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IR filters on modern mirrorless cameras?

lowep

Member
Given the developments in IR cut filter technology and mirrorless cameras that leak IR light less and leave less to chance than earlier filter and camera combos did, is it still worthwhile investing in a filter like the Hoya R72 to experiment with IR photography on a modern mirrorless camera like the Sony A7RII/III etc - or is there so little information remaining for the sensor to grab after the OEM factory built-in IR cut filter on top of the sensor and the R72 filter mounted in front of the lens has cut off as much as they do that trying this turns out to be the digital photography equivalent of going on a couch safari without leaving the living room?
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
As it's always been with IR filters, you pick one and fit it, and then you experiment to see what you can get from it with a given camera.

G
 

lowep

Member
As it's always been with IR filters, you pick one and fit it, and then you experiment to see what you can get from it with a given camera.

G
Good point! My hope is that since as you say, this is how it's always been, then somebody here who has already tried this may be willing to share their experiences?
 

vonalpen

Member
Hi Peter
I thought I might copy my answer to your private message here as well, just in case somebody is interested.

Any normal digital camera just won't work with digital filters because every "normal" sensor has an IR-cut filter in front of the sensor.
So if you put an IR-filter in front of the lens, you just get pretty underexposed files with very little detail, there's hardly anything you can do with them creatively.
The only solution really is to have the IR-filter removed from the sensor, otherwise it is a waste of time!
In fact I had great results with my old Sony A6000, IR-converted by Kolari Vision in the USA, which I have since sold here on GetDPI.
I can absolutely recommend them. You can buy a converted camera on their website or send your own camera and have it converted:
https://kolarivision.com/
You find plenty of great information there!
The Sony mirrorless cameras are well suited for IR-photography, but only once they are converted.

Best

Jost
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
For sure, the IR cut filter defeats some of the IR capabilities of the camera, and an IR pass filter nets a low illumination level to work with. The results depend on how tight the IR cut filter in a given camera/sensor assembly is. A specially prepared IR camera gives a whole different range of capabilities.

But, that said, I've done a good bit of IR work over the past two decades with a wide range of digital cameras and obtained some very nice results with them. Particularly with a mirrorless camera, you can see what you're going to get and you can fool around with exposure values until you get results that work.

That's why it's "fit the filter and play with it until you find how to get some satisfying results from it." :D

G
 

Shashin

Well-known member
I used an unmodified Fuji X Pro2 and a near IR filter.







Seems to work for me.

Lenses can be more of a problem as some show hot spots.
 

lowep

Member
Hi Peter
I thought I might copy my answer to your private message here as well, just in case somebody is interested.

Any normal digital camera just won't work with digital filters because every "normal" sensor has an IR-cut filter in front of the sensor.
So if you put an IR-filter in front of the lens, you just get pretty underexposed files with very little detail, there's hardly anything you can do with them creatively.
The only solution really is to have the IR-filter removed from the sensor, otherwise it is a waste of time!
In fact I had great results with my old Sony A6000, IR-converted by Kolari Vision in the USA, which I have since sold here on GetDPI.
I can absolutely recommend them. You can buy a converted camera on their website or send your own camera and have it converted:
https://kolarivision.com/
You find plenty of great information there!
The Sony mirrorless cameras are well suited for IR-photography, but only once they are converted.

Best

Jost
Thanks for this good advice. I will try to see what I can do with a full-spectrum converted Sony Nex5R
 

lowep

Member
For sure, the IR cut filter defeats some of the IR capabilities of the camera, and an IR pass filter nets a low illumination level to work with. The results depend on how tight the IR cut filter in a given camera/sensor assembly is. A specially prepared IR camera gives a whole different range of capabilities.

But, that said, I've done a good bit of IR work over the past two decades with a wide range of digital cameras and obtained some very nice results with them. Particularly with a mirrorless camera, you can see what you're going to get and you can fool around with exposure values until you get results that work.

That's why it's "fit the filter and play with it until you find how to get some satisfying results from it." :D

G
It is a good idea that I will try to do with a converted full spectrum Nex 5R that is not as expensive these days as a full frame camera but I hope good enough for experimenting with to see what is possible without having to sell my shirt and socks.
 

lowep

Member
Well Shashin, if anybody can make this work then you with your wealth of experience doing alternative photography are the one who can! :salute:

I used an unmodified Fuji X Pro2 and a near IR filter.







Seems to work for me.

Lenses can be more of a problem as some show hot spots.
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
It is a good idea that I will try to do with a converted full spectrum Nex 5R that is not as expensive these days as a full frame camera but I hope good enough for experimenting with to see what is possible without having to sell my shirt and socks.
That was always my position doing this stuff. I never did enough IR work to be worth the cost of getting another body and having it converted, so I just used a couple of different IR filters and played around with them on the cameras I had. I seem to recall the Hoya R72 and a B+W filter (designation forgotten) were my favorites, and they worked best on different cameras. :)

G
 

JoelM

Active member
Hi Peter
I thought I might copy my answer to your private message here as well, just in case somebody is interested.

