Single-lens-reflex (SLR) cameras have for decades been on the forefront of enthusiast and professional camera development. Sharp lenses, perfect exposure meterin,g and precise autofocus aren't really features that you would look for in Lomography, but they do come to a great use in Infrared Photography - as long as a few precautions are taken. See below.
Single-Lens-Reflex cameras have their ViewFinder directly pointed through their main picture-taking lenses.
While this is the most convenient situation for macro, for example, IR puts another obstacle – the filters that are required for B&W IR film are blocking most of the visible light, so we end up with a dark-like-hell viewfinder.
An obvious remedy would be to use a Range-Finder camera, but these trend to be too expensive, especially when coupled with Ultra-Wide angle lenses. Your favorite LC-A will do fine, but you need special trickery to attach the IR filter and even more trickery to make it measure IR exposure correctly.
Since SLRs have long been around, there are many wide angle lenses in circulation too. The ones that can accept a filter are the ones that will work for this tipster.
What you will need:
- An automatic-exposure SLR camera. Make sure it measures exposure through the lens and make sure it has at least one fully automatic exposure mode;
- A Wide-Angle lens for your SLR camera. Make sure it accepts filters on the front;
- Rollei IR400s film. Others can work too, but make sure you buy appropriate filters for them;
- IR 720nm filter with a thread size that fits your lens;
- Fisheye 2 viewfinder, or any fisheye or Ultra-wide angle viewfinder. Ideally, it would have the same Field-of-view as your lens. If if doesn’t, see below how to make improvised frame marks to match the lens.
- Black electrician’s tape, a CD pen, scissors an a tripod.
How to proceed:
Attach the Viewfinder to the camera and attach both on a tripod. Place them against a wall, window frame, etc – something, that you can use to judge the Field of View of your lens:
If you’re using a zoom lens, make sure it is zip-tied on one focal length only:
Then look through the SLR viewfinder and memorize where the field ends at one of the sides. Look at the fish-eye finder and try to find the same spot. Now, stick a piece of electrician’s tape to the side, trying to limit the field at the same spot:
Continue with the other sides, but pay extra attention to the upper and lower sides – you want your photos to be horizontal:
Draw a frame on the viewfinder front glass:
Then remove the electrician’s tape:
Attach the filter to the lens:
Load in subdued light:
Set ISO to 400, the camera meter is going to compensate for the filter applied. Expose from hand in full sun.
Process and scan normally.