Lumix DMC-FZ8 & Infrared

After several months of tests and experiments, I have finally determined something: Infrared with the Lumix DMC-FZ8 just doesn’t work.

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I’ve been trying to use a R72 Near-Infrared filter to filter out the “normal” light that we see, leaving only the infrared light that I wanted to capture. The FZ8 is sensitive to infrared, as can be easily demonstrated by taking a picture of a TV remote control. What you’ll see is a couple of points of light coming from the remote; these are the infrared lights that are used to transmit commands to the TV.

Though having a camera that is sensitive to infrared, doesn’t make it suited for infrared photography. While the FZ8 is a great camera, being light weight, offering pro-level options (such as RAW mode) without the bulk of a DSLR – this is one thing that just doesn’t work.

Here are a few of the issues I’ve seen, and so far been unable to get passed:

  • Auto-Focus: While this isn’t a huge surprise, autofocus doesn’t work when the R72 filter is in place.
  • Manual-Focus: The FZ8 does offer manual focus, though using it when there is so little light making it to the sensor is nearly impossible.
  • Grainy: Even when ISO is set to 100 instead of the default of auto, the images are extremely grainy. While this can provide a somewhat artistic effect – it’s not what I’m looking for.

While it does seem to have some promise in replicating an infrared version of pinhole photography, it simply doesn’t work for traditional infrared.