Canon 5D MII has even stronger IR blocking filter than Canon 1DMIII

Written by Gary on March 27th, 2009

ADDENDUM: OOPS – well all may not be lost, re-tested today with Hoya R72 filter instead of Lee 730nm IR technical filter (which starts transmission at 730nm) and IR is possible with similar settings as for the Canon 1DMIII so I surmise that the Canon 5DMII has a stronger IR blocking filter than the Canon 1DMIII which prevents use of the Lee filter but still allows use of the Hoya R72 filter which starts transmission at 700nm, is 50% by 720nm and 85% transmission by 750nm.

Those who read my blogs and my web pages on IR will know that I love infrared photography – both film and digital (my digital IR photos here).

For digital I use the Olympus E510 (as you can even compose in bright sunlight with f/2 lens and live view BOOST), and the Canon 1DMIII.

Yesterday, my friend who has a Canon 5DMII asked me to help him do IR with it, but I found it was impossible using the Lee 730nm IR filter (marginally higher cut-off than a Hoya R72).

Using a Lee 730nm technical filter with Canon EF 24-105mm IS L lens, these are the results in bright sunlight in late afternoon to get adequate histogram on red channel:

Canon 1DMIII: ISO 400, f/5.6, 25sec – my usual exposure (similar to what I use with Hoya R72 on this camera).

Canon 5DMII: ISO 3200, f/4, 30sec – BUT the image was just a normal colour image with little if any Woods IR effect.

Thus I surmise that the IR blocking filter in the Canon 5DMII is so strong that almost NO IR light gets through it, and that using the Lee 730nm filter acts as a 26 stop neutral density filter.

This makes infrared photography impossible with this camera and the Lee filter without removing the IR blocking filter but fortunately the Hoya R72 filter does work.

Presumably the Canon 50D and 500D will have the same IR blocking filter.

Surprisingly, there are very few reliable reports on the internet via Google search to give examples of IR use.

If you feel like wasting your time reading through this thread on a forum which specifically asks if the 5DMII can do infrared, every response was it should, look what I can do with a Canon 10D or 40D – BUT NO ONE until my friend (sbolch) posted our experiments yesterday. I can see why I can’t be bothered wasting my time reading those forum threads anymore – if people don’t know the answer or can offer helpful advice then why do they bother posting?

The big question then becomes, will the Panasonic DSC-GH1 Micro Four Thirds digital camera with its much better video capability allow IR video and still photography – if anyone has the answers to that I would love to know!

While discussing the Canon 5DMII, another review of it has been published here.


2 Comments so far ↓

  1. Simon says:

    Turns out the 5D2 can produce reasonable results with “reasonable” exposures using the Hoya R72 filter after all.

    The Luminous Landscape review of the 5D2 is the best and most balanced assessment of the camera I’ve seen so far. I think the point that Canon need to get their act together quickly to produce some glass worthy of their new sensors is a good one, and I hope they take note!

  2. admin says:

    Now that’s what I’m talking about, nice IR shot Simon and great to see the exposures are not too different to the Canon 1DmIII when using a Hoya R72.