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Infrared the Easy Way - part 1 of 1

Published 01/04/2009

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Once upon a time infrared film shooting was really quite difficult and certainly unpredictable. Some films were so sensitive that they could not even be used in SLRs with cloth rather than titanium metal shutter blades. Most film had to be cold-stored on short aim dates and required loading into the camera in total darkness (sometimes before you set out, because even a cloth change-bag was too transparent to infrared rays.

They also often required the use of opaque filters so you could not see through the camera at the moment of taking the image. Sensitivity was low, and long exposures and tripods were the order of the day. At the really fancy end you could buy solid germanium lenses at eyewatering cost, but these were really the preserve of the CIA and their chums!

Things have changed dramatically with the arrival of digital imaging. At a simple level, Photoshop can do a half-decent job of mimicking the effect you get with infrared, but the real enthusiasts go for an infrared-modified camera. A normal D-SLR is set up with a narrow pass filter which cuts out the infrared portion of the spectrum and performs a fine balancing act between losing some of the visible reds and having too much.

ACS, of Norfolk hit on the idea of providing as service to modify your (often older) D-DLR for use in infrared shooting. For around £200 (it depends upon the model of the camera), ACS strip your camera down, detach the cut-off filter and replace it with an infrared glass that's the equivalent of the old-fashioned R72 filter.

This has a cut-off at 720nm wavelength. At the same time ACS also adjust the sensor position so the focus plane is shifted to correct for the infrared wavelength. They also, at the same time, clean and service your camera and make exposure meter and shutter speed checks and adjustments. The camera is then returned to you with a six-month guarantee.

Overall the concept is excellent. Many people have redundant D-SLRs which have been superseded by higher pixel count, lower noise developments making the value ofthe old camera rather low. What better than to give it a new lease of life as a dedicated, always-ready infrared camera which even gives you an instant playback of your image - so much better than condemning it to a sale on eBay! We sent Paul Gallagher off with an ACS-modified Nikon D100 and he tried it on some landscapes.


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1st Published 01/04/2009
last update 18/07/2022 16:31:45

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