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MikeMyers

Taking IR photos with an M8.2

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Ages ago (35 years...) I used to take infrared photos with my old Leica and Nikon RF cameras. I'd buy Kodak infrared Ektrachrome, put on a deep red filter (I assume it was an IR filter), and I got back color photos that looked like they were taken on Mars or something, with truly bizarre colors. It was great fun.

 

Over the past several years, I wanted to do that again, but couldn't because all my new Nikon DSLR cameras had the filter to remove the IR before it reached the sensor. So, I never got around to testing, as it didn't seem to be a good way to do this.

 

When I bought my M8.2 I was fully expecting to learn how to take IR photos again, thinking it would be "easy" because it's digital. Well, yes and no....

 

I've been reading up on this, and apparently the Ektachrome IR film I used to buy had three layers on it sensitive to light, but one of these three was specifically sensitive to IR. You needed to use the IR filter on the lens to filter out most of the blue light so it didn't come through and overwhelm the image.

 

With the M8, the sensor is the same sensor that's used for normal photography. I found my old deep red filter to remove much of the "visible" light. Looking at the filter, it seems like it's black, but looking through it, I can tell that it looks like a very, very dark red in color, much more so than an ordinary "red" filter that you can buy at the stores. There's no markings on the filter, but it's the same as my other Leica filters for one of my old lenses, and I'm fairly sure it came right from Leica - but this is far too far in the past for me to remember.

 

I tried some tests yesterday, but it was a cloudy day, and the tests didn't really show that much. I took two photos today, both at f/4 and ISO 160. I left the shutter speed dial on "A" and the camera automatically selected 1/3000 for the normal shot, and 1/90 for the IR shot. Both were shot in 'jpg'. I'm attaching those two images below.

 

The "normal" shot is fine. The IR shot did turn the trees more or less white, so I think I'm getting the right results, but the colors look nothing like what I used to get from the IR Ektachrome slide film. I assume that's because I need to complete some kind of color correction settings to get the sensor to react more like the IR film did (which was different from "normal" film. I also noticed the IR shot is nowheres near as sharp, either due to a change in focus for the IR, or because I didn't use a tripod.

 

 

 

What I'm asking here, is have any of you got any experience in shooting color IR with the M8? If so, what additional processing might be needed to get the results I'm after?

 

(Ken Rockwell suggested the following for making a "normal" photo look like an IR photo, and maybe it's the right way of doing things, but I'll have to play with the settings: How to Use Photoshop . Maybe there's a better way to do this, since I presumably already have an IR image.)

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I'm afraid that I can't help you regarding your color question. But regarding the image softness that is probably due, as you suggested, both to incorrect focus and slow shutter speed. I've found that for my M8 IR photos I need to shoot at least ISO1250 if not higher, and focusing can be a real PITA. I think someone suggested moving the focus point to the f/5.6 DoF mark on the lens but I could be mistaken there.

 

What I'm hoping to do (when I get a roundtuit) is to take a couple of my lenses, try shooting IR and then put a small dab of nail polish where the approximate focus point is. That will be time consuming but I'm not sure what else I can do.

 

Good luck!

 

Bruce

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I'll do some tests to figure out where the focus ought to be. I'll also take some photos at f/11 or f/16 which ought to have enough depth of field to compensate for this somewhat.

 

I've got to think this thing through a bit more, before I can get my mind to understand it, but if I'm placing this IR filter in front of the lens,a lot of the cells in the image sensor are no longer collecting any data. For example, whatever parts of the sensor that are sensitive to "blue" aren't getting any input. I wonder if this means I've got less than 10 megapixels working for me...

 

 

To footnoteblog, I shot these in 'jpg'; can I still create a "custom DNG profile"? I'm still just learning Lightroom. This sounds like another alternative, instead of what Ken Rockwell suggests which is done in Photoshop. About the filter, what is the reason to use a 092 or 093 filter instead of what I'm now using? Actually, I don't even know what it is I'm now using. I think I probably bought it for an "infrared filter" 35 years ago, but who knows what I got.

