I have not converted my D70 as of yet but I have researched it. There are several companies that will convert them. The most popular seems to be life pixel. They will convert for you including adjustment in focus for a particular lens or you can purchase the DIY kit and do it yourself.
Thanks, I would appreciate you keeping me posted on the outcome. The reason I want to convert my D70 for infrared capabilities is because it just sits there since I purchased a D200 a year ago. Can't get much for it, so I thought I would try some infrared shots. Again, thanks for the info.
Actually you are ahead of me. I've had a pair of D 200s for a year and half. I just found out about Life Pixel last fall and was real interested. I started looking for a used D 70 to buy and bought a grade 9+ from B&H a few weeks ago. Mine appears to have had no use at all. I specifically wanted a D 70 as the battery is the same as the D 200 and it uses CF cards same as my D 200s. I've also read that it makes a really good conversion.
I got an email today from Life Pixel telling me that they received my camera and would send it back within 5 to 10 working days from today. Actually UPS reported that they signed for it Monday morning. So much for getting it back this weekend. dale
I have just begun shooting with my converted D70, and it is a joy. I have found that compared to using a filter, those interminable shutter lags are behind me, and I can even shoot hand held with reasonable success. Best of all I can see what I am doing!
I have also found that shooting in sunlight is most helpful, although using a flash does help since it adds more infrared rays in dimmer light. I am looking forward to sunshine and greenery which are its natural settings.
All in all it is a new process compared to color photography, as is the editing in Photoshop, but the results can be stunning in a way different from traditional black and white.
I would be interested to know how well you think the matrix meter works. Are you bracketing and if so, how much. Also what lens are you using and how is the focus? I asked for mine to be adjusted for the standard 18-70mm lens and figured that would cover most of my lenses but I won't know until I try it.
I never thought about the SB-800 adding IR light. Interesting observation. thanks.
As I have just started shooting with this camera, all of it indoors at the botanical garden, I have limited experience. I concentrated entirely on trying to get enough light into the camera. ( I have been told to use f/stops from 8 and smaller, and I could not open up the lens as much as I wanted to.) I didn't learn until later to use flash for more infrared, but I am not sure I would have used it anyway in those circumstances.
I shot entirely with an 18-200 Nikon lens, and since I usually use matrix, I never considered anything else this time. I never thought of bracketing either. All of these other considerations will have to come when we go on vacation and find sunshine and plenty of outdoor greenery.
But don't get me wrong, I did get a few wonderful shots that were helped along with Photoshop, including a black butterfly on a single flower and a string of orchids against a brick wall. Infrared creates stunning possibilities.
Thanks for your input. I believe the suggestion to use small f stops is to be sure the depth of field will insure your subject is in focus. IR focus is quite different from visible light as I'm sure everybody knows. Life Pixel adjusts the focus for a specific lens but they can't get it perfect for all of them. I'm real curiious how close they can get and how wide we can shoot with decent results.
I wish they would send my camera back. I'll go shoot in the Western Washington rain. I guess I better be careful, my D-70 isn't weather sealed like my D-200.
One more suggestion for shooting. When I start editing my infrared photos by desaturating them in Photoshop Camera Raw, I watch the original histogram on screen. It is amazing to see how all the colors squish together in the midrange no matter where they started, even though I thought I had a much wider range when I shot.
I figure that I may need to overexpose to get a satisfactory initial histogram in gray scale, and certainly I cannot underexpose. I don't want to start stretching the pixels any more than necessary and create a lot of noise.
Shooting infrared seems to be quite a different experience.
Hi, I'm a little bit confused by your post. Why would you desaturate what I assume is a black and white image? Did you have a color filter of some sort installed?
But no matter, I don't don't see any way that changing saturation will have any impact on the histogram. I just spent some time in CS 2 to see if I could force a change but to the best of my skill, it has no impact at all.
I'd sure like to know what you are trying to accomplish and maybe you could post a sample image etc.
