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#1 Andrea B.

Andrea B.

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 07:44

The Infrared Sticky 2014
by Andrea G. Blum for Nikongear.com

Last Update: 01 March 2014

Note from Editor:
This is a joint effort by the members of Nikongear who hang out in the Invisible Spectrum section. Thanks to everyone for their suggestions, comments, proofreading, lists, links, measurements, experiments and all round good fellowship.

Please PM <annedi> on Nikongear with any corrections, additions or suggestions.

Abbreviations:

  • IR = infrared
  • UV = ultraviolet
  • UVIR = ultraviolet and/or infrared
  • <screen-name> = Nikongear member's screen name

 

*******************************************************************

INTRODUCTION
Our purpose for this IR Sticky is to collect some useful information about IR-capable cameras & lenses, filters, IR-lighting and camera modifications. We present it in the form of lists and links so that it can serve both as a guide for beginners and as a useful reference for more experienced users. The IR Sticky is not meant to be exhaustive, but if you think we have left something important out, please do contact the Editor.

While we do have a home on Nikongear, all IR shooters are welcome here regardless of camera brand!

INFRARED PHOTOGRAPHY
What do you need to make a reflected Infrared photograph ?

  • IR-Capable Camera: IR light must be able to reach an IR-sensitive sensor.
  • IR-Capable Lens: IR light must be able to pass through the lens elements.
  • IR-Pass Filter: Visible & Ultraviolet wavelengths must be blocked.
  • IR Light: Sunlight or artificial source.

For Infrared photography, please keep in mind that you will be using your camera and lens gear outside the Visible range for which it was designed. So there can be some complications when shooting IR.

Taking this from the top....

The Camera

IR-sensitivity of digital camera sensors is best discussed on a per-camera basis. Actual measurements of a sensor's IR sensitivity are not made available by camera manufacturers. So our knowledge here is gained the hard way - we mod a camera, shoot with it and list it in the IR Sticky if it works well for IR.

 

As of 2013, I think we can safely say that almost all digital DSLRs, Mirrorless and Compact cameras are IR-capable with modification.


See the IR Cameras section for a list of IR-capable cameras used by NG members.

Most digital cameras have an internal filter that blocks UVIR to varying degrees. In the newest cameras this UVIR-block filter is very strong and must be removed to enable IR photography. Newer cameras also may have a sensor-covering dust shaker mechanism which contains UVIR blocking glass, so this type of dust shaker must be permanently removed during the modification. Some older cameras had weak internal filters and could shoot UVIR without modification - the Nikon D70 being the classic example. A few brave souls modify their camera themselves, but most of us send the camera to a retail modification shop.

During IR modification the internal filter is typically replaced by an IR-pass filter glass or a clear full-spectrum glass of the same thickness. This is done to protect the underlying, fused Bayer filter & sensor layers and to ensure the correct register distance is maintained for focusing. (Additional internal focusing adjustments might be needed.) Modifying the camera with an internal IR-pass filter permits you to use the viewfinder for framing and focusing. Choosing instead an internal clear glass instead permits the camera to be used with any wavelength of external IR-pass filter, but you probably can no longer use the viewfinder depending on how dark red the filter is.

See the Camera Modification section for some links to retail modification shops and DIY articles.

The Lens

There's no predicting whether a given lens is IR-capable. Some lens coatings can block IR. Many lenses have a reflection problem in IR called 'hotspot'. However, there are a large number of ordinary lenses which are IR-capable even though most all of them will have a chromatic aberration problem called 'focus shift' which must be dealt with. Fortunately, some of Nikongear's extremely experienced IR shooters have provided us with an extensive list of IR-capable lenses that are hotspot free.

See the IR Lenses section for more info on IR-capable lenses, hotspot and focus shift.

The Filter

There are a wide variety of IR longpass filters and glass available. If you choose a shorter wavelength internal IR-pass filter (675 for example), then you can always use a longer external IR-pass filter (830nm for example) on the lens. But if your internal IR-pass filter is at 830nm, for example, then you can never shoot below that. We have lists of external filters below as well as some references to the glass from which they are made. This should help you choose a modification wavelength or a good external filter.

Please see the separate The UVIR Filters Sticky: 2014 for extensive filter information.

