View Full Version : Fun with Infra Red and a Leica M8

Tim Ashley
June 26th, 2008, 11:58 AM
I've been meaning to explore the IR capabilities of my M8 for ages, having purchased a B+W 092IR filter some months ago. Over the course of two walks in the local park yesterday and today I've run off a few shots and started to get to grips with the technicalities. Focus is one thing that's very different, since IR light focusses in a different place to visible light: so to turn a necessity into a virtue I started to stop down a LOT for DOF and in order to add to the overall weird appearance of the shots by getting some movement into some of them.

I plan to explore this a lot more. I like the initial results even if they're a bit creatively ho-hum, and think there's a lot of interesting stuff to try.

Anyone else got any experience here?

The (small) gallery is at:


And here's an example:


Best to all


charlie chipman
June 26th, 2008, 04:57 PM
Anyone else got any experience here?


Indeed, although not with an M8. I have a D70 modified for IR and UV photography. I mostly use the B+W 093 filter that cuts off at 850nm blocking all visible light making the sky darker and the foliage lighter than the B+W 092 and hoya R72 type filters which both "bleed" some visible red (650nm and 720nm respectively). Also with the 093 you can get monotone images straight from the camera (depending on white balance settings, I custom white balance off green grass in bright sunlight)

I am not sure what thread size lenses you use but Nikon has a flip down gel/filter holder (AF-1) that is quite handy for IR shooting. It has 52mm threads on the rear and i think 62mm threads on the front, flip it down, compose the shot and focus then flip it up and take the picture. no hassling with screwing the filter on anymore.

I do like the picture you posted with the centered dead tree. One thing it seems sometimes people get wrapped up in with IR is the white foliage "effect" which in itself should not make an image, thought still needs to go into composition, etc. and not just the IR "effect" (I'm not pointing this comment at you, just a general observation I have noticed in alot of online IR pictures)

Keep at it, it is alot of fun and can be very rewarding, black and white or false colour IR.

Tim Ashley
June 26th, 2008, 05:13 PM
Thank you Charlie. I'll give some of that a try - I also heard that Heliopan make a great filter that has a more extreme IR effect. I must say that the B+W filter I have gives an effect which is somehow less than I had hoped and requires some heavy PP.

On the bright side, it's proving to be an interesting new way of 'seeing' things even though you can't see what you're going to get other than in your mind - so no change from regular photography, in a way.

I agree with what you say about not letting the IR effect carry the day: it's another tool or a way of envisioning a final image but is no substitute for good choice of subject, light and composition. However... it does have certain characteristics which suggest to me a congruence between the method and the image. Such as the use of slow shutter speeds to give a selective blur to parts of the image, a technique pretty much enforced by the stops the filtration costs you.



charlie chipman
June 26th, 2008, 05:26 PM
Depends on the camera as far as slow shutter speeds, my modified D70 can easily be handheld because the internal filter was removed, I can get over 1/1000s on a bright sunny day. My D200 however would need to be 30 seconds in the same environment as mentioned above.

I think the reason your 092 filter is not as you hoped is because it's cut off is pretty low letting in red and thus the IR "effect" is not as dramatic as some of the other filters. If you plan to convert everything you shoot IR to black and white I highly suggest the 093 filter, it is great to be able to get the sky so dark with this filter. if you like to keep some colour I would suggest the hoya R72 which cuts off at 720nm which lets less red in than the 092. Hoya makes and RM90 to which I believe cuts of at or above 900nm but most sensors are only sensitive up to around 1000nm if i remember correctly so this would make for longer shutter speeds.

Not an attempt to highjack your thread but here is an example of the dark sky with the B+W 093, handheld shot.


Tim Ashley
June 26th, 2008, 05:50 PM
Oooh that's so nice - it's very Kill Bill... stylish as hell. Have you tried the Heliopan 780?


