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12-27-2011, 01:32 AM   #1
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Infrared Photography & Pentax

Hey there guys. I am not sure how many of us here have shot with film, much less infrared film, but this style of photography seems to be pretty much dead. There are folks who have digital filters to imitate the effect, or folks who mod their cameras extensively and to great risk. A few novelty items have shown up on the market too.

But wouldn't it be wild if an actual camera company took up the banner and truly fostered digital infrared photography as a viable platform. Ever since Kodak killed their infrared lineup, this spectrum of light has been nearly untouched by typical photographers. A remixed sensor that filters out visible light and absorbs infrared in an existing body, like the K-r would make for a very interesting experiment, indeed. Sigma and Fuji both have some sparse and discontinued offerings.

While making sure the camera isn't used to see through certain fabrics (read: Mischief), would it not be exciting to have a Pentax IR DSLR?

12-27-2011, 01:38 AM   #2
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The digital sensor is already sensitive to IR and UV light so you can already do both kind of photography.
Sadly there is a filter infront of the sensor that blocks this kind of light but it can be removed by specialist.
12-27-2011, 02:23 AM   #3
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You frequently see IR-modified bodies on the marketplace; all you need to do then is put an IR filter on the lens and you'll be good to go If you want real thermal imaging, there are also night vision goggles and binoculars out there.

One cool thing I did with IR film once was take a picture of a warmed-up lamp after turning it off. You could still see all the bumbs clearly through the shade!
12-27-2011, 10:41 PM   #4
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I know that the filter is there to eliminate IR light to the sensor. I just thinking what sort of market there is for it as there is very little actual first party support. It sure would pique people's interests if a camera company just came out and said "Yeah, you know our highly acclaimed entry level camera? Well, we remixed it and have a limited edition IR version for preorder." I think it would raise plenty of eye brows, particularly if they went into it more than just scratched the surface, which is what removing that filter does- scratch the surface on a type of photography.

12-27-2011, 11:38 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kryscendo Quote
I know that the filter is there to eliminate IR light to the sensor. I just thinking what sort of market there is for it as there is very little actual first party support. It sure would pique people's interests if a camera company just came out and said "Yeah, you know our highly acclaimed entry level camera? Well, we remixed it and have a limited edition IR version for preorder." I think it would raise plenty of eye brows, particularly if they went into it more than just scratched the surface, which is what removing that filter does- scratch the surface on a type of photography.
Sigma has a removable IR cut filter for their cameras.

It's a very niche feature. The people who want to use it full time will mod their camera (and it is very rarely their primary camera).

Those of us who only do it part of the time, can use an IR filter. Different cameras have different strength IR cut filters. The K100DS has a relatively weak filter compared to the K10D and K20D among others.

Fuji offered a version of their S series cameras with no IR or UV filter on the sensor that was targeted to forensic work, and it was a very low volume item.

Once you start marketing an IR camera, you need to start testing and designing lenses for IR that don't have defects in that range. When you start doing that, you start cannibalizing your primary lens lines which actually make money for the company.
12-28-2011, 07:08 AM   #6
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The Pentax cameras that used the 6mp sensor (all IST series upto the K100d) have a particularly weak IR filter - it is possible to take photos with a Hoya IR screw on filter with these cameras at handheld speeds (typically about 1/30th) - since these cameras are relatively cheap now at mostly under $150 they are worth the experiment!

Here is an example, taken near Mont Tremblant in Quebec this past September with the *ist DS, ISO 400, 1/50th, F3.5 (taken w/the 21mm limited). Nothing special, but it is a viable option.

12-28-2011, 07:29 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by alohadave Quote
Sigma has a removable IR cut filter for their cameras.
The old Sony DSC-F717 has a switch for "night framing" and "night shooting" that basically lifts the IR filter and you get an IR black-and-white image. It even has IR LEDs to illuminate the scene. It is only 5 MP and records JPG or TIFF but the Zeiss lens helps a lot.

It is fun to use it in daytime and shoot both color and IR version of the scene (on a tripod of course) and then rearrange the RGB channels for false color infrared images just like the ones from satellites where all healthy vegetation is various shades of red.
12-28-2011, 09:35 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by demp10 Quote
The old Sony DSC-F717 has a switch for "night framing" and "night shooting" that basically lifts the IR filter and you get an IR black-and-white image. It even has IR LEDs to illuminate the scene. It is only 5 MP and records JPG or TIFF but the Zeiss lens helps a lot.
Sony had a series of 'Nightshot' cameras, both still and video. My favorite P&S is one such, the former top-of-the-line 5mpx DSC-V1. I'm on my third, having worn out (ie broken) the first two. I have IR-pass filters of 780-900-930-1000nm. With Nightshot on in daylight, I can shoot handheld with the 930nm filter. I can otherwise stack B&W filters for other types of spectrum-slicing.

Sony was accused of selling Nightshot so that pervs could "shoot through clothing" and we see some IR-pass glass marketed as XRAY FILTERS! Oy. So Sony crippled Nightshot by limiting manual controls and giving images a sniperscope-green cast. This cast can be removed in PP; resultant colors are very ethereal and pastel, quite nifty. And yes, the Zeiss optics are phenomenal.

QuoteQuote:
It is fun to use it in daytime and shoot both color and IR version of the scene (on a tripod of course) and then rearrange the RGB channels for false color infrared images just like the ones from satellites where all healthy vegetation is various shades of red.
Hmmm, I hadn't thought of that. Thanks!

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