The Light

Most Infrared photography is done in the near Infrared band from about 700-1000nm. So sunlight is your friend when shooting IR outdoors. Indoors, you might want to use regular flash which produces plenty of IR or an IR-LED hotshoe attachment.

See the IR Lighting section for more information.

IR LINKS

Please let us know of any interesting links you find.

IR Photography Links
To read and learn more about Infrared light and Infrared photography, visit these interesting websites and articles. Many of them have links to other IR info.

 

First the basics from the digital reference standard - Wikipedia. And a link to some cool IR history.

Now the links.

 

IR CAMERAS

Repeat: As of 2013, I think we can safely say that almost all digital DSLRs, Mirrorless and Compact cameras are IR-capable with modification.

However, because we are on Nikongear, our emphasis is on Nikon cameras of course.

Nikon or Nikon F-Mount with CCD Sensor
The older DSLRs listed here have CCD sensors and are good candidates for IR shooting. Some of them are IR-capable (or UV-capable) without modification and make good DSLRs for UVIR beginners who would like to get started with minimal expense. With an unmodified DSLR, exposures will be longer & noisier and using the viewfinder is not possible. The listed cameras are no longer manufactured, but can be found as resales in the used section of online retailers, in Nikongear's Classified Ads section, or on Ebay or Amazon.

Note:  Although almost every unmodified camera can record some IR if you give it a long enough exposure, any camera will perform better in IR if its internal blocking filter is removed.

 

These lists represent a consensus of opinion from users of these cameras who have provided their observations in Nikongear threads.

Nikon DSLRs:

  • Usable unmodified: D1, D1H, D1X, D100, D2H, D50, D60, D80.
  • Usable unmodifed, but better if modded: D2HS.
  • Good unmodified: D70, D70S, D40.
  • Must be modified:  D40x, D200

Fujifilm Finepix:

  • Must be modified: S3 Pro, S5 Pro
  • Pre-modified by Fuji: S3 Pro-UVIR, IS PRO. Both no longer manufactured, but available used.

Kodak:

When we first started the Stickies, we listed these cams as having UVIR potential, but I don't know if they can be found anymore.

  • DCS 520, 560
  • DCS 620, 620X, 660
  • DCS 720X, 760C

Nikon or Nikon F-Mount with CMOS Sensor
The newer DSLRs having CMOS sensors must be converted to use them for IR photography because manufacturers have increased the strength of the internal UVIR blocking filters. Newer Nikon DSLRs may have a dust shaker mechanism covering the sensor which contains UVIR blocking glass, so this type of dust shaker must be permanently removed during the modification.

 

If you choose an internal IR filter for your conversion, you will have both the Viewfinder and Live View available for focusing. If you have decided on a full spectrum conversion in order to be able to make use of different external IR filters, then in sufficient light you can use Live View to focus your IR shots. That's quite nice!

 

Modified Nikon CMOS cameras which have been successfully used by Nikongear members for IR.

If your camera is not listed here, please contact the Sticky editor.

  • D2X, D90, D300, D300S, D3100, D5100, D7000, D600.
     

Warning: Do not convert these Nikon DSLRs: D700, D3, D3S, D3X, D4.
These Nikon DSLRs have an IR-LED self-diagnostic shutter monitor which can produce IR contamination of photos. The excess IR light from the shutter monitor will show up as a lighter area of flare, smear and discolouration in a photo.  An exposure with low ISO and short speed might mitigate the IR contamination, but many shooting scenarios do not allow this. Because we do not know the wavelemgth of the IR-LED, we cannot offer any advice about which IR-pass filter might permit a workable conversion.

 

You can see the IR shutter monitor for the D3S on this Nikon Flagship Reliability page. Scroll down to Shutter Unit section.

Note that newer Nikon DSLRs having a shutter monitor - D7000/D7100, D600, D800/E - are convertible. Apparently their shutter monitor is of such a design that it causes no IR contamination.

 

CAMERA MODIFICATION
Nikongear is not affiliated with any online retail camera UVIR conversion shops or any DIY conversion site. Links are provided here *for your information only*. Please post a question or do a search in the Invisible Spectrum section to find out NG members' most recent experiences with conversions. Keep in mind that when you modify a DSLR, you are voiding the original warranty.

