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12-19-2013, 10:22 AM   #1
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Anyone done IR photography with a K-5?

I am very keen on having my K-5 converted for infrared-only photography. This is done by replacing the glass filter in front of the sensor with a special filter that only allows the passage of light in the IR spectrum. The company that will do the conversion is MaxMax, but they have informed me that the K-5 may not be capable of creating a proper custom white balance, which is crucial for getting correct exposure.

So I am looking for K-5 owners who have had their cameras converted for IR. If there are any such people on this forum, I would like to know if custom WB has been a problem? Also, I would appreciate any other observations of tips.

Thanks,
Rob

12-19-2013, 10:54 AM   #2
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I really don't think this is a good idea. You are contemplating cannibalising an excellent camera just for IR, this conversion will be irreversible and costly.
How much does this cost, I suspect its over 200 dollars.


An alternative is to spend that 200 dollars on a different camera, im thinking out of the box here.


I recommend you buy a Sigma SD10, they cost around 200 dollars on ebay.


On the SD10, the IR filter is part of the user removable dust filter exposed when changing lenses. It takes 2 minutes to remove at zero cost, and 2 minutes to replace at zero cost. The camera can be used for IR photography one minute and normal photography the next, then converted back for IR again.
You get a second camera at less cost than the conversion of a k5 to IR and you can sell it later fully functioning for what you paid for it if you get tired of it.


This is as close to a zero cost flexible and reversible solution you are ever going to find.


Of course you would need to buy an IR filter to fit over the lens, and exposure calculation wont be easy but think of the money you could save.


I believe it makes sense, converting the SD10 to IR and back again is as easy as changing lenses on a DSLR and the manufacturer allowed this conversion without affecting the warranty, that's how easy it is.


N.B. dont buy the SD9 the IR filter isn't removable like it is in the SD10, only the SD10 and the more expensive SD14 have this option of easily removing and replacing the IR filter.
12-19-2013, 11:17 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Imageman Quote
I really don't think this is a good idea. You are contemplating cannibalising an excellent camera just for IR, this conversion will be irreversible and costly.
How much does this cost, I suspect its over 200 dollars.


An alternative is to spend that 200 dollars on a different camera, im thinking out of the box here.


I recommend you buy a Sigma SD10, they cost around 200 dollars on ebay.


On the SD10, the IR filter is part of the user removable dust filter exposed when changing lenses. It takes 2 minutes to remove at zero cost, and 2 minutes to replace at zero cost. The camera can be used for IR photography one minute and normal photography the next, then converted back for IR again.
You get a second camera at less cost than the conversion of a k5 to IR and you can sell it later fully functioning for what you paid for it if you get tired of it.


This is as close to a zero cost flexible and reversible solution you are ever going to find.


Of course you would need to buy an IR filter to fit over the lens, and exposure calculation wont be easy but think of the money you could save.


I believe it makes sense, converting the SD10 to IR and back again is as easy as changing lenses on a DSLR and the manufacturer allowed this conversion without affecting the warranty, that's how easy it is.


N.B. dont buy the SD9 the IR filter isn't removable like it is in the SD10, only the SD10 and the more expensive SD14 have this option of easily removing and replacing the IR filter.
Imageman,

Thanks for the response. The actual cost of converting a K-5 is $450. I am no longer using my K-5, having replaced it with a K-5II, so I am not concerned with irreversibly altering the camera.

Your suggestion regarding the Sigma SD10 is interesting, but using an external IR filter on a standard DSLR is a completely different experience than using a camera with an internal IR filter. This is because external filter does not transmit visible light, which results in the camera's viewfinder being blacked out. In contrast, an internal IR filter does not affect the VF image, because the filter is not in the path of the light passing from the lens to the eye. So, although external IR filters can be used, but they are very cumbersome, and determining proper exposure with them is a real challenge.

Rob
12-19-2013, 11:40 AM   #4
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Here's a thread about two users who had their K-01's IR-converted:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/138-pentax-k-01/236814-sending-my-k-01-ou...ion-today.html

That's your best option, IMO, since K-01's are cheap, and you'll need to use live view anyway. You'll also have far fewer issues with autofocus on a CDAF camera like the K-01, too.

