Pentax K20D Digital Camera Infrared Tests

While we had the K20D we got the chance to, briefly, see how it handled infrared photography
The K20D is a great camera but, in the short time we had it before we needed to send it back, I was very curious to see how it handled IR photography. To this end we went out with the camera, a couple of lenses and a Hoya R72 filter.

Pentax K20D digital camera infrared photography

First thing is to establish the exposure. Auto exposure did not work. So I started a sequence of exposures at 4 seconds.

4 seconds
Pentax K20D digital camera infrared photography

8 seconds
Pentax K20D digital camera infrared photography

15 seconds
Pentax K20D digital camera infrared photography

30 seconds
Pentax K20D digital camera infrared photography

Pentax K20D digital camera infrared photography

If you examine the histograms above you can see that about 8 seconds is right if you are going to use the red channel only, whilst 30 seconds or a bit longer is right if you will use the green channel for your conversion. Notice that unlike many cameras, the green  and blue channels have significantly different exposure needs in IR.

Picking 15 seconds as a compromise, here are the individual channels and the best image with processing using that channel only:

Red
Pentax K20D digital camera infrared photography

Green
Pentax K20D digital camera infrared photography

Blue
Pentax K20D digital camera infrared photography

Next we looked at image noise with changing ISO. These are 100% crops from the center of the RAW image. The exposures started at 15 seconds and shortened by a stop each time.

100ISO
Pentax K20D digital camera infrared photography

200ISO
Pentax K20D digital camera infrared photography

400ISO
Pentax K20D digital camera infrared photography

800ISO
Pentax K20D digital camera infrared photography

1600ISO
Pentax K20D digital camera infrared photography

3200ISO
Pentax K20D digital camera infrared photography

6400ISO
Pentax K20D digital camera infrared photography

Here are some individual channels from the varying exposure tests, processed to give a good tonal range.

Pentax K20D digital camera infrared photography
4 second red

Pentax K20D digital camera infrared photography
8 second red

Pentax K20D digital camera infrared photography
15 second red

Pentax K20D digital camera infrared photography
15 second green

Pentax K20D digital camera infrared photography
30 second green

As you can see, the K20D is very capable in IR provided you do not mind the long exposures and can give enough exposure to keep the noise low.

An Impressive camera.

You can see our visible light tests of the Pentax K20D here.

If you are after a K20D I can recommend B&H Photo in NY, our preferred US camera equipment supplier.

The Hoya R72 filter can also be purchased from B&H Photo.

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One Response to “Pentax K20D Digital Camera Infrared Tests”

  1. robertMay 15, 2010 at 2:11 am #

    I sugest use polarization filter.I used it white great efect.

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