If you’re interested in Infra-red photography, you might try one of these Hoya R72 filters out. There are a whole bunch of IR filters out there to choose from, but the Hoya R72 IR filter is redily available, and great for general use. Although they’re somewhat expensive depending on the size, it’ll be cheaper than converting your digital camera to shoot IR, which requires removing the IR filter that’s in front of the sensor. Unfortunately, after you do that you can’t shoot regular color pictures unless you replace it.This review is about the simple use of a Hoya R72 filter as installed on a modern digital camera. If you want to learn more about IR photography in general, Google it and pick out one or more of the millions of web pages dedicated to this. You can also learn how to use an IR filter to see through women’s clothing, like the feature Sony had on their nightshot camcorders a few years back, see a variation of this trick here.
It’s possible to hand hold the camera and get some IR images; you’ll need to use a really high ISO, and guess at the composition as you won’t be able to see it with the filter on. I included a hand-held sample shot in the review.
Green trees and plants reflect a lot of IR so they look white in the image. Blue skies have little or no IR, so no light is reflected back, and that makes the sky look dark, like you took the picture at night! If you’re the type that likes to look at sharp images blown way up on the computer screen, the IR filter is not for you. Since only part of the color pixels are being used as an end result, due to the filter, the image appears a little soft. However, since you’ll typically need a long exposure, you’ll have issues with leaves, branches, and anything else that would move during several seconds of exposure time.
IR photography is all about creating a “feeling” or “mood” from the scene, and the intended results from it are somewhat similar to the weird Cokin filters you could buy back in the 80s-90s that made pictures look dreamy.
The images in the review are very boring, but are adequate
for showing what the filter does. My creativity level seem a little flat this week.
You can create a fake IR image by changing the saturation, brightness and hue of the colors, (in the case of foliage), mostly by manipulating the green channel; and by that I mean change the green colors to a yellow in the hue mode, and brighten the yellow in brightness or luminosity mode. Photo Imaging software like Lightroom, Photoshop, ACDsee pro 3 and others offer this type of “mixing” or color channel manipulation. You can get crazy and do some other trick procedures to make it look more real if you have nothing but time on your hands.
You can’t really get the same “feel” of IR in software, so if you want the genuine IR look you’ll have to get a filter, or have your camera converted.