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Full spectrum


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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Full spectrum

5 Mar 2021 9:10AM   Views : 191 Unique : 135


For several years, Iíve had a Lumix camera that has been converted to infrared, which Iíve used for portraits, figure work and even, occasionally, landscapes. Itís been interesting, and the results have been great, but almost as soon as Iíd had it done I regretted not having a full-frame camera converted. And Iíve also become curious about the idea of a Ďfull spectrumí conversion Ė one that leaves the sensor with no filter in front of it so that it is sensitive to a range of wavelengths from infrared to ultraviolet.

Well Ė Iíve had it done now. Itís actually been a plus that I didnít have it done sooner, as Iíve been able to have an older Alpha 7R converted, but one that has a 42mp sensor and image stabilisation. And there are some subtleties (arenít there always?) It starts with the fact that my camera is now sensitive to more wavelengths than my eyesÖ Sadly, although the camera sees the beyond violet pingle, and the almost heat-wavelength blibble, for you and me to appreciate them, they need to be translated into the same old boring visible colours.


I am right at the start of quite a long trail of discovery, because of the many different ways that itís possible to use the camera now. It even gives quite strange and lovely colours entirely without a filterÖ There isnít as much sharpness as there might be without the conversion, as the lens is not capable of focussing IR, visible and UV light at the same point at the same time.

Although UV light is a wee bit of a problem, if you want to make a lot of it in the picturesÖ Although people still tend to buy a UV filter as a matter of course, thereís one really effective way of blocking UV in your pictures Ė use a modern lensÖ I shall be exploring the possibilities of my older lenses, which are, apparently, more likely to pass UV. It does seem possible, though, that a heavy blue filter will lead to pictorially interesting results.

Thereís plenty more fun in store: Edward Nobleís website lists and rates a large number of lenses for their tendency towards hotspots with infrared, and my everyday 85mm Sony lens ranks quite low down. Intriguingly, Samyang lenses rate rather well, so itís possibly not a matter of more modern lenses doing worseÖ


Please wish me luck! And if anyone has a filter that blocks visible light and infrared, Iím interested in doing a deal. Whatever happens, though, I already have IR filters that will allow me to shoot IR images with all the glowing foliage and black skies that involves (when the weather isnít as cloudy and grey as it was yesterday!)

The conversion was carried out very rapidly by Alan Burch of, and the price was lower than you might expect. However Ė mirrorless cameras only. The complications of optical viewfinders and separate AF modules make DSLRs massively unattractive for IR and UV work.



dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1835 England
5 Mar 2021 9:31AM
I was playing with the conversion for the first time yesterday, and the results above reflect the sub-optimal conditions - the IR effect with filters is obvious in the top two shots: the lower images show what using the camera with no filter does. Scientifically unsatisfactory, maybe - but pictorially promising.
mistere Plus
7 6 4 England
5 Mar 2021 9:36AM
"And if anyone has a filter that blocks visible light and infrared," Got a spare lens cap if that's any good SmileSmile.
Only kidding, it's not spare. Good luck, be interesting to see what you come up with.
dark_lord Plus
17 2.8k 762 England
5 Mar 2021 9:30PM
I shall have to get one of my older cameras converted this year. At least there may be a chance of getting out to use it this year.
dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1835 England
6 Mar 2021 5:45AM
It adds a twist to almost any picture, Keith, and can look wonderful when it chimes exactly with the subject.

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