Shooting Infrared Images with a Converted Nikon D100

The Nikon D100 is a discontinued 6-megapixel DSLR designed for professionals and advanced hobbyists. It was introduced on February 21, 2002 at the PMA Annual Convention and Trade Show as a direct competitor to Canons EOS D60.

As it is with a lot of older cameras they simply get passed over by newer models, yet can still produce excellent images.

I’ve been toying with the idea of having a fully converted DSLR for some time. Regular readers to this blog will know I have a converted Coolpix 995, which I converted myself and produces really good images. However, because of the smaller sensors used in compact cameras, producing prints above 10×8 is a bit of a struggle. Don’t get me wrong, the 995 is a great little tool, if you only ever upload your work to the Internet or show via a digital projector. My master plan is to produce a panel of IR prints (20) and submit them as part of my MFIAP in 2012.

Buying a camera and then having it converted is still an expensive option. If you look around you will find, like I did, that older models can be snapped up for the price of an IR conversion. I paid £250 for my converted D100, in excellent condition, off E-bay. I later added the MB-D100 battery grip for £35.

The conversion made to my D100 was carried out by LifePixel in America whereby they remove the internal IR blocking filter and replace it with a standard IR filter, equivalent to Hoya R72 filter. This is a good all around infrared filter choice because coloured (Channel Swapped/Blues Skies) images are possible too. Black & white IR photography looks great with this filter as it shows a good tonal range in the final print.

Desolation on High – Nikon D100 (IR)/Sigma 10-20mm

Getting good, consistent results from any converted camera means mastering your white balance settings. In my experience, leaving the camera to automatically determine the white balance seldom gets the best results.

The D100 has a peculiar procedure for setting up a custom white balance. After spending hours trailing the Internet (the manual doesn’t tell you) I finally found what I was looking for.

Setting a Custom White Balance for your D100 (IR).

Turn the camera on.

Turn the top dial to “WB”

Turn the thumb side dial until “PRE” shows on the top LCD screen.

Turn the index finger dial (on the front of the camera) and the top LCD screen letters will blink.

Focus on a bright patch of grass, in the same light as your subject.

Press the AE/AF Lock button and press the shutter button.
* You must hold the AE/AF button down or the camera shutter won’t fire.

“Good” will blink on the top LCD screen.

Job Done!

Wychbury Heights – Nikon D100 (IR)/Sigma 10-20mm

Remember to reset the top dial back to your shooting mode (Programmed, Aperture, Shutter, etc.)

To undo your preset White Balance simply return the camera back to its regular White Balance choices, turn the top dial back to “WB” and turn the dial until your choice reappears on the screen. Then reset the top dial back to your preferred shooting mode.

Images shown are available to purchase from my RedBubble website: