It seems like an age since I used this infrared converted Canon 350D. I stopped using it when I discovered Ilford’s SFX200 film – it had a look that I far preferred to the digital – Example. Used with the Cokin P003 deep red filter (rather than an IR 72) it gives a gentler effect, plus it has an exaggerated grain for an ISO200 film (which I like). I can use the SFX200 in any of my old 35mm film cameras as I have filter systems for the various lens and I can use it with any focal length lens. Unfortunately the same isn’t true of the digital as it seems to be calibrated for a 50mm lens, image quality towards the edge of the frame seems to suffer at other focal lengths with the image starting to “smear”. This smearing, coupled with lack of lens choice had also contributed to the retirement of this camera.
I’ve had a box of SFX200 sat in the fridge for a few months but the weather has been lousy for the majority of the time – the only decent spell of sunshine came when we were on holiday and the film was tucked up safely at home. This week though the sun has finally decided to make a more prolonged appearance and I’ve been thinking about doing some infrared stuff again, while I can. Every film camera I own had a part-finished roll of film in though so, for something different I stuck a Holga DSLR lens on the Canon 350D.
One major drawback with this lens is the limited amount of light it lets through – I think it is supposed to be f/8 but it seems to let a couple less stops of light through than I would expect. In bright sunlight I’d normally be shooting infrared at ISO100 and 200 if I was using f/8 but with this lens I was switching between 400 and 800. The noise on this camera isn’t the prettiest at ISO800, and even though I’d always planned to convert the shots to black and white I still needed to add some film grain to them to disguise the rather grim digital noise. The vignetting also seems slightly off centre, which may of course just be due to the angle of the sun. I’m not sure it’s always even on the square images the Holga 120 produces but somehow it seems to matter less, or is less noticeable.
I really enjoyed seeing some infrared images again but I think I’ll be treating these images as sketches and going back to recreate them with the Canon 50mm.