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Infrared
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#1 digitalhecht

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Posted 12 May 2021 - 18:14

Well, sort of. I have been dabbling in IR photography for over 10 years now. And the truth is, whether going for standard (720nm), Super Color (590nm), deep b&w (830+nm), or Kodak Aerochrome (Kolari's latest offering), I have rarely been happy with my results. I currently use a Sony A7RII converted to full spectrum. I was just wondering if there exists anywhere in here a stickie for recommended best practices? TIA.
Ed

#2 Andy Perrin

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Posted 12 May 2021 - 18:19

Hi! We have endless discussions about this. Many people have many practices and different people like different things. Personally I’m not a fan of the original film Aerochrome colors to the extent of wanting to precisely imitate them. But loads of people feel differently.

#3 dabateman

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Posted 12 May 2021 - 19:03

Most likely what one person likes an other won't. So best to find what you like.
I like the golden look and go with a wratten #47 or #38 and white balance in camera to get a look.
I also like the results with a Zwb3 filter only. Skies are blue and trees are slightly yellow.
An other fun filter is a plastic FLD filter that came with a lens purchase.

There is a lot to test in IR and software will let you seap or push the colors around. But I like getting it straight out of camera.

#4 nfoto

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Posted 12 May 2021 - 20:20

I can quell my interest for emulating the garish "Aerochrome" colours of the Kodak Ektachrome Infrared (EIR) which used E-6 processing. However, I initiated my excursions into the world of false-colour infrared with the Ektachrome IE 2443 fim in the late '60s and early '70s. This film needed the E4 process and had a far superior and more subtle color gradation compared to the later EIR (E-6) version. Thus this is my yardstick for false-colour infrared.

I find that I can emulate my favourite IE with digital techniques. Some cameras have sensor qualities which make them especially advantageous for IE emulations, for example, the Fuji S3/S5 models. The Z5 does well too. All of these cameras are of course full spectrum and used with the appropriate filters (deep orange functions best in my opinion).

#5 digitalhecht

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Posted 12 May 2021 - 20:43

View Postnfoto, on 12 May 2021 - 20:20, said:

I can quell my interest for emulating the garish "Aerochrome" colours of the Kodak Ektachrome Infrared (EIR) which used E-6 processing. However, I initiated my excursions into the world of false-colour infrared with the Ektachrome IE 2443 fim in the late '60s and early '70s. This film needed the E4 process and had a far superior and more subtle color gradation compared to the later EIR (E-6) version. Thus this is my yardstick for false-colour infrared.

I find that I can emulate my favourite IE with digital techniques. Some cameras have sensor qualities which make them especially advantageous for IE emulations, for example, the Fuji S3/S5 models. The Z5 does well too. All of these cameras are of course full spectrum and used with the appropriate filters (deep orange functions best in my opinion).
Hmm. Thanks, nfoto. Can you recommend a specific deep orange?

#6 nfoto

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Posted 12 May 2021 - 21:06

The Nikon O-56 kind is the one I use these days. In the days of IE, Wratten 12 did the trick, but this class of yellow filters leads to colour balancing troubles later so not recommended for digital. Any filter cutting just below 600 nm should be fine, however.

Do note that, depending on your actual system, you can get excess IR registered into all channels not just red. This needs to be taken care of in the psot processing stages.

#7 digitalhecht

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Posted 14 May 2021 - 20:26

View Postnfoto, on 12 May 2021 - 21:06, said:

The Nikon O-56 kind is the one I use these days. In the days of IE, Wratten 12 did the trick, but this class of yellow filters leads to colour balancing troubles later so not recommended for digital. Any filter cutting just below 600 nm should be fine, however.

Do note that, depending on your actual system, you can get excess IR registered into all channels not just red. This needs to be taken care of in the psot processing stages.
Thank you! One more thing that has always annoyed me about my IR results: Soft focus/blurriness on foliage. While not unbearable, a consistent annoyance for 10+ years. So related, do you find that the more expensive filters from reputable names make a difference in this regard? I got my entry-level 590nm from a Chinese vendor on eBay for about $24US. Do you recommend paying more? Does it make a difference?

