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Canon Rebel SL1 vs Rebel XTi for Infrared photography
  
 
billsamuels
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Canon Rebel SL1 vs Rebel XTi for Infrared photography


This is somewhat a continuation of an earlier topic I raised about what camera to convert to IR. I ended up ordering a Rebel SL1 from Canon Refurbished and just got it a day or so ago. After taking a few pictures with it to make sure it works (it is refurbished after all), I realized that it's a terrific camera and I have second thoughts about sending it to Lifepixel to convert it to an IR camera, even though that's what I've always wanted to do and that's why I bought it.

I have a Rebel XTi, but it's old technology and it's only a 10 megapixel camera. You can really tell that the pictures don't have the resolution of the newer cameras. Considering that the conversion is over $300, I don't want to do it to the XTi and realize it was a mistake and do it again.

But then again, the SL1 takes really nice pictures and that's the reason I got it; so it would take really nice IR photos.

I should mention that I also have a 6D, but its heavy and complicated. I like having a simple and light DSLR.
What would you do?



Aug 21, 2014 at 11:38 PM
technic
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Canon Rebel SL1 vs Rebel XTi for Infrared photography


I don't think you should look too much at the higher resolution etc. of the new camera compared to your old one. I'm using a Lifepixel converted 450D (Xsi, 12 MP) and for me the main limitations are:

- lenses: many Canon lenses are not very good in IR, giving obvious hotspots or bad corner quality. I'm mostly interested in WA range for IR photography and currently using the 15-85IS lens. It does pretty well in IR but below about 24 mm (36mm equiv.) the corners are a severe compromise probably due to astigmatism. I'm hoping to test the new 10-18mm for IR soon and hope it is better in the top of the range. I'm not aware of other lenses in this range (affordable and not too big/heavy) that are suitable.
For reference: for a long time I used a full spectrum Sony dsc-f717, a compact from over ten years ago with 5 MP resolution. My current 450D is clearly better in the image center due to better sensor, RAW etc. but the f717 easily wins when looking for sharp corners for WA shots (even using a WA converter ...).

If you shoot mostly standard or tele primes lens quality will be less of a problem, e.g. the 1.8/50 and several tele primes that I tried work great. In that case you can really see the benefits of the newer SL1 sensor.

For 6D there are more (WA) lenses available that perform well in IR, but that only helps if you already have the right lenses.

- liveview display: I want this to judge infrared look, which IMHO is not always predictable (opinions seem to vary ...) and optimal focus. On a compact/ ILC this works great, but on a 450D it is extremely tedious. You have to switch to liveview to judge the IR scene and focus, and the LV display is 'tearing', unpleasant to use and difficult to view in broad daylight that is common for IR photography.
With the 15-85IS lens the PDAF of my 450D seems to work pretty well and if you aren't too critical focusing with LV (CD-AF) isn't necessary. But with some other lenses it definitely is required.

For LV it would help to have a tilting display, which neither SL1 or 6D has; a real EVF would be even better (if the EOS-M had one, plus faster AF, I would probably use that camera instead ...). It is sooo much easier to put the camera to your eye and immediately see the scene in IR, instead of having to switch to a special mode and getting a rather crude, washed-out view ...



Aug 22, 2014 at 09:42 AM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Canon Rebel SL1 vs Rebel XTi for Infrared photography


I could see using Liveview for better composition and guaranteed focus, but not for the IR "look". Just like with visible spectrum photos, the best results are by shooting raw and managing settings after the fact.

Regarding lenses, I am not sure how IR is going to change characteristics of the optics. If a lens has bad corners, it will regardless of IR or visible spectrum.

I would personally convert the XTi. I had an XTi that I converted, and it was alot of fun and worked quite well for my uses. You could also buy something like the 40D (first xxD body with live view, I believe) for pretty cheap and send that in.

Another option:

Get the T3:

http://shop.usa.canon.com/shop/en/catalog/cameras/refurbished-eos-digital-slr-cameras/eos-rebel-t3-black-ef-s-18-55mm-is-ii-lens-kit-refurbished

Sell the XTi and 18-55 IS lens you get with the above package for $150, giving you a T3 for around $120 or so.

