The sun is finally shining here in west Michigan - something that is pretty rare in the winter months. And yesterday the bight sun was an invitation to test out the infrared capabilities of the Pentax K10D.
I’m a big fan on infrared photography, both in film and digital form. But with dwindling options for infrared film, I’ve been increasingly shooting digital infrared using a Hoya RM90 filter. (For specifics, click here for my digital IR tutorial.) So with the arrival of the Pentax K10D, I've been eager to see how it will perform with the IR filter.
The blood red images on the LCD were pretty cool, but aside from that first impression the camera does not seem to be a good candidate for digital IR.
Here's a summary of my impressions:
- The K10D has much better IR blocking than the *ist-D. Using the *ist-D my normal exposure with the RM90 filter was 4-15 seconds at f 16. With the K10D it took more like 20-30 seconds at f8 or f5.6. ISO 1600 was used in both cases.
- Sensor flare is a much bigger issue with the K10D than the *ist-D. About half the shots I tried were ruined by sensor flare.
- The snowy landscape without any foliage was not a good test of IR capabilities. But my initial impressions are that the IR effect is pretty weak. Where are the black skies and plaster white trees? Maybe things will be different in the summer.
For the time being, it looks like I'll be sticking with the *ist-D for digital infrared work, and maybe ultimately moving up to a modified / dedicated IR DSLR. (which will probably mean opting for a Canon or Nikon of some sort;)
Comment from: Matt c. Visitor
I purchased the K10 about a month ago and I have to say that I love it. I’ve been reading up on taking some IR photos, but according to your review the K10 doesn’t do as well. I haven’t used an SLR in over 10 years so I’m still learning my way around the K10. If you could e-mail me some settings to try with a IR filter and which filter you might suggest using, I would really appreciate it.
Comment from: Member
By all means try the R72 filter.
The sensor in the K10D has a pretty effective IR blocking filter on it, which makes the camera less than ideal for infrared work. After my initial experiments, I returned to the 6 megapixel *ist-D for IR shooting.
The R72 IR filter blocks much less IR light than the RM90. Since the K10D will block most of the IR light anyhow, using the R72 just makes sense.
I tried a few test shots recently using the R72 on the K10D. The exposure times were much more reasonable than the K10D and RM90 - but still in the several seconds even at ISO 1600. If I took a custom white balance reading off a white card, with the R72 filter in place, I got nice white clouds, dark skies, and blue vegetation. Interesting, though there is a lot that can be done in Photoshop or with other white balance settings.
I hope this helps!