 

 

I got curious what effect "auto levels" would have on my IR image. It did better than I was able to, in getting the image to look more like what I remembered from film... It's still not the image I expected, but I'm not sure what I ought to be expecting from this.

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...

I've got to think this thing through a bit more, before I can get my mind to understand it, but if I'm placing this IR filter in front of the lens,a lot of the cells in the image sensor are no longer collecting any data. For example, whatever parts of the sensor that are sensitive to "blue" aren't getting any input. ....

Mike,

 

It looks like your using an 092 or similar now (R72 perhaps).

 

All of your pixels will still be collecting data because the M8/M8.2's sensor has a very weak IR-cut filter so (as long as you've taken your IR-cut filter off your lens) radiant energy in the infrared band (720 nm and upwards) will still reach all the pixels on your sensor. The sensor is a cluster of photodiodes that convert light (radiant energy) into electrical energy and none of them really cares what colour (wavelength) the energy is. The reason you get to see a colour picture is because the sensor has a Bayer filter over it, which filters out red, green and blue light (wavelengths c. 700, 500, and 400 nm respectively) and the camera's processor knows how to 'demosaic' them (sort them into a coherent picture).

 

Your deep red filter is a weak IR-pass filter. Strong IR-pass filters like the 093 'Black' filter cut all radiant energy in the visible spectrum and below and only allow IR wavelengths to pass. The 'Deep Red' 092 filter cuts all wavelengths below about 680 nm so it allows a certain amount of visible red light to pass too.

 

Pete.

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Hi

 

Not sure if this answers your question but read my post here

 

http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/landscape-travel/96015-barn.html

 

 

 

Ignore the top 2 layers for 'normal' color IR images.

 

bw (opacity less than 10%)

High pass filter

Hue / Saturation

Contrast

Curve

Level

Channel Mixer (Red and Blue swap)

 

good luck and have fun!

 

mashu

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Yes, Miami - I just walk out on my balcony, and that's what I see.

 

Hmm, I do think some of my questions are getting answered by figuring out what you guys are saying, but when I look at all the information, I end up with more questions than I originally had. That's probably a good thing.

 

By the way, I love the photo you posted - it's not like what I originally was trying to do, but it's lovely!

 

To tell the truth, I'm not even sure what I'm trying to do. My memory from a lifetime ago is that when I shot infrared Ektachrome, I got back slides with wonderful deep colors, but they weren't at all like the "real life colors". They looked like something from a different world. This is long, long, very long before there was anything like Photoshop - maybe the 1960's and 1970's. Trees turned white, the sky turned black, skin-tones turned terribly pale (don't shoot your friends with IR film!!!), and other colors just, well, shifted to something they weren't. At least that's what I think I remember.

 

 

I went looking on the 'net for some images that are similar to what I remember, and while the ones I found aren't the same, they're still pretty spectacular. For example:

Color + Design Blog / Infrared Photography: Images of Unseen Color by COLOURlovers

 

I'm pretty sure all these were done with film. My very first question is whether digital sensors are capable of producing this kind of images. I assume that they are, but it's going to take a lot more practice. The M8 seems like a great tool for doing this; a dslr would just make things more difficult, and the M8 seems to be very sensitive to IR.

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Mike - what you have to realize is that Kodak really screwed around with the color filtration built into the Color IR film, so that (let's see if I can remember this right) the cyan dye (normally red light) layer was IR sensitive, the magenta dye (green light) layer was red sensitive, and the yellow dye (blue light) was green sensitive. This is was done to really pop out green + IR foliage as "red" for scientific work.

 

Plus one needed the red (or yellow) filters for the best weird color effect.

 

There's a way to do this, but it means making two shots with the M8 and then swapping around red, blue and green channels in Photoshop to replicate the layer-swapping that Kodak did. I did it earlier this summer and posted, so I'll try to find that link.

