Nikon D7100 Infrared Conversion

I have a very unique Nikon D7100 – it is likely the first unit converted for infrared use – in the world. My D7100 is also likely the first to undergo two infrared conversions (more on this in a bit). I was fortunate to receive my D7100 from B&H as part of the first wave of product shipments. Apart from a night of putting the DSLR through its paces to ensure that there were no focusing problems or other issues, I didn’t have the D7100 for very long. For the many reasons Nasim outlined in his detailed D7100 review, and being very familiar with its predecessor, the D7000, I liked what I saw of this DSLR’s capabilities.

D7100 and 720nm filter

As some of you know, I have a passion for infrared photography and thought that the D7100 might be the ultimate infrared camera (for those of us in the Nikon camp!) and perfect for my needs. So despite having my D7100 for less than a day, I packed it and sent it off to one of the well-known infrared conversion companies. The customer service representative from the infrared conversion company confirmed that it was indeed the first D7100 they had seen. I will get to my thoughts regarding the D7100’s suitability for infrared photography (abbreviated as “IR” for the rest of this article), but first we have to follow its journey through the conversion process…

1) A New Infrared Filter Choice – The 665nm

My previous Nikon IR DSLRs, a D40X and D90, sported 720nm IR filters. The 720nm filters have been described as the most versatile of the various IR filters available, since they enable the camera to capture a significant portion of the IR spectrum. They also allow just enough visible light to reach the sensor and produce some interesting false color effects when using Photoshop’s Channel Manager control. Below is a photo from my D90 and a 720nm IR filter.

D90 and 720nm filter

I had been looking over some stunning false color photos taken with IR filters, such as the 590nm and 665nm filters, that allowed more visible light to reach the sensor. You can think of my musings as, “The IR filter is always more colorful on the other guy’s camera.” After going through some tutorials on one of the conversion company’s website, and speaking with the customer support representative, I was under the impression that the 665nm filter might be the best of all worlds – rich IR capabilities combined with a wider array of false color processing capabilities.

I did read of some concerns regarding that the 665nm filter might render vegetation in subtler tones than the 720nm filter, but according to the IR conversion company tutorials, however, it seemed that this could be overcome easily enough using Photoshop’s Lightness slider to lighten the yellows (produced by using the Channel Manager’s ability to swap the Red and Blue channels). In speaking with the IR conversion company representative, he also confirmed that with a bit of Photoshop tweaks, I could achieve similar results as those of the 720nm filter. My mind was made up – I was going to order the 665nm filter.

As usual, I sent my main IR lens, a Nikon 16-85mm lens (consistently rated as one of the best IR lenses for Nikon DSLRs), along with the D7100 to enable the company to calibrate the pair. Since IR wave lengths are longer than those of visible light, IR conversion companies sometimes request that you send in your most-used IR lens along with the DSLR, so they can adjust the camera’s focus to that of the lens. Others modify the focus for an “average” IR adjustment value, but not to that of a specific lens. The adjustments made by the IR conversion companies can extend beyond what you are able to achieve with the AF Fine Tuning capability in most DSLRs. As with visible light, you should always test your lens via a tool such as LensAlign to ensure that you correctly calibrate your lenses to achieve optimum performance.

2) 665nm Filter – Second Thoughts

Spring had not yet arrived in Pittsburgh due to the unusual cold spell the area endured during the last few weeks of March. So as soon as I received my D7100, I immediately headed over to Pittsburgh’s Phipps Conservatory, a botanical garden with plenty of luscious green plants, perfect for testing an IR camera. I took along my D90 (with 720nm IR filter) to get some sense for how the two DSLRs stacked up against one another.

I spent a few hours walking through Phipps Conservatory putting the D7100/665nm combination through its paces. I shot quite a few photos using the custom white balance as well as Auto White Balance. I then headed off to Las Vegas for a business trip and brought the converted D7100 for a bit more testing.

I now had quite a slew of IR photos taken in a variety of lighting conditions (mostly sunny) that I could process. Since the 665nm IR filter allows a higher percentage of visible light to strike the sensor than the 720nm allows, it requires a different post processing routine. I was able to capture some very good (at least to my eye) images with the D7100/665nm combination. At the same time, I noticed that my shots were not quite as “crisp” as those taken with my D90/720nm – this related to sharpness as well as the brightness and contrast of the vegetation, one of best subjects for IR.

I spent the better part of 10-12 hours over the next week experimenting with different post processing techniques to develop the photos taken with the D7100/665nm. It didn’t take me long to have second thoughts regarding the suitability of the 665nm sensor for the D7100. I came to the following conclusions regarding the 665nm filter paired with the D7100:

2.1) Duller Vegetation With Less Contrast

Despite the claims of being able to whiten the vegetation to achieve similar results to those of the 720nm filter using the sliders found in Photoshop’s Hue/Saturation control, I found this nearly impossible in many circumstances. Under certain conditions, I could get close, but the 665nm sensor invariably produced vegetation that looked a bit gray and flat when compared to that taken with the 720nm filter. I could lighten the yellows a bit, but then found myself blowing out the details in some of the channels. This made for some interesting color IR shots, but if you appreciate the crisp whites and sharp contrast associated with the 720nm or higher IR filters, the 665nm may not be the best choice. Some of the 665nm’s duller vegetation could be improved by converting the image to black and white, but this negates some of the very reasons why you would select the 665nm filter.

