What you read about Digital Infrared Camera Conversion in the next few paragraphs may come as a surprise. I know when I first came across this idea of converting a camera to infrared only, I was NOT convinced about its necessity nor its benefits.
I’m referring of course to the latest technological advance in digital infrared photography – conversion of a DSLR to a dedicated digital infrared camera.
Now I know you’re clutching your wallet at this point, and probably exclaiming that this sounds like a crazy thing to do. After all, even though the price of DSLRs has dropped dramatically in the last few years, they are still not cheap by anyone’s standards. Why would I “ruin” one by voiding the warranty,and playing around with the very core of the part that make the images to do something that can be done non-destructively with a $30.00 filter!?
But, bear with me here. And I will tell you the story of how I was “converted!” Good phptgraphs are all about spontaneity – the ability to always be prepared to capture the moment and own a piece of time. But as you know if you’ve tried digital infrared photography yourself, it’s not so easy.
Better than film, for sure, but you must still use a tripod. And if you use a DSLR to take advantage of the larger sensor and better lenses, IR photography is even more of a pain. Not only is your tripod a requirement, you can’t see your composition because there is no LCD preview on a digital SLR camera. You must set up your camera (white balance, bracketing etc.), adjust your tripod, compose, flip on the IR filter, cover the back view finder, make your exposure, and hope for the best.
And don’t get me wrong – this process does work. It works well. I’ve won awards in professional competitions for my Infrared images made in this way with my regular Nikon D70. But taking images with people was downright frustrating with the long exposure times requiring the subjects to hold their breath, keep impossibly still etc. So even though the quality of my IR photos was very good (in some cases it has been excellent given the rigours needed to achieve perfection!) I got tired of the myriad of steps. I found I wasn’t making as many IR shots, or planning as many IR shootouts as I had been doing. I was so weary of all those pre-shot activities.
Then somewhere in my travels I heard about how the D70 is a particularly good camera to convert into a dedicated IR camera. More about Infrared Camera Conversions
Converted IR Camera User’s Guide – Tutorials, Hints and “best bractices” for using a converted digital camera for dedicated IT images.