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Beyond the Visible Spectrum


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Beyond the Visible Spectrum

25 Aug 2022 5:45PM   Views : 392 Unique : 282

Beyond the visible spectrum can take us towards the blue or towards the red, and in photography we usually are looking at Infra Red. I have always used Photoshop to create "pseudo-IR" images and these can look good, but there's nothing to beat doing the job properly. When we shot film this meant an R72 or R95 filter and Kodak High Speed Infra Red film (black and white) or the Ektachrome false-colour transparency film. In digital, cameras have varied in their response to IR light, many having quite severe IR filters that block it out. This helps to increase sharpness, but it's no good if you want IR images. The best cameras for pseudo-IR images were small Kodak 2MP compacts, which had no filtering out of the IR light.

The alternative is to have a standard digital camera converted to IR only imaging. This renders it useless for normal photography, but I've just bought such a beast and it makes a real difference. The camera I have purchased is a converted Samsung GX20 DSLR, with a 14.2MP CMOS sensor. This is Samsung's version of the Pentax K20D, a camera that I enjoyed using in the past and which can hold its head up high even today. By removing any filters over the sensor that block IR light and replacing them with filters that only allow IR through, we have the ideal IR camera.

It's early days yet, and I was really busy finishing off a review, but I did find time to shoot a few images today and just briefly play with them. Here's the results so far.






I shall look forwards to doing a proper day's shoot when time allows.

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karlablo Avatar
karlablo Plus
5 49 30
25 Aug 2022 10:36PM
John, very nice contribution and images!
Best suited for conversion are the mirrorless digital cameras - with the "hot mirror" filter removed (so called "full spectrum") or with a NIR-filter replacement.
With full spectrum cams the filter on the lens can be exchanged for different bandpass wavelength - to render sky und greens differently.
With the EVF of system cams the black and white rendering can be judged already in camera!
All the best!
altitude50 Avatar
altitude50 19 24.1k United Kingdom
26 Aug 2022 1:47PM
John, like the images a lot.
I am a big fan of infrared. I originally used a Sigma SD 15 which has a filter just benind the lens mount. This can be easily removed and replaced, meaning that the camera is able to be used for normal colour as well as IR. The disadvantage was that everything was viewed, or actually not viewed, through a dark red filter that had to be placed in front of the lens. I would then have to point the camera at the scene and take several images, hoping to get one with a pleasing framing. Eventually I fitted a Yashica optical viewfinder into the hotshoe.
I did like the effect of the Foveon sensor which was similar to a film 'look' but basically only 3.9 mb if I remember correctly.
I now use a permanently converted Panasonic GX-7 with a 830 nm filter which does not give much scope for false colour. My favourite lens is a Leica 15mm.
A couple of recent images are in my portfolio.
I use 'artistic' setting dynamic monochrome on the camera permanently and always convert from raw.
I think that one advantage of IR is that subjects are often best taken at or near mid day when the colour camera stays in the bag.

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