 

WHICH I DID : http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/leica-m8-forum/85932-getting-ektachrome-infrared-colors-out-m8.html

-------

 

Your second adjusted IR shot is about what Ektachrome IR looked like shot with NO filter - magentas and purples.

Edited by adan

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Mike,

 

Here's a thread started by Tim Ashley showing some colour IR shots from his M8 and explaining how he made them by swapping the colour channels around in Photoshop.

 

Are these the type of 'other worldly' results that you're looking to shoot?

 

Pete.

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That's a lot of information to digest. I think I need to take a break from this, and read on how to use "channel mixer" for Photoshop.

 

Until now, I thought I was simply learning how to take interesting looking IR photos with the M8. From the linked discussions, I see that what I really need to do, is get the M8 to emulate the way Ektachrome IR slide film created pictures. Apparently this will take a good bit of experimentation and testing - but I'd have thought that since the Ektachrome IR was "always" the same, a set of procedures and values should allow me to translate in M8 image into what the slide film would have produced. (It might then need fine tuning, but maybe not, as the slide film never got "fine tuned".)

 

Obviously, the M8 can do all the above quite nicely, so it's just left for me to learn what you guys have shown me.

 

 

It still seems possible that one could come up with a procedure, a series of steps, that if followed exactly, would produce the equivalent of what the IR Ektachrome would have produced. If I want color, I'll need to use a tripod and take two shots, one "normal" and one with the IR filter.

 

I've got to stop now, as I'm leaving on a two-week trip tomorrow. However, I'll have lots of time in the countryside to practice on these things, and will bring a Photoshop book with me so I can learn to use the channel mixer function. Thanks!!

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thanks ...

How did you do these b&w shots?

these are IR captures, converted to mono ... using a B+W 093 IR filter.

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Hi

Bought my M8 - pre owned M8 on monday 12th. this was made with a Heliopan 695 (98B) handheld at aboout 24th sec. f4 320 ISO yesterday, with very little post processing in Lightroom.

 

I'm pleased with the result, but I think a darker red filter would be better? But then I think I'll have to use a tripod for IR as the ex. times will be slower, or rack up the ISO?

 

Tony (pintpot)

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That's a lot of information to digest. I think I need to take a break from this, and read on how to use "channel mixer" for Photoshop.

 

Until now, I thought I was simply learning how to take interesting looking IR photos with the M8. From the linked discussions, I see that what I really need to do, is get the M8 to emulate the way Ektachrome IR slide film created pictures. Apparently this will take a good bit of experimentation and testing - but I'd have thought that since the Ektachrome IR was "always" the same, a set of procedures and values should allow me to translate in M8 image into what the slide film would have produced. (It might then need fine tuning, but maybe not, as the slide film never got "fine tuned".)

 

Obviously, the M8 can do all the above quite nicely, so it's just left for me to learn what you guys have shown me.

 

 

It still seems possible that one could come up with a procedure, a series of steps, that if followed exactly, would produce the equivalent of what the IR Ektachrome would have produced. If I want color, I'll need to use a tripod and take two shots, one "normal" and one with the IR filter.

 

I've got to stop now, as I'm leaving on a two-week trip tomorrow. However, I'll have lots of time in the countryside to practice on these things, and will bring a Photoshop book with me so I can learn to use the channel mixer function. Thanks!!

You'll have to dig up an old LFI. It must have been about nine months ago that the whole procedure was described.

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For mono JPGs, I find that focusing about 1-2 stops closer on the DOF scale works. I generally only need about 2 stops more exposure with the R72 filter and tungsten WB setting (with M8 original) and mono images.

 

If you have a lens with an IR marking, start there, but focus bracket to fine tune, then maybe apply a removable fine mark there.

 

All of these were taken at 5.6 or faster and no photoshop corrections.

 

These were taken with a pre-asph 35 lux, or old Canon 28/2.8, mostly at f2.8-5.6, same R72 filter.

Edited by ampguy

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