Canon 5D Digital Camera Infrared Photography Test

We test the Canon 5D with a Hoya R72 filter and find the image quality is stunning but exposures are long.
The Canon 5D digital SLR is a wonderful camera with a full 35mm-sized sensor and great image quality. But how does it go at IR photography?

Canon 5D Camera Infrared Performance Test
Green Channel, 100ISO

Well, we can say two things right up front: the 5D has a very strong IR blocking filter, so the exposures are long; and that the exposure metering system is not IR blocked significantly, and so there is a large difference between what the meter says is a good exposure and what is actually required.

All images in this article were taken with the Canon EF 24-105mm F4 L IS lens.

Canon 5D Camera Infrared Performance Test
The result of using the autoexposure system. This is the blue channel at 100ISO, 1/6 second and f4

Canon 5D Camera Infrared Performance Test
The red channel, 100ISO, 1 second and f4

100% sections of the center of an image so you can judge image noise. Starting exposure was 15 seconds at f5.6 and 100ISO:

100ISO

Canon 5D Camera Infrared Performance Test
NR on

Canon 5D Camera Infrared Performance Test
Red

Canon 5D Camera Infrared Performance Test
Green

Canon 5D Camera Infrared Performance Test
Blue

Canon 5D Camera Infrared Performance Test
NR off

400ISO

Canon 5D Camera Infrared Performance Test
NR on

Canon 5D Camera Infrared Performance Test

Red

Canon 5D Camera Infrared Performance Test

Green

Canon 5D Camera Infrared Performance Test

Blue

Canon 5D Camera Infrared Performance Test

NR off


1600ISO

Canon 5D Camera Infrared Performance Test
NR on

Canon 5D Camera Infrared Performance Test

Red

Canon 5D Camera Infrared Performance Test

Green

Canon 5D Camera Infrared Performance Test

Blue

Canon 5D Camera Infrared Performance Test

NR off

From these tests we can say that noise is very well controlled on this camera, despite the long exposures involved with this camera unmodified for infrared photography and that noise reduction might as well be turned off. We also noticed that mirror slap was more noticeable on this camera than on most other dSLRs we have tested lately, so one needs to use mirror lockup more on this camera than one might be used to on other cameras. This was especially in exposures of around 4 seconds duration.

Canon 5D Camera Infrared Performance Test
This shot was taken from the green channel, 3200ISO a d 1/4 second and f4.

Canon 5D Camera Infrared Performance Test
Another shot from the green channel, this time 15 seconds at f4 and 200ISO

Canon 5D Camera Infrared Performance Test
Blue channel, 1 second and f5.6 at 400ISO

Canon 5D Camera Infrared Performance Test
Green channel, 4 seconds and f5.6 at 400ISO

Canon 5D Camera Infrared Performance Test
Green channel, 15 seconds at f5.6 and 400ISO

Canon 5D Camera Infrared Performance Test
Green channel, 1/2 second and f5.6, 3200ISO

This is a lovely camera for infrared photography, even unmodified. Noise is low, so even high ISO settings can be used, the image size is nice and large, allowing decent sized images and the tonal handling is good.

Noise will be examined in more detail in several separate articles.

6 Replies to “Canon 5D Digital Camera Infrared Photography Test”

  1. Help!… I have a Canon 5D MKII with a IR72 filter, however, I cannot produce any pics similar to above even I follow the steps to switch Blue and Red channels.

    Can anyone give me a hand? I have Photoshop as the editor.

    I could forward one of the pic I took and the configuration and see if I did this correctly.

  2. Hi,

    I’m using a Canon5D With a Canon 24mm F1.4L USM II with a Hoya Pro R72 filter ,

    I normally go for a 3 second exposure at F8 iso 500 and gat nice results,

    Sometimes i do a 12 second exposure at F8 and iso 50 for a cleaner image,

    Even with channel swopping and custom white balance taken from green grass i cant ever achieve a nice blue sky with colour infrared,

    Can you help,,

    Thankyou

    Jamie McKerral

  3. i ‘m a new infra red photographer though i ‘m a medium and large format photographer . i also have a canon 5d and a canon 5d mark ii , i was wondering if i would be able to take infra red photos with my camera but now after i have seen your nice infra red photos i like them they are great . and i think it is much easer to shoot infra red digitally rather than film .
    and i have joined this site hoping to get some help in my new adventure of infra red photography .i also have bought a book on using digital infrared photography by cyrill harnischmaher .

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