MaxMax.com - LDP LLC

Photonic Excellence For Over 20 Years

IR FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Which filter will work best?  There is not one best filter - There is one best filter for any particular situation.  With infrared filters, different filters will have different looks.  With a 715nm on a converted camera, you can do creative color work like swapping the red and blue channels.  By 830nm, once you equalize the color channels, the picture will be 99% monochrome.  As you go towards 1000nm, the picture will be sharper because the camera will see a narrower bandwidth of light resulting in less chromatic aberration.  Also the longer wavelengths can travel better through smoke, dust and haze, so landscapes will be sharper.

Can you convert any camera?  No.  We have been in business since 1997 and have converted over 1,000 different types of cameras, but there are so many models that we can't convert them all.  Converting correctly requires often custom glass to be made because the thickness of the glass changes to focal plane of the camera.  Some cameras that we do convert may be converted to a limited range of options depending on the camera popularity.  For instance, we might be able to make an IR-Only 715nm but not an IR-Only 830nm.  Prices vary by camera and conversion type.  Please contact us for pricing.

Can I see body heat or thermal images?  Not with consumer digital camera unless the object is about 700 degree Fahrenheit. Thermal image sensors see in the 3,500 to 5,000nm (3.5-5 micron) Mid IR (MIR) and  8,000nm to 13,000nm (8 to 13 micron) Far IR (FIR) range.  Converted consumer cameras can see to around 1,100nm which is called the Near IR (NIR) range.  MIR and FIR cameras are controlled item by the Department Of State under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).


How come your filters as so inexpensive?  We have a special relationship with the glass melt factories in Germany.  We buy large quantities of glass to our own specifications and manufacture the actual filter ourselves.  Our products are comparable to filters like the B&W 093, Tiffen 87, Hoya RM90, Kaya Optics PF series and Heliopan Lichtfilter.   Most others that sell these filters are resellers that need to add another profit layer.  When buy through LDP, you are buying directly from a manufacturer.  You can't buy more directly!  


Does the low price affect quality?   No.  Our glass is manufactured to ISO 2002 standards in Germany.  The glass is optical quality, cut, ground and polished to MILSPEC standards.  You can't buy a higher quality glass than the glass in an X-Nite Filter.  The filter is constructed of two part metal rings and full sized pure glass. 


Will your filters fit my camera?  You should look for a number after the O with a line through it.  The number will indicate you lens diameter in millimeters.  Then check with our online store to see if we have the filter you want in that size.


What's the nm mean?  The nm stands for nanometer and is a measure of length.  One nanometer is a billionth of a meter.  The measurement is for one full light wave length.  Humans can see from about 400nm (violet) to 750nm (red).  Below 400nm is ultraviolet light.  Above 750nm is infrared.  See our Vision FAQ for more information.

 

My camera can see a blinking IR remote when I point the remote control directly into the camera.  Doesn't that mean it is IR sensitive?  No, not really.  IR remotes pulse infrared LED's at very high power levels.  When you point the remote at a color digital camera or camcorder, some of the IR light leaks through the cameras IR Cut Filter (ICF).  All color cameras and camcorders must have an ICF because the color mosaic filter that lets the camera see color lets in IR light at certain wavelengths.  If the cameras didn't have an ICF, colors would look very odd when you went outside.  However, the ICF is not 100% effective.  A little bit of IR light can leak through.  Because the IR LED is being pulsed at a high level, the camera can see the IR light.  If you try to take an IR picture with a stock camera, you can sometimes do so, but you will have to use a low cut IR filter (like a 715nm one) and you will need very long exposure times (like 1 minute or more).  In contrast, a modified camera can take pictures at about the same speeds in outdoor sunlight with a 715nm filter as a stock camera can take a visible picture.

 

Is there such a thing as a Color IR Filter?  No.  Visible light goes from violet at 350nm to red at 780nm.  Color doesn't exist for humans or the camera in IR which is over 780nm.  The camera only sees Black & White in the IR region.  The closest thing to color is some of the $10,000 heat sensitive, cooled cameras which re-map the IR information into the color range.

