I’ve had a couple of cameras converted to visible infrared in the past, and I have had a lot of fun with them. My favorite was actually an old Canon G3. It did a nice job with the IR images but it is only 4mp. My trusty Olympus E-P3 hasn’t seen a lot of action since I got my OM-D E-M5. It’s a great little camera but it’s no match for the E-M5 when it comes to image quality.
I decided the E-P3 would be great if I had it converted to infrared. the body is nice and small, and I can use the same lenses I am already carrying for the E-M5.
I sent the camera off to Life Pixel to do the conversion. Basically they remove the filter inside the camera that blocks infrared light and replace it with an IR filter. After the conversion the camera only sees infrared light, and you can capture IR images without filters in front of the lens. The camera’s meter works as usual and you don’t need the long exposures required for traditional IR filters.
I had them install the “Enhanced Color” IR filter. The enhanced color filter accentuates the difference between colors in the image. This gives you a wider tonal range and more flexibility when converting the images to black and white. A regular IR image is mostly red tones and can be more challenging to create a dramatic black and white image.
Olympus Viewer 2 software does a nice job reading the white balance from the camera. Adobe doesn’t do a great job with raw IR files when it comes to white balance. Once I batch process the raw files in Oly Viewer, I save them as tiffs and import them into Lightroom 4 for cataloging and editing. For my Black and White conversions I edit the images in NIK Software Color Efex Pro 4 and Silver Efex Pro 2.
Sometimes a new tool can be a great way to jump start your creative juices. With an IR camera you can literally see the world in a different light. IR conversion is a great way to recycle that old camera body you have lying around.