The photo below is a good example of the “muddied” colors the 665nm filter sometimes produced.

D7100 and 665nm filter (3)

2.2) Sharpness

Since the 665nm filter allows more visible light to reach the sensor, selecting a single focal point for sources of light with very different wavelengths gets a bit tricky. The same concern exists for colors that make up the visible spectrum, since each also has its own wavelength corresponding to a value on the electromagnetic radiation scale (EMR). Most lenses do a pretty good job of making sure that all of the colors of the visible light spectrum get to the same point on the sensor. But if you have ever seen Chromatic Aberration effects (colored halos on the edges of the surfaces of subjects in your photos), however, you have seen what can happen when the various colors of the visible light spectrum don’t focus at the same point on the camera’s sensor. Adding infrared light to the mix only complicates the focusing issues. Even with AF Fine Tuning tweaks, I was not able to get the same sharpness (all things being equal) with my D7100/665nm combination as I was with the D90/720nm pairing. The 720nm IR filter allows a smaller percentage of visible light to strike the sensor and thus doesn’t have the same degree of focus tuning challenges associated with the 665nm or 590nm filters. Was this a “killer issue?” No, but it was noticeable. Of course, after staring at my computer monitor for too long, I began to question my own judgment regarding the results. I asked my wife to look over some photos taken with the 720nm and 665nm IR filters. To my surprise, she was able to accurately identify photos taken with each, based on both their sharpness and their contrast, even after I was able to employ a similar false color processing scheme to them. She also liked the photos taken with the 720nm filter better than those taken with the 665nm filter.

2.3) Inconsistent Results

With my 720nmIR filter-based DSLRs, I could usually count on the same post processing settings to work for every photo taken within a given set (same time of day, same mix of cloud/sunshine, same lens, etc.). I might have to make some minor adjustments from photo to photo, but I got very consistent results once I fine-tuned a setting for a given batch of photos. I noticed that with the D7100/665nm combination, this wasn’t always true. From the same angle, using the same lens with the same settings, I could get some very different results simply by panning around slightly within the same scene. And while some IR conversion process firms do warn you about more variability with the 665nm and 590nm filters, I was surprised at how much I had to play with post processing settings for images that were taken a second or two apart and simply highlighted a slightly different aspect of the landscape. The increased variability of the D7100/665nm pair was likely due to the fact that, as I changed the angle of the lens or focused on different aspects of the landscape, the mix of IR and visible light varied more than what would have been captured with a 720nm IR filter. Again, this is not a deal-breaker, but the 665nm IR filter’s added variability did cause me to spend much more time processing my IR images than was necessary with my 720nm IR filter-equipped DSLRs.

Under certain circumstances, I was able to produce some very interesting false color IR images with the 665nm filter. On a different camera, the 665nm might have produced even better results. Here are a few that I believe came out fairly well with some Photoshop tweaks:

D7100 and 665nm filter

D7100 and 665nm filter (2)


The duller vegetation, reduced sharpness, increased variability between shots, and corresponding increase in post processing time, however, were enough to make me want to switch back to the 720nm filter. This is not to indicate that there is anything inherently wrong with the 665nm filter or the conversion company that installed it. Some of my opinions are tainted by my own personal tastes. I do know others that have sworn by their 665nm filters and produced some excellent results using them on different cameras. But the process of using Photoshop’s Hue/Saturation control to have the 665nm filter mimic the results of the 720nm filter, touted by some conversion companies, isn’t the “magic sauce” they might have you believe – at least not when used on photos taken with the combination of the 665nm IR filter and the D7100.

3) Kolari Vision – The 720nm “Re-Conversion”

I knew that the D7100 was an excellent DSLR based on Nasim’s and others’ reviews, as well as my own assessment of its feature set. I also knew that I would get quite a bit of use out of my IR-converted D7100 over the next few years. The issue was not the camera, but rather how this specific 665nm filter, made by this manufacturer, behaved with the D7100’s sensor. IR filters are made by a variety of companies, including CDGM, Shott, Hoya, and Kodak/Wratten. And while some filters may have the same IR rating, often measured in nanometers (such as 590nm, 665nm,720nm, and 850nm), the truth is that each filter will vary in terms of its specifications from company to company and produce slightly different results. Add the variability of how different camera sensors deal with IR light and you can easily find that camera A, combined with 720nm filter from company B, produces very different results than camera C, combined with a 720nm filter from company D.

Below are some examples (reprinted from Kolari Vision’s website with permission) of how the same 590 IR filter behaves with different camera/sensor combinations (Nikon D90, Panasonic FH20, and Canon G10). As you can see, the results can vary quite a bit. Other IR filters may not show as much variance as you see in these photos, but you will get different results with various makes/models of cameras using the same IR filter.