All camcorder CCD's only see Black & White.  The way the camcorder figures out colors is by passing the light though either a mosaic filter or a prism that separates the light into 3 individual color channels.  Each color channel is not color sensitive itself, but the camera is wired so that it derives the color information from the color channels.  The IR range is a color beyond what we can see.  The camcorder sees this as black and white.

Some people market a 1030nm filter with a supposedly different transmission curve.  Again, this is a marketing tactic designed to sell filters.  Some people also sell black glass and call it an IR filter.  We are selling filters using precision cut, ground and polished ISO2002 Schott IR filter glass from Germany that has been made to our specifications.  Despite our low prices, the glass we use is the finest you can buy.

How come my camera shows a green picture in Niteshot mode if IR is Black & White?  Because Sony thinks it looks better.  Green is in the middle of the color range.  Green probably started because some low light viewers use a green phosphor screen.  The camcorder CCD sees IR as Black and White however.  Sony adjusts the tint so that the Black and white image becomes Green and White.

 What is the equivalent filter to?   

Glass Equivalents:

Kaya PF4 is 780nm
Kaya PF2 is 830nm
Kaya PF1 & PF3a is 1000nm

Hoya RM72 is 720nm
Hoya RM90 is 900nm
Hoya RM100 is 1000nm

M&K #078  is 780nm
M&K #093 is 830nm
M&K #095  is 850nm
M&K 1000 is 1000nm

Wratten 18A is 350nm
Wratten 29 is 620nm
Wratten 70 is 675nm
Wratten 89B is 720nm
Wratten 88 is 735nm
Wratten 88A is 750nm
Wratten 87 is 795nm
Wratten 87C is 850nm
Wratten 87B is 930nm
Wratten 87A is 1000nm

 

Heliopan filters use Schott glass indicated by the RG number.  For example, RG830 = 830nm and RG1000=1000nm.

I took apart my camera and now it doesn't work.  Can you fix it?  No.  Sorry, but we are not a repair shop.  We don't have the replacement parts.  You need company service.  We get many e-mails each year from people that have attempted to modify cameras internally for infrared and have damaged their cameras.  When we first learn how to modify a particular type of camera, we sometimes damage the camera - and we know what we are doing.  Some of the parts in the camera are highly static sensitive.  Touching some parts can damage them.  Some cameras need to be substantially disassembled.  Some cameras require custom optics that have to be very precise for the camera to focus properly.  Some of our optics has tolerances +/- 0.01 mm and is custom made with optically pure glass transparent between 250nm and 1400nm.  

Can you sell me parts to convert my camera?  No.  Converting a camera well is not an easy thing to do.  There are many parts that can be easily damaged, it takes skill to take them apart and special tools.  Tiny particles of dust get bound to the glass by electrostatic forces.  You can't simply wipe them off.  You need special machines designed to clean the glass.  The last step of our glass cleaning process is to use a special machine we built that burns away a thin layer of the glass getting the glass clean to an atomic level.

Some other shop is cheaper than you, can you match their price?  No.  We aren't trying to be the least expensive shop.  We are the best, have been converting cameras since 1997, own our own commercial building and have a excellent reputation.  Some of the shops are simply guys converting cameras on their kitchen table, using incorrect, poorly cleaned glass but showing a slick website.  Sometimes a shop appears less expensive, but then you find out they charge you more for the type of conversion you want, more if you have a full frame sensor and more if you want expedited service.  We typically have a 1-2 day turn-around after receiving the camera.

I took apart my camera and now it doesn't work.  Can you fix it?  No.  Sorry, but we are not a repair shop.  We don't have the replacement parts.  You need company service.  We get many e-mails each year from people that have attempted to modify cameras internally for infrared and have damaged their cameras.  When we first learn how to modify a particular type of camera, we sometimes damage the camera - and we know what we are doing.  Some of the parts in the camera are highly static sensitive.  Touching some parts can damage them.  Some cameras need to be substantially disassembled.  Some cameras require custom optics that have to be very precise for the camera to focus properly.  Some of our optics has tolerances +/- 0.01 mm and is custom made with optically pure glass transparent between 250nm and 1400nm.