For the past decade we have been developing and refining our infra-red conversions for digital cameras. With each new model produced by the manufacturers, we can use our hard-won experience to produce the best conversion available for that model.

As with all the modification work we do, we have behind us decades of experience as a camera repair and service centre.

Currently it has never been easier to produce infra-red images than it is now with a dedicated infra-red converted camera. Previously, infra-red photography involved the use of specialist film, with infra-red filters used on the front of the lens. This had a number of serious limitations. Because we are unable see through IR filters it was impossible to both compose and focus images using the viewfinder. In addition using infra-red filters in front of the lens meant the need for very long exposures, which necessitated the use of a tripod, and meant blurred images where any movement occurred in the image.

Using a dedicated infra-red converted camera where the infra-red filter is installed on the sensor means that taking infra-red images is no more difficult than taking an image with an ordinary camera in visible light. You can use the viewfinder to compose shots and you can manually focus with the viewfinder if use manual lenses. You can use the autofocus system of the camera just as you normally would and you no longer need to use the tripod or long exposures to capture images. With our dedicated infra-red converted cameras you can shoot handheld and capture crisp images of movement which were previously impossible.

APPLICATIONS FOR INFRA-RED PHOTOGRAPHY

Forensics

Infra-red can be used to image things which are not visible to the naked eye, or to a conventional camera. Infra-red has the ability to penetrate the top layer of skin for instance and can be used to document latent injuries or tattoos which might not be visible or clear otherwise. Infra-red will also penetrate thin layers of paint and can identify damage, or previous repairs to cars, walls and buildings.

Medical

Blood vessels, bruising and other phenomena which are just below the skin’s surface can be imaged using infra-red converted cameras.

Astronomy

Near infra-red photography (NIR) using converted SLR cameras which can image in the range 700nm to 1200nm can be used to improve imaging of distant objects as the Doppler Effect will lengthen wavelengths where objects move away from us.

Botanical/Agricultural

Infra-red converted cameras are now widely used to investigate the health of plants, and are used in experiments to measure plant health. Plants with more chlorophyll (vital in the photosynthesis process where plants derive their energy from light) will reflect more infra-red, and can be easily identified using infra-red converted cameras. By looking at fields or forests, we can see how infra-red response, and therefore plant health is distributed across an area. This allows locations where plants are less healthy to be identified, studied and diagnosed. In large scale agriculture this means locally targeted fertilisers can be used, saving money and reducing pollution.

Archaeology

Due to the fact that plants strongly reflect infra-red when healthy, we can use infra-red converted cameras to identify archaeological sites from the air. Aerial photography has long been useful for this, but infra-red can show subtle changes in the health of plants due to the underlying soil depth or other factors, and highlight anomalies which would not be visible with conventional aerial photography.

Conservation of Art

Our infra-red conversions are in use with many of the world’s foremost institutions in the conservation of paintings and art. As infra-red light is able to penetrate the top layers of paint, it can be used to document under-painting, and identify fakes, or study how an artist went about painting the earlier stages of the image.

Nature Photography/Filming

Our cameras are now widely used by various BBC departments, including BBC Nature, Springwatch, and all manner of other media institutions for filming in the dark. If you have seen nice crisp black and white Night vision shots, instead of the old fuzzy green image intensifier shots, then these are likely to be from infra-red converted SLR cameras. With the appropriate infra-red lighting you can film in total darkness without disturbing your subject with dazzling visible lighting.

Covert Surveillance

Many military, intelligence, and police agencies use infra-red converted cameras to gather intelligence in situations where conventional visible light cameras will not work. Just as for nature filming and photography, we can produce “invisible” infra-red LED lighting or specialist flash systems, which when used with infra-red converted cameras can film or photograph in darkness without disturbing the subject. Interestingly, many dark glasses will also become clear in the infra-red spectrum.