Fujifilm X100 720nm IR Conversion | First Outing | 35:Chronicle

35mm, black & white, infrared, photography

‘X’ Hits the Spot.


To begin, this isn’t a review. I dare say there will be thousands of them out there for the basic / standard camera anyway so what would be the point? But if you enjoy IR photography and have ever wondered if a a great fixed-lens, single focal-length camera is worth converting, I may be able to persuade you. Please bear with me.

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I | 35mm | 1/170th – F8 – ISO320 | 720nm IR.

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Okee-dokee – this might seem like a bonkers time of year to try out a new IR set-up and, you’d be forgiven for believing so. Winter infrared photography was something that I never really considered either, until recently which, in itself, is completely barmy seeing as how I have been shooting IR for over twelve years now. One might be forgiven for asking me (rather sternly, I might add) what the heck I’ve been playing at? Still, I have discovered the joys of shooting infrared all year round and, it’s a knowledge that I am utterly delighted to have. Naturally, (after the brightness of the spring and summer months here in the Northern Hemisphere) during autumn, after deciduous trees lose their leaves, hunting for interesting, engaging rural scenes and subjects with any kind of visual impact under infrared wavelengths can sometimes be a little tricky, however, ignore the stereotyping for this kind of alternative wavelength photography and it’s not difficult to see that with good, undiffused sunlight and an interesting subject – there’s no time of year that renders IR photography a pointless pursuit. It merely requires a change of outlook and, not a lot else. [View post #101 for an example – caught on New Year’s day.]

For around eight years now, I have been a Fuji-X shooter. I can’t say that I have been exclusive to this system during this time but, there have been very few months over this period (comparably) where I’ve not had one in my bag or more importantly, in front of my leading-eye. Another favourite system of mine over this entire time has also been Ricoh’s GXR (APS-C) system . Both outfits in their various guises have served me terrifically in not only visible light photography but also for IR and full-spectrum. The GXR has been a mainstay for me in alternative wavelength shooting and without my good friend, The Doctor, down in Guildford, I’d have known none of these systems. Every single conversion I’ve ever wanted, he has patiently created for me and I can take nothing away from him when it comes to my own enjoyment of the genre. However, the bag was getting heavier (again) and like most photographers, I needed to ‘spring-clean’ my gear and, rethink. That’s when I asked my good friend, once more, if he might create what was to become one of my personal Holy Trinity of cameras. Of course, because I am writing this, you know already that he came through, in style.

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II | 35mm | 1/180th – F8 – ISO320 | 720nm IR.

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The only X100 model that I’ve not owned / shot with is the ‘F’. Sure, I wanted one but I’m not the kind of chap to always want the newest sensor, hardware – anything, really. I desire a certain kind of output (most usually for black and white) and this is why I have stuck with Ricoh for so, so long. (Out of interest, if indeed you are interested, another of my Trinity happens to be my GR (1st APS-C model) for this very reason – as well as a few other important ones, too). As the X100 line evolved, so did the X-Trans sensor and, no matter how much I liked future iterations of that sensor, I could never get away from the fact that the first iteration was, for me anyway, more organic in output. I don’t give a monkey’s **** about MP – just show me some output-quality and good all-round performance and I’ll be on my knees, but while the first model in this line was a little less refined, hardware-wise, when I was thinking about a dedicated 35mm FoV IR conversion, I couldn’t think of any other camera that would or could fit the bill better than this one. I couldn’t imagine, after a couple of years using and experiencing the files from the ‘S’ too, that either that or the ‘T’ would come close to the rendering of the first, under IR light. There were issues with the latter two’s sensors in my opinion. There were other, practical reasons also for sticking with the line.

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III | 35mm | 1/340th – F8 – ISO320 | 720nm IR.

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For a start, it uses the same batteries (predictably) as my main 35mm FoV squeeze, the X100T. It weighs about the same and, whilst the button layouts are a tad different, I can interchange pretty quickly between the two of them without having to take my eye away from the viewfinder. I’ve used both of them for more than long enough to know them pretty well and, as I found out today, using them in unison on the same shoots, is a breeze. Also, they weigh so little as to render them perfect for that kind of caper. Naturally, all the accessories and filters are interchangeable too; (I don’t use many but, it’s an obvious bonus). 

Over a fortnight had passed after I received my X100 IR conversion and with work commitments and poor light on free days keeping me back, today was a true gift.  To say that I have been itching to get out and play with it is a veritable understatement. I also know that there are others who read my pages and sometimes contact me on the subject too, who may also be interested in what or how I shoot or process. I have been a little lazy on the subjects of techniques, I know – and I guess I have always figured that there are so many photographers who like to pass on that kind of knowledge that perhaps the world doesn’t need yet another one; besides, everyone  finds their own path eventually, either by investigation, tuition or, dogged experimentation (or as I call it, constant faffing around with my equipment – ahem!) That is not to say that I am not happy to help or join anyone who wishes to learn or share information – insomuch as my experience may allow, so please, do feel free to drop me a line or a comment if you wish. 

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IV | 35mm | 1/180th – F8 – ISO320 | 720nm IR.

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Clearly, I have not yet explored the possibilities of this new conversion, spring is a while away yet, but I can honestly say that if these few frames, taken just an hour before the Golden Hour on a cold, sunny, winter’s day in Kippford are anything to go by, it’s going to be another very enjoyable year in photography. Thank you for reading, thank you, Amar (again!) and, I hope you’ll all enjoy these few inaugural frames. (Please click the infrared tag for other IR posts, if you’re interested.)

R.

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7 thoughts on “Fujifilm X100 720nm IR Conversion | First Outing | 35:Chronicle

    1. Rajeev, what can I say? Thank you, my friend! I know I’m going to enjoy this piece of kit so much more when the seasons brighten up. Roll on spring! Hope you have a great weekend, also. Best, R. 🙏

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Harold! I’m very pleased with how this camera renders tone in IR light. It’s certainly more organic looking than later x-Trans sensors. Of course, some good scenery helps too. 😉🙏

      Like

    1. Thank you, Mike! ReesePhoto is one of my follows 😁 He has some very nicely framed IRs! I think the boat is a dredger of some kind but, I’m no expert! 🤷‍♂️🤫

      Like

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