Is there a difference between infrared films?
Which will produce the finest grain? I don't want it to be big "mushy" grain.
And, which developer, etc, are best suited to the preferred film/effect?
The ultimate subject will be a bride, as unconventional as possible. (I'll test it out on my daughter first.)
Does anyone use infrared in studio with strobes? Is that a silly question?
This will be my first roll of infrared
Yes, there is a difference. Several differences, in fact!
Kodak HIE has the "deepest" sensitivity, it extends farther into the infrared than any of the others. It also has the coarsest grain. Konica IR750 and MACO 820c have less IR sensitivity, but a lot finer grain. They are also slower than Kodak's. I have used both of these with very good results. They also have the advantage of being available in other sizes than 35mm.
The characteristic look of HIE is partly due to halation (spreading of light within the film), since it doesn't have an anti-halation layer. MACO make a version with the same effect, MACO 820c "AURA". I have only tried this in 4x5", where the effect is unnoticable due to the larger film.
Any developer will work; it all depends on what you prefer. I have used Ilford DDX, Pyrocat HD and FX-2 with good results on both MACO and Konica. I haven't used Kodak HIE, since I rarely use 35mm.
I know that some people use IR in studio with strobes, but I haven't tried this myself.
I have done HIE 35mm IR film in D-76 1:1 with pretty good results. Biggest trick I learned with it was use an IR filter. Although a deep red (number 29) works ok, the sharp cutting 87 0r 89 create an amazing effect.
You can buy a plastic version of these filters made by Lee for a relatively small amount of money.
Supert. I'll order the Maco or Konica then. It's for my Hassy. I appreciate your advice. I actually have a deep red filter as well.
You will have a problem problem with any IR film that retains significant visible light sensitivity when used with a red filter. This includes Maco 820 and Ilford SFX, but not (I think) the Konica film. There may be some IR effect, but there will be significant density due to the visible light (i.e. they wont have the effect you are looking for )
I tried one roll (!) of Maco 820 (in 120 format) using a red filter and the results were disappointing, with, to me, no IR effect whatsoever. I guess that a proper IR filter is required with this film. The film is fine grained. The EI is a notional 100, although Maco don't tell you this ! I never worked out a personal EI; I just derated according to the filter factor.
BTW, I made the mistake of washing the Maco film in water that was slightly too warm, resulting in the anti-curl coating dissolving. This made a right old mess. I have never had this problem with any other film.
I have used a fair amount of Ilford SFX in 120 format with their SFX filter. This produces a quite surprising amount of "IR effect" on a sunny day and is what you might call "medium grained", with no halation. The fact that you can't see throughout the SFX filter is a serious impediment to wedding photography! But you need the filter to get the IR effect. The notional EI of SFX is 200, one stop faster than Maco 820, giving you more margin for hand held. It half the price as well, so you can feel less bad when it all goes wrong.
In theory, flash photography is a rich source of IR. What the proportion of the output is in the IR region (and hence, what "look" you get) depends on the flash unit. I guess the thing to do is put an true IR filter over the head a powerful flashgun (strobe) and start experimenting.
If you don't have a true IR filter then two layers of unexposed developed color slide film is approximately equivalant to an R72 filter. Also you might try 3 or more layers of color neg film leader that is thoroughly exposed.
Color film dyes are transparent to IR, otherwise the dust detecting IR scan in the ICE systems wouldn't work.
The Ilford SFX filter also makes a good filter for the Konica film, and possibly the Maco, and may be easier to get hold of for tests.
I'm not convinced by the notion that flash always gives useful infrared, as i've just been checking with studio flash and a Fuji finepix (that i've just bought in part for verifying the lighting balance of a flash system - instant feedback should shorten the learning curve). The finepix will record an IR image through the SFX filter in sunlight, but records nothing with the flash (even though the same settings give a completely white image without the filter). Has anyone here had success using flash and IR?
A flash makes pretty good IR output comparable to daylight. Just remember that the Finepix may have an IR blocking filter in it and you are using the residual sensitivity through that for a very low EI. Wide open at even a quarter second is way more than you can get from a flash. Are you using a built-in camera flash or an external? If external and you can do multiple flashes on one frame try it.
I was using studio flash - a couple of old Bowens mono-silver heads (no idea of their nominal output, but far greater than on camera flash). (The flash meter reading was f64 (unfiltered); lens aperture f4, and there was no image at all - histogram just a line at the black end)
I don't think the camera allows multiple exposures, so I can't try that.
I will try some more modern camera accessory flashguns, but need to get some batteries first, as I hardly ever use them these days, and the batteries I have are dead.
When I said the Finepix records IR through an SFX filter, I should have said through a number 87 filter. I'll check how many stops it loses next time I have some sunlight to play with!
You might try moving the flash head in very close and see if an image shows. The you can calculate backwards to a semi realistic guide number for that setup.
I have heard from some folks that an 87 may not work for some digis, if you have some transparency film maybe you could test the ad hoc R72 filter on the finepix and see what happens.