My New Infrared Digital Camera

Ah, a new infrared digital camera arrived in the mail today. . . can't wait to get outside and start experimenting.

January 12, 2010

Six months ago, I really wasn't too aware of what was going on in the realm of digital infrared. By chance, a fellow professional photographer friend sent me an email with a few of his current photographs attached and a few of them turned out to be infrared.

I was in absolute awe of the look of some of his images - long winding paths through forests with a soft eerie glow that I just hadn't seen before. The images were somehow soft and mystical. I immediately emailed him back asking how he had achieved the images, initially expecting that he had somehow manipulated them in Photoshop or something similar.

Now, I was familiar with traditional film infrared and had always liked it, but there was just something different about this digital version. I was particularly captivated by the soft colors. This was such a contrast to the black and white film infrared. I could immediately picture scenes from my area captured this way.

When questioned, my friend email back and shared that he was shooting them with a digital infrared camera. His email opened up a whole new world of photography for me.

I immediately began researching infrared digital cameras and post processing techniques and found there were as many opinions as there were options.

First there was the question of using an external filter with a conventional digital camera or using a converted camera. Pretty early on the decision was made to go with a converted camera. I didn't like the idea of excessively long exposures and the need to always use a tripod . . . didn't fit my style of photography.

Then there was the decision to go with a point and shoot or a DSLR. And if I chose a DSLR, what lenses would be usable? The lists that explained lens compatibility were often in conflict with each other. I found that some of my favorite lenses were not likely candidates to be used for infrared.

So, I had gone from not planning on any camera purchases, to wanting to purchase a camera and maybe a lens or two. That simply was not in the budget. I looked into renting a DSLR for a week or two to see if I could even capture what I had in mind.

I eventually decided on purchasing a Canon G10, converted for infrared. The intention was to experiment for a while and then sell it and convert one of my existing DSLRs if I decided I liked working with the infrared.

After working with the G10 for a couple of months, the decision was made to convert one of my existing DSLRs. I absolutely loved working with the infrared photographs.

It did take a bit of time to make a decision about which one to convert. I had the choice of converting a Canon 20D or 5D and really agonized over the decision. After talking with a few other photographers and checking out their images, I finally decided to convert the 20D. And I decided to keep the G10 too - it's just too much fun to carry around when the larger camera is too cumbersome. It's doing a great job, so it's a keeper.

Today the "new" infrared digital camera arrived. Tomorrow will be a "play day" - gonna test out the new infrared digital camera. Now, since we are buried under snow, I am not quite sure what I will be doing about a custom white balance, but will deal with that tomorrow.

More updates to come . . .

January 27, 2010

Well, I ended up waiting to do any more test shots until we were able to head down to Florida on the 16th.

Much of Florida had suffered sub-freezing temperatures shortly before our arrival and there were areas of dead vegetation due to the low temperatures. I wasn't sure how the infrared would work, but I was pleasantly surprised at the results.

So now that I have two digital infrared cameras, which one do I prefer? As expected, I am finding the Canon 20D to be better on detail and low light situations than the G10, but my initial plans to sell the G10 have vanished. The G10 does do a great job in many situations and after hauling the 20D around on several hikes, the lighter weight and more inconspicuous nature of the point and shoot for certain situations has become very apparent.For now, I won't be selling either infrared digital camera. That way I will have one for all shooting situations and will have one for back up if needed.

Return to Photography Art Road Trip home page from Infrared Digital Camera