I recently purchased a Sony Nex 5 CSC with the intention of having it converted to full-time Infrared. I decided on a conversion rather than the traditional R72 filter route for a couple of reasons, firstly I am very lazy and very rarely carry around a tripod, which is essential for the long exposures experienced when using filters. A converted camera allows you to use it in the same way as a normal digital camera. Another reason was down to the focusing issues with Infra Red, because the wavelengths of IR light are different to that of visible light the focus points are also different. Most of my Canon lenses do not have the IR focus markings on the barrel so it makes judging the focus much harder, or requires more practice, did I mention that I am lazy? I am also impatient 8-). Because CSC type cameras focus using “Contrast AF” they are able to focus on the whole light spectrum, so AF issues are not as great as with a DSLR.
I was always going to convert the final images to monochrome, not being that interested in false colour images. Rather than going for a traditional 720nm filter which would give a monochrome output I decided to opt for the 590nm conversion. This produces a false colour image but allows you to swap the colour channels around. This allows you to retain a blue sky in the image by swapping the red and blue channels over. Then after converting to B&W you can select the RGB channels individually and then change the parameters such as brightness/contrast/saturation etc for each individual channel. This gives much greater control over the final image.
White balance selection is crucial to a successful final image, and this is something I still have not mastered, with my choice of filter I need to make a custom WB reading in order to be able to correct the images in the RAW Sonyconverter later. I now have a grey card to do this, but still need to remember to use it when the lighting conditions change.
Finally the seasons here in the UK have been very odd recently, Spring has been very late this year so there has not been much foliage on tree’s etc, this is what usually makes Mono IR images stand out as the trees are white against a dark sky.
My conversion was carried out here in the UK, but for reasons I will not go in to I would not recommend the company I used. There is a company in the US called Life Pixel who offer a whole world of excellent information on their website. I have no experience of their conversions, but I would try them in the future, solely based on the excellent website.
Anyway below is one of the first Mono IR images I have been happy with, but there is still much more experimenting to be done.