Filters for Infrared Photography

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

Since last Friday’s post, several readers asked me about the specific filters that i use for digital infrared photography. For purposes of today’s post, I have based the prices/links on 52mm filer with larger filters costing more (sometimes lots more0 and smaller cost less (sometimes not so less.) Keep in mind that you can use filter step-up rings allowing you to use larger filters on smaller lenses and they are often very inexpensive. My cheap 58mm>52mm step-up rings only cost five bucks.


Here are my favorite infrared filters in no particular order:

playIRHoya’s 52mm R72 Infrared is a specialized filter used for infrared photography. This nearly opaque filter blocks all visible light up to 720 nanometers, enabling capture light that is not visible under normal conditions. The filter factor for this filter is highly variable and depends on the ISO and atmospheric conditions and more often than not you may (but not always) need to shoot in Manual mode. But this is true of all these filters so don’t hold it against this most affordable filter. This filter is constructed from high-quality optical glass and is set into an aluminum ring to provide rigidity and prevent jamming.

Cokin’s A007 Infrared filter is designed for when you only want to transmit the infrared spectrum and none of the visible spectrum.The A-sized filter costs only $29.90. Like all Cokin filters, it;s available in larger (and more expensive) sizes. Tip: Don’t use it in a Cokin holder. Instead hold it with your fingers against the front of the lens to minimize light pollution seeping in from the sides.

Singh-Ray’s I-Ray is probably the best IR filter I ever used but you pay for that perfection. A 52mm filter is $160, so if you buy this filter you’re making a commitment to digital Infrared photography. It transmits more than 90% of near-infrared light between 700 and 1100 nanometers while blocking virtually all visible and UV light, so you’re going to need a tripod and higer than normal ISO settings.

 Note: If you prefer to have one of your camera’s converted for IR-only use, there is a special Deal for this blog’s readers: If you want to save money when converting your camera to infrared, use the coupon code “farace” at LifePixel.