review: ir-modified 828 (f828 images)

Started Apr 5, 2004 | Discussions thread
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Andy Williams
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review: ir-modified 828 (f828 images)
Apr 5, 2004

hi everybody,

as promised, i'm here with my initial thoughts on the ir-modified 828.

for those who do not know, this is a hardware modification made by a company http://www.maxmax.com (disclaimer: i am not affiliated with them in any way except as a customer). essentially, these guys turn your 7x7 or 828 into a fully functional infrared camera. they make the camera able to see infrared and visible light in normal (m, s, a, etc) modes, not just nightshot mode (as is the case with the cameras as they come from sony). camera sensitivity goes from 400nm - 725nm in normal mode to 350nm - 1100nm+ in normal mode.

the very cool thing is that you can shoot ir or regular color after the modification is made. to shoot regular color, you simply put on a special filter from maxmax.com called the xnitecc1. this is a special filter, ionically colored, that absorbs infrared light.

to shoot infrared, you simply put on your ir filter as you normally would, but you now can use the camera in all modes (i prefer manual mode), which of course offers up many more shooting possibilites. handheld? no problem, you can pick a fast shutter speed. windy day? no problem, pick a fast shutter speed. want to control your dof? no problem, you pick the aperture, not the "p" mode of the camera as in the past. in short, you, the photographer, have full control over the exposure for infrared photography.

so why shouldn't you try this conversion yourself? there are websites that show how this is done.....but for me, i wouldn't want to tempt fate, and here's why: sony cams have an internal cut filter that refracts light, changing the focusing point. this "icf" is after the focusing assembly in the camera, which means that if you remove the icf and don't replace it with proper optics, the camera will not focus properly. this is where maxmax shines, because they've been doing custom optics for a long time and in fact, do a lot of work for the u.s. government (hush-hush stuff - david_s85 is sure to know about it, possibly ulysses too, but i don't have the details heheheh). through their research (read: taking apart a couple of 828s) they discovered that the tolerance on the replacement optics for the sony 828 icf must be correct to + - 0.02 millimeters. very precision work.

i found the folks at maxmax.com to be very good to deal with. i've had numerous conversations with the president, and he and his staff have been patient with my questions, convincing in their references, and very fast on the turnaround of the converted camera (just a couple of days!). i'm highly satisfied thus far with them as a company.

so - on with the pics! here are some shots i took today in central park. still no leaves on the trees, so they aren't very exciting. and i only spent about 15-20 minutes shooting and then had to rush back to work.

for all shots: ir-modified sony f828, handheld, iso 64, camera in manual mode. the weather today was very very windy (gusts of 25-30 mph). the sky was blue, with some clouds but not the good puffy ir-cumulus clouds - rats. in post for all shots: b&w conversion via channel mixer (50%, 50%, 0%, check monochrome); minor levels adjustments (didn't need much as i exposed at shoot with histogram); contrast +10; usm (100 or 150 amount, .4 radius, 0 threshholds). that's it for post.

here's the building that i look at outside my window:
1/160th sec, f/4.5

the entrance to the park at 59th street and fifth avenue:
1/200th sec, f/4

found these two enjoying their lunch
1/400th sec, f/2.8

and then i put on the xnitecc1 filter. just so you can see that the camera functions normally...
1/320th sec, f/4

here's the whole scene
1/320th sec, f/4

further into the park, a forsythia bush is in bloom
1/200th sec, f/4.5

and again, with the xnitecc1 filter so you can see it in color
1/500th sec, f/4.5

looking southwesterly, towards central park south and columbus circle
1/250th sec, f/4.5

i can't wait for spring to really come, becuase then i'll have some exciting shooting opporunities

so, the big benefits, imo, are: complete exposure control (higher shutter speed, to counteract the wind blowing the foliage, control over the aperture, and iso), you can handhold ir shots now without fear of camera shake, and of course, you can shoot normally, too

if you are are interested, you may view larger sizes and a few more shots in this gallery:
http://www.moonriverphotography.com/gallery/93716

if you'd like to learn more about infrared techniques with sony cameras, this thread has a wealth of info, shared by the stf:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1009&message=7558421

enjoy (full control ir) photography,

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andy

 Andy Williams's gear list:Andy Williams's gear list
Nikon D800E Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300mm F4-5.6 OIS Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm 1:2 +2 more
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