Infrared Photography with an Olympus C-5050Z

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Olympus C-5050Z with Hoya R72

Here is a typical, summertime picture taken in infrared with the five-megapixel Olympus C-5050Z. A color version of a similar frame is also shown for comparison. The picture was shot without a tripod, with the camera supported on a fence.

[1] Without IR (or any other) filter: program exposure with -0.7 EV compensation at ISO 100, 1/800 s at F/5.6; White balance at auto, EFL = 70 mm. [2] With the Hoya R72 filter: program exposure with -0.7 EV compensation at ISO 100, a 1/3 s at F/2.4; White balance at auto, EFL = 70 mm.
[3] Image [2] after color desaturation... [4] ... and after a very slight crop, some tonal adjustment, and denoising with Neat Image. An XGA version can be found here.

The exposure difference between shots with and without the IR filter is about 11.5 EV, or a factor of about 3000×. This clearly shows that while the C-5050Z is capable of infrared photography, its CCD sensitivity in near infrared is quite low.

While the noise, quite strongly showing in my IR photographs, usually does not bother me, in this picture I decided to reduce it using a free version of the program called Neat Image. The program, with a large scale of available adjustments to the process, did a very nice job here in spite of the fact that I am still a novice using it. (Highly recommended!)

Another shot of the U.S. Capitol from the same series, this time with the zoom at maximum wide angle; the exposure was almost unchanged from [15..17]. Just the final version of the processed image (including denoising) is shown.
[5] Program exposure at -0.7 EV and ISO 100; 1/6 s at F/1.8; White balance at auto, EFL = 70 mm. Click here to see a larger, XGA version.
Although the most visible feature of the IR images is the Woods effect in green leaves, let us not be fooled into thinking that this is the sole reason to shoot in infrared. This technique offers also a tonality which is quite different than that of B&W shots in visible light: much softer, with shadows visibly more open.

To make this point, here is a picture of the Renaissance court of the royal castle in Kraków, Poland (also taken with the C-5050Z and Hoya R72). The picture does not show a single tree, but it will not be mistaken for a non-IR one.

[23] Program exposure at -0.7 EV and ISO 125; 1/8 s at F/1.8; White balance at auto, EFL = 35 mm. The XGA-sized version is stored here.

Check also The Beauty of Infrared page in my Gallery section.


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Posted 2002/12/15; last updated 2005/08/16 Copyright © 2002-2005 by J. Andrzej Wrotniak