 

If a retail conversion shop is not mentioned here, then it is because we have no positive feedback about it.

Reminder:  Do not convert Nikon a D700, D3, D3S, D3X, D4. See above.

Reminder: Note: As noted previously, any dust shaker mechanism placed over the sensor which contains UVIR blocking glass will be permanently removed during a modification.


Retail Modification Shops: USA

 

Kolari Vision
Kolari Vision offers IR and full spectrum mods and other services.

  • In addition to complete conversion services, Kolari offers a partial DIY service: You remove your sensor pack and send it to them. They will install an IR filter in a clean room and return the sensor to you for your reinstallation in your camera.
  • Lots of info & tutorials. Filter transmission charts promised.
  • Kolari Vision warns about the unsuitability of the D700/D3/D3S/D3X/D4 for conversion.
    Link: http://kolarivision....ionservice.html

Life Pixel Digital Infrared Conversion

Life Pixel offers IR, UV and full spectrum mods.

  • Filter transmission charts available.
  • Life Pixel warns about the unsuitability of the D700/D3/D3S/D3X/D4 for conversion. Goto the LifePixel FAQ Page, click on the first Question (Which digital cameras do you modify....) and then scroll down to see the Warning by the *a token.

MaxMax (LDP LLC)
MaxMax offers IR and full spectrum mods.
They post no warnings about the unsuitability of D700/D3/D3S/D3X/D4 for conversion.

 

Retail Modification Shops: Europe

 

Advanced Camera Services Norfolk, England
ACS offers IR, UV and full spectrum mods.

  • No filter transmission charts offered.
  • They post no warnings about the unsuitability of D700/D3/D3S/D3X/D4 for conversion.

Optic Makario Germany. Auf Deustch.
Optic Makario offers IR, UV and full spectrum mods.

  • No fiter transmission charts offered.
  • They post no warnings about the unsuitability of D700/D3/D3S/D3X/D4 for conversion.

 

IR LENSES

 

Hotspots
A hotspot is a washed out, bright round area in the center of a photo which could be caused by one or more of the following:

  • IR reflection from the glass lens elements
  • IR-reflection from non-element lens parts
  • IR-reflection from metal filter mounts or step rings
  • IR-reflection off parts in the camera mirror chamber
  • Light leakage through the Viewfinder, body ports, lens windows.

Sometimes just the presence of an external filter will cause an IR hotspot. Hotspotting may even vary by sample across a particular lens type. It certainly can vary by aperature, so be sure to test your lens for IR hotspotting at all apertures to learn its acceptable range for hotspot-free photos. Shooting directly at a light source can induce both hotspotting and other circular flare, but the hotspotting will occur even when shooting away from the light source.

 

Check for IR-reflective internal or external materials in your lens, filter mounts and step rings by IR-photographing them. If you suspect that a focus distance window on the side of lens is causing hotspots or flare because of light leak, simply tape it over. Experiment with closing the Viewfinder after composition - sometimes light can leak through it and ruin an IR or UV shot.

IR Focus Shift
Focus shift between the Visible & Infrared wavebands in a lens is a form of axial chromatic aberration that occurs because shorter, higher frequency Visible lightwaves refract more in typical optical glass than do longer, lower frequency Infrared lightwaves.

 

Such wavelength-induced focus shift is a topic of particular interest in IR photography when using an external filter and a camera that has no Live View. First you must focus the lens in Visible light before mounting the dark IR-pass filter. After mounting the filter you might have to adjust your initial focus if the lens has not been designed to bring the IR rays to the Visible plane of convergence. With a bit of trial and error you should be able to determine the proper correction and note it for future reference.

IR focus shift is less of a worry with an internal IR filter because during conversion the auto-focus can be adjusted a bit to compensate for IR for most lenses at most apertures. Focus shift is not problem at all when using LIve View.

  • Chromatic Aberration
    • Axial/Longitudinal CA: Different wavelengths (colours) focus at different distances from the lens because the lens refractive index varies along the optical axis by wavelength (dispersion). Axial CA causes colour fringing at bright/dark boundaries in the photo and may be reduced by stopping down.
      |
    • Transverse/Lateral CA: Different wavelengths (colours) focus at different positions on the focal plane radially from the center because the lens magnification varies perpendicularly to the optical axis by wavelength (dispersion). Transverse CA causes problems outside the center of the photo and is not reduced by stopping down.
  • Spherical Aberration
    An optical distortion caused by increased refraction of light towards the edge of a lens.
     