I would look into Hypercams, he runs around on the forums quite a bit and has done countless conversions. He also runs a bit less expensive.

http://www.mediafire.com/view/9xu869y8x8e6yx9/HyperCams_Ordering_and_Prices_03-15-2014.pdf

Edited on Aug 22, 2014 at 11:25 AM · View previous versions



Aug 22, 2014 at 11:18 AM
technic
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Canon Rebel SL1 vs Rebel XTi for Infrared photography


TeamSpeed wrote:
Regarding lenses, I am not sure how IR is going to change characteristics of the optics. If a lens has bad corners, it will regardless of IR or visible spectrum.


totally wrong ... some lenses perform FAR different in IR than in visible light, especially for corner performance. The 15-85 is pretty good in the WA range right into the corners. In IR it looks quite bad in the lower part of the focal length range. The difference is HUGE and the same applies to several other lenses I have tested.

Optics are optimized for performance with visible wavelengths, not for IR performance.



Aug 22, 2014 at 11:25 AM
TeamSpeed
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Canon Rebel SL1 vs Rebel XTi for Infrared photography


technic wrote:
totally wrong ... some lenses perform FAR different in IR than in visible light, especially for corner performance. The 15-85 is pretty good in the WA range right into the corners. In IR it looks quite bad in the lower part of the focal length range. The difference is HUGE and the same applies to several other lenses I have tested.

Optics are optimized for performance with visible wavelengths, not for IR performance.


Cool, good to know, with the limited set of lenses I had with my XTi, I never saw that, the lenses performed just as well on that as with my 40D/50D. In any case, we can carry on with which body to convert or not.



Aug 22, 2014 at 11:29 AM
technic
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Canon Rebel SL1 vs Rebel XTi for Infrared photography


TeamSpeed wrote:
In any case, we can carry on with which body to convert or not.


I mentioned this because it is an important factor for choosing: when using Canon APS-C body and (S)WA lenses, higher resolution sensors will offer very little advantage, at least if you put some value on corner quality.



Aug 22, 2014 at 12:17 PM
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Canon Rebel SL1 vs Rebel XTi for Infrared photography


technic wrote:
I mentioned this because it is an important factor for choosing: when using Canon APS-C body and (S)WA lenses, higher resolution sensors will offer very little advantage, at least if you put some value on corner quality.


I am very experienced in IR shooting and do this now for many years in digital photography. I started with my Rebel XT and decided a few years ago to have a second 5D MkII body converted with 715 nm cutoff filter. There is a huge difference in resolution comparing photos taken with each camera. Especially having the AA filter removed made a big difference in the converted 5D MkII.

Also in regard to Canon lenses, most of them work well in infrared, especially L lenses. The EF lenses are more limited when stopping down the lens too much. The 50/1.4 for example creates a hot spot with aperture numbers larger than f/8. You can normally expect to have a good IR lens performance if there is an IR scale printed on the focus scale. On the other hand, this does not mean that you can use every IR-compatible lens stopped down to f/16 without seeing a hot spot. Consider that f/8 in IR gives you a depth of field similar to f/11 or f/16 in regular light.

Especially most Canon ultra-wide angle lenses do very well in infrared from my experience. There is one exemption which I am aware of (there are other not as good performing lenses in IR, and they are listed on websites, too) - the 16-35/2.8 L lens is not a good performer (not sure if this is true for both versions of this lens or only the older one) whereas the 17-40/4 works great. This is a good summary of good/bad lens performers in IR:

http://www.kolarivision.com/lenshotspot.html

Especially the 14/2.8 II lens is one of my favorite ultra-wides for IR, amazing performance. I took this shot below last week with f/11 and my IR-converted 5D MkII.




Aug 22, 2014 at 01:04 PM
Ian.Dobinson
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Canon Rebel SL1 vs Rebel XTi for Infrared photography


I still say (like I did in your previous thread) your better off sourcing a pre converted camera .

Whatever you do I would think a live view capable body will pay dividends in the long run .

I just did a quick trawl thru eBay and that threw up many options . I bet a bit of hunting and posting a few offers would net you what you want at a good price .

As for the SL1 and XTi . I think you've just seen how far things have come since the XTi and its probably time to pension off the old girl and play with a new model



Aug 22, 2014 at 03:04 PM
billsamuels
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Canon Rebel SL1 vs Rebel XTi for Infrared photography


Thanks everyone for the info. I think it's clear that the new camera is the winner (SL1) and I'll have that one converted, even though I've sort of taken a liking to her for regular photography. Maybe I can sell the XTi for something and buy another refurbished SL1.

