I was in Hua Hin this December, a beach resort in Thailand and I thought it was the ideal place to try for the first time the film Rollei 400 infrared ; sea, beach, green space, bleue sky. I had a Leica M6, a Noctilux 0.95, and of course a Hoya filter R72. I previously tested the filter on my Sony A7R2, with the 35mmF2.8 . According to Hoya, this filter blocks 14.5 stops of lights. So I added 14.5 stops to the exposure and it worked. This was my digital experience. With film, it’s a whole different story. I read the forums and they said that we need to add only 6 or 7 stops. So I didn’t know if I had to follow Hoya or the forum. I choose to bracket. For each frame I took 3 pictures : +6 stops, +10 stops, + 14.5 stops. I metered with an app on my iPhone, myLightMeter pro, and I had the tripod Manfrotto 190.
You can see all the pictures below, so you can check which exposure is the best.
after seeing these 3 series, it’s obvious that adding 14 stops is too much. It’s not appropriate, except if we are looking for some special artistic effects. It reminds a snow storm, and in some cases it can be interesting.
the question is now : should we add 6 stops or 10 stops. well, it depends on the subject, the light, the sky etc… 6 stops is a safe bet. It looks good and this is what we expect usually. But in some cases, like this one with the chess board, the +10 stops options is interesting. It enhances the infrared effect.
this one , and the one with the palm tree above are my favorites. green turned out as a nice white and bleue became dark. that’s the real infared look that I was looking for.
it’s important to have a blue sky, because it will become dark on the pictures. clouds are not interesting for infrared.
It looks like it has been snowing… which will normally never happen in Hua Hin!
As a conclusion, this test was important to make because now I know that a good picture with this film has to be shot around +6 stops. Next time I will try to bracket around this. This film is very sensitive ; if you overexpose it, you will loose the darkness in the sky. What I learned as well is that the best infrared picture you will get includes 3 elements : green vegetation, bleue sky, and water (sea, pond, lake). My next roll will be shot in Bangkok in the parks because I have more chance to get these 3 elements in the frame. If you have already shot this film, please contact me and send me the link, I’d be interested to see your pictures.