  • Achromatic Lens
  • Apochromatic Lens
  • Superachromatic Lens

 

Diffraction
In photography, diffraction is the spread of light waves caused by their passage through a lens aperture. The narrower the aperture, the more the diffraction. In UVIR photography, a key fact to note is that longer IR wavelengths spread more at a given aperture than shorter Visible or UV wavelengths. Thus IR shots are more prone to the effects of diffraction and UV shots less so.

So, for example, if you make a Visible light photo with a sensor & lens combo that begins to show diffraction blur past f/8, then you will have to open up your lens to f/5.6 (or larger) to shoot a reasonably sharp IR version of the same photo. On the UV side, you could stop down to f/11 (or smaller) and still stay sharp. The rule of thumb is that there is approximately a 1-2 stop aperture variation around the diffraction limit of a given sensor & lens combo.

When diffraction is recorded by a digital sensor, it shows up as a loss of sharpness in an image.

About the IR Lens List
For a lens to be on the IR Sticky Lens List, it must have at least one Nikongear member who has either used it or tested it to confirm that the lens is IR-capable in some portion of the IR bandwidth. Our lists are by no means exhaustive, so please experiment and let us know of your discoveries.

Please Note:

  • IR-Capability ?
    The amount of IR-capability of the lenses on this list varies.
    We have tried to list some lenses that do not show hotspotting in IR
    or have only minor hotspotting at certain apertures or magnifications.
    Investigate before purchase!
  • F-Mount ?
    A few lenses on this list may not have Nikon F-mounts.
    Modification of the lens mount and the use of focusing helicoids and/or bellows
    may be necessary for use on a Nikon camera body.
    Investigate before purchase!
  • IR-Focus Shift?
    Most of the lenses listed below experience some degree of the IR-Visible focus shift discussed below.
    Lenses without such focus shift are noted.
    Investigate before purchase!

Contributors to the IR Lens List

  • annedi = Andrea Blum
  • anon = Anonymous
  • brianc1959 = Brian Caldwell
  • Danijel = Danijel Vrgoc
  • Erik Lund = Erik Lund
  • easeavey7 = Eric Seavey
  • kds315 = Klaus Schmitt
  • nfoto = Bjørn Rørslett
  • oojala = Oskar Ojala
  • scottnilsson = Scott Nilsson
  • shane = Shane Elen

Lens info for each brand includes: Focal Length & Speed, Description, User/Mount/Filter and Remarks, if any.

 

UV/IR Lenses:  with No UV-Vis-IR Focus Shift
These lenses have no focus shift between UV, Visible or IR wavelengths.


Asahi Pentax

  • 85mm f4.5 Ultra Achromatic Takumar. /kds315/M42/49mm
    No longer manufactured.

Coastal Optics

MegaVision

IR Lenses:  Nikon Zoom Auto-Focus

  • 10-24mm f3.5-4.5G AF-S DX. /nfoto/F/
  • 14-24mm f2.8G AF-S. /anon/F/
  • 16-85mm f3.5-5.6G AF-S DX VR. /nfoto/F/
  • 17-35mm f2.8D AF-S. /nfoto/F/
  • 18-55mm f3.5-5.6GII AF-S non-VR. /nfoto/F/
    Best used on a modified camera because it is easily upset
    when adding a front IR filter after a pre-focus.
  • 18-105mm f3.5-5.6G AF-S DX VR. /nfoto, annedi/F/
  • 18-200mm f3.5-5.6G AF-S DX VR. /nfoto/F/
  • 20-35mm f2.8D AF. /Erik Lund/F/
  • 24-70mm f2.8G AF-S. /nfoto/F/
  • 28-300mm f3.5-5.6G AF-S VR. /nfoto/F/
  • 35-70mm f2.8D AF. /nfoto/F/
  • 70-180mm f4.5-5.6D AF Micro-Nikkor. /nfoto/F/
  • 70-300mm f4.5-5.6G AF-S VR. /nfoto/F/ Best with 89B or R-72 filter.
  • 200-400mm f4.0G AF-S VR. /nfoto/F/

