Infrared Camera Conversions and Silver Gelating Printing at Digital Silver Imaging
I have just discovered a new place where you can get your digital camera converted to infrared (IR), and at a very attractive price. If sending a DSLR (of any brand), the price also includes the calibration of one lens, which is handy because IR light focuses on a different plane than visible light, so having the camera and a lens mutually calibrated is essential for easy autofocusing straight out of the box.
The IR conversion is performed by Precision Camera of Connecticut, the World’s largest camera repair facility (according to them). The original filter that was placed in front of the digital sensor by the manufacturer (and which blocked IR light) is removed and replaced by another that only lets through IR light. DSLR cameras are then calibrated so autofocus works correctly; in fact, they physically move the AF sensor assembly to accomplish this. If the camera is a P&S, this is not necessary as autofocus is achieved by contrast detection on the actual image on the sensor.
While many of us might not have a DSLR that we can afford to convert to IR only, I’m sure many have a perfectly useful P&S lying around that doesn’t get much use. Now this camera could become a fun IR tool that we can use when we feel like shooting something different.
Digital Silver Imaging is a company dedicated primarily to the high-quality printing needs of B&W photographers, and was founded by Eric Luden, a former executive at Ilford Photo who also served as a consultant with Eastman Kodak’s black & white division. While I have not used their services yet (I only just discovered this company) I will be sure to consider them when I next need a nice print of one of my B&W photos. They print sizes from 3×5 up to 20×30 inches, with discounts for more than 10 prints of the same file. If anyone has any experience with them, please leave a comment!
If you’re wondering what’s special about Eric’s printing services via Digital Silver Imaging, it is that he offers silver-gelatin printing from digital files, a rarity in today’s quick-printing world. As Eric explains in this article:
Specially designed silver-halide black-and-white paper is exposed with a tri-color digital laser enlarger, then processed in traditional black & white chemistry, either in trays or a roller processor.
If you’re wondering how important this was to Eric as a photographer, I’ll let you know he quit his 13-year career at Harmon (Ilford’s parent company) in order to start up Digital Silver Imaging when Ilford announced this new hybrid black-and-white printing process. Now that is commitment.
Addendum: Eric notes in his comment below that by converting an IR camera through Digital Silver Imaging you save on return shipping and also get a discount coupon for their B&W printing service. Sounds like a nice deal to me.