D90 and 590nm filter

NIKON D90 @ 28mm, ISO 400, 10/20000, f/5.6

FH20 and 590nm filter

DMC-FH20 @ 9.6mm, ISO 80, 10/2500, f/4.0

Canon G10 and 590nm filter

DMC-G10 ISO 100, 10/10000, f/1.0

Combining a healthy mix of both IR and visible light can play havoc with some sensors and lead to some compromises in the camera’s ability to correctly focus both types of light and/or deliver consistent results. The 590nm and 665nm filters simply are not an option for some point and shoot cameras due to the widely fluctuating results. This shouldn’t be too surprising, since the sensors available in most digital cameras are not specifically designed for IR light. The only way to know for certain what you can expect from a given conversion process is to find someone with the same make/model camera and a specific make/model of IR filter, and look over some of their photos. The good news is that you can easily find such a person(s) on one of the many photography forums. And most of the IR conversion companies have some good examples of popular camera models and IR filter choices.

So now that I had decided that the 720nm filter was a better fit for my D7100, I decided to bite the bullet and get rid of the 665nm filter. I wasn’t excited about having to spend the money for another conversion, but since I anticipated using this DSLR for quite some time and expanding my infrared photography efforts, I thought it well worth the cost to ensure that I had a filter that met my needs. I decided to investigate some of the other IR conversion companies. I came across Kolari Vision, a family-run business based in NJ. I was very impressed with their website, which I believe has some of the best guidance for those interested in IR camera conversions. I reached out to Ilija, one of the Kolari Vision’s owners. He was extremely responsive and quite interested in understanding the issues I had with the 665nm filter. Ilija was not too surprised to hear of my concerns, since he was well aware of the variability inherent with the 665nm and 590nm filters, and how the results are influenced by the sensors they are paired with. He agreed to do the conversion, even though he suspected it might be a bit more work, since he had to undo an IR conversion previously done by another company.

If you are contemplating a conversion, I strongly encourage you to reach out to the companies you are considering and gauge their willingness to entertain and respond to your questions, the thoroughness of their responses, the quality of their website material, and their overall attitude toward customer support. I was extremely impressed with Kolari Vision’s pre-conversion communications. Ilija was always available to answer my questions even on weekends and late night hours. Had I taken the time to speak with Ilija prior to choosing my original 665nm IR filter, I suspect I would have reconsidered this choice and stayed with the 720nm filter.

And since filters with the same rating (such as 720nm), from different manufacturers, can produce different results, reach out to others on the net regarding their experiences with different camera models, filters, and conversion companies. This will help you understand whether your particular camera and the IR filter from a given IR conversion company are capable of producing IR results that are satisfying to your eye.

So my D7100 was off for another IR conversion…

4) The D7100 / 720nm IR Combination

4.1) Custom White Balance – Oops!

Ilija quickly converted the camera and shipped it back to me within a week. It turned out to be quite a bit more work than he anticipated. Once I got my D7100 back from Kolari Vision, I was eager to test it out. Unfortunately, spring was not much further along in Pittsburgh, so decided to head back to Phipps Conservatory. Before doing so, I attempted to create a custom white balance setting, something very helpful to have relative to getting consistent IR results. The usual method of setting a custom white balance by “pointing your camera and filling the frame with a patch of grass on a sunny day” didn’t seem to work. I tried it numerous times and verified the steps via the manual, but I couldn’t get it to work. I tried increasing and then decreasing the exposure compensation, blurring the image, and every other trick I am familiar with, all without luck. I tried the same process with my D90/720nm filter and had no problem creating a custom white balance setting.

Recalling that the other conversion company had created a custom white balance by pointing the D7100 toward a lamp (I could see it in the custom white balance settings), I tried the same trick. Sure enough, I was able to create custom white balance settings using a halogen light, a regular incandescent bulb, and an infrared flashlight. For some reason that I have yet to determine, the D7100 needs an extraordinarily bright light source in order to focus with its IR filter. I am still doing some investigation as to the reason behind the inability to use the most common method of creating a custom white balance with the D7100. I will provide an update to the article if/when I get a solid explanation. It may simple be that algorithm Nikon uses in the D7100 to determine if the camera has captured a suitable photo for use as a custom white balance setting isn’t compatible with the amount of infrared light reflected by the grass. Since I shoot RAW most of the time, this wasn’t a deal breaker for me.

4.2) Kolari Vision 720nm IR Filter Performance

Once I got down to Phipps Conservatory, I was disappointed to see that they had switched the main garden court’s theme. Gone was the “Lady of the Garden” (as I nicknamed her), and in her place, was a set of mastodon bones formed from colored glass. They were appealing in their own way, but certainly not as beautiful as my previous subject. Of course, had I ever contemplated that I would be sending my D7100 back to switch filters and doing so many comparison shots, I would have created a more structured test case!

D7100 and 720nm filter (6)

As I previously mentioned, each specific IR filter and camera sensor combination is going to provide somewhat different results from others. I took a good bit of time to experiment with different white balance settings in Lightroom. I found that my old Lightroom settings used with my previous 720nm filters on my D40X and D90, even starting with the custom white balance setting, didn’t seem to work very well with my Kolari Vision 720nm filter on my D7100. The traditional color swapping routine in Photoshop’s Channel Manager needed some tweaks as well. After reading some reports by other IR photographers touting the white balance superiority of Nikon’s Capture NX2, I decided to download a trial copy. While it yielded somewhat different results than Lightroom, I can’t say that the final processed photos from Capture NX2 looked better. After some experimentation, I was able to find a set of white balance settings in Lightroom and a Channel Mixer color swapping action in Photoshop that yielded consistent results for the D7100/720nm filter combination.

