Shooting the Leica D-Lux with IR Filters

Today’s post by Joe Farace

Mark has been shooting with Panasonic’s Lumix LX100 and you can read a post and see his images here. I’ve been testing its sister camera, the Leica D-Lux (typ 109) and you can read my impressions on our sister blog, ‘Saving the World, One Pixel at a Time,’ here and here. You can read how the camera performs under normal conditions there. I’m at Mirrorless Photo Tips to talk about my experience shooting the D-Lux using infrared filters, although this being the Rocky Mountain West, the experience—because of the weather—didn’t produce the same kind of results it might have later this year, when deciduous tree are fully leaved out.

leicaIR

I set out on on a walk around Bingham Lake armed with the three-filter kit I use when shooting infrared filters. The Leica Vario-Summilux 10.9-34mm (24-75 mm equivalent) lens has filter threads but because the lens retracts, I don’t think it’s a good idea to screw on a filter because of the possibility of damaging the lens mechanism. Instead I reverted to my backup technique of simply holding the filter against the front of the lens. Since filters produce long exposure times (even at high ISO settings) the camera was tripod mounted, so this isn’t as hard to do as it sounds.

leica.IR2

Typically, I let the camera focus and then place the filter in front of the lens to make the photograph but this technique didn’t seem to work with the D-Lux. Instead what worked best, to my surprise, was to hold the filter in front of the lens and let the camera focus through it. This produced two benefits: first, I was able to see the IR effect in real time on the Leica’s EVF. Second, the EVF let me get an idea of the exposure and turn the D-Lux’s exposure compensation dial to achieve a proper (or as “proper” as you can get in IR photography) exposure. I shot in monochrome mode and RAW+JPEG  to get an image to work with (RAW) and a JPEG to preview the final black & white image.

Because grass was just starting to turn green, producing a white color, and deciduous trees had no leaves and pine trees produce only a modest “Wood Effect” the results are unexceptional. (The filter that produced the best result was Hoya’s 52mm R72 Infrared.) Since Mark has access to an Lumix LX100, maybe we—you and I—can talk him into shooting some IR with it this summer.

Author’s Note: Look for an explanation of the Wood Effect, later this week.