Wildlife in IR

My infrared Nikon D70 finally arrived today. I bought the camera specifically for shooting wildlife and for using it with the Tokina 300mm f/2.8 AF AT-X lens.

The results are great. I’m really amazed by the quality of this lens. It captures IR radiation flawlessly and produces crystal-clear images. You can zoom in at 200% in Photoshop, look at it and think that this is 100%. It is so clear. And it’s no comparison to a Nikon 70-300 VR, which I had used previously.

Again, I went to the lakeside in Thun and photographed ducks and swans and some landscape. The camera was converted to 720nm infrared, meaning that it does cut the visible spectrum at 720 nanometers. It only records a small part of the visible light spectrum plus IR. The effects are great and sometimes surprising. For example, the duck’s feet came out white. IR has a lot of interesting properties, especially when it comes to water and sky.

The Nikon D70 works very good for wildlife. It has great battery power, is pretty light (which is good because the lens itself is heavy), has awesome grip and it’s also pretty fast. Sure, with newer models you can record more images per second, but the D70 works very well for me so far.

I can really recommend this setup for shooting wildlife with an infrared camera: the Tokina 300mm f/2.8 AF AT-X lens and a converted Nikon D70. If you want to record animals in IR, you have to get a converted camera, because filters will slow your camera down. And you couldn’t use a 720nm filter on a Nikon D70 anyways because this camera doesn’t have live view. You wouldn’t see anything looking through the finder because the filter is black.

The price of the setup is also reasonable: I paid around 1000 dollars for camera and lens (I bought everything on Ebay). The price for a comparable lens by Nikon starts at around 5000 dollars and can cost you up to around 7000. And I doubt that you can record better photographs with those lenses.

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