Loving The 590nm Goldie IR Filter

Goldie Love!

Waccamaw River Cyprus Trees, Canon 20D, 590nm

I have dozens of Infrared filter choices for my Full Spectrum Olympus E-PL1 camera system.  But time and time again I keep coming back to the B+W 090 590nm filter (Light RED/ORANGE) as the filter of choice.  There is just something about the golden tones generated by plant leaves and the bright blue skies…  Although I am a Black & White traditionalist, I still post process every image that I take both for Faux Color and B&W!  The main thrust of this blog seems to have been down the Olympus camera line, but I do keep another camera on hand…. A Canon 20D modified to 590nm Goldie!  So I actually have 2 different camera systems available to shoot in this range of Infrared!  I rarely get out the Canon, instead I keep it for student use during Infrared workshops opting instead to shoot the Full Spectrum E-PL1 with the Goldie!

Leaf Frame, E-PL1 With 590nm Filter

I am going to concentrate on Faux Color images in the post.  My last post showed both, so you know that the 590nm filters will give you great B&W results as well.  But let’s face it, if you purchase at system or setup for Goldie images, you are really going for Faux Color!

These cameras/filters are called Goldie for a reason! Look at the foliage, it comes out with bright golden tones that cannot be achieved any other way in Infrared Post Processing! The skies are usually bright blue and water reflections are just great as well. Some of the Infrared conversion companies like Lifepixel, LDP (MAX MAX) and Spencers call these conversions Super Color.  Make sure that when you are talking to a conversion company (except for a Full Spectrum conversion that you tell them 590nm!

Common Filter Response Chart

As discussed in the previous posting, there are some issues to overcome when shooting at 590nm.  First and foremost is the fact that the filter allows both red energy as well as Infrared energy to pass through the filter!  What this means to us as photographers is that the camera’s sensor sees both visible light as well as Infrared light. This messes up the exposure metering on the camera and causes over exposure in the red channel on the camera.  Usually the Histogram will NOT display the red channel data correctly and you do not realize that the exposure is blown out until you get the image back onto your computer in Photoshop!

E-P2 & 2 Showing the Silver Exposure Compensation Thumb Wheel

Take a look at the Common Filter Response Chart. Look for the red line labeled #25 to see the 590nm Goldie response line.  As you can see, a great amount of visible light is allowed into the camera along with Infrared light.  Most camera exposure systems cannot handle this correctly so you must make exposure compensation adjustments when shooting in this band.  All you need to do to adjust for this is to dial in between -3 and -7 ev exposure compensation. Usually, you simply hold down the shutter button half way and turn a dial. On the E-P2 there is a programmable thumb wheel on the back of the camera to do this and for the E-PL1 you push the up arrow on the multifunction dial then the left or right buttons on the same dial to adjust the exposure compensation!  For the NEX 3 & 5 cameras this function is built deep into the menu system but once you find it and start using the function it will become second nature for you!

Pawleys Island Boat Houses, North Causeway, 590nm

When people see you shooting with the 590nm (#25 light red) filter they get sort of a strange glaze over their eyes as they mentally process just why the heck you are shooting through rose colored glass (most sill simply think that you are nuts)!  Trust me, if they could see the finished image results after Post Processing they would be asking you for advice on doing the same thing! Do NOT show anyone your RAW image right out of the camera though, it is really not a very pleasing image in its own right like the RAW 720nm images can be!

Pawleys Island Marsh, 590nm

I keep ALL of my finished images loaded on my Iphone and Ipad so that I can show them to any interested parties! You would not believe how many converts this has generated into the world of Infrared!

Remember, think Reds, Golds and Blues when it comes to Post Processing these images.  The Faux Color Photoshop Action (download on the right) adjustment at the end is ALL IMPORTANT to getting good colors, see THIS post for detailed instructions on how to do this!  Also important is the use of NIK’s Viveza Photoshop plugin to fine tune these colors (same post link as above).  From start to end with the steps outlined above you can finish Post Processing in about 3 min!