IR Lenses:  Nikon Zoom Manual Focus

  • 25-50mm f4.0 AI & AI-S. /nfoto/F/ Hotspot only if facing main light source.
  • 28-45mm f4.5 AI. /nfoto/F/ Set up shots carefully to avoid picking up ghosts & flare.
  • 35-70mm f3.5 AI-S. /nfoto/F/ Both 62mm and 72mm filter thread OK.
  • 36-72mm f3.5 Series E. /nfoto/F/
  • 43-86mm f3.5 AI. /nfoto/F/ Models having serial numbers > 774xxx.
  • 75-150mm f3.5 Series E. /nfoto/F/
  • 180-600mm f/8.0 ED. /nfoto/F/ Negligible or no focus shift.
  • 200-600mm f9.5 AI-S. /nfoto/F/

IR Lenses:  Nikon Prime Auto-Focus

  • 10.5mm f2.8G AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor. nfoto/F/
  • 14mm f2.8D AF. /nfoto/F/
  • 18mm f2.8D AF. /Eric Lund/F/
  • 20mm f2.8D AF. /nfoto/
  • 50mm f1.8D AF. /nfoto/F/ See Bjørn Rørslett's caveats.
  • 80mm f2.8 AF. /nfoto/F/
  • 85mm f1.4D AF. /nfoto/F/
  • 85mm f1.8D AF. /oojala/F/
  • 85mm f3.5G AF-S DX. Micro-Nikkor. /nfoto/F/
  • 105mm f2.8G AF-S VR. Micro-Nikkor. /nfoto/F/
  • 200mm f2.0G AF-S VR. /nfoto/F/
  • 300mm f2.8D AF-S. /nfoto/F/
  • 300mm f4.0D AF-S. /nfoto/F/
  • 600mm f4.0D AF-S II. /Danijel/F/
  • 600mm f4.0D AF-S VR. /Danijel/F/
  • 1200mm f/11 ED-IF. /nfoto/F/ Negligible or no focus shift.

IR Lenses:  Nikon Prime Manual Focus

  • 15mm f5.6 QD.C pre-AI. /nfoto/F/ Corner fall-off.
  • 20mm f2.8 AI-S. /nfoto, anon/F/
  • 20mm f3.5 AI-S. 52mm & 72 filter thread. /nfoto, anon/F/
  • 20mm f4.0 AI. /nfoto/F/ See B. Rørslett's caveats.
  • 24mm f/3.5 PC-E
  • 28mm f2.0 AI. /nfoto/F/ See B. Rørslett's caveats. AI-S version not recc.
  • 28mm f3.5 AI. /oojala/F/
  • 28mm f3.5 K. /nfoto, anon/F/ Non-K versions also good, but K is superior.
  • 35mm f2.0 O pre-AI, AI & AI-S. /nfoto/F/
  • 35mm f2.0 AI-S. /nfoto/F/
  • 45mm f2.8 GN. /nfoto/F/
  • 45mm f2.8 AI-P. /nfoto, annedi/F/
  • 50mm f1.2 AI. /nfoto/F/
  • 50mm f1.8 AI-S. /nfoto, Fenwoodian/F/
  • 50mm f2.0 pre-AI & AI. /nfoto/F/
  • 50mm f2.8 EL-Nikkor. /nfoto/M39/40.5mm
  • 55mm f3.5 AI. /Shane/F/
  • 58mm f1.2 AI Noct-Nikkor. /nfoto/F/
  • 63mm f3.5 EL-Nikkor. /Danijel/M39/40.5mm
  • 85mm f2.8D PC Micro-Nikkor. /nfoto/F/
  • 85mm f1.4 AI-S. /nfoto/F/
  • 85mm f2.0 AI & AI-S. /nfoto/F/
  • 105mm f1.8 AI-S. /nfoto/F/
  • 105mm f2.5 AI. /nfoto/F/
  • 105mm f2.5 P.C Gauss Type. /nfoto/F/
  • 105mm f4.0 Bellows-Nikkor. /nfoto/F/ Focusing only possible with bellows.
  • 105mm f4.0 Micro-Nikkor. /nfoto/F/
  • 135mm f2.8 Q pre-AI. /nfoto/F/
  • 135mm f3.5 AI-S. /nfoto/F/?/ Sharp, just a small focus shift, no hot spots.
  • 200mm f2.0 AI & AI-S. /nfoto/F/
  • 200mm f4.0 AI-S Micro-Nikkor. /nfoto/F/
  • 200mm f4.0 Q pre-AI & AI-modified. /nfoto/F/
  • 300mm f4.5 AI-S ED-IF. /nfoto/F/ See B. Rørslett's caveats. Non-IF version not reccommended.
  • 400mm f3.5 AI & AI-S. /nfoto/F/
  • 400mm f5.6 AIS. /FenwoodianF/
  • 500mm f4.0 P AI-P & AI-S. /nfoto/F/

