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Cheap options for night/low light photography?

I think it could be quite cool to be able to take photos of my unit training in the dark (mainly just for our own internal FB group).

I've seen some IR modified digital cameras on eBay, and was thinking that perhaps one of these and an iR flash would be ideal for the job.

Has anyone here tried any of these modified cameras? Do they give decent results?

Or does anyone have any other suggestions for this kind of thing, that doesn't cost a fortune?
 

theoriginalphantom

MIA
Book Reviewer
My father has had one of his cameras converted to IR, he's getting some amazing results. Not a cheap thing to get done properly. There are plenty of instructions on how to do it at home, and I'm led to believe there is a good industry churning them out on eBay this way, some with copied paperwork from a professional conversion.
 
[Most] camera sensors respond to IR by default. This messes up the visible-light response a bit, so more expensive cameras like DSLRs have an IR filter. The modification offered is to remove the filter from the sensor (which is rather finicky).

If you’ve got a point-and-shoot, or even a phone camera, you could try just adding some IR illumination. An easy way to see if your camera picks up IR is to point a TV remote control into the lens and operate one of the buttons. If you can see the (IR) LED light up on the camera/phone screen, then...
 
[Most] camera sensors respond to IR by default. This messes up the visible-light response a bit, so more expensive cameras like DSLRs have an IR filter. The modification offered is to remove the filter from the sensor (which is rather finicky).

If you’ve got a point-and-shoot, or even a phone camera, you could try just adding some IR illumination. An easy way to see if your camera picks up IR is to point a TV remote control into the lens and operate one of the buttons. If you can see the (IR) LED light up on the camera/phone screen, then...

That's worth a try. Thanks for the suggestion.
 
IR is just a different light source to illuminate the area you want to photograph.

I used IR wet film with an IR gel filter over the flash many years ago. This was just to avoid the bright camera flash.

You can play about by increasing the ISO and or shutter speed to take pictures in the dark.

You will need to keep the camera steady with a tripod or other means to avoid shake.

These were just taken with my phone.

The first is an auto exposure selected by the phone.

The second is manual exposure with increased shutter speed.
My phone was just held up against the window to prevent it moving.

You can see that the areas with light are now over exposed but you can now see the detail in the dark areas.

20181224_205425.jpg

20181224_185110_compress74.jpg
 
I get paid to photograph a series of night races. It's a pain in the arse, but I know how to use a flash and tripod to make runners look like they're getting attacked by massive sperms, if that's any help to you?

IMG_8552 by Whey-Aye-One, on Flickr

IMG_0503 by Whey-Aye-One, on Flickr
Look in your camera manual or flash menu and set the flash to “Second curtain synch” and the effect will be reversed.
 
You can take an IF image with a trail camera, the trouble the focus is set,
be alright close up,

Yes, I used to use trailcams quite a bit. I actually got some okay photos sometimes.

Can't you use a normal camera and flash?

Is the IR for tactical reasons?

I probably could, but think taking photos with a visible flash might be a bit of an annoyance. My thoughts are that I'd get more natural shots (rather than posed) with the IR.
 
I probably could, but think taking photos with a visible flash might be a bit of an annoyance. My thoughts are that I'd get more natural shots (rather than posed) with the IR.

You can take candid shots with a normal flash; humans are too slow to react. You'll have your photo before they realise.

And I often annoy people; I think you have to if you want to get a good shot. I photograph runners 'out of nowhere' in the middle of pitch black forests or on hill tops. It gives them a shock and damages their night vision; not great when you're racing at night.

I think it's worth it.
 
IR is just a different light source to illuminate the area you want to photograph.

I used IR wet film with an IR gel filter over the flash many years ago. This was just to avoid the bright camera flash.

You can play about by increasing the ISO and or shutter speed to take pictures in the dark.

You will need to keep the camera steady with a tripod or other means to avoid shake.

These were just taken with my phone.

The first is an auto exposure selected by the phone.

The second is manual exposure with increased shutter speed.
My phone was just held up against the window to prevent it moving.

You can see that the areas with light are now over exposed but you can now see the detail in the dark areas.

View attachment 516832
View attachment 516833

You can combine the images in camera or later using a process called HDR. Some cameras will shoot several frames and automatically combine them or you can bracket exposures and do it later on the computer. I used to do it in the darkroom where it was known as split grade printing. One last tip. If you are doing long exposures on a tripod, disables the images stabilisation on the camera or it can go into a feedback loop and blur your images
 

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