The Sony DSC-V1 is an oldish compact digital camera that has an unusual feature - a built-in "Nightshot" mode for infra-red photography which moves its internal infra-red blocking filter out of the way, switches the camera to monochrome, and switches on an IR LED for illumination. There are snags, of course; it's intended for things like wildlife photography or video at night, and only uses a very limited range of speed and apertures, all selected by the camera.
You can use it in daylight, of course, but you need an IR filter to block out visible light, and some means of controlling the amount of light - since the camera won't do it, I used a variable neutral density filter. Since the camera's screen is tiny you really can't see what the pictures are like until you download them, and I found that a lot were overexposed and washed out, or underexposed with a lot of "noise" added by the electronics.
There's an additional problem in that the camera wasn't designed with a filter ring on the lens; you need a special adapter tube which is a real pain to work with - the one I got was actually designed for another camera and is a little too long, by the time I'd added two filters I found that I was losing the corners of the image at the widest angle setting. Essentially, I only got four good pictures out of eighteen, and three were so much alike (I was testing the setup) that it wasn't worth putting two of them on line.
While this camera does what it was designed for reasonably well, I've decided that I'm happier with the Nikon for IR, because you get some interesting colour effects etc. while the results from the Sony are not terribly exciting. There are apparently ways to modify the camera to get the infra-red capability (e.g., the internal filter moved out of the way) without losing automation and colour, but I really don't want to start poking around inside it.
The bottom line - I think this was an interesting experiment, but I'll probably end up selling the camera on.
Why has nobody designed a digital camera with a spectrum shifted setting similar to the effect you get from old infra-red Ektachrome film?
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