I remember taking infrared pictures with a simple filter and black and white film. How can I do something like this with digital cameras? Or is this even possible?


Yes, but not on most standard DSLRs. Most digital cameras have an infrared filter on the sensor to improve the image captures in the visible spectrum.

In order to do take infrared photos it is best to buy a camera designed for that purpose or modify a camera by removing the filter on the sensor.

There is a great overview of digital infrared photography here: Infrared Photography with a Digital Camera

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    Canon used to make modified version of 20d called 20Da dedicated for astrophotography - it seems strange that they do not follow that with new models en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canon_EOS_20D#EOS_20Da – kristof Jul 20 '10 at 19:10
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    -1 you can do IR photography on pretty much any DSLR/compact with a visible light blocking filter and a tripod. – Matt Grum Feb 12 '11 at 13:08
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    That is true, but not all scenes are suited for long exposures. – chills42 Feb 12 '11 at 13:19
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    @chills42 The questioner has experience in using BW film plus a filter to shoot IR, which has the same caveats (long exposures are required) so the simple answer to his question is 'yes, on almost all digital cameras' – Matt Grum Feb 13 '11 at 10:34
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    -1 If having to use long exposure or high ISO were enough to say that some kind of photography is not possible with a camera, it should be a widely accepted fact that pinhole or astrophotography is impossible with any camera; but rather the technique is tweaked to match capabilities of technology. I agree with @MattGrum, the answer should be "yes" for most cameras. – Imre May 18 '12 at 16:00

The Sigma DSLR cameras do straight IR work without long exposures or altering the sensor - all you have to do is remove the dust protector (which takes a moment and requires no tools, and is easy to put back).

At that point you can do what is called a full-color IR where you capture the other portions of the spectrum but extend into IR, or you can use an IR-Cut filter like the Wratten filters (87b being an example of that). I have a Cokin-P filter holder, that I use with an IR-Cut Wratten gel - that way I can frame and focus and quickly drop the IR filter down into place before shooting.

You can find a number of images taken with an older version of the Sigma DSLR here:


An Example: enter image description here

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You can achieve a similar effect without modding your camera by buying a Near-IR filter. These usually stop you waaaay down, so your exposure is 25–30 seconds, and you can't see anything through the viewfinder. Requires manual focus too. After taking the capture, you have to post-process the image — I forgot the details but it involved switching reds with blues in the channel mixer. Was way too much work for me, but I have seen some really successful shots with it.

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