Infra Red and Full Spectrum Camera Conversions

Converted Cameras and Bespoke Camera Conversions

Sony Nex 6 Bw

590nm, 680nm,720nm or 850nm Internal Filter - Which is the Best Conversion?

There is no definitive answer, but which is best for you depends on your own specific requirements. If you are having a camera converted to IR with an internal filter, which wavelength to go for depends on whether you like the false colour effects, where foliage looks yellowy gold and skies look blue. This is not an effect that can be seen in the viewfinder or on the raw or jpg file. It is obtained by swapping the Red and Blue Channels in Photoshop, see the tutorials page for more details.

Sony Nex 6 h

The example shown on the left is a typical example of the "Goldie" look, certainly interesting, but some people love it and some hate it. You can only get that sort of result with a deep red filter, that allows some Visible Red as well as IR light through, something in the region of 565nm to 680nm filter, the photo on the left was taken with a 590nm converted Sony Nex 6. A 720nm filter, the most popular IR filter, would only have very muted colours even after swapping channels. With wavelengths longer than about 700nm, there is very little colour information, the R,G and B channels are all practically the same, so these are more suited to Black and White effects. The longer the wavelength of filter though the greater the contrast between blue skies and foliage, so a more dramatic Black and White effect is obtained with something like 850nm filter, although exposures will have to be longer as these filters are blocking all visible light and quite a lot of Near Infra Red that the camera is sensitive to.

 

The simple answer is if you want to do Black and White only, then go for the 720nm or 850nm, if you want to keep the option to do False Colour then go for a 590nm or 680nm. The 590nm and 680nm conversions can do Black and White, with very slightly less contrast as they stand.

If you have a 590nm conversion, for example, you can always add an external R72 IR filter to the lens to get the same effect as an internal 720nm conversion, with very slightly longer exposures, approx 1 stop at most. Likewise if you have a 720nm conversion you can add an 850nm filter to the lens to get slightly more contrast in landscapes, you cannot however put a 590nm or deep red filter on and get false colour effects. It won't work that way round as the internal 720nm filter will block any red light that the red lens filter is letting through!

Full Spectrum or Specific Internal Filter Conversion?

In Full Spectrum Conversions, the internal UV/IR Cut Filter is completely removed, whereas in a Specific Filter Conversion [ IR Conversion, normally ] the UV/Cut Filter is replaced by a filter that blocks most or all UV and Visible light, such as a 590nm or 720nm filter. In the Full Spectrum Conversion a similar filter has to be placed in front of the lens in use, such as a Deep Red or R72 Ir Filter. The results are the same if a similar filter is used, so what are the Pros and Cons of each type of conversion and each wavelength.

Full Spectrum

Conversion

Pros

Cons

Most Versatile as you can choose to shoot in UV, Visible or Infra Red by changing the filter on the lens.

 

Less glass in the camera's sensor stack, which means less Flare and less dust as there are two less surfaces, unless a Full Spectrum filter is installed, which is not necessary in most Sony mirrorless cameras.

 

The camera can still be used for normal photography by adding a UV/Cut filter to the lens.

You have to buy filters for each lens you use, this could mean several sizes and Wavelengths.

 

Can be fiddly swapping filters when using lenses for both Normal and IR Cameras.

 

Some lenses cannot accept front mounted filters, eg. some Fisheye lenses.

 

 

UV/Cut Filters are quite expensive and the cameras White Balance will never be quite the same as an unconverted camera.

590nm

Conversion

or R25a, R60, or Deep Red External Filters

Excellent for False Colour " Goldie"  and "Blue Sky" effects.

 

Very Good for Black and White

 

Can accept longer wavelength, eg. R72 Front Filter for better Black and White, then exactly as 720nm Conversion, except about 1 stop more exposure required.

 

False Colour work involves much more Post Processing in Photoshop. NB. You cannot swap channels in Photoshop Elements!!

 

Not quite as good for Black and White as longer wavelength filters, but very close!!