Asher Kelman
June 26th, 2008, 06:01 PM
Depends on the camera as far as slow shutter speeds, my modified D70 can easily be handheld because the internal filter was removed................
Not an attempt to highjack your thread but here is an example of the dark sky with the B+W 093, handheld shot.


So do you have no filter in the D70 or did you put in an internal filter to block visible light and UV? Also do they give you a new set of focus marks for manual focus on your lens or do you just rely on autofocus getting things right? When you look through the viewfinder, you will see visible light and you don't want to focus manually, unless you have an external filter. Then it will be close to black! So tell us what you do.


charlie chipman
June 26th, 2008, 06:48 PM
I opened up my D70 and removed the internal AA/IR blocking filter and reassembled the camera so now it is just the bare sensor being exposed. The reason I did this is for better IR response, the D70 does very good for UV with the AA filter in plaace. Since I shoot ultraviolet as well as infrared putting an IR filter over the sensor would not let me shoot ultraviolet, the drawback is all the filters must be on the lens so looking through the viewfinder can be a hassle, that is why the nikon AF-1 flip down filter holder is so convenient for me.

If I were to do it again I would put clear glass over the CCD, there is a more drastic focus shift without the clear glass because the distance from the lens to the sensor is now approx 1.1mm further away. This does not matter much with nikkor lenses but a few of my lenses for UV are enlarger lenses and it is difficult to get them to focus to infinity (needs to be set to f/16-f/22) with that 1.1mm of clear glass there they would focus to infinity better (f/8 or so).

The lenses I use for IR are mostly manual nikkor's some of them dating back to the late 60's (20mm f/3.5, the 28mm f/3.5, the nikkor-Q 200mm f/4) so I rely on the little red dot for IR focus shift on the lens that for some reason it seems they quit putting IR mark on newer lenses, no auto focus for me. However if the IR filter were over the sensor instead of on the lens the camera can be adjusted for the IR focus shift and autofocus will be reliable.

Ideally I would like to have one camera dedicated to IR with the filter in the camera and another camera dedicated to UV, the problem then would be to decide on which IR filter goes into the camera ;)

Asher Kelman
June 26th, 2008, 07:09 PM

I'm not clear how easy it is to remove the factory blocking filter in front of the sensor. Is this a well-written and illustrated procedure that is on the internet? If you add the flip down nikon filters after composing, why doesn't the focus system of the camera just use the IR light. IOW, why isn't it perfect anyway?


charlie chipman
June 26th, 2008, 07:32 PM
here is a link to some intructions for various different cameras


here is another link to show somebody doing a D200 conversion with more detailed info


And to be honest I am not sure the answer about your focus question. I suppose I could use an auto focus lens and give it a try to see what happens.

Asher Kelman
June 27th, 2008, 09:04 PM

I like this picture.

Tim Ashley 2008

The stately home set in the woods by the water is a splendid sight. I'm not familiar with the IR options and latitude for post processing, but can you bring out the house more?

As it is, the picture works. I am not yet totally used to see things this way but still, the architecture might be more prominent. darker, if that fits in with our own wishes. However I'm not sure of this. What is your view on this?

Selectively adding an S curve to the building and its reflection to increase the contrast and shifting down its tonality range seems to do the job. Adding a tad of sharpening 300% at 0.2 pixels works.

Looking forward to more of your work with IR.

I like new ways at looking at scenes like this.


Tim Ashley
June 29th, 2008, 10:47 AM
Thanks Asher,
you're right, I really should have tried a bit more advanced PP on it. My pathetic excuse is that I now have yet another osteo-issue (a sacro-illiac thingie) that stops me sitting at a keyboard for too long so for that batch of shots I found one set of adjustments in LR that mostly suited them all. But my osteopath (with whom I now almost live!) says all will be fine soon so I can start to process my own images again - which is a good thing because the best form of exercise for the condition is walking (with a camera of course!) so I have lots of processing to catch up on...

All the best