Hi Dgrinners! ...I have been working with my friends over at Maxmax
on a new Infrared Modded camera - this time, based on a Canon Digital Rebel body. Why the Rebel? Simple - they are cheap to get on the second hand market (about $300-$400) and it's got a fine fine CMOS sensor inside it.
Well, let me tell you, the conversion is fantastic! at the Yosemite Shootout
in May 2005, I had a full go with it for four days.
The IR conversion is done inside the camera, the IR cut filter is removed and replaced with precision-ground 720nm IR glass. For those do-it-yourselfers out there, this is the critical part - well, this and the focusing adjustments. Maxmax
has been doing precision optics for a long time - their bread and butter is some heavy duty stuff for different US Government agencies (shhh!) And so, they really spend a lot of R&D, time and $$ on getting the glass right.
No filter is required on your lens, as this is a permanent IR camera now! This also means that you can use it as a "grab-n-go" IR camera - you see fully and clearly thru the optical viewfinder, just as you would normally. The camera operates in all modes, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, manual, etc as well as autofocuses.
Because IR light is different - you have to apply between -1/3 and -1 exposure compensation to your shots at time of shoot - it's easy to get the hang of how much to apply. Really bright? -1. Medium bright? -2/3s. A bit muddled? -1/3 to perhaps none. You don't need to be exact - just close - because...
You shoot in raw - thus allowing you maximum exposure correction control in post!
The files are so clean. Zero noise or chunkiness in the skies. There are no "hot spots" at all - something that sometimes plagues dslr infrareds that are done on a non-modded camera. Another plus with this modification is that since you are shooting at normal to fast shutter speeds, you'll have extra-sharp landscapes with no wind-blur on the tree leaves!
I've been using with two lenses, a 10-22 ef-s lens and also a 35L. Both produce superb results.
Post-Processing: convert to B&W via channel mixer layer; curves adjustment; localized contrast enhanement via further curves adjustment. Small amount of Unsharp Mask
applied (100, .4, 0). The above pic has a 14% luminosity toning layer applied.
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