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Old 10-10-2006, 14:20   #1 (permalink)
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Infrared Advice

I'm thinking of buying an infrared filter and was just wondering if anyone had any advice where to get them if the brands were the same quality etc. I'm after a 67mm (fortunately i have a few lenses all ith the same thread), for use on a Canon Eos 20d. I read Dod's review and was wondering if anyone had other experiences. I'm not willing to pay a fortune for it as it's only for a few shots.
Questions i have are.... Can the R72 give good enough results or would it be best to go for the RM90 or does this give worse results? (it would be great if someone could show some test shots with filter, camera and lens used + exif info etc)
I also can't remember whether i focus passed the object or infront of it to make up for the different wavelength etc.

Are there any Infrared experts out there who could enlighten me TIA!
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Old 10-10-2006, 15:11   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Infrared Advice

From what I can remember (and it been a good while since I looked into this so please check my comments) the Canon 20D has a filter built onto the sensor that makes it rather unsuitable for Infrared photography. That’s why Canon also made the 20Da which is identical but without said filter and designed to be especially good for infrared and astro photography.

On saying that you will still be able to get some results but it requires much longer shutter speeds to allow the light to be collected so that you can get a correct exposure. All Infrared with the Canon will require a tripod and subject matter that is suited to long exposures as a consequence. Other than that I can’t advice you on which filter will give you the best results as I shelved the idea after finding out the above. Hopefully the information will help you a little though.
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Old 10-10-2006, 18:40   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Infrared Advice

Thanks for that Steve, i did wonder what made the 20Da different. I am still going to have a look into the realms of infrared though as i sometimes quite like the effects from a long exposure.
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Old 11-10-2006, 06:13   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Infrared Advice

Hope this helps,

Basic Infrared Strategy and WorkFlow

Canon Rebel 300D, Canon 50mm f/1.8, Hoya R72, Tripod

A few things to note:

– Some lenses will work much better than others, I have had great luck with my Canon 50mm f/1.8. Some lenses may flare unacceptably, a hood may help.
– Different Cameras will require different exposure times. My 300D takes several/many seconds to get a good exposure, it depends on your camera’s IR cut filter (normally a good thing).
– A tripod will be required.
– Shoot RAW if possible since you will have more latitude to adjust exposure if necessary.
– I usually take multiple shots of the same scene and bracket almost everything since you don’t how it will look until you start working in Photoshop. I bracket everything when shooting: Shutter Speed (usually somewhere between 2 and 10 seconds), Aperture (f5.6 and f/8 seem to work well), and ISO setting (usually 200 or 400).
– Sun angle / sun position, time of day, etc. all become important variables. I need to experiment more with these, but peak of summer works well around Noon (i.e., strong sun).
– Interesting pictures have trees, clouds, water, and sky or something similar for contrast.

Initial Exposure: I usually start with something like 6 secs, f/8.0, ISO 400. Check through the EXIF data in my gallery for some further examples. Again, take lots of shots and bracket. Overtime you will be able to better understand what a good histogram looks like for your camera when shooting IR. It won’t be the same as a traditional good exposure histogram. (Maybe only 1/2 to 2/3 to the right?). In general lower ISO settings will help reduce camera noise, but will increase your exposure time, so it is a tradeoff, but Photoshop can help with some advanced noise reduction.

Download your images – if RAW, convert (to tiff or jpeg) and bring into Photoshop. I have been shooting RAW just because it allows more control after the shot has been taken. Note: Exposure and White Balance will make a difference on your final result, so there might be some trial and error – in general I leave white balance to the default camera setting (automatic) and have gotten decent results. For editing, Photoshop Elements 3.0 has worked fine for me. You can probably get similar results with other software, but I have not tried. For Raw conversion I have been using the Canon supplied software (DPP 2.0 or Zoombrowser & Fileviewer)

Editing Your IR Image:

1. Optional Step – create a duplicate layer of you background for noise reduction and general retouching. For noise reduction, I have been very happy with the Noise Ninja plugin. You could also use the built in noise reduction filter in Photoshop. Noise can be pretty apparent after you are complete with image editing, it is not required, but might make the image look cleaner. However, some people intentionally add noise (grain) into their IR images as it is more authentic looking.

2. Create a Level layer and select auto levels. This will swing the colors significantly. If you have a good shot, tree leaves and clouds will appear close to white in color at this point and sky will be Orange and/or Black.

3. From here on it is about shifting colors. If you want Red sky, then you can skip this step. If you want Blue sky you will need to swap the Red and Blue colors in your image. It is easiest to do this with the Channel Mixer by creating a layer and setting Red to 100% Blue and setting Blue to 100% Red. Leave Green 100% Green. Unfortunately the Channel Mixer is not a standard in Elements 3.0 and needs to be downloaded and installed as an action. (More on this later). Elements 4.0 does not support adding this action, so ironically Elements 3.0 is better in this respect. Yes, you could probably get a similar effect using Hue shifting, but Channel Mixer is MUCH easier.

4. Create another layer for Levels and adjust White and Black point. It seems beneficial to clip the black point a bit and perhaps even the white point a little depending on the image exposure. Boosting midpoint may help as well. Input might be something like: 20, 1.10, 255 (for black, mid, and white) but this will be image dependant and you will have to tweak the settings.

5. Optional: Create a Curves layer if you need and use it to further adjust your image to your liking. Like the Channel mixer, this is not a standard feature in Elements, but can be added to Elements 3.0 just like the Channel Mixer. Curves is very powerful and versatile, I would not want to be without it.

6. At this point your image should be pretty close, but you will want probably want to further adjust Hue and Saturation. Create a Hue/Sat layer and refine Saturation (increase maybe +20) and possibly shift Hue of Blue and Cyan to your liking. (If you left you image Red/Orange you would be adjusting Red instead). You will have to play with Hue settings as it will be image dependant.

7. If you are going to the Web (i.e., PBASE) resize at 800 wide and sharpen with Unsharp Mask (maybe 85%, 0.8 radius, and threshold of 3).

8. Save as JPEG level 10 and you are done.

If you are interested in B&W instead of color, you could desaturate your image or better yet, I have had good success with a B&W Gradient Map. You would do this in place of Step 3 and omit Steps 4 and 6.

There is a lot of trial and error in this process and some images just never work out. I have had a few occasions that nothing worked and every thing was muddy grey and other times where the images look great with very little effort! It just depends on the conditions that day and how you took advantage of them.

Photoshop Actions that will run in Elements 3.0 (not in 4) that will be very useful are the Channel Mixer and Curves. Visit the following web link and read carefully about how to install the applicable actions.
Curves (and Other Goodies) for Photoshop Elements - Photo Tips @ Earthbound Light If you do a Google Search you will likely find other places to get actions for Channel Mixer and Curves.
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Old 11-10-2006, 06:51   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Infrared Advice

I have just posted a reply ref your above post in the Articles section. Thanks for taking the time
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Old 11-10-2006, 08:10   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Infrared Advice

Cheers Daveyuk, thats seems like some very thorough advice, and definitely the kind of info i was after. Much appreciated!

One other thing.... If i was to take some portraits with infrared, would i be right in thinking that if i overexpose the flash by about 3/4stops (rough guess) i would get a reasonably short exposure time? Or does it not work in the same way like that?
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