WAY more important question, I have both the Canons 17-40mm L and the 24-105 L and while I hear both here and from LifePixel that the 17-40mm is a fantastic lens to use for IR and they recommend sending the lens with the camera for the conversion. However, I also admit that there are some great things about having a lens with some a great range, so do I want to tie myself down w/ the 17-40? And does anyone know what's the issue w/ the 24-105L? While the 17-40 is my favorite lens, I don't rely on it completely and it just seems that I'm walking away from the advantages of having a zoom to 105mm. What do you think



Aug 22, 2014 at 04:55 PM
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Canon Rebel SL1 vs Rebel XTi for Infrared photography


I have no experience with the 24-105 lens, but it is listed in the table which I linked above as a good IR performer. LifePixel likely asks to decide for one of your lenses to calibrate the AF after the conversion of your camera is done. Since the SL1 has no microfocus adjustment for lenses, you need to rely on a well calibrated lens to use AF by looking through the viewfinder. When you use LiveView, it doesn't matter which lens you are using, you can always manually focus there exactly on the spot.

I find myself using the 17-40 mm focal length a lot more often than focal lengths above 50 mm on full frame. If you mostly shoot landscapes, I would send the 17-40/4 in for AF calibration.



Aug 22, 2014 at 05:11 PM
 

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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Canon Rebel SL1 vs Rebel XTi for Infrared photography


Yeah, I'd just buy another SL1 if you like it that much. I'm surprised how much I like myself! At $359 it's a no-brainer. I might have to buy another one to keep my wife from borrowing it all the time. Although I'd hardly consider the 6D more complicated. I find the Sl1 slightly more complicated due to fewer controls and the smaller VF means I have to align my verticals more carefully when composing. You can assign FEC to the SET button of both cameras so at least one control is consistent.


Aug 22, 2014 at 05:16 PM
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Canon Rebel SL1 vs Rebel XTi for Infrared photography


What a cool looking tree and a great photo Retro. Nice work.


Aug 22, 2014 at 05:17 PM
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Canon Rebel SL1 vs Rebel XTi for Infrared photography


ggreene wrote:
What a cool looking tree and a great photo Retro. Nice work.


Thanks, appreciate your feedback!



Aug 22, 2014 at 05:26 PM
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Canon Rebel SL1 vs Rebel XTi for Infrared photography


ggreene wrote:
What a cool looking tree and a great photo Retro. Nice work.


+1, really nice work you have there



Aug 22, 2014 at 05:29 PM
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Canon Rebel SL1 vs Rebel XTi for Infrared photography


retrofocus wrote:
Especially most Canon ultra-wide angle lenses do very well in infrared from my experience. There is one exemption which I am aware of (there are other not as good performing lenses in IR, and they are listed on websites, too) - the 16-35/2.8 L lens is not a good performer (not sure if this is true for both versions of this lens or only the older one) whereas the 17-40/4 works great.


You must be talking about FF (U)WA lenses, and not EF-S lenses then. The 10-22 which is considered one of the better EF-S lenses for IR has the same problems with corner smearing in the widest part of the range as the 15-85. The 17-85 is worse than 15-85 in the corners and the 18-55 and 18-55IS are again a step worse (especially due to hotspot). The 18-55IS STM seems to be decent in IR but I have no personal experience with it. And of course most of these aren't really wide...

Yes, you can use a 14mm FF lens on APS-C, but with a Rebel or SL1 I don't think that is a very comfortable combo.



Aug 22, 2014 at 05:32 PM
retrofocus
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Canon Rebel SL1 vs Rebel XTi for Infrared photography


Correct, I have never used any EF-S lens in infrared myself. But if you look in the table of well and bad performing Canon lenses which I linked above, you can see that the old 18-55 and the 18-55 IS II received a good rating (with potentially some flaring issues) whereas the version I seems bad.

One reason why I converted a FF camera body for my IR work was the capability to go wide and avoid the 1.6x crop factor. I agree that it is not worthwhile using the 14 mm on a cropped sensor camera since you are only getting a 22 mm field of view. With a cropped sensor based converted IR-camera, I would rather look into suitable lenses like the 10-22 mm lens for example (I never used this one either but it is listed as decent performer in IR). Just stay away from the Sigma 10-20/4-5.6 EX HSM DC lens in IR - this one always creates hot spots (I used it on my Rebel XT first but soon gave up with this lens in IR).