D7100 and 720nm filter (9)

D7100 and 720nm filter (4)

Note: If you are new to IR photography and/or have recently switched cameras/sensors, be aware that post processing requires a bit of experimentation and patience. It is made more complicated by the fact that any Channel Mixer settings you use are highly influenced by the starting white balance point. Unfortunately, even subtle changes in white balance settings in Lightroom or Adobe Camera RAW (if you are shooting in RAW), which are often difficult to discern on your computer monitor, can cause significant changes once you apply a Channel Mixer action.

5) The Nikon D7100 As An IR Camera

The D7100’s 24MP sensor provides a significant boost in detail beyond the D7000’s 16MP sensor, and the 12MP sensor DSLRs. As we all know, it is not simply the number of megapixels that determines quality, but rather the quality of those pixels. While I appreciate my D800’s 36MP detail, I have to admit that a quality 24MP sensor is just fine for most purposes.

D7100 and 720nm filter (5)

And as Nasim points out, The D7100 handles noise very well. The D7100 is also a great match with the Nikon 16-85mm 3.5-5.6mm VR lens, arguably one of the best and most flexible DX lenses for IR photography. This lens been glued to each of my IR DSLRs since its introduction. If the Nikon 16-85mm VR lens is out of your price range, bear in mind that the humble and cheap Nikon 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 AF-S (VR and non-VR versions) lens produces excellent IR results. Since many IR shots are also taken at apertures between f/5.6 – f/11 with low ISO values in good lighting conditions, the advantages of FX over DX, relative to low noise at high ISOs and shallow depth of field, are somewhat negated.

D7100 and 720nm filter (3)

You may wonder why I recommend the D7100 over the D5200 (also a fine camera and great value), since their sensor performance, as tested by DXO Mark, is very similar. I like the ability to access the D7100’s camera controls via external buttons, rather than having to dig through the D5200’s menu system. Having access to the Exposure Compensation button on the top of the D7100 is quite handy for IR photography, since the DSLRs do not always meter IR light as well as visible light. As such, I often find that I may have to make adjustments via the Exposure Compensation button (usually within +/- 1). In bright sunlight, the menu systems of most cameras such can be a bit tough for me to see, so I appreciate the D7100’s method of handling adjustments via controls more than that of the D5200. And since I have large hands, I also found that the D7100 was a bit easier to handle than the diminutive D5200. In light of these considerations, and the D7100’s sticker price of ~$1,200 (US dollars), I believe the D7100 is an ideal IR DSLR. And I couldn’t be more pleased with Kolari Vision’s IR conversion and customer service.

D7100 and 720nm filter (2)

6) Summary

  • For Nikon shooters, the D7100 is a great IR camera at a very affordable price. Its 24MP sensor does an excellent job relative to detail, noise, and managing IR light. The D5200 also represents a solid bargain if you are willing to live with a few trade-offs.
  • Before deciding on an infrared filter, make sure you do your homework and determine how well each filter (from a specific manufacturer) works on your specific camera model. In my case, I realized I was taking a bit of a chance, since I was the first to have a D7100 converted to the 665nm IR filter. Don’t decide on an IR camera conversion using a filter until you have had the opportunity to see a few examples of photos processed with it. This is especially true if you are considering filters such as the 590nm or 665nm.
  • Scour prospective IR conversion companies’ websites to get a sense for their level of knowledge, insights, and options. Make a few phone calls and gauge the responsiveness of the companies’ product support staff. Don’t sign on for a conversion without making sure that all your questions are answered via phone or email.

If you have any IR conversion stories to share, please post them below.



  1. 1) Richard
    June 12, 2013 at 4:01 am

    Thanks Bob, that’s a very interesting and comprehensive review. I was discussing IR with some film enthusiasts and of course it cannot be purchased any more. The D70s was always reputed to be a good camera for IR conversion, but the film purists argued that it got nowhere near the IR B&W film. Have you experience of 35mm IR film when it was about Bob and if so do you think the D7100 is an equal rival, or just a different result?

    • 1.1) Bob Vishneski
      June 12, 2013 at 4:53 pm

      I haven’t had the opportunity to shoot IR film in my Nikon F100, but may someday get around to it. Keep in mind that you may never convince the purists of using new technology, however.
      I have seen many photos from IR converted DSLRS and point-n-shoot cameras, as well as man IR shots from film. You couldn’t convince me that film was superior to a modern-day IR converted DSLR! :)

  2. 2) Dave
    June 12, 2013 at 6:47 am

    Nice article but it would have been even more helpful if you had outlined which companies are best. You did that rersearch but you did not report your findings.

    • 2.1) Bob Vishneski
      June 12, 2013 at 4:49 pm


      It was not my intention to write a review of each IR conversion company in this article, but rather some of the issues with respect to filter/sensor combinations, and specifically the D7100’s suitability for IR.
      While I have done business with some IR companies, and am familiar with each of the others, it would be unfair of me to comment on those companies that I have not used as of yet.

