Thursday 11 September 2008

Infrared With Canon EOS 450D

After enjoying experimenting with infrared photography on my trusty Canon Powershot S2IS and lens adapter kit (see previous post), I decided to try out the 58 mm Kood R72 infrared filter on the 450D.

On the Powershot S2 you just attach the filter and you can see the shot on the screen and adjust the settings before taking the picture. It was more difficult than expected on the 450D as once the filter is attached you can barely see anything through the viewfinder (In hindsight I should have tried it in Live View mode which may have helped!!). I ended up having to compose each shot without the filter, focus then carefully attach the filter to the lens and hope for the best. It was a fairly windy day and as I required about a 15 second exposure I lost a few pictures to blur even though I was using a tripod.

I was using a custom white balance achieved by taking a photo of a white sheet of paper with the filter attached then setting that as the default but you can achieve different results by using the colour of foliage or anything you desire as the custom white balance. Many examples can be see in the Digital Infrared and Infrared groups on Flickr.

In the 2 shots below I swapped the red and blue channels in post processing to improve the colours.


Feeding the City

Here are some of my previous shots taken with the Canon Powershot S2

Infrared Cathedral

Infrared River Avon

Infrared Trees

** Updated 6 April 2009 - See Part 2 **

** Updated 5 June 2009 - See Part 3 **


Ondrej Ivanič said...

I'm playing with IR, too. But I having problems with noise(?):

Photo was taken with 450D and HOYA R72 filter (F/3.5, 1/8 sec). This is a photo with lowest noise which i have.

I'm doing something wrong, but I don't know what! Do you have some tips? (ondrej.ivanic(at)

Sion said...

Hi Ondrej,

If your ISO level is set to automatic I would manually set it down to something like 100 to help reduce noise.

Then try taking a shot with a smaller aperture like F/8 and a slower shutter speed like 1 or 2 secs. It will take some experimentation but should reduce noise.

On the 2 IR shots taken with the 450D in this post I set the camera to TV then set the shutter speed at 15secs. I use a tripod for all IR shots due to the long shutter speeds.

Your photo editing software should have something like a digital noise reduction filter which may also improve the image but sometimes this may reduce the clarity.

I hope this information helps a little and let me know how you get on.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm seems to be better with the powershot... im pulling my Hair out trying to do some IR photography... i have a Cokin Pseries IR filter and no matter how hard i try it doesnt work at all.... i just get a horrible red and black image.

if u could help me could you mail me at

Gaurav said...

Hi Ondrej..
i recently bought a 450D and a tried to take a few shots with HOYA R72 on ...
However, the images I get are all in deep red colour something similar to your other photo (

Is the photo u mentioned in this post,a post processing result from the above or u used some other settings to achieve the same (leaving alone the noise levels)..
can you pls share some info pls...?


Gaurav said...

Hi Steve,
Would you suggest a modification of 450 to have the factory shipped IR cut filter removed ??


Sion said...

Hi Gaurav,

I have seen the process to remove the factory fitted IR cut filter on sites like but it is not something that I would carry out on my 450D at the moment.

You can get some good results on the 450D without the modification. I plan to do a lot more experimentation with IR photography and will post my findings on this blog.


Gaurav said...

Thanks steve
look forward to updates from you ..
meanwhile, i will continue r&d at my end .. and will post any useful findings that i may have..


Gaurav said...

Thanks Ondrej ..
Let me dirty my hands with Custom White Balance too...


Sion said...

Hi Joannah,

Thanks for visiting and glad that you like the blog.


pressure vessels said...

what great images! love your shots!

Sion said...

@pressure vessels

Thanks for your comments.

शौनक मोदी said...

I was reading through the posts and I have a similar problem, I am trying to use a Hoya R72 with a Canon 450D and any image I take comes in a deep red, very similar to what Gaurav has. Am I doing something wrong here, I've tried experimenting a little, at one point even clicking at 1600 ISO but that just made my image a brighter red, sometimes orange.
Please help me out.


Sion said...

Sounds like a White Balance issue to me.

Try following the steps at

White balance is covered in steps 6 & 7.

Give it a go and let me know if you need any more help.


Anonymous said...
Might help with the colour balance issues

George Melcher said...

It's incredible what an infrared camera can do. Long ago only the military used IR to spot targets in the darkness. Who would have thought that we can now use this technology to produce such beautiful artwork.

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