in nightshot mode are severely limited aperture remains wide open, a green colour cast is added to all images & if the filter adapter was screwed right in the camera would not take a photo! Using it with the filter adapter slightly loose worked OK & the camera has a built in IR source so can shoot in visual darkness:
DSC00518 small by Mike Kanssen, on Flickr

I went from there to a preconverted camera sold for 'ghost hunting'. It kind of worked but couldn't live up to the sales pitch so went back. A lunch time taking out the hot mirror from a £3 compact gave results just as 'good' (this also never got used again)

I then brought a used pre-converted MFT model which cost less than a conversion would have done over 6 years later I still use this but it's been replaced as my main IR camera by a converted A7ii that has more UV sensitivity, IBIS...
Both of these allow exposures similar to normal cameras when shooting IR as well as false colour IR typically with a red filter:
Andrew Jordan - Infra red panning by Mike Kanssen, on Flickr

Sometime combined visual/IR shots with these (making the camera more sensitive than normal cameras of the same type) have worked well (in this particular example the slight IR effects have made the image far more striking than visual alone would have managed):
Full spectrum portrait by Mike Kanssen, on Flickr

One other option I've added more recently is a Sigma SD14 (an old DSLR with a foveon sensor). The sensor on this model is behind a user removable dust screen - which incidentally is also the IR blocking filter - easy & reversible DIY conversion.
Foveon sensors are unique in how they determine colours (based on the depth light travels into the sensor, rather than what passes through a Bayer filter) This gives them a very different behaviour to IR recording it in the red channel. I found the Sigma RAW files impossible to work with using any software other than that supplied with the camera, but fortunately using a green X1 filter & fluorescent WB I can get the sort of results I was after (similar to Aerochrome colour IR film) as JPEGs pretty much SOOC.
wrabness aerochrome small by Mike Kanssen, on Flickr

I have loads more IR shots in an album on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/gp/petrochemist/464060 including a selection of more unusual filters, and have shared some technical information in a dedicated IR forum https://global-infrared.freeforums.net/
I suppose thermal cameras is one avenue of IR photography I've not explored. In the UK at least these are far to expensive for me, but maybe one day!
 
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Nod

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I have a very low resolution FLIR camera and while it's fun, the resolution isn't really up to too much. Interesting though!
 
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I have a very low resolution FLIR camera and while it's fun, the resolution isn't really up to too much. Interesting though!
I think even the best models are very low resolution compared to normal cameras FLIR reaching the giddy heights of 6MP.
The lowest resolution I've seen is something like 32x32 pixels linked to a Raspberry Pi4 possibly enough for locating hot spots in your houses insulation but not nearly enough to be tempting for images. even that is showing $178 for the camera module!

Several other links that claimed to be 'thermal' where instead simply nightvision (NIR with suitable LEDs).
 
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I'm also a Fuji user, The 18-55 f2.8-4 is absolutely terrible for infrared but my 18-135 has no hotspot at all & has become my most used Fuji lens, Samyang 12mm is also a great lens for infrared.

Toonie
 
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my 18-135 has no hotspot at all & has become my most used Fuji lens
Agreed. Is a great lens on normal and IR cameras.
 
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Can anyone make recommendations for IR conversions?
I got my A7ii done by Alan Burch (on the Isle of Wight) He did an excellent job in very quick time.
I actually got my converted camera before the end of the window of delivery to him! (The camera was sent direct to him by the e-bay seller)
 

Nod

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I think even the best models are very low resolution compared to normal cameras FLIR reaching the giddy heights of 6MP.
The lowest resolution I've seen is something like 32x32 pixels linked to a Raspberry Pi4 possibly enough for locating hot spots in your houses insulation but not nearly enough to be tempting for images. even that is showing $178 for the camera module!

Several other links that claimed to be 'thermal' where instead simply nightvision (NIR with suitable LEDs).

Mines a little better than 32x32px but it's only 640x480px (IIRC). Fine for what I bought it for (hotspot finding and het leak seeking) but not a "photographic" tool really!
 
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Donnie
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Not that Ive had a chance to use my 850nm panasonic g3 at all yet but keep popping on and off IR threads and websites and really loving those shots with blue skies and white foliage! Hmmmmmmmm.......
 
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Not that Ive had a chance to use my 850nm panasonic g3 at all yet but keep popping on and off IR threads and websites and really loving those shots with blue skies and white foliage! Hmmmmmmmm.......
You won't get much colour with a 850nm conversion, I think blue skies & white foliage would normally be with something around 590nm followed by a channel swap. This usually gives more golden foliage but the white balance used will adjust that.

The results from a BG3 filter can be close but it's more of a purple sky SOOC:
aP1040238 by Mike Kanssen, on Flickr

Adjusting the hue on your 850nm shots will give something more like a cyanotype which might just be to your liking :)
 
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Donnie
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Yeah I think Im getting ahead of myself thats the problem, what with work and this damned pandemic I havent even had a chance to use the 850 in anger yet :-(
 
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Yeah I think Im getting ahead of myself thats the problem, what with work and this damned pandemic I havent even had a chance to use the 850 in anger yet :-(
Try it with flash (or halogen lights) indoors, it can be great for portraits.
A very different look than what you're after I know :)
 
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Donnie
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Hmmmm just discovered after playing in the back garden that my 12-100f4pro does indeed hotspot in the middle :(
 
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Hmmmm just discovered after playing in the back garden that my 12-100f4pro does indeed hotspot in the middle :(
Try it at different apertures, facing away from any light source & even at a different subject distance....
It might still be possible to get some acceptable results from it.

If not I'd suggest trying a simpler lens design, large zoom ranges need lots of elements, each of which could add to the problems.
If you can handle manual focusing & aperture, an older adapted lens can be a good option & needn't be expensive.
Many Legacy lenses have an IR mark of the focusing scale, these are usually less prone to hotspots.
 
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Donnie
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I'll try the different apertures trick and see, this was wide open and I didn't think to try that so will see. I have the 17mm prime too which doesn't hotspot so not the end of the world.
 
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Nope, I can't get most of my files to upload - too large. Oh well..... IMG_1038.jpg IMG_1031.jpg

I use a converted Canon G9 with a screw-in 680 IR filter fitted. In PP I use Simpelfilter software nested within Photoshop Elements. I think I get most pleasing results from blue-sky days with bits of cloud. I'm never very satisfied with the effect on 'oomans: people look sickly & jaundiced - but that's just me hahaha.
 
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Donnie
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I got lucky with the sky there to be honest or it would have been a really crap shot!
 
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