Sony NEX-5 Full Spectrum IR Conversion

Another IR Camera, I Am So Ashamed…..

Sony NEX-5

OK, so I have the opportunity to have a Sony NEX-5 Full Spectrum IR (Spencers Camera).  It comes with a 18-55mm zoom lens that is built like a tank.  The camera is easy to hold and point, the LCD panel is SUPER BRIGHT. I like the APS C sensor because it gives me better control over DOF.  There are currently 3 lenses out there for this camera, a 16mm, 18-55 and a 18-200. It has an attachable tiny flash unit that screws into its top (weird)!

The 18-55mm Lens is Larger Than The Camera!

Native E Series Sony Lenses

This camera had the Full Spectrum IR conversion done to it by Spencers Camera out in Utah.  It took 4 days including shipping time to send and get the converted camera back!  Wow are they ever fast!  The did send back the removed hot mirror (more on this in another post in a few days. There are quite a few converted NEX 5 & 3’s out there now and a lot of great images are showing up in the various support forums.  I HOPE that this one can at least live up to the functionality of the Olympus E-PL1 Full Spectrum Infrared conversion. I know from experience that the Oly system is one tough act to follow!

There are some problems with the camera that will cause instant hair pulling with photographers who have any experience at all.

  • Menu controls are REALLY buried deep in the menu system…. ICK
  • The Camera will NOT Custom White Balance with a IR filter on the end of the lens!
  • 49mm Filters!  Not a universally accepted filter size!
  • No Electronic Viewfinder

There is nothing you can do about a poorly designed menu system other than to grin and bear it.  But as long as you shoot in AV mode (aperture priority) 90% of the menu functionality that you need are single button selections except for white balance!

White Balance…. Hmmm this one could have been a show stopper except for the fact that the camera will report to you the correct wb figures in kelvin and tint values before it tells you to go take a flying leap…  But then… You can take those values and select MANUAL white balance and enter them!  This is a work around but it does work! So instead of a -1 for lack of custom white balance I give the camera a -.5!

I HATE it when I cannot find the proper filter sizes for my lenses!  49mm!!!  You cannot even buy a LDP CC1 UV/IR cut filter in this size!  That means that you have to use a step up ring and mount a 52mm filter and throw away the lens hood because it WILL NOT FIT over a 52mm filter!  Can you tell that I am angry about this?  To put on a filter based lens hood causes the entire assembly to vignette!   Oh well, the new 18-200 Sony lens is 67mm which is a standard filter size. I can see a new lens in the future if I decide that this system is a keeper.

The lack of an Electronic Viewfinder can be a real issue for some photographers (myself included). I will tell you though, that in Sony’s defense that if you put the LCD panel in the BRIGHT SUNLIGHT mode that you can see it perfectly in the bright light!  What More can I say?

Pawleys Island Pier, B+W 091, Handheld

I took the camera out for a test drive today. I used a B+W 091 and a LDP CC1 filter.  The CC1 was perfect and allowed PERFECT color images (more on this in the next post.  The 091 gave STUNNING B&W images but very poor Faux images (could have been a combination of the filter bandwidth and the sun light direction). I am VERY impressed with the B&W images though with the 091.  They are sharp and clear with great DOF.  The camera handled well and the normal aperture priority controls were readily at hand.  The images have good contrast and depth.

NEX-5 Full Spectrum, B+W 091

OK, enough on this for now, more soon….


8 comments on “Sony NEX-5 Full Spectrum IR Conversion

  1. Hi, I’m looking for a sony a33 or nex3 conversion full spec would be my preference. Also prices or prices to convert would be appreciated.

    • Check out Ebay for sure! Spencers Camera in Utah is the one who do conversions on the Sony systems and they may have systems there or leads for you. You just missed my Nex 5 auction on Ebay by a week! Spencers will charge you around $300 to convert a Nex. You might also check out any Olympus Pen systems as they make great IR systems, especially the E-PL1 and the E-P2.

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