Infrared Digital Photography
by Ted Felix

Right now, this is just a collection of research I've done on the topic. I have a Canon PowerShot G1, so this information is tilted mostly in that direction.

Filters Available

Filter Wratten Effect Wavelength Price
B+W 092 89b low? 650nm mid
Heliopan RG 715 88a ? 715nm? ?
Hoya R72 ? low 720nm budget
Tiffen #87 87? mid 800nm mid
B+W 093 87c high 850nm mid
Hoya RM-90 ? high? 900nm very expensive
Not sure about the effect of these:
B+W 099 (12) (orange special effect filter, budget)

The Hoya R72 is the perfect starter IR filter. Low cost and works fine with the G1 and many other digicams.

Shooting and Processing

I've found the best approach to shooting and processing IR images with the G1 is to go for the green channel. The green channel tends to have the maximum IR effect, and is the sharpest. Set the camera to daylight white balance mode, and it will expose for the green channel primarily. You might actually need to overexpose a bit more too (bracket and experiment to get a feel for what's really needed). The LCD preview will look like a horribly blown out red. That's ok, because it's only the green channel that we are worried about.

Pull the image into Photoshop, and split the channels. Look carefully at the green channel. If you exposed it enough, it will look really smooth and have the most IR effect. The red channel will look terrible and be almost totally blown out. The blue channel is usually too noisy to use.

Colorful Results

If you want more colorful results, shoot with Average White Balance mode, and bracket exposures. You should get a pleasing mixed magenta/cyan image. This effect is even more intense than going for the green channel.


Usually IR photography subjects are landscapes. Don't forget to try and shoot for f/8 to maximize depth of focus (DOF). Of course, most digicams already have very deep DOF. This will give long exposure times so be sure to have a tripod, remote shutter release (or use the timer), and a calm day handy.


I shot the following using my little Fuji FinePix 1300 and the Hoya R72 filter. The wind was blowing a bit, so portions of the trees are blurred in this 1/2 second exposure.

FinePix 1300, Hoya R72

The following shot was done with the Canon G1 and the Hoya R72 filter.

Canon G1, Hoya R72


Infrared basics for digital photographers
The motherload. It's all at this site.

Infrared Filter Comparison
Images that compare the Hoya R72, Tiffen #87 and B+W 093.

G1 and Hoya R72
Chris Breeze' site.

G1 and Heliopan RG715
Photographs taken with the Canon G1 and a Heliopan RG715.

G1 and 89b
Steve's infrared shots with an 89b filter and the Canon G1.

Digital Infrared Photography FAQ v1.0

Infrared Photography, Digital Photography Review
Introduction to infrared and its effects.

Cutting Out IR
The opposite of IR Photography. Hot Mirror filters cut down the IR that gets into your digicam. Better color quality should result, but Hot Mirror filters are very expensive, so experimenting with them can set you back a few bucks.

My Canon G1 page

<- Go Back to my Photography page.

Copyright ©2001, Ted Felix