Infrared photos customarily arrive on the computer monitor in some shade of red or orange, not black and white. Mine from my recently converted D70 are magenta. My old ones from a filtered D70 were red.
If you want black and white, the quickest route is an immediate desaturation which produces a grayscale, but not the same grayscale that comes from converting ordinary color photos. Or you can go with the white balance eyedropper which for me produces taupe with a hint of pink, just as a starting point.
You may not agree with my observations, nor do you have to, but on my monitor, all the colors shrink into a solid mass of white in the middle of the histogram, not anyway near close enough to the black and white end points for my satisfaction, even though the histogram on my camera indicated that I was exposing pretty well.
I will need to develop some new strategies to get the distribution I want, but it is well worth it since I find infrared to be a wonderful art form.
I don't know how to post photos on this site, but the ones I have are straight black and white since I edited them to be that way.
We have just returned from a Photoshop cruise to the eastern Caribbean, and I have not yet downloaded my ir photos. Anyway here are my new thoughts- getting the right subject matter is the greatest issue since complicated greenery will not work at all. Water turns black so waterfalls look very peculiar. Clear blue skies are the best, and I like them without clouds, since white clouds and white foliage merge unattractively. Animals are black and look great. I haven't had a chance to do people properly.
I shot with both a Nikon 18-200 and a 70-300, always matrix at this beginning point. Brackets don't work since there is very little difference in my one stop possibilities-they are almost identical. I also shot for CS3 merge, about 10 shots, but I haven't put the together yet so I don't know if that works. I certainly hope so, for good landscapes with proper content, and I plan to pursue this as far as I can get it to go.
After I get going on my photos I will know more about exposure, since i think that there are complicated issues here. I shot so that my histograms looked good, but I don't know how they will turn out.
First of all, sorry about the double post. I don't know how that happened.
UPS delivered my camera about one hour ago.
The good news is that I bought a grade 9+ used camera from B&H that is like brand new. They did the modification and returned to me my camera in the same grade 9+ condition. There is no indication that it has been taken apart at all. I watched their do it yourself video so I know what they did. On the exterior I rate this a 1st class job.
The bad news is that they advertize a 5 to 10 working day turn around. They signed for my camera on 4 Feb and shipped it back on 26 Feb. That is 22 days. I called them Monday of this week and they were very nice. They are very busy as demand is high and they also are having to wait for suppliers to send them the replacement filters. So at least for the time being, I wouldn't expect a quick turn if you send them your camera for conversion.
It is now dark here and I don't want to start experimenting with IR photography at night. There are enough issues to work through without adding darkness to the mix. I'm not a pro photographer but I have a job which requires me to use my photo equipment. I will take my new toy to work with me tomorrow and by tomorrow evening I will post an image that we can discuss.
It was a drab drizzly day this morning but by afternoon we had some sunbreaks and I got a couple of shots to share. First some observations about the camera.
Color cast to the images. Sally Brown reported a red cast to her images. I believe that is true. When I sent my camera to Life Pixel, I had the White Balance set to A. When I got it back, it was set to Pre. Today I found out that if I shot with WB of A I get a red cast to the image. If I shoot to Pre, I get a pure gray scale. NO color at all. They seem to have set a custom white balance that takes the cast out of the images. But I have no way to determine what color temperture they have set. that is all a custom setting is anyway. A specific color temperture. None of my software will report the exact temperture used. It just says Custom setting 0. I just plan to leave it in pre all the time. Jpgs are just fine and usable right out of the camera.
Focus. I had them adjust the camera to focus for IR with the Nikon 18-70mm AF-S lens. I don't use this lens but that is their standard conversion and I figured it would work for my Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8 and my Sigma 10-20mm f/4 lenses that I intend to use on this camera most of the time. Today I didn't push focus issues. The images below are either f/8 or f/6.3 and the subject is far in the distance. I'll experiment with focus later.
