So I picked up a roll of Ilford SFX which is an IR film and I want to experiment with it.

I've seen pictures taken with this film before; however, if I'm out in the field how will I know what the image will look like?

I know that it'll take practice to get used to the film and what I see, but as my first time, is there a good way to describe what I will see and what I will capture?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Just try it. I'm not sure what we could say to describe the affect anyway. Oh, and don't leave the film sitting on the radiator. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 31, 2015 at 15:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop it is in my refrigerator; however, I just purchased an EOS-3 so the bottom will get fogged. \$\endgroup\$
    – SailorCire
    Commented Oct 31, 2015 at 22:18

1 Answer 1


You will be photographing things that reflect near IR light well.
You are not photographing things that are 'warm'.
If you are not using a red or deep red filter, the things that reflect near IR will will have a fuzzy glow to them.

Alfred SFX has sensitivity out to 740nm (compared to about 650nm for most other black and white films). (data sheet - always a good read)

enter image description here

As we humans can't see in this range (our vision starts to become much less sensitive in the 650nm+ range) we have to guess based on what we know of IR sources and reflectivity.

Living foliage tends to be highly reflective in IR. The clear blue sky is rather dark in IR. Clouds, are very reflective. And so on. This comes with experience in using the film and looking at other photographs and working backwards.

If you shoot without a filter, some of the image will be blurry. As IR light and regular light focus to different points, you just won't be able to focus for both at the same time.

You may wish to consider using a red to deep red filter which will increase the relative light in the infrared end and allow you to get a sharper image (focusing for red and IR rather than greens and blue). If you have a manual focus lens, look for the symbol on the focus for the IR adjust.

enter image description here

In this case, the camera is focused at just past 30 meters. To adjust for IR, move the red dot to the spot where the red line is currently. One could also stop down to about f/16 and hope for the depth of field being sufficient, though this may lead to some rather long exposures when combined with the filter factor for a deep red.


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