  3. 3) OldChiken George
    June 12, 2013 at 9:24 am

    Years ago I tried IR photography of surgery and venous flow, etc. Quite amateurish. Haven’t seen anything quite like this. Very beautiful composures.

    • 3.1) Bob Vishneski
      June 12, 2013 at 4:53 pm

      Thanks, George.

  4. 4) Dave in NC
    June 12, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Hi Bob,

    Thanks for an interesting article. I have a D200 converted to IR and have been thinking about getting an updated body for IR use. The D7100 sounds appealing for that.

    My “go to” IR lens is the 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G that Life Pixel recommends. Have you tried this for IR and how much better is the 16-85 you mention? There is lots of information out there about the best/worst lenses for IR.

    Also, have you noticed a difference between regular focusing and focusing using Live View? My D200 does not have Live View.

    Thanks. I’m glad that there are serious discussions about IR.

    • 4.1) Bob Vishneski
      June 12, 2013 at 4:58 pm

      Glad you liked the article. As you can see from my photos (hopefully!), the D7100 is more than up to the task for IR photography. Regarding the 18-70mm lens, it gets good marks from some and mixed marks from others. I clearly saw some inconsistencies from my 18-70mm lens, despite the claims of some that it performs well. I would put it in the “mixed results” category.
      The 16-85mm lens, however, gets solid marks from every source I have found. I haven’t done much with Live View per se. Once you have converted your camera, it has been tuned for IR, and you have adjusted the lens via AF Fine Tuning, you should be able to capture very sharp images, since they remove the anti-aliasing filter as part of the conversion.

      • 4.1.1) Dave in NC
        June 13, 2013 at 8:45 am

        Hi Bob,
        Thanks for your reply. Thanks for sharing your experiences with IR photography and equipment. With the new technology available, my D200 is seeming pretty dated! Maybe a D7100 is in the future for me.

  5. June 13, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    nice article. I am also starting with IR photography. Waiting for my filter to arrive. I read this article about using a DNG Profile Editor from Adobe Labs for changing the white balance properly in post.

    Since I havent gotten my filter yet, I havent tried it yet.

  6. June 17, 2013 at 8:52 am

    I read your review with interest. Nice to see that the D7100 is conversion worthy. And also nice to hear about the Kolari conversion service. I will look into adding them to our recommended conversion shops.

    Inherent in the very longwave nature of IR is less surface detail and slightly less depth of field, both of which give a sense of softness in an IR image. This cannot be overcome. But is not as apparent in wide view landscape shots as it is in closer views.

    Using a Visible+Infrared filter with any lens not able to fully focus both wavelengths on the focus plane will further soften things. Thus, with kit lenses, it is probably best to choose an IR-pass filter past 700nm to eliminate yellow, orange and most of the red wavelengths.

    Because Nikon DSLRs do not completely white balance in-camera when IR converted, one must use a converter (or editor) capable of refining the white balance. Examples are Photo Ninja, View NX2 or Capture NX2 – all of which will do an excellent IR white balance on a raw Nikon IR photo. There are probably other such converter/editors too.

    You might be interested in our extensive list of non-hotspotting, IR capable lenses here:

    • June 18, 2013 at 9:23 pm


      Thanks so much for your insightful comments. I will indeed check out IR area on nikongear, as I am a lifetime member.

      My 720nm IR filters have produced much sharper images than the 665nm filter produced. I also have a 850nm filter on my D90. I need to do a comparison of the two cameras (D90/850nm and D7100/720nm) under some controlled conditions to negate the sensor size difference and see how much they differ.

      I tried Capture NX2 and didn’t find it to be any better than my combination of Lightroom and Photoshop. Although dealing with “pink” images in Lightroom is a bit aggravating, as long as you start with the right White Balance settings, and customize the Channel Mixer values for your specific camera/IR filter, you can get results that are just as good as Capture NX2.

      I haven’t seen much diffraction at f/8 but will try a controlled test to try when I have a chance.

      Thanks again! See you over on nikongear in the IR area as well!

  7. June 17, 2013 at 9:00 am

    …Diffraction softness sets in earlier in IR – again because of those long waves. Stay around f/5.6 with most lenses. “-)

  8. 8) Jhonatan
    June 24, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Hi, I just got a d7100 my question is, if the camera is ready for IR photos since it doesn’t come with lowpass filter sensor? Or if I have to do something else to make work? I have a polaroid filter IR720 but I’ve tried for many times and it doesn’t work.

    • June 24, 2013 at 9:52 pm

      Any DSLR is capable of IR shots assuming you have it converted or use an external filter. The anti-aliasing filter simply blurs the image ever so slightly to avoid moire. There is no reason I can imagine why your polaroid 720nm filter shouldn’t work, as long as you set it for the appropriate exposure. External filters can requires 30-120 seconds depending on the specific DSLR, lens, and lighting conditions.

