Re: Infrared photography

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Eric Stevens, Sep 26, 2008.

  1. Eric Stevens

    Eric Stevens Guest

    On Thu, 25 Sep 2008 07:44:25 -0700, DaveC <> wrote:

    >I want to photograph and video in infrared mode.
    >
    >I understand that some point-and-shoot cameras provide this style of
    >photography/videography. Alternately, some people have "hacked" a camera by
    >removing the IR filter from in front of the imaging element. There are
    >instructions on-line to DIY this, or to send in your P&S to have it done.
    >
    >Basically, the IR filter is removed and replaced with another (not a
    >procedure for the faint at heart). The replacement filter is $$$.
    >
    >My question is this: is this replacement filter that passes rather than
    >blocks IR available as a gelatin or other commonly available filter that I
    >can source elsewhere other than from these camera-mod services?
    >
    >Or can I just strip off the existing filter and not replace it with anything?
    >I'm looking for quantitative data (the existence of IR) not qualitative data
    >(a pretty picture). What function does the replacement filter provide (other
    >than passing IR data)?
    >
    >To clarify, I want to "see" IR images real-time in the viewfinder, not
    >post-process the image data to reveal the IR.
    >
    >If there's another forum you suggest I should ask this question in, please
    >let me know.


    You could try picking up a Sony F707 or others of that ilk. If my
    memory serves me right they do have IR capabilities.



    Eric Stevens
     
    Eric Stevens, Sep 26, 2008
    #1
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  2. On Fri, 26 Sep 2008 17:11:35 +1200, Eric Stevens <> wrote:

    >On Thu, 25 Sep 2008 07:44:25 -0700, DaveC <> wrote:
    >
    >>I want to photograph and video in infrared mode.
    >>
    >>I understand that some point-and-shoot cameras provide this style of
    >>photography/videography. Alternately, some people have "hacked" a camera by
    >>removing the IR filter from in front of the imaging element. There are
    >>instructions on-line to DIY this, or to send in your P&S to have it done.
    >>
    >>Basically, the IR filter is removed and replaced with another (not a
    >>procedure for the faint at heart). The replacement filter is $$$.
    >>
    >>My question is this: is this replacement filter that passes rather than
    >>blocks IR available as a gelatin or other commonly available filter that I
    >>can source elsewhere other than from these camera-mod services?
    >>
    >>Or can I just strip off the existing filter and not replace it with anything?
    >>I'm looking for quantitative data (the existence of IR) not qualitative data
    >>(a pretty picture). What function does the replacement filter provide (other
    >>than passing IR data)?
    >>
    >>To clarify, I want to "see" IR images real-time in the viewfinder, not
    >>post-process the image data to reveal the IR.
    >>
    >>If there's another forum you suggest I should ask this question in, please
    >>let me know.

    >
    >You could try picking up a Sony F707 or others of that ilk. If my
    >memory serves me right they do have IR capabilities.
    >
    >


    Correct, the Sony F707, F717, F818, H3(?), and H9 all have this capability, and
    they all do it very well. Real-time hand-held IR photography and videos are a
    feature of all of them. No need to hack or alter any camera, just flip a switch
    to their "Night-Shot" mode.

    According to my add-on lenses and things, I would have to go with a 62mm filter
    size to make it the most adaptable to the most situations (including for use
    with my 35mm film gear). When looking at IR filters I was shocked at the prices
    so I went in search of an affordable alternative.

    The Kodak Wratten Gel Filters come in 3"x3" sizes. I could cut one of those up
    into a circle and put it inside of an inexpensive filter-ring holder. But
    they're prone to water-damage, humidity, etc. And they're still about $25-$30
    depending where you get them, that's probably not worth the hassle and care for
    the few dollars savings.

    Then I found some 3"x3", Lee Polyester IR filters at B&H for only $14. Durable,
    worth the cost for an experiment. I didn't want near-infrared, I wanted infrared
    only, so I opted to go with the Wratten #87. $14 for the filter, and $10-$15 for
    a cheap skylight filter (to dismantle for the mount, I couldn't find a source of
    empty filter-ring holders), and I'd be good to go for under $30. If you have an
    old filter that you can dismantle for the filter-ring, more power to you, then
    you can get into IR photography for only $14.

    Here's those Lee filters at B&H Photo & Video if anyone else wants to go this
    route:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bh4.sph...__LE8733___REG___CatID=5037___SID=F5261AD1470

    Normally a decent IR filter of the size needed can run you upwards of $70-$130,
    you can see the kind of savings attained by doing it this way.

    A problem with all these Sony cameras is that Sony stupidly listened to some
    sexually-insecure puritanical idiots at one point and crippled the shutter
    speeds and apertures that may be used in their Night-Shot mode. They were
    concerned that some people were using them to shoot through certain swim-wear
    fabrics at the beach, fabrics transparent to IR. For daylight IR photography you
    have to lower the IR levels to those required for shooting in the dark. I
    experimented and found out that a Wratten Green filter (for b/w photography)
    lowered the levels just right. I found an inexpensive Hoya G (XI). In total you
    are using a two filter stack, IR + Wratten Green.