Exposure. I used matrix metering and bracketed. For these conditions, I found that + 1.0 EV to be most pleasing to my eye. I for sure did not like the under exposed shots. The -1.0 or -2.0 EV NEF files are really strange. Not what I was expecting at all. I'll post on those later when I better understand what is happening.
Here are two images from this afternoon. Noting worth bragging about. Just a field next to my job site.
Hi, thanks you for kind words. I intend to do some "informal" testing of focus and will post some results so people can judge how well this concept works. I expect decent results with wide angle lenses at mid f stops. I also expect major problems with telephoto lenses @ f/2.8. We will see.
How does one post photos in this system? I have a couple of my first onesI like, and a few more of our deep snow that may actually turn out. It is hard to see on a little screen, but I am hopeful even though I have not heard that snow is a good subject.
Hi Sally, When I make a post, there is a link at the bottom of the screen where you type text that has a link called: "Click here to choose your attachments". Click there and navigate to the location of your image on your hard drive. Then upload it and submit your post.
Based on my experience with a modified (by lifepixel) Canon G3
(what I had BEFORE buying a D70), shoot raw, or at least
raw+jpg. There are lots of ways of working with white balance
and tweaking the color mix (red <-> blue swaps are
pretty interesting). Some of these color swaps are more
interesting with an alternative wb that may not be obvious
when taking the shot.
Just my $0.02 (and devaluing daily it seems)
I don't have the equipment or the interest in doing a scientific test of the camera's focus. However, I did notice early on that it seems to want to focus behind my intended subject with my 17-55 mm f2.8 lens. Of course, the closer you are to the subject the more apparent the error is.
Here are two images I shot. In both cases, the actual point of focus is the rose branch on the left. The actual focus is the branch just to the right.
The lens is the 17-55mm f2.8 @ 55mm. The shooting distance is 3 feet. The distance from the intended focus point to the actual focus is 3 inches.
The first images is shot at f2.8 and the second is f8. The rest of the shooting data is the same for both images except of course the shutter speed changed.
The f8 shot brings the intended subject more into focus from DOF but it is not the same photo. I think in critical images, I'll start to manually bring the focus a little bit toward me. How much is going to be a guess.
I have been told that it is best not to go wider than f8 because of these very focussing problems. There is some way of establishing a proper focus manually shooting newsprint and then marking the exterior of the lens with a dot. Perhaps someone else knows how to do this.
I am still learning about the peculiarities of exposure. My camera tells me that the exposure is quite good, and Photoshop CS3 tells me that I have underexposed rather a lot, so I guess I will have to develop better intuition. Actually the blacks aren't right either, and the whole photo sits in the middle of my histogram in CS3 and has to be expanded in both directions. However, most photos don't need the entire range, so I am managing pretty well to tease photos into looking good.
All in all I am fascinated with ir photography, and sometimes I forget to shoot with my regular D80 which is sitting right next to me.
Most of the time I think, especially landscapes, using DOF to get stuff in focus is fine. But these Life Pixel cameras are supposed to be adjusted to focus for IR not visible light. The problem is that every lens is unique and my camera is adjusted for the 18-70mm AF-S lens which I don't use. So I'm doing some informal testing. I now know that my 17-55mm lens focuses 3 inches behind the subject at close range. I can now adjust for that when needed.
In the images I posted, even the f8 one is not sharp at the point of focus. Much better to get it right if you can when you are up close with shallow DOF.
In the old days, Nikon gave us IR focus marks on the lenses. I still have some like that but they stopped that practice many years ago.
I am finding that a +1.3 to +1.7 EV adjustment the shot in normal daylight conditions gets me a reasonable exposure. Shooting RAW and post in NX fixes any issues. My histograms look like a normal image that might be some underexposed.
I haven't done a lot indoors with the SB-800 yet but enough to know that the strobe needs to be set for +1.0 as well as the camera for even close work.