#8 Stefano

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Posted 14 May 2021 - 20:55

Blurriness + IR make me think of diffraction. What are your usual apertures? If you go below f/8 it is likely that you see diffraction in the image. One way to test for this is to photograph a point source of (infrared) light (it can be a reflection of sunlight from crumbled tinfoil, for example) and see if you see rings around it. Those are Airy disks, and are visible when the aperture is too narrow and they become bigger than a pixel on the sensor.

(I must say that if you have been doing IR for 10+ years, you probably already know about this issue).

Also, it's odd that you see this blurriness on foliage only. I can't think of a filter that blurs the foliage and leaves everything else sharp.

Edited by Stefano, 14 May 2021 - 21:01.


#9 dabateman

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Posted 15 May 2021 - 00:23

I wasn't getting sharp images with my full spectrum E510, but never really figured it out until just a couple years ago. It was converted without any glass on the sensor. So wasn't focusing to infinity. Its possible you may not be getting infinity focus depending on your camera or conversion.
A way to test with your filter and the Sony is to get a slim m42 adapter and a helicoid and adjust the distance manually with a lens and your filter.

Adding 3mm of glass behind my Peleng 8mm fisheye was needed on my E510 to get sharp image with a long pass 760nm filter.

For filters the recent Zomie glass filters have been good. But I do like just a Zwb3 filter.

Edited by dabateman, 15 May 2021 - 00:26.


#10 UlfW

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Posted 15 May 2021 - 10:48

Blurriness on foliage can be due to a bigger focal shift by the lens at longer wavelengths.
As foliage is highly reflective over a very wide wavelength range even the longest wavelengths contribute to the image.
If my guess is correct adding a KG-type filter will attenuate the longer wavelengths.

That was one of the filter components used in a more ambitious project for AIR-emulation, to tame the IR-components.

Edited by UlfW, 15 May 2021 - 10:49.

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#11 Andy Perrin

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Posted 15 May 2021 - 14:11

Or just use a lens with less drastic IR focal shift. My Sony Zeiss 55mm/1.8 lens is normally a great lens but unusable in IR due to the focal shift problems. Using an EL Nikkor of any focal length solves the problem.

#12 digitalhecht

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Posted 16 May 2021 - 20:33

This pic was shot at f/8, 1/400, ISO 100 with a vintage 55mm f1.4 Pentax Asahi (M42) lens. The filter used was a (LifePixel) 490nm "Hyper Color" filter. Using focus peaking, everything appears to be in focus. AM I asking for too much that the trees beyond the wires be clearer? (Just because I have been doing this for 10 years, doesn't mean I have learned anything. :tongue: )

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  • Attached Image: DSC08451-f16a.jpg

Edited by digitalhecht, 16 May 2021 - 20:35.


#13 Stefano

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Posted 16 May 2021 - 20:51

You may simply not have enough depth of field. The problem is that stopping down even more can blur the images because of diffraction. Did you focus to infinity? Maybe you can't reach infinity with your camera + lens?

#14 dabateman

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Posted 16 May 2021 - 21:22

That image should be sharper. What adapter are you using? Do you have a slim m42 to E-mount adapter and a helicoid?
I would test to see if you're not truly at infinity.
Also you should read this:
https://robertreiser...ed-photography/

#15 Andy Perrin

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Posted 16 May 2021 - 21:26

Sony camera’s focus peaking does not always work well outside of visible light.

#16 digitalhecht

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Posted 16 May 2021 - 22:55

Thanks, all. I am continuing experimenting with wider apertures, per Robert Reiser's diffraction points. Again, I claim complete ignorance here. But using wider apertures reduces the depth of field, making some elements out of focus seemingly unavoidable. However, a few more tests seems to show that, at least with this camera+lens combo, f/4.8 (top photo)-f/5.6 (bottom photo) seems to be the sweet spot(s). To clarify the setup, it's the aforementioned 55mm Pentax Asahi f1.4 M42 on a Sony A7R II (full spectrum) using a generic M42-FE (Sony) adapter. Recommendations are welcome for other adapters. Thoughts? Again, HUGELY grateful for all the feedback/advice here!

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  • Attached Image: DSC08456-f5-6.jpg

Edited by digitalhecht, 16 May 2021 - 23:00.