    One other thing, you have to make a rubber gasket to cover up Sony's own IR
    emitters in the lens housing, that the camera uses to take photos in complete
    darkness. Otherwise the IR from those bounces off the back of the filter stack
    and into your lens, ruining your shots with nasty light reflection artifacts in
    the glass layers.

    Here's a quick sample of a hand-held daylight IR shot from one of these cameras

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3085/2889767698_6ee6058929_o.jpg
     
    carlislestamford, Sep 26, 2008
    #2
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  3. On Fri, 26 Sep 2008 07:45:14 -0700, DaveC <> wrote:

    >
    >I'm unclear whether you hacked your camera. Did you remove the IR filter from
    >the image sensor? Or did you just add IR filters to your lens?


    No need to remove any internal filter or hack these cameras. Just screw-on
    standard IR filters to the front of the lens to cut out any visible light. They
    come with a built-in infrared photography mode in them. Along with the usual use
    for a digital camera, these were designed with their "Night Shot" mode. When you
    turn the switch to that mode the camera flips its internal IR filter out of the
    way, the one that everyone else has to hack out of their camera and end-up
    destroying it for normal photography. The camera then readjusts the focusing
    distance to account for IR wavelengths only and turns on some high-power IR LEDs
    in front to illuminate subjects in the dark. You can then see, photograph, and
    video-record in the total dark with it. I recall during a night-hike one time
    that my headlamp batteries went out so I used my Sony camera like a night-vision
    scope to find my way down a precarious outcrop of rock. Looking through the
    camera's viewfinder for my next safe perch to land on.

    These are also the only cameras that can quickly auto-focus in complete dark.
    Along with their "Night-Shot" mode they also have what is called their "Night
    Framing" mode. It uses the IR mode with its IR LED floods for you to focus and
    frame a shot in the total dark, undetected, but then fires the flash for
    properly exposed full-color images.

    I also obtained two inexpensive (~ $30-$40 USD) high-power IR floods that Sony
    sells for their "Night Shot" capable digicams and videocams. Model # HVL-IRM.
    They attach to the hot-shoe but also come with an extender plate so you may
    attach it to the tripod socket and have it alongside of instead of on top of the
    camera, or use it to stack/gang more than one. They use the same Li-Ion battery
    as used in the camera or you can use 2 AAs with them, a switch on the IR flood
    to select which power source you want. A full charge, when using either battery
    source, seems to last forever. They also have a continuous adjustment dial for
    how much IR light level you want. I use those two floods (along with the
    camera's built-in IR LEDs) to photograph and take videos of nocturnal wildlife
    from as far away as 60 ft. in the total dark. The animals see and hear nothing
    while being recorded but you can see your subject clearly in the viewfinder by
    the IR light alone. It's the only way to photograph and take video of nocturnal
    wildlife without your presence changing their natural behavior. If you put the
    ISO mode to Auto then when in "Night Shot" mode the camera will crank up the
    gain to ISO3200 when needed. It is grainy but perfectly acceptable for an IR
    night photo. It looks like using high ISO film. Images at ISO3200 also clean up
    very nice with good noise-removal software. Since it will be a B&W image when
    done any color noise is averaged out. You can of course still use all the
    manually set low ISOs too for noise-free IR images at night. You would use
    ISO100 or 200 for daytime IR photography.

    One interesting aspect of IR photography that I didn't know. I was photographing
    some vast forest fires in the Rocky Mountains. The haze from the smoke for
    hundreds of miles was making seeing the tops of any distant mountains impossible
    during the many weeks that we were camping/hiking/kayaking in the area. Putting
    on that filter-stack on my Sony camera, clicking the camera into "Night Shot"
    mode in the daytime, I could then look through the camera's viewfinder to see
    all the invisible distant mountain-tops and glaciers right through all that
    dense haze. Appearing just as crisp and clear as if there were no fires. It was
    pretty neat to be able to see what nobody else could see at the time. It
    afforded some unique images that nobody else could get. Photos of the forest
    fires right along with the usual majestic mountain scenery and glaciers.
    Everyone else was just getting shots of fires, dense smoke, and nearby hazy
    hills that could have taken place nearly anywhere on the planet. My photos
    clearly showed where these fires were. They also look all the more artistic and
    interesting with the mountain peaks towering over their immense fires below.

    While hunting on the net just now for something, I notice that this year's Sony
    Cybershot DSC-H50 also has "Night Shot" mode in it, for about $350.

    Clipped from that page online:

    Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H50 Digital Camera (Black)
    9.1 Megapixel
    15x Optical Zoom
    3.0" Tilt-up LCD Display
    Super SteadyShot Image Stabilization
    Face Detection with Smile Shutter
    High Sensitivity (ISO 3200)
    NightShot Infrared System
    HDTV Compatibility
     
    carlislestamford, Sep 26, 2008
    #3
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