 

Very Slightly Softer than 720/850nm.

 

Lenses with Hot Spots, often show coloured area in middle of frame.

 

680nm

Conversion

As Above, but a bit more Contrasty for B&W landscapes, but a bit less colourful False Colour

720nm

Conversion

or R72 filter

Excellent for B&W, probably the best wavelength compromise for B&W between Contrast and Exposure.

 

Most lenses work well at 720nm, Hot Spots, mostly neutral colour.

False Colour Gold foliage and Blue Sky very weak

850nm

Conversion

Excellent for B&W, very dark skies and very light foliage.

No False Colour at all, hardly any difference between channels. Needs about 1-2 stops more exposure.

Some lenses look milky - eg. Loxia 21mm

False Colour not quite as good as 590nm

 

B&W Not quite as good as 720nm

Sony Nex 3N Web DSC09190BW web Sony Nex 6 850nm Conversion 16-50 Kit Lens BW2 DSC09190Gold web Sony Nex 6 Gold Sony Nex 6 Blue Sky

IR Conversion

See Below for Specific Filter Wavelenghts

Don't have to buy filters for all lenses to be used.

Don't need to swap filters

Camera is tied to whatever filter is installed

Can't use camera for any other light other than original filter choice.

Having Your Own Camera Converted to IR or Full Spectrum - From £115

 

If you have a spare old camera and want it converted to Full Spectrum or a Specific IR Filter conversion, find the appropriate camera conversion in the SHOP, select the return postage option and pay using PayPal, then post the camera to the address on the CONTACT page. I only need the camera body with a body cap, no batteries, lenses or accessories are required. Just for security, please email when the camera is on its way so I can inform you when it arrives. Most cameras are converted in a day or two, so can often be back the same week if Special Delivery is used for postage. Again I will email Tracking details when its on it's way back, the the registered PayPal address. - Please make sure your PayPal registered Postal Address and Email Address is current as these are what will be used unless otherwise arranged.

Clip In Filters for Sony and Canon Full Spectrum Cameras

 

Recently a couple of filter manufacturers have developed a new style of filter that clip into the lens mount of certain cameras rather than screwing to the front of the lens. They are only available for the Sony A7/A9 series of full frame cameras and the Canon EOS M and M3 from STC and Astronomik. NOW ALSO AVAILABLE FOR SONY a5000, a6000, a5100 and a6300 !! They are not exactly cheap, but may actually work out more economical than buying several filters of different sizes to cover a few lenses. They do offer several advantages over lens filters, the main one being convenience as you don't have to swap filters when changing lenses especially if using a normal camera at the same time. Astronomik do a range of specialist filters for Astrophotography of which the light pollution filters will be of most interest. STC do 590nm, 720nm and 850nm IR passing filters for general IR photography, which give Full Spectrum cameras all the flexibility advantages of Full Spectrum with the convenience of a specifc wavelength conversion. STC also do a Cilp In UV/IR Cut filter which unlike ones that go on the front of the lens do not suffer from colour shifts in the corners when used with wide angle lenses, I have used lenses down to 15mm with little or no corner colour shift. STC do a range of UV/IR Cut filters with cuts at 595nm to 625nm, I use a 615nm and find that the Auto White Balance works fine and is 99% of a normal camera. Because of the ease of use and simple changing of these clip in filters it allows, for the first time, the reality of just having one camera to do UV, Visible or IR without compromise, its a real game changer!!

DSC09690 DSC09687

The Photo on the Left above shows a Sony A7II full frame mount with sensor below, the photo on the Right shows the same camera with a STC 720nm Clip In Filter sitting just above the sensor and 2-3 mm below the level of the electronic lens contacts. No Sony NEX, FE or E Mount lens should ever protude into the mount past that little ridge below the electronic contacts, but some very specialised lenses via an adaptor may, so be very careful if using Biogon style lenses, if any of the lens protudes back past the mechanical parts of the lens mount!!