d100mbd100

The Nikon D100 is a discontinued 6-megapixel DSLR designed for professionals and advanced hobbyists. It was introduced on February 21, 2002 at the PMA Annual Convention and Trade Show as a direct competitor to Canons EOS D60.

 

As it is with a lot of older cameras they simply get passed over by newer models, yet can still produce excellent images.

I’ve been toying with the idea of having a fully converted DSLR for some time. Regular readers to this blog will know I have a converted Coolpix 995, which I converted myself and produces really good images. However, because of the smaller sensors used in compact cameras, producing prints above 10×8 is a bit of a struggle. Don’t get me wrong the 995 is a great little tool if you only ever upload your work to the Internet or show via a digital projector. My master plan is to produce a panel of IR prints (20) and submit them as part of my MFIAP in 2012.

D100ir

All images taken with a Nikon D100 converted for Infrared Photography

[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_beauford.jpg]130Beauford
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_camp-bonk-cross.jpg]130Camp Bonk Cross, Pensnett
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_chillout.jpg]120The Chill Out Zone, Himley Hall, Dudley
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_george-paterson-rip.jpg]70RIP George Paterson
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_himley-avenue.jpg]80Himley Avenue, Dudley
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_hw-horton-was-here.jpg]60HW Horton was Here
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_roots2.jpg]70Roots
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_slow.jpg]50Slow
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_tethered.jpg]40Tethered, Pensnett, West Midlands
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_the-picnik.jpg]30The Picnik, Himley Hall, Dudley
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_the-rendezvous.jpg]30The Rendezous
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_the-stroll.jpg]20The Stroll, Saltwells Nature Reserve
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_titford-canal.jpg]40Titford Canal, Oldbury, West Midlands
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_the-lightening-tree.jpg]90
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_wychbury-heights.jpg]40
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0639a.jpg]30
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0640a.jpg]50
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0645.jpg]40
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0651.jpg]60
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0652a.jpg]60
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0655a.jpg]40
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0656a.jpg]80
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0658a.jpg]100
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0659.jpg]30
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0682a.jpg]40
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0690c.jpg]80
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0694a.jpg]70
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0719a.jpg]30
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0727a.jpg]40
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0730a.jpg]40
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0783a.jpg]60
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0788a.jpg]80
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0792a.jpg]120
[img src=http://dapagroup.com/dotcom/wp-content/flagallery/d100ir/thumbs/thumbs_dsc_0794a.jpg]90

Images within this slideshow were taken with a IR Converted Nikon D100. Updated: 20.6.2012

Buying a camera and then having it converted is still an expensive option. If you look around you will find, like I did, that older models can be snapped up for the price of an IR conversion. I paid £250 for my converted D100, in excellent condition, off eBay. I later added the MB-D100 battery grip for £35.

The conversion made to my D100 was carried out by LifePixel in America whereby they remove the internal IR blocking filter and replace it with a standard IR filter, equivalent to Hoya R72 filter. This is a good all around infrared filter choice because coloured (Channel Swapped/Blues Skies) images are possible too. Black & white IR photography looks great with this filter as it shows a good tonal range in the final print.

Getting good, consistent results from any converted camera means mastering your white balance settings. In my experience, leaving the camera to automatically determine the white balance seldom gets the best results.

The D100 has a peculiar procedure for setting up a custom white balance. After spending hours trailing the Internet (the manual doesn’t tell you) I finally found what I was looking for.

Setting a Custom White Balance for your D100 (IR).

Turn the camera on.

Turn the top dial to “WB”

Turn the thumb side dial until “PRE” shows on the top LCD screen.

Turn the index finger dial (on the front of the camera) and the top LCD screen letters will blink.

Focus on a bright patch of grass, in the same light as your subject.

Press the AE/AF Lock button and press the shutter button.
* You must hold the AE/AF button down or the camera shutter won’t fire.

“Good” will blink on the top LCD screen.

Job Done!

Remember to reset the top dial back to your shooting mode (Programmed, Aperture, Shutter, etc.)

To undo your preset White Balance simply return the camera back to its regular White Balance choices, turn the top dial back to “WB” and turn the dial until your choice reappears on the screen. Then reset the top dial back to your preferred shooting mode.

 

Having decided not to go to the expense of having one of my DSLR’s converted to shoot infrared, instead, I decided to have a go at doing a conversion myself. The camera I had chosen to convert was the Nikon Coolpix 995. Although these cameras were quite expensive in their day you can pick them up relatively cheaply on e-bay. Because I’d never attempted anything like this before, I was reluctant to pay too much for my 995. I set myself a messily budget of just 50 quid, not a lot of cash granted, but enough if it all ends up in the dustbin! Like I said, I’ve never done this before. . .

DSCN7567

Copyright © John Powell BPE3 . All Rights Reserved

The Coolpix 995 I won on e-bay set me back just over 30 quid and to my surprise was in pretty good condition. It came with 2 new batteries, a leather case and the manual, none of which I was expecting for £30.50 pence! In fact, it was in such good condition it was a shame to dismantle it.

The reason for dismantling the camera is to remove the infrared blocking filter, known as the hot mirror. With the hot mirror removed the CCD inside the camera will be sensitive to light-waves up to about 900nm. Because Infrared wavelengths start just beyond the deepest reds of the spectrum at 700nm we need to block out all light-waves below that figure. To do this we replace the hot mirror filter with a 720nm infrared filter. Once this has been done the camera will be just as sensitive to IR wave-lengths as it was to normal light before.

