The Real Infrared! If you want to see what shines in the colours you can't see, this is it. After a bit more experience with Efke ir820 film, here is a revised user review with better, more complete information.
The Real Infrared! If you want to see what shines in the colours you
can’t see, this is it.
This is as close as you can come to Kodak High Speed Infrared,
that’s fresh and new. All you need is a suitable camera (120 is
easier to load), something to steady the camera on, because the
exposures are long, and the right filter. This film doesn’t cut off until
820nm, so you can get wonderful infrared effects. Foliage will be light
and shiny, the sky dark, and people will be luminous and translucent.
Make sure your clothes are natural fibre, thick, and wooley, if you are
in the picture. Otherwise, your naughty bits might shine through.
A very long ago, when I was in the Navy, at the Naval Air Station Point
Mugu photo shop, there was a poster of a very fair redheaded girl,
wearing a green and black one piece nylon swimsuit, one photo
shot with colour film and one photo shot with Kodak High Speed
Infrared film. In the infrared photo, the nylon swimsuit was
absolutely transparent. The spectral curve of Efke ir820 is fairly
close to Kodak High Speed Infrared, so be careful. You could
annoy your friends.
The photos in this review were shot with a Rollei 3.5f and a
If the film is 35mm, you must load your camera in a changing bag.
There is no antihalation layer on the film, and the leader on 35mm
will pipe light and fog half the roll. 120 film allows loading in very dim
light. It has a paper backing, and the film is not exposed on loading.
Keep the film cool until you’re ready to use it. Anyway, put your loaded
camera on the tripod, and put on the cable release. Focus on your
subject, then back off the focus point to the infrared mark (longer
wavelength, different focus point) or first depth of field mark. Put on
the filter (Hoya R72 or Kodak Wratten #88A or #87) and make the
exposure. The exposure will be about 1/2 to 1 second at f/16 in
bright sunlight. Calculate from there. Reciprocity failure applies
here. Reciprocity failure sets in with Efke ir820 film rather early,
after about 1/2 second, so add a bit more exposure, like at 2 seconds
calculated, expose for 3 to 4 seconds for best negative density.
The longer the exposure, the greater the reciprocity failure. You avoid
reciprocity failure by using a larger aperture to keep the exposure
shorter than1/2 second.
Here’s the exposure data for your light meter:
- Unfiltered = ISO 100
- Yellow filter = ISO 50
- Orange filter = ISO 25
- Red filter = ISO 12
- Dark red filter = ISO 6
- Opaque red filter (that Hoya R72) = ISO 3
The fiercer the filter, the greater the infrared effect. Don’t use a RG830
or a Wratten #87C; these are too dense, even for this film, and only
work on real Kodak High Speed Infrared (cut off 950nm).
Efke ir820 can be developed in normal black and white chemistry, like
stock Kodak D-76 for about 7 minutes at 20C (so says the darkroom
tech at the photography shop). Just make sure of total darkness, and
beware the infrared frame counters on automated developing
For Holga users, put this film in the camera, seal the leaks really
well, including the red window, use the red filter, put it on a tripod,
guess the advance turns, and use 4 to 6 1/100 second exposures
in bright sunlight (more or less) at the f/11 stop. This will give
dramatic contrasts, but only slight IR effect. For full IR effect, use a
clip on gelatin filter holder with Wratten #87 filter square and about
1-2 seconds exposure at the f/11 stop.
If you want infrared effects, I highly recommend Efke ir820 and
don’t be afraid to experiment! Enjoy!