Any normal digital camera just won't work with digital filters because every "normal" sensor has an IR-cut filter in front of the sensor.
So if you put an IR-filter in front of the lens, you just get pretty underexposed files with very little detail, there's hardly anything you can do with them creatively.
The only solution really is to have the IR-filter removed from the sensor, otherwise it is a waste of time!
In fact I had great results with my old Sony A6000, IR-converted by Kolari Vision in the USA, which I have since sold here on GetDPI.
I can absolutely recommend them. You can buy a converted camera on their website or send your own camera and have it converted:
https://kolarivision.com/
You find plenty of great information there!
The Sony mirrorless cameras are well suited for IR-photography, but only once they are converted.

Best

Jost
Actually, my Leica M8 used to give pretty decent IR results.

Joel
 

Shashin

Well-known member
I think the two most important things when using a filter on an uncoverted camera was to set custom WB with foliage and to use exposure compensation. I find cameras underexpose IR images, reducing information. I have not had any real issues with focus, which is probably more of an issue using the focus scale on a manual focus lens than either the AF system or live view.

I think the great thing is about starting with just an IR filter is it gives you some experience without having to convert your camera. The filter will still be needed if you do make the conversion. It is a great first step.
 

DougDolde

Well-known member
I bought an I-Ray 830 from Singh Ray but it's so dark you need a 30 second or more exposure to make it work. Obviously even light wind will destroy the detail.

Howard Cargill at Singh-Ray gives these instructions for use:

For the 830nm filter you should follow these steps
camera on a tripod
set camera to manual and manual focus
Set picture quality to Monochrome
compose your scene and focus
hold the lens in one hand to not move the focus ring and then screw on the 830nm filter with the other
Infrared rays are shorter that normal light rays - so your focusing will be shortened - one of my lenses has an infinity focus of just beyond 15' - I back the focusing to just inside 15' (I have marked the lenses for reference) -there are currently only three lenses on the market that do not require the shortening of the focus (2 Nikon and 1 Canon)
ISO starting point is 400
Aperture f8
Shutter speed is 35 seconds - bright sun

They have agreed to let me exchange for the I-Ray 690 which needs only a 2-3 second exposure. I don't have it yet but we will see if it works.

Obviously this is inferior to having the camera converted but buying a second GFX-50R for conversion is out of the question.
 

alajuela

Member
Life is short - unless you have a converted camera and live view - you are really wasting your time and money - even on a tripod (due to wind and any other vibration).

If you want to make a commitment to IR and only have one camera - get a full spectrum conversion from Kolari and get a hot mirror filter from them (Kolari and Max Max filters are don't leak light like B+W 486 filters do). With the hot mirror your camera is back to "normal". Kolari also has a list on their web site of lenses that are problematic - have hot spots.
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
Life is short - unless you have a converted camera and live view - you are really wasting your time and money - even on a tripod (due to wind and any other vibration).

If you want to make a commitment to IR and only have one camera - get a full spectrum conversion from Kolari and get a hot mirror filter from them (Kolari and Max Max filters are don't leak light like B+W 486 filters do). With the hot mirror your camera is back to "normal". Kolari also has a list on their web site of lenses that are problematic - have hot spots.
Are you making a huge amount of your income with IR photography? A dedicated camera for IR was never warranted by my paying photography work.

G
 

alajuela

Member
Are you making a huge amount of your income with IR photography? A dedicated camera for IR was never warranted by my paying photography work.

G
I understand that, and appreciate it. That is why a full spectrum and hot mirror filter will give the best of both worlds, and the best quality. I do think if it was easier to get sharp results, then people would experiment more.

It can also be a "second" camera, an old one as long as it has live view. I am not suggesting one needs to go out and buy a second camera, but some people have more than one and with the Hot Mirror filter, you are not compromising the ability of the "second" camera to maintain its visible light capabilities. Yes you are right - there is the cost of conversion.

It can even be a point and shoot.
 

Shashin

Well-known member
I do think if it was easier to get sharp results, then people would experiment more.
Hand held using an unconverted camera and IR filter:



I actually think long exposures not only result in sharp images, but the object motion is great to work with.





But motion does not have to be that noticable.





Sharpness is simply not a problem with using a stock camera and filter. Perhaps you don't like motion blur in objects, but that is a problem in regular landscape photography when maximizing DoF and minimizing ISO. Sure, if you want to maximize technical quality, a converted camera is best, but much can be done without a converted camera (see above).

And one of the appeals of IR photography is not its sharpness, but its aesthetic qualities of a lack of detail and and the tonal distribution (IR will never give the detail found in light photography).
 
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