Second and third try with Ilford SFX200

A while ago, I tried Ilford SFX200 and it worked well, but I could not get the typical results of infrared film. At that time, I used a red filter, but it was not dark or deep red enough. Therefore, not enough infrared light could it the film. To get the best results from infrared film, I bought an infrared filter from Hoya (R72). This filter transmits only light at 760 nm to 860 nm wavelength, which is infrared and not visible to human eyes. Therefore, the filter appears black and in the beginning, it felt weird to use a “black” filter. Nevertheless, it works.

kamera with filter
Minolta XD-s with mounted IR-filter

I used the Minolta XD-s and to keep things simple and to avoid issues with out of focus areas I used a 24 mm wide-angle lens and took photos always at a small aperture (f/8 or f/11). Because infrared light has a different focal point than visible light, the focus needs to be adjusted after composing an image. With my approach I did not had to bother with this and it worked out quite well.

In my first attempt, I measured the exposure with the camera. Since it worked before, I did the same in the second attempt. However, this time I made an exposure series with three photos and each of them was overexposed by one stop. Unfortunately, something went wrong with the exposure readings. All images were underexposed. Even the overexposed infrared images were still underexposed. I assume the problem was a combination of very bright overcast and reflections from the river, where I took the photos. This might have messed up the exposure meter. From my second try, there are no images to show. The only useful information I got was that the infrared images had to be overexposed at least two or more stops.

In Germany we like to say “Aller guten Dinge sind drei” (All good things come in three). My third attempt worked pretty well. This time I used an external exposure meter (Minolta Spot Meter F) and based on that value, I overexposed the infrared images in a series by 2, 4, 6 and 8 stops.

The results are quite good and below are some of the photos. With a real infrared filter, it is also possible to get the Wood effect. In general, I like the look of the infrared photos a lot. The contrast is much better; the sky is dark and clouds having visible structures.

It looks like the film needs to be overexposed by 4 or 6 stops. Now I know how to deal with the film and have a good starting point for exposures. The next steps will be fine-tuning and I will try medium format too. I hope that in medium format the film does not look so grainy. This is the only downside of that film for me.

SFX200_XDs_IR_013 (ohne Filter).jpg
no filter
SFX200_XDs_IR_015 (mit IR-Filter +4EV).jpg
IR filter  ~  about 4 stops overexposed to no filter photo
SFX200_XDs_IR_017 (ohne Filter).jpg
no filter
SFX200_XDs_IR_018 (mit IR-Filter +4EV).jpg
IR filter  ~  about 4 stops overexposed to no filter photo
SFX200_XDs_IR_021 (ohne Filter f8 1-125s).jpg
no filter  ~  f/8  ~  1/125 s
SFX200_XDs_IR_024 (mit IR-Filter f8 1-2s).jpg
IR filter  ~  f/8  ~  1/2 s
SFX200_XDs_IR_027 (ohne Filter f8 1-250s).jpg
no filter  ~  f/8  ~  1/250 s
SFX200_XDs_IR_030 (mit IR-Filter f8 1-4s).jpg
IR filter  ~  f/8  ~  1/4 s
SFX200_XDs_IR_032 (ohne Filter f8 1-250s).jpg
no filter  ~  f/8  ~  1/250 s
SFX200_XDs_IR_035 (mit IR-Filter f8 1-4s).jpg
IR filter  ~  f/8  ~  1/4 s


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