Infrared Capture & Image Resolution

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

There are many ways to capture digital infrared images. The easiest and least expensive is by using filters. But there are some inherent disadvantages in using this method, which is why one of the tips I give to photographers interested in getting started with infrared photography is they should convert one of their old cameras that’s sitting around collecting dust to IR-only capture. The theory being that you’re not shooting it anyway so why not get a unique use from something that’s probably not worth much anyway. Conversion probably adds to the value both as a camera you can use to make fun images and in real-world value when you decide to sell it.

I’ve always envied photographers who had the budget to have the very latest high-end cameras converted to infrared  in order to create the highest possible resolution images, at least until the next model comes along. But most of us don’t have that kind of money, so that’s why I think my above suggestion is a good one.

One way that I get around resolution anxiety is to shoot in RAW format. Unlike JPEGs, capturing a RAW file requires little or no internal processing by the camera. And these files contain more  information but that data now requires processing but since you’re going to have to process a RAW infrared file, what’s the big deal? I should mention that there is a SOOC movement in infrared circles and the images can be interesting and while I sometimes use this approach, I don’t typically.

The above image was made using an old IR-converted camera, a Canon EOS D60—not a 60D. Lens for the above shot was a now-discontinued Tamron 11-18mm f/4.5-5.6, that’s been replaced by the newer SP 10-24MM f/3.5-4.5 Di II. Exposure was 1/90 sec at f/13 and ISO 400 and the image file was converted to monochrome using Silver Efex Pro.

Life Pixel does a great job with IR conversions and they have done most of the conversions for my Canon DSLRs and for all of my Panasonic Lumix G-series cameras. This is not a paid or sponsored endorsement.

My book, The Complete Guide to Digital Infrared Photography is currently out-of-print but used copies are available from Amazon for less than three bucks, as I write this. Creative Digital Monochrome Effects has a chapter on IR photography and is available from Amazon with used copied selling for less that $4. You can buy’em both and have enough money left over for a Starbucks Grandé latte.