DSCN7580

Copyright © John Powell BPE3 . All Rights Reserved

Dismantling the camera is pretty straight forward, once you know where the screws are! In fact, only eight screws hold the body casing together with only another two screws holding down the circuit board, located just above the sensor.

The hot mirror is held in place by means of a square rubber grommet, you will need to remove the hot mirror and use as a template to cut your IR filter too. Note: your new IR filter must be the exact same size as the hot mirror filter it is replacing. Once this has been done re-assemble the camera in reverse order and make a few test shots to see if all went according to plan?

DSCN7576

Copyright © John Powell BPE3 . All Rights Reserved

Now! All that sounds pretty straight forward, but it did take me almost four hours to do my conversion, simply because I had no previous experience. If I had to do another 995 conversion I reckon I could do it in under an hour, no sweat!

As for the results, well they’re pretty amazing too. By setting up a custom white balance in camera you will remove most of the red cast caused by the filter and your images will become almost monochromatic, reminiscent of those taken on high speed infrared film.

DSCN7574

Copyright © John Powell BPE3 . All Rights Reserved

The beauty of digital infrared is that you can process them in many different ways depending on your mood at the time. However, the best thing for me is I now have a full converted IR camera, which cost less than 50 quid and I don’t have to carry a tripod around with me every time I want to shoot IR.

DSCN7548

Copyright © John Powell BPE3 . All Rights Reserved

Just one word of warning! If you decide to have a go and convert your own digital camera don’t blame me if it goes horribly wrong! I took a risk and it paid off. Nevertheless, if you value your camera and you don’t want to lose it, have it converted by a pro!

Larger and more detailed images can be seen by visiting my Flickr Photostream . .

My interest in infrared photography goes back a fair few years, having shot my first roll of Kodak High Speed IR film some 20 odd years ago. My results back then were pretty much unpredictable, but today things are quite different. You can, with practice, get a very good indication of how your images are going to turn out, just by looking at the screen on the back of your camera. However, not all cameras are equal! In fact, some are down right useless!

01-Titford Canal

Much has been written over the past few years regarding the suitability of digital cameras for infrared photography. One particular make and model that stands head and shoulders above all others is the Olympus C-2020, which has a Sony a 2.1 mega-pixel sensor.  What a lot of photographers don’t realise is that Sony also made the same 2.1 mp sensor for other companies too.

Nikon fitted this same sensor to some of their early digital cameras; notably the Coolpix 700, 800 and 950. Sony also placed this sensor into their S50 too. As you would expect the results from these cameras are pretty much the same. The only difference you’ll find is in the price! Because the C-2020 has risen to world wide acclaim for being the most sensitive digital camera to IR light so too have their price. Expect to pay around £100 for a good working model, but remember, you have to add one the cost of your lens adapter and Infrared filter too.

02-Disused Railway Bridge

The shelf life of most digital cameras is around 2-3 years, after which most people either don’t use them any more or they stick ‘em on e-bay! After a fair amount of searching this is where I found my Nikon Coolpix 700. I paid – believe it or not, just £7.20 for it! OK, It came with a busted battery catch, but a phone call to Nikon soon put that right.

The lens on the Coolpix 700 has a filter thread of 24mm, finding an IR filter that small is pretty much impossible so be prepared to improvise! Because I’ve been shooting IR for a long time I have several IR filters in a number of different sizes. The smallest of which is 58mm (750nm) filter, which for my trial shots, I fixed the filter to the camera using 2 small rubber bands! Not the most aesthetic way to approach the matter, but it worked all the same.

03-IR Tree and Fence

I have since made a custom filter holder out of a round plastic bung, the type used for plugging the ends of those round photographic tube mailers. Believe it or not, but he finished item blends seamlessly in with the Coolpix design!

All the images shown here have were taken, hand held, using a Coolpix 700 and a 750nm Infrared filter. The resulting .jpeg files have been processed in Photoshop using auto levels, a medium contrast curve adjustment, followed by some selective dodge and burning.

04-Langley Maltings

By using a 750nm filter, instead of the more popular 720nm (R72), almost all normal light-waves have been filtered out, rendering the image, virtually black and white. By adding a touch of grain and/or a small amount of diffused glow the resulting 10” x 8” prints are pretty much indistinguishable from the infrared prints I used to make back in the eighties.

05-Round Oak Railway

If you like you’re infrared images with a blue sky (channel swapped) I would recommend you use the R72 filter instead as this filter isn’t strong enough to block out all normal light-waves. These jpeg files take on a brownish tinge. By swapping the red and blue channels in Photoshop you end up with a blue sky. However, depending on the amount of Infrared light around at the time you take the shot, more is better; channel swapping can leave your foliage looking slightly magenta! Personally, I like my Infrared to have that authentic moody, grainy – slightly out of focus look about it. In fact, you can process your digital infrared images in any way want, who’s to say what’s right and what’s wrong?

06-Titford Canal Railway Bridge

Happy (IR) Snapping . . .

John is the founding member of the Infrared Photographic Society (www.irps.org.uk). The society is free to join and is open to all interested photographers the world over.