"Efke IR Trees" by Sibokk
“Efke IR Trees”, a photo by Sibokk on Flickr.

I don’t think I’ve posted much about the IR things I’ve been doing lately, apart from the Casio IR conversion business, so time for an update.

IR or Infra Red photography was something I never thought I’d be able to afford especially with colour IR film almost completely gone.

I started off with a roll of Ilford’s SFX film in 120 which cost £7(!) and it isn’t even a real IR film stock, just red sensitive (TBH I’ve not looked into the difference).

I thought the look was interesting but not worth paying another £7 to go again. Then I looked at AG-Photographic’s website and saw I could get a 50 sheet box of Efke 820 in 5×4 for £56, it was my birthday at the time so I thought ‘fork it‘!

Well, 2-3 months later I finally get correspondence that the film is on it’s way to them, then it becomes only a box of 25 sheets at a reduced price (which reminds me to check I’ve been refunded the difference) then I finally get it.

I like AG-Photographic because you can get films not normally available from other online sources but delivery times are insane.

In the meantime, while I was waiting for the Efke to arrive I’d been playing around with the R72 filter on the GF1 which looked quite interesting …

… but I’d found an article that talked about converting digital cameras to shoot IR. This was even more interesting but there was no way I was going to mod my GF1. A wee while later I found my old Casio Exilim in a box somewhere and decided to mod that instead.

To convert a digital camera to shoot IR you have to remove a filter that covers the sensor.

I stripped off the plastic shell and removed the lens element to get to the sensor. The sensor for this 8MP P&S camera was tiny!

I didn’t bother trying to put the outer shell back on again because I couldn’t. There’s millions of little screws all over this thing and I lost track very quickly resorting to the Duct-Tape look.

The photos looked pretty bizarre. Trees were now either red or an amber colour depending on how sunny the day became and clothes changed colour too with black clothes often coming out a sort of purple colour.

Then I started to use the R72 filter and the whole digital IR idea came to life. In the early filter shots I was still resetting the white balance in either Aperture or iPhoto …

After this I decided to just make them black and white …

… but I still liked them either way.

Meanwhile, in the other realm of film photography I now had my hands on a box of the legendary Efke 820. My first shot was simply a plonk it down meter and shoot, simply to test. I’d read on APUG to meter this film at 3 ASA with the filter.

"Efke IR Trees" by Sibokk

My mind was blown when I saw it. Test shot number two was quite interesting too and gave me a really nice black sky despite the light leak …

I went on to try experimenting with other subjects like people, though the composition was screwed just as I tripped the shutter from the right (below). IR can, it seems, see through clothes. I’m sure my wife’s bra wasn’t on show like that!

I also tried a few other subjects like weeds and shooting in shadowy woodland areas but I think they were pretty much fails as they didn’t exploit the glowing white heat from plant life or people:

Over all the idea of IR photography has hooked me deeply. I’m even looking to upgrade my digital IR arsenal with a 12mp digital P&S camera conversion and expand into 120 or 35mm rolls of Efke. I’ve also got to try out the Harman Ilford Titan pinhole camera which has sadly been shelved for quite some time. Pinhole Efke IR will result in some mega long exposures!

This post has been long enough so I’ll shortly post an IR gallery simply to exhibit what you can get with the different mediums.

Oh, and here’s where I got my Neewer R72 filter from:

It was £5.20 when I bought mine and it’s gone up in price to £6.05. If you’re starting out I’d recommend it rather than blasting 100s of pounds on a premium brand like Hoya etc.

Conclusion? DO IT!


2 thoughts on “I R

  1. Great post Simon, the digital shot of the field is awesome. Some impressive tinkering.

    The Efke film looks fantastic, a lot better than the SFX200 (and I’ve just bought a roll). I would love to see the pinhole stuff, it was something that immediately came to mind when I was planning it.

    I took your advice and bought a filter so we’ll see what happens.

    Great update.


  2. Great work Simon, you are setting the bar pretty high here. I have a couple of rolls of efke and rollie ir that I have yet to play with. I am waiting for a couple of clear days to take advantage of the sunshine.


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