have always been loving to use new, exciting materials in my art and professional work with clients. Most of all, I have loved to use trusty materials and tools. As people already came to know me, I started my artistic route some 2.5 decades ago with a Black
& White art (B&W). Since then I have always honed up my eclectic style and implemented B&W art even in the coloured work that came along the years.
Shooting in B&W
is not simply taking a photo and desaturate the colours off it. When I talk about B&W I, in particular, mean the symbolic differences between Black and White. One thing is the opposite of another. That is what most of my work touches with. To being able
to create such a body of work, in addition to my composition making process, I required special cameras, filters, lenses, and accessories.
Taking different camera bodies to a location,
I tended to always take some special ones in addition to the "regular" full-frame bodies, just in case, I would think that a special photo opportunity could come by. One of those special camera bodies that I just mentioned is a full-spectrum modified
camera. Having had a few from a few known converters in the past, I got my current full-frame one from a skilled and efficient sensor conversion service called "Infrared Camera Conversion". It is located in Europe and run by a specialised camera technician.
As it appears, the service gets orders from all around the globe. Luckily, New Zealand, where I am usually based in, is still part of the world...
I am not affiliated to the latter service but have been shooting with their converted camera for quite a
while now, I would recommend for their good job in converting my piece. A very good point to mention is that they do not use silly scare-tactics on their website! As many of my readers and followers know, this is not my very first converted/modified camera.
I have read so many scare-tactics on the websites of the other conversion-service competitors, and to be honest I was fed up with those brutal marketing tactics. They promise auto-focusing alignment after changing the sensor filter, however, up to today, I
have never gotten a perfect auto-focusing full spectrum camera, and that is due to a few possible reasons that are not necessarily related to the bad practice of any of the conversion services I used. Sometimes the lens is simply not the right one to use!
One needs to understand that the camera bodies are originally engineered to work with a specific spectrum of light, filters and lenses. Changing either one of those and you may get issues in focus. If you have not gotten any issue, then you're lucky. Otherwise,
prepare yourself for a manual focus shooting, and believe me, this is not that hard to master it!
Focusing with Infrared filters, for example, is totally different from focusing with cameras that have "regular",
visible light, and this is related to optics and how the projection reaches the sensor. Different wavelengths of light (different light colours) reach the sensor differently, and for instance, even in visible light you get diffraction, don't you? Hence, basically,
I tend to be using MANUAL FOCUS when I shoot with those cameras. If to add one more thing about auto-focusing, then only the Hoya UV/IR filter assisted in the autofocus following the conversion of previous modifications, but that turned the camera back to
only visible light wavelengths capable. The latter filter was also reviewed by myself previously. You
can read the review HERE.
So, what does a full spectrum camera do that a "regular" camera does not? A full-spectrum opens up more wavelengths of light to your sensor. Originally, the sensor is set to receive only the mankind eye's visible colours
(visible light). On one side, the infrared is the energy on the electromagnetic radiation line that stands beyond the 700nm. This puts the energy past the visible RED colour, and since its magnitude (strength) is lower than the visible red, it got the name
infra-red (infra means "lower").
On the other side, another energy go past the visible violet colour. Since the violet colour already has the strongest magnitude in our visible light,
all of the wavelengths beyond the visible violet are called "ultra" violet.
Both Infrared and Ultra-violet energies are invisible without special devices. Luckily, the camera sensors
are very sensitive to all (, actually to most) of the spectrum from Ultra-violet to Infrared. That large stretch of the spectrum is called "full-spectrum". Now, one may ask the question "why should I modify my camera if I already have a full spectrum sensor?".
The answer is that the absolute majority of the digital consumer and professional cameras go out of the factories with special filters that are put on top of the sensors. That filter is nicknamed "hot mirror", but many usually call it "infrared filter". The
purpose of the filter is to allow the sensor to gather ONLY the light energy that stands in the margins of the mankind visible light/visible colours. Hence, when taking off that sensor filter (and replacing it with a transparent glass) allows the sensor to
use all of its capability and therefore to gather the full-spectrum.
Those who are not sure what colours a pure full-spectrum shot can yield, straight from the camera, I created
the below examples. The image shows a shot where the right-hand side is full-spectrum, while the left-hand side gets the "regular" visible colours. Please note, in this image I have let the white-balanced to be on "Auto". To get such effect I held the camera
in my right hand, and the Hoya UV/IR filter on the left hand while covering with it half of the camera lens. As described above, the Hoya UV-IR filter turns any full-spectrum modified camera back to a "regular" only visible light camera.