  9. 9) Valeriu St.Bucos
    July 12, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    I’m Valeriu from Romania.I found you on the internet searching for an Dust reduction filter for my Nikon d7100 – I succeded to scratch it during many cleans …many , many , tooo many spots on my new senzor . :( So I was thinking , if you already did an IR conversion toyour Nikon d7100 you may kept the dust filter – mounted in front of the sensor.And if you do , can I have it please? ( of cource I pay you the price ) Thank you! Valeriu

    • 9.1) Waldemar
      October 30, 2014 at 3:17 pm


      I asked Kolari Vision who converts my D7100 for returning all original filters and they agreed to do so. Therefore I can help you with the dust reduction filter you are looking for. Please email me on

  10. July 13, 2013 at 8:25 am

    Unfortunately, the conversion companies do not return the parts, so I do not have them to sell. You can contact Kolari Vision, however, and see if they might sell you some of the parts you are interested in purchasing.

  11. 11) Patrick
    July 15, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    I have read this article and the Introduction to Infrared Photography, (3-12-2012) article, lots of great information. My question is why not convert the camera to full spectrum and use the appropriate IR filter to achieve the the images one desires. I spoke with Lifepixel and they suggest using a mirror-less camera such as a Panasonic Lumix G5 Mirrorless to convert . Would like to hear you thoughts on that. Hopefully you will have your eBook on IR photography out soon.
    Thanks, Patrick

    • December 1, 2013 at 7:23 pm

      Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. I also thought about this at one point. But by putting external filters, you won’t be able to focus like you would on a dedicated IR camera, since the external IR filter is nearly black. The exposure times will be short, but focusing challenges will be the same as using a normal DSLR with an external IR filter.
      The other thought is that Ultra-violet photos are not all that appealing. I have seen some that are interesting, but IMHO, they pale in comparison to IR photos.

  12. 12) Deena
    December 1, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    Really appreciate the article. Would welcome more content around your post processing experiments and methods if you do a follow up. I’m particularly intrigued by the green foliage interpretation and how to get both yellowish and white foliage in the same image. Thanks.

    • December 1, 2013 at 7:24 pm

      I plan to put out a few more IR articles this winter while visiting local conservatories.

  13. 13) Stephen
    January 22, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    Hi Bob,

    Great article and I really like the IR images on your website.

    I’m so glad I found it because I have also just had a d7100 converted (with a 710 filter). I got it back from a company here in Melbourne Australia and they had a massive problem trying to get a custom white balance. The technician said it was the first D7100 they had converted and the first Nikon camera conversion they they had struggled with in terms of white balance.

    Like you I tried the regular method of custom white balancing but with no success at all. You mentioned using an incandescent and halogen lamp? Can you provide a little more detail? Did you completely fill the frame with the bulb? Where you able to do on Aperture Priority mode or Manual? What type of Infrared Lamp did you use and of all the white balances which gives the best results?

    I would really appreciate any assistance you can provide. And is it at all possible to post an unprocessed raw image so that I can get a feel for what I should be looking for?


    • 13.1) Jennifer O'Connell
      January 3, 2015 at 11:28 pm

      Hi Stephen. I too am in Melbourne and would like to convert my camera. Can you recommend the company? Thanks, Jenny

      • 13.1.1) Waldemar
        January 4, 2015 at 2:24 am


        Please check ‘Shutter Box’ here:



      • 13.1.2) stephen
        January 11, 2015 at 7:41 pm

        Hi Jennifer, I went to the Camera Clinic in Collingwood. They were very good but just make sure you get them to set a custom white balance. You can then play around with it yourself. Cheers Stephen

  14. 14) Antonio Vallano
    March 19, 2014 at 8:11 am

    I have the same problem with the White Balance in My Nikon D5300.
    It is impossible to set de WB PRE with the 720Nm filter.
    I did it one time with a 850Nm but never with 720 one.
    ¿Anybody has done it?

  15. 15) Luis Gonzalez
    May 11, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    I have tried everything I can think of to set my Kolarivision 720nm converted D7100 custom white balance to green grass. No luck whatsoever. My 720nm D90 was a piece of cake. Even using a fast F/1.4 lens thinking that would help get more light through. Tried it using every procedure available. In live view no matter what I point the camera at I get the “Unable to measure white balance…” message, regardless of how dim or bright the sample area is. I was farting around in the office under FL’s and at one point I put the live view sample square on a very dim spot in the scene and tried it and got a “Data Acquired” message! Got me thinking that what is happening is that it needs very dim light, so I threw a pinhole on the D7100 I had made and went outside to the yard. I also took a 6 stop ND filter out with me. I put the ND filter over the pinhole and played around with different parts of the yard and my shadow on the yard, this is on a sunny day, and FINALLY got it to acquire the WB. Foliage isn’t EXACTLY neutral, it still has a very slight red tint to it, but it is very close and easy to correct in post.

    • 15.1) Hmm
      April 4, 2015 at 7:14 pm

      As a follow-up to this I switched the 720nm D7100 to a 720nm D800. The D800 had the same custom white balance issues, but I managed to get a custom white balance by using only the 6 stop ND and the polarizer on a 70-200mm F/2.8 (no pinhole) and pointed it at the lawn. I set the lens at F/4, the ISO at 100 and started at 1/8000, then just lowered the shutter speed a stop at a time until one clicked in as “good” I will play around with it more with different WB targets and see. Not alot of green here right now so waiting for trees to kick in to try against those.

