Filters for Digital Infrared Photography

It’s a fact of life: Infrared camera filters are more expensive than your everyday yellow filter. Some say it’s just a supply and demand thing and that may even be true. Others say they are also more expensive to manufacture. You can insert your own photographic conspiracy theory here but that won’t change the fact that a 58mm Hoya RM-72 (IR) filter costs $65 and a 58mm Hoya Yellow filters is less than 21 bucks. But before you freak out let me tell you that the RM-72 is your best value in digital infrared photography. Hoya offers two models of IR filters: The R72 passes only infrared rays above 720nm while the more expensive ($275) RM90 passes only that above 900nm which are more often used in crime detection, medical photography, and agricultural research.

This is what Colorado’s Barr Lake state park looked like when captured with an Olympus E-300 with Zuiko Digital 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. Exposure for this reference shot in Program mode was 1/250 sec at f/9 at ISO 100. Camera was mounted on a Manfrotto tripod.

A digital infrared captured directly in-camera with a 58mm Hoya R72 filter attached to the Zuiko Digital 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. Exposure for this IR shot was1/8 sec at f/5.1 at ISO 100. An exposure compensation of one stop was added after looking at a test shot on the camera’s LCD screen.


The Olympus E-300 like many other digicams offers other monochrome modes in addition to black and white, so I decided to see what a Sepia-toned digital IR image looked like. Exposure for this shot was 1/6 sec at f/5.1 at ISO 100. An exposure compensation of plus one stop was added based on my experience with the black and white shot. This photograph was not manipulated in postproduction in any way; this is what it looked like directly off the memory card.

Joe is author of “The Complete Guide to Digital Infrared Photography” that is on sale for less than $20 on Look for Joe’s Digital Infrared Workshop/Photo Walk coming this summer,

Author: Joe Farace

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