Digital Infrared with the Nikon D3

Wayne puts the Nikon D3 through its paces with a Hoya R72 filter and a tripod for IR photography.
The Nikon D3 is a stunning camera. With a full frame 12.1mega pixel CMOS sensor capable of capturing up to nine frames per second at full resolution, it is Nikon’s first full frame dSLR. It handles beautifully, is solidly made and has controls that fall under your fingers. Image quality is excellent, so I was very curious to see how it would work in IR. If you are in the US and in the market for a Nikon D3 we recommend B&H Photo in New York.

The base sensitivity of the D3 is 200ISO, so I started there. The shot below was taken at a metered exposure of 15 seconds and f4.

As taken
Infrared photography with the Nikon D3

Red channel

Infrared photography with the Nikon D3

Green channel
Infrared photography with the Nikon D3

Blue channel
Infrared photography with the Nikon D3

Taking the green channel for a mono conversion and then Levels
Infrared photography with the Nikon D3

As you can see, the auto-exposure system will nail an exposure correct for the green channel, but this will over-expose the red channel and under expose the blue slightly. Note also the slight ghosting from not havign the eyepiece blind closed in this shot.

Moving through the ISO settings the image below is a 100% crop from the center of a shot taken at f4 and 4 seconds and 800ISO. The noise is impressively low even in the green channel after levels and sharpening.
Infrared photography with the Nikon D3

At 12800ISO and an exposure of ¼ second and f4 the image is quite noisy but impressive given the ISO setting.
Infrared photography with the Nikon D3

A 100% section:
Infrared photography with the Nikon D3

The D3 is a very capable camera for infrared photography if you do not mind the long exposures. Thankfully the D3 has an eyepiece blind, which you will need for the long exposures in infrared (see the separate article).

http://experimentaldigitalphotography.com/2008/02/28/the-importance-of-the-eyepiece-shutter/

http://experimentaldigitalphotography.com/2008/02/28/the-importance-of-the-eyepiece-shutter/

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3 Responses to “Digital Infrared with the Nikon D3”

  1. GregJune 11, 2012 at 4:58 pm #

    Hi I tried the D3 with a IR filter in bright sunlight at a 15th at 2.8 and got only a bit of light and shapes come through. The filter was a cheap one off ebay for $17 and IR 950. Ive heard the D3 is no good for IR photography just wondering how you got results? Cheers..Greg

    • Wayne CosshallJune 11, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

      Try 15 seconds rather than 1/15th second

      • Wayne CosshallJune 11, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

        Also IR950 is a long way into the near infrared, so you may need even longer exposures.

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