1. Reminder: Please use our affiliate links for holiday shopping!

Which camera for an IR conversion

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by fsuscotphoto, May 2, 2016.

  1. fsuscotphoto

    fsuscotphoto Mu-43 Top Veteran

    819
    Feb 15, 2013
    St. Cloud, FL
    Ron
    I'm investigating which Oly camera to use for a LifePixel Infrared conversion. I've been using my E-M5 as a backup to my newer M5II, but I'm a bit reluctant to convert my backup. It's still an option, but I wanted other opinion. I'm looking a buying something used, probably off of Ebay.

    I'm open to all suggestions.
     
  2. zensu

    zensu An Old Fool

    Aug 8, 2012
    Southeastern USA
    Bobby
    I had my Oly E-P5 converted by LifePixel and it takes great IR images. They did a great job! I took this with the P/L 15mm F1.7 lens.
    26685015502_a72e1dbd27_b.
     
  3. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 Top Veteran

    766
    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    A couple years back I bought an E-P2 specifically for conversion. I picked that model because it was old enough that the prices were much better than later version. Considering I was upgrading from an old Olympus E-300 dSLR, ANY mirrorless model was going to be great. And it is.

    I had mine done by image-laboratory (on ebay)...
    Items in image-laboratory store on eBay!

    Not a knock against LifePixel, who I am sure does a fantastic job, but Image-Laboratory is significantly cheaper.

    Anyway, back to your question. One thing to note is that IR shooting is almost always done daytime, outdoors, in good lighting. And the problem with a lot of Oly Pens is if you don't have a viewfinder, many shooting situations when trying to use the back LCD can be very tricky. I ended up buying off ebay, an old Kodak add on optical viewfinder (it just sits in the hotshoe) for something like $13 I think. It gives a very roughly little box to look through and was enough for me to line up my shots close enough. Soooo, if you are like me and hate looking at the back LCD of a camera out in the sunlight I would suggest A) get and OM-D model or B) get an EVF if you get a Pen model or C) get an optical viewfinder that is close enough if you get a Pen.

    Personally I liked the Pen option because it is fairly compact and when on vacation I like to bring my IR camera as well. But as something that is only going to get about 10% of the use of my E-M1, it is nice to minimize bulk for something I would be carrying more than using. I considered getting the E-PM1 as well at the time because it was the smallest model, but I decided I rather have more of the controls available to me without having to menu dive and the E-PMx models tend to minimize buttons and menu-ize more settings than other Pen models.
     
  4. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    E-PL1 was pretty straight forward to DIY. I purchased my third body a while back for $80 bucks or so. Followed the instructions online but maintained the dust reduction system (instructions have it removed). It also protects the sensor underneath sans optical filter glass stack. Took just a couple hours to complete the conversion and I use mostly the 720nm IR cut filter.

    14611801538_19a01c3b4b_b.
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Informative Informative x 1
  5. Baimei

    Baimei Mu-43 Regular

    56
    Dec 15, 2011
    I have had five bodies converted so far ( Life Pixel), with excellent results.
    I always used an older body for the conversion until the last time. I got two EM5II bodies and had one converted. This arrangement works very well because the second body gets a lot more use than it would as my backup.
    It all depends how much you like IR.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  6. kauphymug

    kauphymug Mu-43 Regular

    85
    May 1, 2015
    Cowford, Florida
    Had my GX7 converted. The problem. Trying to get it back from daughter.

    p1000849_dxo-.109639.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  7. kauphymug

    kauphymug Mu-43 Regular

    85
    May 1, 2015
    Cowford, Florida
    I missed the GX7 so I bought another from one of the members. I thought about getting a used inexpensive "beater" to convert but I had experimented with ir doing horizontal and vertical panoramas and it's easier to frame, for me, and I was pretty serious about ir so I did the GX7.
     
  8. lomomentum

    lomomentum Mu-43 Regular

    I've had GX-1 and E-P5 converted in the past. Now on a G7. All excellent. Protech repairs in Sussex, UK. Very nice people.
     
  9. DennisH

    DennisH Mu-43 Regular

    70
    Apr 27, 2016
    Dennis
    How about the cheaply priced pl6? $299 with two lenses


    Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43 mobile app
     
  10. plamski

    plamski Mu-43 Regular

    49
    Apr 21, 2015
    FL
    Plamen
    EM-10 converted by image-laboratory in eBay. Result is priceless. I have one converted to full spectrum. I'm using 590nm,630nm filters for faux colors and 720 and up for B&W
    After you can get ---Hoya USA CM-500 Color correcting filter same as BG39 IR Cut--- filter and you can use the camera like a normal one outside.
    EM-10 + 9-18mm is my combo.
     
  11. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Kinda off topic but here's something else neat to try out.

    I took a high powered flash with both a deep red and deep blue gels in front. Basically filters out most of the visual spectrum; you don't see the flash at all; just a bit of purple if you are looking straight at the flash. But it emits enough IR to be picked up by my E-PL1 without filter stack nor on lens filter. Might be neat to try out some creative flash + IR or perhaps at night. Unfortunately, I haven't had the time to try it out... just this test shot. The test shot was done in almost complete darkness and absolutely no flash could be visually seen.

    15536799324_ddf3748481_b.


    I personally wouldn't do a conversion on a new or expensive camera unless IR is a serious passion. My price point was at $100 at the time I was interested. By then, the E-PL1s and the Panasonic G1 had dropped into that price range on Ebay. I chose the E-PL1 because I found the instruction online to remove the filter stack myself. Increases my chances of a successful conversion having instructions.