  16. May 11, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    Thanks, Luis. I will have to try this. I tried more light/less light, but nothing was able to lock in an acceptable image that the camera could assign a white balance to. I will have to try your method.

  17. 17) Rob
    September 8, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    Thanks for the article, guides me towards the D71000 and my DX Fisheye for IR work,
    A handy tip if you’re having trouble setting a WB through any IR filter is: Take the photo properly exposed through the IR filter with auto WB set, then display it on your computer; then take the WB set photo of your computer screen without the IR filter attached displaying the part of the IR photo you want to use for your custom WB. This technique seems to give a more meaningful exposure and colour balance (to your sensor and processor) and is a pretty good starting point to help your RAW image record as wide a gamut as it can. Then you can more accurately set WB with the colour picker in post processing. Works a treat on an unconverted D800E with both 720nm, 760nm, 850nm and 950nm IR filters. FWIW I find 760nm better than a Hoya 720nm and the 850nm better still for false colour work, though greens are of course lightest with the 850nm. The 950nm gives almost no false colour and is essentially best for just greyscale images. …all on an unconverted D800E! Thanks to this article though I think I’ll get a D7100 and convert it for next summer. Thanks again!

    • September 8, 2014 at 8:57 pm

      Thanks for the idea. I will have to give that a try. I have an 850nm IR converted D90, but was under the impression that false colors were just about impossible due to the small amount of visible light. I went back and tinkered with my white balance settings in Lightroom and found that I can indeed coax some false colors out of the 850mm. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.
      I didn’t understand your comment above, howerver, “”then take the WB set photo of your computer without the IR filter attached,” since my camera is now dedicated for IR.
      I think you will be happy with the D7100 as a dedicated IR camera. I can’t imagine needing anything more than this for IR.

      • 17.1.1) Rob
        September 9, 2014 at 3:06 am

        By “then take the WB set photo of your computer without the IR filter attached,” I mean follow the procedure on page 96 of the manual, taking the measurement off the screen displaying the image taken through the IR filtr; and that it only works without any IR filter on your converted sensor, but you should be able to set an approximate WB by using another, unconverted, camera without an IR filter on the front of the lens. I actually take the photo with the lens removed and putting the open body up against the part of the screen I want to use for WB, with the IR image on the computer monitor enlarged to fill the area the camera’s going to measure. You’ll need to set WB again in Lightroom. You could of course just set WB to Auto and set it entirely in post processing but using a preset will let the RAW file store more useable colour. The Nikon Capture channel swap method is then very effective at changing sky from orange to blue &c. Photoshop Elements also has a handy panel to saturate and darken selective colour ranges (Enhance, Adjust color, Adjust hue/saturation) which works very well. (I don’t have Lightroom or full Photoshop.)

        • Profile photo of Bob Vishneski Bob Vishneski
          September 9, 2014 at 6:12 am

          Thanks for the follow-up response. I thought this might involve two cameras, one being unconverted. The issue with Lightroom is that it is limited regarding what it will allow. As such, the images brought in always assume a strong pinkish tint. When I have set custom white balances in my infrared cameras, the image displayed looks markedly different than the one I see in Lightroom. I have found that using a gray card seems to work fine for creating a base image to work off of.
          I will take a crack at the technique you listed and let you know how it works.
          Thanks again,

  18. 18) Waldemar
    October 29, 2014 at 2:39 pm


    I have read your article today, 30 October 2014, and decided to change my order with Kolar Vision for converting D7100 from 665 to 720 nm IR filter!! I sent them an email advising my decision and hope Kolar Vision has not converted D7100 to 665 nm as per my original order!!
    Thank you for your great article on IR photography.


    • November 3, 2014 at 5:31 am

      Thanks for writing. Hope you caught it in time! Send along some links to your pictures when you have a chance.

      • 18.1.1) Waldemar
        November 3, 2014 at 10:45 pm

        Yeah, I caught it in time and ….not!!! In time because they have not sent the ….converted camera into 665 nm IR back to me. So it cost me additional $$ to convert it back from 665 nm to 720 nm IR!!! But I don’t regret spending additional $$ because I would not like to confirm what you have already pointed out in your post about your experience with 665 nm IR filter on D7100.

        I will send a link once I have IR photos ready.


        • Profile photo of Bob Vishneski Bob Vishneski
          November 4, 2014 at 6:52 am

          Sorry to hear that. You will forget about it once you have had the camera for a while and taken some great IR shots! ;)

          • Waldemar
            November 4, 2014 at 10:17 pm


            Oh, money is very important but NOT everything in life! And you are right by saying that I will forget this small misadventure once I got the camera back from Kolar Vision.


          • Waldemar
            November 6, 2014 at 7:44 pm


            Could you please comment on what I found on my camera below?
            I think something is wrong but I don’t know.

            I received D7100 converted to IR 720 nm and found the following:

            – After switching the camera ON there is NO information on the top LCD panel other than focusing mode;

            – MENU/Playback/ISO/i/exposure compensation buttons don’t work at all;
            The only button which works is the focusing mode button!

            – When the camera switch button is placed in to OFF position all information does appear for a while on the top LCD screen just before the camera is switched off??!!

            – In Lv mode one can see ISO 1600 but it cannot be changed at all.



