Inspired by a “Faulty” Sensor. IR Photography and the Leica M8 by Konstantinos Besios

Check out these amazing IR photos taken with an M8..WOW..Inspiring!

Inspired by a “Faulty” Sensor

By Konstantinos Besios – (See his Blog)

The Leica M8 was “in trouble” when its high sensitivity to infrared light was discovered, M8 owners had to live with a UV/IR filter on their lenses, but when this cursed filter is replaced with either a Hoya R72 or a B+W 092 IR filter, then a door to a new world opens ….

A great tool for infrared photography and the best thing is that you can even shoot infrared without a tripod and get away with it ….

Below are some images I’ve taken with the Leica M8 and B+W 092 infrared filter.

(Note: the b&w image with the lady on the bridge is shot with a Leica M7 and Ilford SFX 200 film, the close up tree b&w photo against the sun is taken with a Leica M1 and Efke IR820 film.The rest of the images are from the M8)

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  1. I still have a tonne of EIR in the fridge and find that an orange filter gives the best effect in colour. You basically need to just cut out all blue light to get a good colour IR effect…

  2. Very cool! This is a great series; refreshing to see someone being creative with the equipment instead of bashing its “faults.”

  3. Steve, thank you for posting my photos and of course a great tank you to all if you for your comments.
    A few words about shooting IR. I only shoot RAW of course since the white balance plays a very important role in IR images. I usually set up manually the WB by pointing the camera to a green surface (tree,leaves,grass), that’s the look I like more although you can experiment a lot in that area.
    The B+W 092 filter cust about 6 stops, the great thing is that the M8 can meter very accurately through the filter in almost every situation !!
    I set the ISO to 320 for handheld shots, that gives about 1/30 speed at f5.6 on a sunny day, good enough for me. For tripod shots I use 160 ISO. From 640 and above the images look really meany, so I only use it as an emergency option.
    I don’t have IR focus under on my Leica & Voigtlander lenses, so what I do is focus and then move the focus ring to the left so that the focused distance is somewhere between the f4 and f5.6 index. (I hope I typed that one right, English is not my native language so please excuse me if I don’t make enough sense).
    The good thing is that you shoot digital, so you can preview your images to see if you focused right. For tripod shots of course you choose a smaller f stop and get plenty of DoF.
    For color IR images I usually swap the red and blue channel (Photoshop) in order to get the blue sky effect.
    For film infrared (Efke IR820 film) I shoot at ISO 1.5 (yes, one point five) and bracket a lot since instant preview is not an option.
    I hoped I was helpful, once again thank you for your great comments, I really appreciate it!!

  4. Hello!
    A) Stunning Imagery
    B) A Pox Upon Thee for sharing these images!
    I will be getting an M8 for shooting IR Images, too & giving ‘folks’ yet another wonderful reason to buy M8’s will just serve to keep the used prices higher for longer. Sigh! 🙂

    Seriously though, Good Shots.
    OH! and To the fellow who asked ‘why can’t all cameras be switchable for IR?’ I’d suggest investigating the Sigma dSLR Lineup. They took the engineering route of putting the IR Blocking Filter in a large plate just behind the Lens Mount rather than integral to the Imaging Sensor Assembly. This means it’s quite simple for a user to remove and/or reinsert as desired. Haven’t done this ‘first hand’, but I have verified through with a Sigma Owner, through info on various websites, and checking Manufacturers Images of the Various Models.
    Richard in Michigan

  5. this is what i plan to do once the prices on the m8 drop a little bit more,it seems like the perfect infrared camera since you don’t see through the lens and most leica lenses have infrared scales

    great pics

  6. Wonderful captures! Any how-to tips for manually setting white balance and lessons learned would be much appreciated.

    • Agree. Some tips on how to set white balance, etc would be very appreciated.
      If we use the B+W or Hoya infrared filter, does it effecting the shutter speed (require longer shutter speed) or metering?


  7. I really wouldnt mind if all digital cameras had increased IR sensitivity, with some sort of built in IR filter that could be moved to be over or not over the sensor. That way half way through the day, hit a button and boom, shooting IR.

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