Carolina Trunk Valve (Rice Paddy Control) 590nm

As you might have noticed, when I process my Faux Color Infrared Images I typically will convert some of the compositional elements into Black & White!  For me this just extends the dynamic range of the image and balances it better. Plus compositionally speaking, it really pulls your eyes into the image! This would not be possible to do without NIK’s Viveza Photoshop plugin!  Usually I will convert ALL of the clouds and buildings (hand of man sort of things) into B&W. On this image the Trunk itself and the rocks were converted.  Above the clouds and buildings were converted!

The B+W 090 590nm Goldie Infrared Filter is one of the least expensive Infrared filters that you can purchase at $24.00 0n Amazon.com!  If you are shooting a Full Spectrum Infrared camera system pick one up and give it a try, you will not be disappointed!


Sandy Island School Boat, 590nm, Olympus E-PL1 Full Spectrum Camera

12 comments on “Loving The 590nm Goldie IR Filter

  1. Mark, I was very impressed with your pictures and would like to try an infrared filter . What brand of infrared filter would you recommend for a Canon 5D Mark II with an EF 24 – 70 f 2.8 L usm? Thank you very much for sharing you pictures and for any information you can recommend. Alina

  2. Life Pixel converted my old Rebel for full spectrum. Using 590nm filter on lens. I would love to have a detailed description on some of the ways to post process my images.

  3. Hi Mark,

    Great looking pics! I have access to a Coolpix 5400 Goldie and was hoping to use it for the purpose of separating foliage from non-foliage in hemispherical photos. I notice, especially in your boathouse picture, that you were able to make anything that wasn’t a leaf b&w. Do you have camera settings or post-processing thoughts about how to maximize this contrast given that I’m operating at 590 nm?


    • Mike, in post processing I use NIK’s Viveza 2.0 and via selection points I can desaturate any portion of the image very easily. I also use the same tool to change various contrast levels and color shades/hues in various parts of the image in order to various contrast levels across the image for visual impact.

  4. the get those results, did you just put the filter on or you have a special IR modified camera?
    Is there any filter besides Goldie Pro IR attached?


    • To get these results requires a camera with the internal UV/IR blocking filter (Hot mirror) removed and replaced with a clear piece of glass or a 590nm ir filter. You cannot do this with a standard color digital camera system. For these images there is ONLY a 590nm Goldie filter attached to the lens and the internal camera filter has been removed.

  5. Good evening,

    I’m utterly amazed at the photo’s you have posted. I’ve been in love with IR photography since I stumbled across Allon Kira’s web site (http://www.pbase.com/allonkira/infrared). I’ve my own digital camera converted to 715nm and am having a ball. There is something about that golden foliage that looks almost magical. I’ve come back to your blog over and over as I really would like to try out the 590nm converted camera.

    I do have one question. Do you know of anyone who has a full spectrum camera who replaces the filters in front of the lens? I’d like the flexibility to take pictures with a 590, 655, 715, and 830 nm filter and get the same results as a single wavelength dedicated camera (internal filter replaced with one of the above pass filters) for each wavelength. I know lift pixel does conversion services both full spectrum and 590nm.

    Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated. I’m also a middle school teacher and have introduced IR photography to a group of students I have for a digital photography and film club. They love taking pictures of other students using my IR camera. I guess that ghostly look with dark eyes really entertains them.

    Thank you in for your time and efforts in advance.

    Frederick R. Logan

    • Thanks for the kind words! I am in love with 590nm and 630nm (B+W 090 and 091). I am shooting a Full Spectrum converted Olympus E-PL1 and there are 3 other local photographers here as well shooting this same system. I think that Full Spectrum is the way to go except for the cost of the lens filters! You MUST have a camera that has an electronic viewfinder to easily shoot Full Spectrum though. Look thru the blog and find the posts on the E-PL1 Full Spectrum conversion and consider it. With the introduction of the new E-PL2 camera the L1 has fallen in price!

    • I had life pixel convert my Lumix GF2 to 590nm and then got a 52mm 720nm filter for my lens. I’ve had no problem shooting this way for 720 and 590. I feel like this is superior to a full spectrum conversion because I can shoot without any filters at 590. With full spectrum you would have to have filters for everything. Of course if your interested in shooting UV or the visible spectrum still I guess it would be useful.

      • Isaac, good comment! In fact, this is exactly the same choice I made with my current GH2! Filters can be VERY expensive! The more unusual filters like the Super Blue 047b or a UG1 can be fun but we really don’t use them that often!

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