            • Profile photo of Bob Vishneski Bob Vishneski
              November 6, 2014 at 8:32 pm

              You have some serious issues. Everything on my D7100 works fine. In particular, I use the exposure compensation button quite a bit, since the metering system can easily be fooled by infrared light and often needs to be adjusted. I would reach out personally to Ilija from KV to discuss.

              • Waldemar
                November 6, 2014 at 9:31 pm


                Thank you for your reply.

                It cost me lots of money to convert D7100, as well as for postage to Australia (hundreds of $$) and the result is so awful that I cannot believe it.
                I contacted Ilija and am waiting for his reply.


  19. 19) William Dyer
    October 30, 2014 at 7:37 am

    I could not have stumbled across your article at a better time! My Nikon D7100 is scheduled to arrive today! And I bought it for the purpose of having it converted to infrared. I’ve been shooting with an IR converted Nikon D200, 720nm, and like the results, but wanted more resolution as I make large prints, and wanted the Live View for more precise focusing. I HAD been planning on going with the 665nm filter, but after reading your article and seeing the images, I’ll stick with the 720nm filter! Thank you. I also have an external 820nm filter (Harrison and Harrison) that I’ve put over the lens of my converted D200 and it works very well for deeper infrared, so more options infrared wise. Though of course when I do this I compose and focus then switch focus to manual, prior to attaching the filter and shooting. Thank you again for your very informative article. I look forward to reading more of your work.

    • November 3, 2014 at 5:30 am

      Glad the article helped. As I wrote, the 665nm filter can produce some wonderful effects. On balance, however, I found the 720nm filter to produce much better IR images across a variety of situations.
      Send a link to your pictures once you get the conversion done. I always appreciate seeing the work of others.

  20. 20) Paul
    January 19, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    Hi all I know some of you find my question very amusing, but hear goes I’m currently looking to buy a 720nm converted camera I was under the impression I could use the camera in the normal way obviously photoshop to get a ir looking photo. Or do I need a lens filter as well as a converted camera. Thanks

    • January 19, 2015 at 6:26 pm


      Not quite sure what you mean by your question. An IR-converted camera will only take IR photos. You can use the techniques I discuss here and in the Introduction to IR article ( to achieve what is called “false colors,” but you will only be capturing a small amount of visible light.

  21. 21) Maggie Berry
    June 26, 2015 at 2:55 am

    A very helpful article, Bob. I am a M43 user and bought a Lumix G1 to covert to IR: I’ve just started to learn what it can do. I opted for a 665nm conversion, as I wasn’t too keen on the colours of the 590nm filter and am finding some of the same problems you did with the Nikon: less sharpness that I expected with any of my lenses, and difficulty extracting the false colours from very white foliage. My question is, if I add an external 720nm filter to the G1, will it improve the sharpness by taking out some of the wavelength mix?
    Thanks for any advice!

    • June 26, 2015 at 6:32 pm

      Thanks, Maggie. Sounds familiar. You can put a 720nm filter in front of your camera, but you will then not be able to focus due to the darkness of the IR filter. I tried this with my D7100. It worked, but I lost the ability to focus through the viewfinder.
      I suspect each camera/lens combination may focus slightly differently with respect to IR in general and then the specific IR wavelength as well. You may want to borrow an IR filter or even buy a cheap one to test it out. Ideally, you would be able to fine tune your G1 lens to compensate for IR light, but I don’t believe your camera has that capability. Hope this helps a bit.

  22. 22) Vic Zubakin
    June 26, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    Great article Bob.
    I find the world of IR photography fascinating.

    I own a Nikon D7000 which I’ve replaced in my kit with a D750 and also a D700.
    I was going to sell it but now am reconsidering.
    How suitable is the D7000 to an IR conversion?


    • June 26, 2015 at 6:39 pm

      Thank you. I have had good luck with the following Nikon DSLRs on the infrared front: D40X, D90, D7100. I have seen many other photos taken with D50s, D70s, D700s, and D800s. I suspect the D7000 would be just fine for IR. Send along some pics when you have it done.

  23. 23) Tim Ball
    July 20, 2015 at 6:10 am

    Very helpful article and answers to comments. I’m thinking of getting my D5300 converted, which I believe shares the same sensor with the D7100. However the 16-85/3.5-5.6 concerns me, as I don’t rate mine very highly for colour work, giving rather “flat” results, lacking “clarity”. Do you think this lens is better (sharper and clearer) in IR than in colour…most are worse? Also do you find any focus drift with it at different Fls?
    Many thanks

    • July 20, 2015 at 6:16 am

      Thank you. I have taken thousands of pictures with the 16-85mm on three different IR cameras. I think it one of the best IR lenses I have used. My photos have always been sharp at all focal lengths. If it has a weakness, I have never been able to find it.

      • 23.1.1) Tim Ball
        July 20, 2015 at 11:20 am

        Thanks Bob,
        Do you always use AF with the 16-85? Do you find an optimum F stop for it?

        • Profile photo of Bob Vishneski Bob Vishneski
          August 7, 2015 at 9:27 pm

          I occasionally use other lenses, but the 16-85mm suits most of my IR subjects just fine. I use f/5.6 or f/8. Occasionally, I will shoot at f/11.

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