IR Lenses:  Non-Nikon F-mount

Asahi Pentax

  • 300mm f5.6 Ultra Achromatic Takumar. /kds315/M42
    Designed for Vis-IR, but also transmits UV with focus shift.

Carl Zeiss

  • 25mm f2.8 Distagon T* ZF-IR. /nfoto/F/ IR-dedicated.
  • 50mm f1.4 Planar T* ZF-IR. /Shane/F/ IR-dedicated.
  • 85mm f1.8 Planar T* ZF-IR. /nfoto/F/ IR-dedicated.

Cosina Voigtländer

  • 20mm f3.5 SL II or SL II N /Fenwoodian/F/
  • 180mm f4.0 APO-Lanthar. /nfoto/F/

Kiron

  • 105mm f2.5 Macro. /RKPhotog/F/

Samyang

  • 85mm f1.4 Aspherical IF. /nfoto/F/

Sigma

  • 105mm f2.8 EX DG Macro. /easeavey7/F/
  • 18-50mm f3.5-5.6 DC. /easeavey7/F/
  • 300mm f4.0 Apo-Macro /RKPhotog/F/ Focus shift compensation tricky because of short focus throw.

Tamron

  • 90mm f2.8 Di 1:1 Macro SP AF. /nfoto, RKPhotog/F/ MF version hotspots @f8.

 

IR Lenses:  Hotspotters
Please remember: Hotspots in IR may not be caused just by the lens alone, but by the combination of camera + lens + filter + light conditions. So the inclusion of a lens in this list does not automatically mean that it is useless for IR - only that some Nikongear member has rejected it for their IR photography. You may find that a lens listed here works well for you, or not. This list is by no means exhaustive. Remarks are basically as reported.

Nikon

  • 10.5mm f? D Fisheye AF Hotspots on converted D2X. OK on some cameras.
  • 24-70 f2.8G AFS Sometimes works wonders in IR; sometimes it fails badly.
    Check for light leak through focus distance window.
  • 24mm f1.4G AFS Guaranteed IR hot-spotter.
  • 28-85mm f3.5-4.5 AF At f16.
  • 35mm f1.4G AFS Hotspots badly in IR.
  • 35mm f1.4 AIS Hotspots on converted D2X, especially with filters.
  • 35mm f1.8 Strong hotspot.
  • 35mm f? Series E Faint hotspot @f16 infinity.
  • 60mm f2.8G AFS Micro-Nikkor Huge hotspot problem in IR.
  • 50mm f? Series E
  • 55mm f3.5P Micro-Nikkor Produces a hotspot. Later versions do not.
  • 70-210mm f4.0 AF At f11 or smaller at some focal lengths.

Sigma

  • 35mm f/1.4 Art Strong central hotspot.

 

Tamron

  • 17-35mm f2.8-4.0 Slight hotspot, but still usable.
  • 90mm f? MF Had hotspots on both my Fuji & Nikon cameras.

Tokina

  • 12-24mm f4 If you like hotspots, this Tokina is very good at that!

 

IR LENS LINKS

  • Nikon Lens Specifications
    Although not about UVIR, this excellent set of specs by NG member Roland Vink <rvink> covers all Nikon lenses.

 

IR LIGHTING
The typical on-board flash or hotshoe flash will provide enough IR light for most IR photography.
Here are a few links to other IR lighting options.


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