    I also chose to simply remove the filter stack because it allows me to experiment with different filters on lens. I have a IR cut (basically makes the camera shoot normally), 720 and 1000mm. The 1000mm I found is pretty limited in use but still interesting. If you are really into IR, you probably know which filter you will shoot. I'd say it is more convenient to have the conversion with the IR filter on sensor.

    My most used lens for IR is the 9-18.

    Another couple samples from my Olympus E-PL1 with 720nm filter.
    14622589499_76fdd0002e_b.

    this one is with the 12mm f/2 (a little hotspot in center). BW conversion was done with Nik SilverEfex
    14786145536_4d869c23c9_b.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2016
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Petrochemist

    Petrochemist Mu-43 Top Veteran

    652
    Mar 21, 2013
    N Essex, UK
    Mike
    I got my GF2 preconverted, the lack of a viewfinder proved to be a bit of a pain so I've now brought the optional viewfinder for it.
    Overall I find mirrorless cameras are ideal for IR especially if Full spectrum converted. Unlike a DSLR you can frame shots etc. perfectly well with any of the IR filters fitted. If you fancy trying something different it's just a case of changing the filter :)

    As I see it the choice of camera is mainly influenced by how much you can spend. High ISO performance is generally less of an issue as the best IR images tend to be in bright sunshine, but if you really wish to push the envelope it might prove useful(I have seen IR shots by moonlight), and focus peaking might be useful if you want to try more unusual lenses. I would certainly recommend an EVF.
     
  13. fsuscotphoto

    fsuscotphoto Mu-43 Top Veteran

    819
    Feb 15, 2013
    St. Cloud, FL
    Ron
    Thanks for all the wonderful replies! I've decided to use my old E-M5, I know it's in good shape and I don't have to spend any more on another camera. Now, I need to understand "full spectrum". I would need filters? And I would need each type to fit each lens I intended to use, or are any available in squares so I could use a holder?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. plamski

    plamski Mu-43 Regular

    49
    Apr 21, 2015
    FL
    Plamen
    You most likely need wide lens.
    But You can get larger filter and step down rings ,so you can use it on small lenses.
    For Full spectrum you can read in the net.
     
  15. zensu

    zensu An Old Fool

    Aug 8, 2012
    Southeastern USA
    Bobby
    I would test each lens I had to check for 'hot spots' before I spent a bundle on filter adapters. Don't buy the cheap aluminum/plastic 'filter adapters', they can bind up your lens filter threads and your filters. I highly recommend brass threads that cost much more but will never bind.
     
  16. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 Top Veteran

    766
    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    Ya, full spectrum means you are only removing the IR "cut" filter in front of the sensor and replacing it with "clear" glass. Now you have NO filter in front of the sensor and you can then use any filter you like on your lens, including no filter or a simple UV filter to be able to use the camera more or less normally.

    But as you point out, the con to full spectrum is you have to have a filter or filters that can be used on which ever lenses you want to shoot with. This could mean one large IR filter with a butt load of step up rings to fit it to all your lenses you want to use or filters for each size you want. The other downside is that you may not be able to use certain lenses for IR shooting which do not easily take external filters such as body cap lenses, fisheye lenses, NO lenses (if you want to do your own pin hole lens cover), etc. But the upside is you can attach any filter you want to shoot any wavelength you want.

    For me, I shoot IR but not a ton (and basically zero during the cold months) so I am perfectly happy with a permanently converted IR camera (currently mine is 750nm) which allows me to simply grab it and shoot and I can mount any lens I like on it. Con is I am limited to the one filter type, but I do not shoot so much that I feel I need to be able to switch to other wavelengths and am happy working with what I picked.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  17. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    btw.... I was too lazy (and cheap) to source clear optical glass for my Olympus E-PL1. I just removed the filter stack, replaced the anti-dust filter on top and reassembled. I haven't had any problems.
     
  18. kauphymug

    kauphymug Mu-43 Regular

    85
    May 1, 2015
    Cowford, Florida
    If you're going to dedicate a camera to ir just have the conversion done by replacing the cut filter with the ir filter of your choice. 720 seems to be the most popular but there is 850 and 650 and others. Look here at Isaac Szabo to see what a pro can do with ir. By doing a dedicated conversion the lens filter doesn't matter.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    "Full spectrum" pretty much means no filter on top. So the sensor is subjected to the entire spectrum of wavelengths that it can record. The advantage is that you get to choose whatever filter to place on the lens. The disadvantage is that you have to use filters. Choosing the filter is great for experimentation.. lots of fun. But working with filters does require setup time and is not as convenient as on-sensor filters. My most used filter is the 720nm for BW conversions. You'll want to check lesser wave length filters for false color.

    I have several camera systems now and in the past. So I use 77mm filters w/ step up rings. I have a collection of filters dating back to my film days. I have two sets of filterstep up rings. One set that steps up lenses greater than 58mm to 77mm. Another set that steps all lenses smaller than 58mm to 58mm filter size. So I am at most using two step up rings for my smallest of lenses. Step up rings are relatively cheap... but going with a large filter like my 77mm does accrue additional expense.
     
  20. zensu

    zensu An Old Fool

    Aug 8, 2012
    Southeastern USA
    Bobby
    I agree, Mr. Szabo is an artist. I had my conversion done by Lifepixel and they will help you decide which filtration you would be happiest with, and no I don't work for Lifepixel. Yes it's expensive but they do a top notch job on almost any digital camera.