Q and A: What do you think about Infrared conversion for DSLRs?


Question

Can you comment on Infrared conversion for a DSLR camera? I am now using the Nikon D700 but I have an old Nikon D70 and I’m thinking of having it converted. I love to shoot nature and I am looking for something new in the look of my images. Do you have an opinion about converting cameras for this purpose? P. Babcock

Answer

I do know a couple of photo enthusiasts who had their old EOS Digital Rebels converted for Infrared photography but have not done so myself. Do note that the warranty of any DSLR-of any brand-will be void if it is modified. And once a camera has been converted to “IR Only”, it cannot be used for conventional photography unless you’re willing pay for a re-conversion.

Aside from those caveats, it’s a great idea if you really want to shoot Infrared photos for creative or scientific purposes with a rarely-used camera. My enquiries indicate that Life Pixel is a competent conversion expert with competitive rates, about $325. (They can modify DSLRs as well as some cameras with built-in lenses.)

Life Pixel completes the conversion to “IR Only” by removing the camera’s hot mirror filter (in front of the sensor) and replacing it with an infrared or clear filter; a focus adjustment is also made. Afterwards, the camera will take Infrared photos without the need for a dark IR filter attached to the lens; hence, exposure times will be normal.

For additional specifics review LifePixel’s FAQ page. Anyone considering a modification should also read Michael Reichmann’s informative article Exploring the World of Infrared Photography
With a Modified Canon 20D
. You’ll note that Michael mentions another conversion service, LDP/MaxMax and you may want to check out their web site as well.

While conventional images are perfect for most purposes, an Infrared photo can be very dramatic as indicated in these sample images from LifePixel.com. Before considering a conversion to "IR Only", be sure to do some research to fully appreciate the pros and cons of the modification.

While conventional images are perfect for most purposes, an Infrared photo can be very dramatic as indicated in these sample images from LifePixel.com. Before considering a conversion to "IR Only", be sure to do some research to fully appreciate the pros and cons of the modification.



ir-converted-8_28





Comments

  1. J. Littlebear says:

    Excellent question and an excellent answer.

    I am a bit of an IR freak, myself. I had a Sony Alpha 200 modified in the manner mentioned in the answer, above. IMHO, it was a good move, on my part. The advantages of doing such a modification is well expressed in the answer. Also, I would strongly urge anyone interested in IR photography to visit the web sites mentioned, above, as well.

    Of course, one does not have to modify a camera in order to do IR. There are IR filters available on the open market. My only caveat would be to note that the “IR filter only” way will require extra long exposures and a sturdy tripod or some such steady camera mount. But I confidently predict that anyone trying IR will be totally pleased with the results, no matter what approach or methods they use.

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