Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Infra Red Comparison

Ok, here is a comparison you will not see on too many websites.  Its the SX210 in one corner with the HTC Inspire in the other corner.  Both wearing the infra red filter (well the SX210 has its brace and gorilla tripod, and the Inspire has me holding the filter in front of the lense).  This did not seem to hurt the Inspire as shutter length did not appear to change with the filter in front.  There must not be any filter to stop the infra red light on a phone.  This makes some sense as cost and size is the priority.

Note, all pictures are processed as outlined earlier in the blog.

I had another visit to Mohonk Mtn, and figured this was a perfect opportunity to take some infra red pictures.  The one above is from the SX210.  I had hoped for more sun (that would have popped the sky a bit better and driven better contrast), but I had to deal with more of a grey weekend.  Given the troubles, this is a great example, with the water (which comes out so black) the foliage and the sky.

The picture above was taken a few minutes later from the inspire.  There is a bit of a dark spot in the middle (and if you remember my orginal write up on using digital cameras with an infrared filter this can happen sometimes).  It should be possible to miminize ita bit if playing with the sliders (instead of just going with the defaults in the process also as described in an earlier post).

There is an interesting point not evident from the pictures themselves.  First a low ISO (80) was used on the SX210 to reduce noise seen in other pictures.  This worked well, but required a long exposure (1 second in this case).  The phone used an ISO of 604 automatically, and the exposure was just the same as normal (not listed).  It might have a little more noise, but it is close (I was able to handhold this picture holding the filter in front of the lense).

The picture above is of the monument on top of the hill taken by the SX210.  It is interesting how the rocks ended up a bit false colored.  This is nice and sharp and with out unwanted noise.  Again this was at an ISO of 80 (which I think really helps).  The drawback is the exposure took a whoppping 4 seconds (yes it was on a tripod - a large gorilla tripod). 

Finally the monument from the Inspire.  Obviously the ability to zoom does not exist (I do not believe in digital zoom, just throws away pixels you paid for, better to crop afterward).  Again the dark spot in the middle.  It can probably be minimzed with a little work, but probably not removed easily. 

Well this is the comparison.  I would say that for outdoor landscape pictures, the flexibility and quality of the SX210 was too much for the Inspire.  The pictures hold more capability for false color with the SX210 (though the whites in the Inspire are stronger).  However, having said that, with a cheap filter, it appears possible to get reasonable infra red pictures out of your cell phone (well the Inspire anyway). 

Unfortunatly, none of the pictures were in ideal light.  There was some sun, but it was broken, so it is possible that the performances might have improved on both with better lighting (next time hopefully). 

Note, I was specific with the outdoor landscape pictures for a reason.  I have tried to take indoor portraits (against soft light backgrounds) with the SX210 with no success.  I just have not found a light that puts out enough infra red to get the picture.  The Inspire with its much quicker response might allow me to do some portrait work (I know, it will look funny holding the filter over the camera, but I think it is worth a chance).