For years I’ve seen photos taken with infrared converted cameras and loved the look and feel, but never had the money to buy or convert a camera body myself.
I recently decided just to pick up a cheap infrared filter for the kit lens on my Fuji X-M1 which I use quite a bit for abstract work, and see how I got on with it.
The filter was just a Neewer 720nm which set me back a whopping £9.99 in 58mm thread size on eBay. I wasn’t expecting anything much from it and I also knew that the Fuji X-M1 blocks most of the infrared light with the filter in front of the sensor, so assumed I’d be working with high ISO or long exposures.
My first real try of it was walking round a Foxglove Covert nature reserve in Yorkshire at Easter weekend, the sunniest day of the year so far and ideal conditions for this, my main hope for IR was to help me through the Summer months when I normally shoot very little at all.
First off, the filter still let a lot of visible light through, you can see in the ‘straight off camera’ below that the images in colour are mostly red, the mix of that plus the IR being filtered out in camera meant even in bright light this was 1/30sec at f/5.6 and ISO3200.
There’s not a huge amount of foliage out yet, but the greens didn’t glow as much as I’d hoped but it still made a real difference to the contrast and tones which allowed a lot more mood in black and white.
I was just shooting handheld due to being out with family, so I was shooting right at the limit of the exposure times I could get away with even at max ISO. It means the images are noisy and a little soft, but I’m not too concerned about that, I’m always more focused on mood than technical perfection.
I can definitely see the benefits of a converted camera body, especially for things where there’s a fair bit of movement, so unfortunately while the filter provides an extra option to shoot differently on days with blue skies, it hasn’t really done anything to stop me wanting the real deal – better keep saving!