#17 digitalhecht

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Posted 22 May 2021 - 21:50

View Postnfoto, on 12 May 2021 - 21:06, said:

The Nikon O-56 kind is the one I use these days. In the days of IE, Wratten 12 did the trick, but this class of yellow filters leads to colour balancing troubles later so not recommended for digital. Any filter cutting just below 600 nm should be fine, however.

Do note that, depending on your actual system, you can get excess IR registered into all channels not just red. This needs to be taken care of in the psot processing stages.
Thanks again for this recommendation. I bought a nice Nikon 52mm O-56 (chrome finish!) on eBay. Tried it out today and am SUPER happy with the results! I may have to grab another at 72mm as they seem to be pretty scarce!

#18 Andrea B.

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Posted 25 May 2021 - 04:36

Soft focus/blurriness on foliage. While not unbearable, a consistent annoyance for 10+ years. So related, do you find that the more expensive filters from reputable names make a difference in this regard?

IR wavelengths are longer and they partly penetrate some substances and do not reveal the surface details that shorter wavelengths reveal, thus there will always be an inherent "softness" in IR photos due to decreased fine detail. There is no getting around that. However, you can test for the best stopped down aperture before diffraction begins to blur by running an aperture series with each combination of lens and filter.

In general, you would find that IR diffraction softens 1-2 stops before visible. And visible diffraction softens 1-2 stops before UV. And you would find that diffraction aside, IR has less fine detail than visible. And visible has less fine detail than UV.

Additionally, best practices in IR usually include some enhancements in the converter/editor for increased local contrast while at the same time avoiding induced noise or sharpening artifacts. Increasing accutance cannot, of course, re-create detail lost from long wavelengths, but it provide a good illusion of edge sharpness to mitigate diffraction blurring.

*******

Some of the chinese filters are not good quality, some are ok. There is no way to know whose are good and whose are not because the vendors change constantly. Many have striations or wavy flaws. If you get a good Schott glass filter from UVIR*Optics on Ebay or get the Hoya brand or B+W brand from a store like B&H, then you have assurance that the glass is of excellent quality.

******

I was running a Sony A7R for a while. I was using Novoflex (woo expensive!!) and Fotodiox adapters, both types good.

Generic adapters usually work out OK. Just make sure there is no warp against the camera mount side and no light leaks. Also check that if there is any black paint, it doesn't wear off in the form of fine powder which can grit up your sensor or lens elements. (I've mostly had that happen with step rings and not with lens mounts though.)
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#19 Andy Perrin

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Posted 25 May 2021 - 05:02

View PostAndrea B., on 25 May 2021 - 04:36, said:

Soft focus/blurriness on foliage. While not unbearable, a consistent annoyance for 10+ years. So related, do you find that the more expensive filters from reputable names make a difference in this regard?

IR wavelengths are longer and they partly penetrate some substances and do not reveal the surface details that shorter wavelengths reveal, thus there will always be an inherent "softness" in IR photos due to decreased fine detail. There is no getting around that. However, you can test for the best stopped down aperture before diffraction begins to blur by running an aperture series with each combination of lens and filter.

The above is correct buuuuut, there is one other thing you could be seeing: I have found that many lenses have significant IR focal shift, so if you are shooting over a wide range of wavelengths (say, from 550nm to 850nm), the focal point will be different for something reflecting mostly 800nm vs. something in the same photo reflecting mostly 600nm. That means two objects at the same physical distance from the camera can blurred by different amounts. The effect was most obvious in a photo I took one night a bunch of years ago in full spectrum mode using a Sony Zeiss 55mm/1.8 ZA, a very nice lens but not at all good for full spectrum photography! Here it is:
Attached Image: _DSC9733 focal shift demo.jpg
In this case you have two different light sources with quite different IR:visible ratio and in one case it's in focus and the other is not. (There is also some blur from hand movement in both - night photos handheld are difficult.)

Edited by Andy Perrin, 25 May 2021 - 05:04.


#20 Andrea B.

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Posted 25 May 2021 - 06:19

.....but wouldn't you simply refocus when you switched from, say, the 550 nm filter to the 850 nm filter??
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