@Imageman , you have a great point, but there's two issues: one, Sigma uses it's own SA-mount, so he'd need to invest in new lenses, or at least an M42 adapter. Plus, using manual-focus lenses would be problematic, because of the second issue: Sigma's DSLRs do not have live view, at all. Even their latest camera, the SD1 (which also has a removable IR filter), doesn't have that feature. You'd be shooting completely blind.

12-19-2013, 12:48 PM   #5
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Back in the day we would shoot IR stock, meter with a handheld meter or through the lens with IR filter removed and camera on the tripod.
Compose using the viewfinder and no IR filter, then adjust focus (IR focus is slightly off the visible light focus), adjust the exposure according to experience (IR was always guesswork as was most photography in those days)
Then on with the IR filter and crank the shutter wind on the film and expose.
You don't get live view with a film camera.
Part of the charm of photography in general and IR in particular was you never knew if you had it in the bag until it was processed.
And the skill of a photographer was getting the shot in the bag even though you guessed.
Press photographers with graflex press cameras in the 1950s, were allowed only 2 exposures and one had to be printable.
Im not suggesting going back to the days of guesswork but we were never shooting completely blind and im not suggesting that either.
Take a tip from an old guy that's done it before. - tripod. IR filter off. compose and meter. IR filter on. shoot. review. bracket.
It works
some of the gear ive used:-
periflex
zorki 4
Miranda F
Edixa Mat
canon AE1 program
canon F1
mamiya 645
graflex 5x4
MPP 5x4
Panasonic FZ30
canon 10d
Nikon d3100
photography is about experimenting shooting blind if you have to but shoot and keep shooting bracket and guess and have a ball
12-19-2013, 01:56 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by scratchpaddy Quote
Here's a thread about two users who had their K-01's IR-converted:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/138-pentax-k-01/236814-sending-my-k-01-ou...ion-today.html

That's your best option, IMO, since K-01's are cheap, and you'll need to use live view anyway. You'll also have far fewer issues with autofocus on a CDAF camera like the K-01, too.

@Imageman , you have a great point, but there's two issues: one, Sigma uses it's own SA-mount, so he'd need to invest in new lenses, or at least an M42 adapter. Plus, using manual-focus lenses would be problematic, because of the second issue: Sigma's DSLRs do not have live view, at all. Even their latest camera, the SD1 (which also has a removable IR filter), doesn't have that feature. You'd be shooting completely blind.
It's an interesting suggestion. I read that entire thread, and no one mentions custom WB, which I think is very important for getting proper IR exposure. Does the K-01 have a custom WB feature?

Rob
12-19-2013, 04:53 PM   #7
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@robgo2

Here are my few cents on the matter ! I should mention that I don't shoot with a K-5 ( or a converted camera for that matter ), but use a K100D Super with Hoya R72 filter on the lens.

In my experience WB will not affect exposure, but rather post-processing. I assume that you are going for the False Color look, and as such the WB plays a major role. A non-custom WB will most likely be very red and the Temp / Tint sliders in Lightroom ( which I use for RAW conversion ) probably won't give the look you are after. Hence the custom WB. But, you can also create a custom profile using the DNG Profile Editor. I use a custom WB with a custom profile and have lot more latitude when adjusting WB in post. Also, keep in mind that there is no right or wrong here - only what pleases you. I will often export several images ( with different WB ) for further editing ( I usally end up with about 6 copies for every image ! ).
Hope this makes some sense, any questions I'll be happy to try and answer.

Ken
12-19-2013, 05:24 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by KSmith Quote
@robgo2

Here are my few cents on the matter ! I should mention that I don't shoot with a K-5 ( or a converted camera for that matter ), but use a K100D Super with Hoya R72 filter on the lens.

In my experience WB will not affect exposure, but rather post-processing. I assume that you are going for the False Color look, and as such the WB plays a major role. A non-custom WB will most likely be very red and the Temp / Tint sliders in Lightroom ( which I use for RAW conversion ) probably won't give the look you are after. Hence the custom WB. But, you can also create a custom profile using the DNG Profile Editor. I use a custom WB with a custom profile and have lot more latitude when adjusting WB in post. Also, keep in mind that there is no right or wrong here - only what pleases you. I will often export several images ( with different WB ) for further editing ( I usally end up with about 6 copies for every image ! ).
Hope this makes some sense, any questions I'll be happy to try and answer.

