The Fixation workshop in London specialises in repairing professional camera equipment, they also receive frequent requests to modify and convert cameras to suit the needs of specific photographers and projects. One of the most popular services they offer is the conversion of digital cameras to record light outside of the visible spectrum. In this article, we will explore what these conversions entail and the visual effects that can be achieved.
Fixation technicians are able to dismantle the sensor unit on a selection of digital cameras to remove the low-pass filter which is coated to block Infra-Red and UV light out of the box. They replace it with a new filter designed to transmit a selected frequency of light for a pure IR conversion or a Quartz filter with no coating that will transmit the full range of light from infra-red to ultraviolet. The filter glass is incredibly thin and brittle and modern sensor units are often balanced on a mobile IBIS unit so the filter removal and replacement has to be done with the utmost care.
When a digital camera is converted to infrared 720nm, the camera’s internal filter is replaced with an infrared filter, blocking the visible light spectrum, and only allowing infrared light to pass through. This type of conversion produces a monochrome image with a distinctive high-contrast look, with foliage appearing white and skies appearing dark. The reason for this is that plants absorb visible light for photosynthesis, but reflect infrared light, which causes them to appear brighter in infrared photographs. Other objects, such as asphalt and human skin, absorb infrared light, which causes them to appear darker. This creates a surreal, almost otherworldly appearance that is often used in fine art, landscape, and architectural photography.
On the other hand, a full-spectrum conversion involves replacing the internal filter with a quartz filter, allowing the camera to capture a wider spectrum of both visible and infrared light, as well as ultraviolet light. This type of conversion opens a world of creative possibilities, as the photographer can use different types of filters to achieve a variety of visual effects. For instance, using a visible light filter creates a regular colour image, while using a strong infrared filter can create that classic monochrome look. A UV-pass filter, on the other hand, can create psychedelic colour images that highlight the UV-reflective qualities of certain objects.
One of the main benefits of infrared photography is the ability to capture a scene in a completely unique and creative way by making visible the invisible. The surreal aesthetic that is created by a 720nm conversion is unlike anything that can be achieved with regular photography and allows the photographer to explore new possibilities. Infrared photography can also reveal aspects of a scene that are invisible to the naked eye, such as hidden textures in leaves or the veins in human skin. This can be especially useful in documentary or scientific photography, where the photographer needs to capture details that may be overlooked by regular photography.
Canon drop-in filter adaptors open up new versatility for Quartz converted EOS R5 and EOS R6 mark II camera bodies with any EF lens. A Quartz converted Canon mirrorless camera can be used with the drop-in filter mount adaptor to house a variety of wavelength filters for changing your filter easily on location and opening up the option of super telephoto or super wide-angle lenses that could not take a filter over their front element.
Fixation can convert the following cameras to IR 720 only or full spectrum:
NIKON: D6, D850, D750, D7000, D7500
CANON: R5, R50, R6, R6 mark II
SONY: A7 MK II, A7 MK III
We can also modify the CANON POWER SHOT G1X MK III to IR 720nm only.
Contact us to find out more about our infrared camera conversion or to book your camera in.