Diving into the world of infrared photography can be a lot. But once you’ve decided to give it a go, the first thing to do is determine what conversion is best for you and the work you want to create. The two main options are a dedicated infrared conversion and a full spectrum conversion. In this article, we will cover full spectrum.
What is a full spectrum conversion?
Full spectrum conversion is a type of infrared conversion you can get for your digital camera.
Much like an infrared conversion, this modification removes the internal IR cut filter over your camera’s sensor. During a full spectrum conversion, this filter is replaced with a piece of clear glass, making the camera sensitive to UV, visible, and infrared—the full spectrum of light.
This increased sensitivity allows your camera to absorb more light, making it a very useful tool for astrophotography and low-light applications.
Why get a full spectrum conversion?
You get the most flexibility when you have a full spectrum conversion. Since the camera sensor is sensitive to all spectra of light, you are able to shoot in all spectra of light.
The main benefit here is that you can use external filters (i.e., lens filters, drop-in filters, or clip-in filters) to narrow the spectrum to a particular range. Putting an IR filter on the lens will still allow for handheld infrared photography, just like a converted camera.
With just one camera, you can shoot in IR with any of our infrared filters, ultraviolet with a UV bandpass filter (provided you use a good UV lens), or normal color photography using a UV/IR cut hot mirror filter.
This is the most versatile conversion you can get, giving you 10+ options in only one camera. Additionally, full spectrum is the only conversion option compatible with the IR Chrome and Blue IR filters, as well as with UV and normal photography.
The usage of full spectrum conversion
Full spectrum conversion has found applications in a wide range of fields:
Photographers use full spectrum-converted cameras to capture unique and artistic images by exploiting UV and IR light, resulting in surreal landscapes and intriguing portraits.
In precision agriculture, full spectrum imagery is used to monitor crop health, identify pests, and optimize irrigation by detecting stress and chlorophyll levels in plants.
Researchers use full spectrum imaging to study ecological systems, track changes in vegetation, and monitor environmental pollution.
Law enforcement agencies use full spectrum conversion to reveal hidden or altered details in crime scene investigations, such as bloodstains and latent fingerprints.
Astronomers employ full spectrum camera conversion to capture celestial objects and phenomena that emit non-visible wavelengths, such as infrared radiation.
Why full spectrum camera conversion is the best option in 2022
In the past, full spectrum conversions had some problems with DSLRs, but these are no longer an issue in 2022. Because most infrared filters are opaque, you previously could not compose through the optical viewfinder with the filter on the lens.
The only option was to use the camera’s live view function, but many photographers preferred not to.
Additionally, the autofocus and exposure systems rely on visible light, making them inaccurate when the filter is on the lens. Electronic viewfinders have since remedied both of these problems.
To get the most out of a full spectrum conversion, it is good to choose a mirrorless camera, a camera with live view, or an EVF.
With live view, you can compose and shoot regularly, even with the IR filter on the lens. With that combination, it is possible to use a filter for regular photography, the best filters for color IR photography, another for B&W IR, and even filters for UV photography.
The flexibility of full spectrum conversion essentially makes all other conversions obsolete unless you know for sure you only ever want to shoot in one specific infrared filter.
Point-and-shoot cameras are also great for full spectrum conversions.
Some have threaded lenses that accept filters, and others have adapters available. You can also glue a filter adapter onto the lenses of most compact cameras to let them accept external filters.
Full spectrum conversion is a powerful technology that expands the capabilities of cameras and sensors by allowing them to capture a broader spectrum of light.
This innovation has wide-ranging applications, from artistic photography to scientific research and environmental monitoring.
As technology continues to advance, full spectrum conversion is poised to play an increasingly significant role in expanding our understanding of the world and the universe beyond what the human eye can perceive.
Unless you have a specific style and don’t wish to experiment with other filters, a full spectrum conversion is a no-brainer. The versatility is unparalleled, and who wouldn’t want to lighten their load by minimizing their gear?