Ken
Ken,

I have read Lloyd Chambers's (diglloyd) extensive tutorial on IR photography, and he is quite clear on the point of creating a custom WB, using a strongly IR reflecting subject, such as green grass or a tree as "neutral". The reason this is important is that with incorrect WB, the red channel is very likely to pushed far to the right of the green and blue channels, producing blown red highlights. This will show up on the camera's histogram as overexposure. With a proper custom WB, the three channels are more closely aligned, meaning that the histogram will more accurately represent true exposure. So it's not simply a matter of manipulating false colors. Mind you, I am merely paraphrasing Lloyd, not speaking from personal experience.

Rob

12-19-2013, 05:50 PM   #9
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Rob,

I will confess that I haven't conducted extensive testing on the matter, but looking at my own results I can say that it isn't quite so cut 'an dry. Going off the advice gleaned from the Web, I too pushed my exposures to the right ( with a custom WB ). However, I found that RAW conversion and then false color conversion would result in over exposure. Now I leave some wiggle room when exposing the shot. Again. I feel this is still a personal ( i.e.: creative ) choice. There is a lot of latitude in IR in my opinion.
I do maintain that a custom WB is best, but with a custom DNG profile you can still get a good WB even when you are not able to set a custom WB in camera. Does that make sense ?

Ken
12-19-2013, 06:17 PM   #10
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I think it is a lot better to convert a CDAF camera instead of a PDAF one...since IR focuses at a different distance than visible (in some cases, significantly different), the CDAF will always focus correctly without calibration.
12-19-2013, 06:32 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by robgo2 Quote
I have read Lloyd Chambers's (diglloyd) extensive tutorial on IR photography, and he is quite clear on the point of creating a custom WB, using a strongly IR reflecting subject, such as green grass or a tree as "neutral".
That shouldn't be a problem. If you wish to go ahead with the conversion of your K-5, you'll find the details of setting a custom WB (Pentax calls it a "Manual WB") on page 208 of the manual:

K-5 Manual

It's easy. Just select "Manual White Balance" from the WB menu, point the camera at something which should be white (in your case, grass, trees, etc.), and press the shutter. Done.

K-01 works the exact same way. Sigma's cameras are also pretty much the same.
12-20-2013, 12:32 PM   #12
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Upon further consideration, I think that the K-01 may be a better choice for IR conversion, mainly because of its superior Live View CDAF and its manual focus peaking. I will contact szabophotography about doing the job. His eBay ratings are stellar, which may mean something (or not).

Rob
12-20-2013, 10:30 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by HSV Quote
I think it is a lot better to convert a CDAF camera instead of a PDAF one...since IR focuses at a different distance than visible (in some cases, significantly different), the CDAF will always focus correctly without calibration.
Any reputable shop doing the conversion will properly adjust the AF system to focus IR light properly. I had my K10D converted to show 830nm IR. They calibrated the AF system to compensate and it shoots just fine.

Here's a few sample images...









EDIT: For the record, I am considering converting one of my K-5 bodies to IR to take the place of my trusty K10D

Last edited by HawaiianOnline; 12-20-2013 at 10:32 PM. Reason: Added more info
12-21-2013, 11:20 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by HawaiianOnline Quote
Any reputable shop doing the conversion will properly adjust the AF system to focus IR light properly. I had my K10D converted to show 830nm IR. They calibrated the AF system to compensate and it shoots just fine.











EDIT: For the record, I am considering converting one of my K-5 bodies to IR to take the place of my trusty K10D
Beautiful work.

According to diglloyd, accurate focusing of an IR camera is not a simple matter, and what people think is sharp often is not. One of the advantages of using a Live View CDAF camera is that no lens calibration is needed. Also, focus peaking makes the process even more precise. Another advantage is that the LV image shows what the IR filter is transmitting to the sensor. That makes it easier to visualize how a particular scene will look in IR and also may reveal some interesting IR pics that you might miss with visible light. I'm sure that it can be done well both ways, but I am going to give the K-01 a try. The camera and the conversion should cost me about $450, so the investment is not great.

Rob
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