Aug 22, 2014 at 05:58 PM
technic
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Canon Rebel SL1 vs Rebel XTi for Infrared photography


retrofocus wrote:
Correct, I have never used any EF-S lens in infrared myself. But if you look in the table of well and bad performing Canon lenses which I linked above, you can see that the old 18-55 and the 18-55 IS II received a good rating (with potentially some flaring issues) whereas the version I seems bad.


Those online lists are notoriously unreliable, which you can see already because they frequently contradict each other. The 18-55 is HORRIBLE in IR, trust me ... The 'CA' is off the scale (more like special effects) and terrible hotspot. The 18-55IS I is not very good either, I would never consider using it for serious shots (I think it's terrific value for money for visible light though). Don't know about the II version but I doubt it is much better.

I'm not just being negative about IR performance, I have some (tele) lenses that are bad according to several IR lists while they work absolutely great on my IR-450D. One of the problems is that IR performance strongly depends on where the IR filter is, in front of the lens or in front of the sensor, and what type of filter is used. It also depends on the sensor package (reflections/flare) which varies between models.
My impression is that many people who contribute to those lists don't know what they are doing. When I first searched online for experiences with the 15-85 in IR I found two reports that it was 'horrible' in IR producing very unsharp images (unsharp everywhere) with huge flare. Fortunately I didn't trust those, they sounded a bit uninformed ;-)

Yes, FF is much better choice for high IQ in WA IR photography, but cost is an issue (especially if you need Liveview for best focus), and the extra weight - unless one plans an IR-only photography trip.


Edited on Aug 22, 2014 at 06:38 PM · View previous versions



Aug 22, 2014 at 06:35 PM
billsamuels
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Canon Rebel SL1 vs Rebel XTi for Infrared photography


What about the 14mm Rokinon F/2.8 mf? I bought that a while ago for my 6D, but it's also supposed to work okay for APS-C, but I was wondering if you'd get any hot spots?

I think I got it narrowed down and it sounds like I'd be foolish to fight it since the 17-40 sounds like the lens everyone is recommending very highly to send in. I do mostly landscape and until I got the 6D this spring, I didn't have the 24-105 (package deal), so the 17-40 was the only lens I used other than the 50mm F/1.4 and occassionally a zoom. I think the 17-40 is one of the best lenses out there for what I use it for and it seems like a lot of people really like it (either like it or you don't). Although one day I'd really like to get a Zeiss prime wide angle, but maybe after I win the lottery.



Aug 22, 2014 at 06:37 PM
technic
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Canon Rebel SL1 vs Rebel XTi for Infrared photography


billsamuels wrote:
What about the 14mm Rokinon F/2.8 mf? I bought that a while ago for my 6D, but it's also supposed to work okay for APS-C, but I was wondering if you'd get any hot spots?


No personal experience, but I have seen several people using this lens for IR on FF, so it's probably a good choice (just like the 17-40). For the 17-40 I wonder though how good the corners are at the WA end of the range in IR, given that other Canon zooms like the 10-22 and 15-85 have obvious problems there.



Aug 22, 2014 at 06:42 PM
retrofocus
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Canon Rebel SL1 vs Rebel XTi for Infrared photography


technic wrote:
Those online lists are notoriously unreliable, which you can see already because they frequently contradict each other. The 18-55 is HORRIBLE in IR, trust me ... The 'CA' is off the scale (more like special effects) and terrible hotspot. The 18-55IS I is not very good either, I would never consider using it for serious shots (I think it's terrific value for money for visible light though). Don't know about the II version but I doubt it is much better.

I'm not just being negative about IR performance, I have some (tele) lenses that are bad according to several IR lists
...Show more

I agree that those lists are not written in stone. Best is to cross-reference the evaluation on one site with reviews in IR on alternate sites by googling. Best of course is to try it out and test it yourself. FM member burningheart had a very good IR lens test page listed for selected lenses on FM a few years ago which was very reliable and fitted often with my experience, too.

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/943179/0?keyword=x#8913758

Yes, having a FF body converted will make the photo bag heavier! Ok, now there are other options out there which reduce the camera weight with a FF mirrorless camera (for example as regular color-based camera in addition to a converted FF DSLR body) but this is a different topic....







Aug 22, 2014 at 06:52 PM
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