Comparing Various Filters on a Full Spectrum Camera
I recently found myself in the rare circumstance of having four things available to me:
- A full spectrum converted camera (my ancient Olympus Pen EP-1)
- A bunch of filters fitting on the camera (or rather lens)
- A nice scene in front of me to test those filters
- A bunch of spare time
So I went about setting up a little test to compare various filters on a full spectrum camera! I’ve shot two scenes with 10 different filters each while putting the camera on a tripod to not move around too much (I still shifted the camera a bit but I think overall this still works). To illustrate the results this post contains four sets of images:
- The boat scene with minimal editing
- The house scene with minimal editing
- The boat scene edited to taste
- The house scene edited to taste
The filters I had with me where the following ones:
- Hoya UV&IR Cut
- Vivitar Cromo Blend Blue/Yellow
- Vivitar Cromo Blend Red
- Vivitar Cromo Blend Yellow/Red
- B+W ES Orange
- Tiffen Blue #47
- Tiffen Yellow #12
- Kolari IRChrome
- Generic IR850
- Aroma Skylight
I use the numbering same scheme in all four image sets, so for if you want to view the B+W ES Orange filter it will always be the 5th image. As the 11th image I’ve added a shot with no filter at all. The first filter I used (the Hoya UV&IR Cut) is equivalent to using a ‘normal’ visible camera. (Practically all cameras have a similar filter built in, unless they are modified as full spectrum cameras.)
Some notes on the other filters used:
- The Crono Blend filters are linear polarizers that color the different polarizations of light differently, so these will give different results when rotated.
- The Tiffen filters are interesting because they both let infrared light pass in addition to the color profile that they are intended to provide.
- The Kolari IRChrome is purposefully built to provide color infrared photos on full spectrum cameras.
- The Skylight filter only filters out UV light, I was surprised how much of a difference this makes.
- Here you can se a stack of all the filters I tried for this little experiment:
All the filters I have tried!
This was a fun experiment! The Vivitar Cromo Blend Blue/Yellow filter gave quite fun colors and an interesting sky that reminds me of the sky colors that expired Polaroid 669 film used to give. I also quite liked the otherworldly orange with white foliage that I got from the B+W ES Orange filter. To get the closest to what EIR/Aerochrome looked like the Kolari IRChrome clearly is the best option (apart form taking a separate infrared exposure). It’s much easier to separate the infrared reds from the ‘normal’ reds (for example the roof of the house). The IR850 filter removes a lot of light and as a result can be hard to handhold, but I do like the black and white results that I get from it.
And now, without further adu, here are the results:
Boat Scene Without Editing
House Scene Without Editing
Boat Scene Edited To Taste