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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Which filter will work best? There is not one best filter - There is one best filter for any particular situation. The best filter depends on the lighting conditions, camera and object being photographed. A 1000nm under fluorescent lights won't work because fluorescent lights don't transmit enough 1000nm light. However, under sunlight, the 1000nm is usually more effective than an 830nm or 850nm. Some materials may be translucent at 830nm but not at 1000nm or vice-versa. Fortunately, with our low pricing, you can afford to experiment. We would recommend starting with one 715nm or 780nm and one 1000nm filter or XDP filter. If you only want to buy a couple filters, you should buy filters with the greatest diversity. Don't make the common mistake of assuming that a higher cutoff filter is better. Sometimes a lower cutoff filter will work better. Please see our filter comparison page for some picture examples.
Will I be able to instantly see through materials? Probably not. You have to learn what to look for. A good way to start is by putting your camera in Niteshot mode with an IR filter installed. Under good incandescent (regular bulbs) lighting, hold a white card behind a wide variety of fabrics (try your closet). You will find that you can see the card behind some fabrics - typically thin synthetics such as Polyester, Nylon, Rayon, Silk and some thin Cottons. Keep in mind that the pictures you may have seen are the best results after experimentation. The lighting conditions (type of light, front/back, intensity, glare, etc) and material will have a dramatic effect. When the conditions work, the results will be amazing.
X-Ray photography is like fishing. You can have a nice boat, rod and lures, but that doesn't mean you will catch fish. It still takes a little bit a work, talent and luck.
Can I see body heat or thermal images? Not with a Sony NiteShot camera. Thermal image sensors see in the 8,000nm to 13,000nm range. Sony cameras see to around 1,100nm which is called the Near IR (NIR) range. Thermal images are in the Mid IR (MIR) range and are see by cameras called Forward Looking Infrared Cameras (FLIR). We do have a thermal video camera which can see heat and give non-contact temperature measurements. However, this camera is expensive (around $20,000) and is a controlled item by the Department Of State under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).
How come your filters as so inexpensive? We have a special relationship with the glass melt factories in Germany. We buy large quantities of glass to our own specifications and manufacture the actual filter ourselves. Our products are comparable to filters like the B&W 093, Tiffen 87, Hoya RM90, Kaya Optics PF series and Heliopan Lichtfilter. Most others that sell these filters are resellers that need to add another profit layer. When buy through LDP, you are buying directly from a manufacturer. You can't buy more directly!
Does the low price affect quality? No. Our glass is manufactured to ISO 2002 standards in Germany. The glass is optical quality, cut, ground and polished to MILSPEC standards. You can't buy a higher quality glass than the glass in an X-Nite Filter. The filter is constructed of two part metal rings and full sized pure glass.
Will your filters fit my camcorder? If your camera uses a 37mm filter size, then yes. You can check or Compatibility List. If you aren't sure, look at the numbers around the front of the lens. You will see something like
What is the difference between the X-Nite715, X-Nite780, X-Nite830, X-Nite850 and X-Nite1000 and XDP filters? The number on the X-Nite filter indicates the wavelength cutoff frequency at 50% light transmission, 715nm, 780nm, 830nm, 850nm and 1000nm. The 830nm and 850nm will have similar characteristics except the 850nm is slightly more aggressive at the cutoff and has a substantially higher passband limit of 1100nm@99% versus the 830nm 900nm@99% limit passband. The limit passband is the frequency where the filter transmits at a specified higher percentage. See our controlled example shots for comparisons here.
The X-Nite630 and X-Nite665nm are high red filters that start transmitting light at the upper end of human sight into the infrared range. To the human eye, the filter looks like a deep red color.
Our X-Nite330nm filter transmits light on the opposite side of the human spectrum with a peak of 330nm. The X-Nite330nm transmits ultraviolet light and blocks visible light. This filter has some similarities to the Wratten 18 though the X-Nite330 goes deeper into ultraviolet.
The XDP filter is a different animal from the 830, 850 and 1000nm filters. In some respects, it is closer to the 1000nm filter but gives greater detail because the filter has a Dual Profile light transmission curve. One peak is near 1000nm and one is much lower
What's the nm mean? The nm stands for nanometer and is a measure of length. One nanometer is a billionth of a meter. The measurement is for one full light wave length. Humans can see from about 400nm (violet) to 750nm (red). Below 400nm is ultraviolet light. Above 750nm is infrared. See our Vision FAQ for more information.
I have a regular Sony/Panasonic camcorder with Niteshot. Can I do X-Ray with it? Yes, but there are some limitations. Some regular production camcorders go to full open aperture and slow shutter in Niteshot/Niteview mode. Some camcorders limit the minimum aperture size. If you add an IR filter, you may be able to X-Ray if the light is right. You could use an 830nm or 850nm or 1000nm to adjust the light into the camera - the higher the value, the less light. If you are in a bright situation and the 1000nm is still too bright, you will need to add a neutral density filter which we do not sell but is a standard photography item. We suggest first getting a 850nm and 1000nm and testing. The optimum result is with a re-enabled camcorder such as the ones we sell that will adjust to light conditions automatically. However, we also tested the Sony DCR-PC100 DV camcorder and found adding any IR filter allows you to shoot in very bright sunlight without any additional neutral density filters. Depending on your camcorder, just adding the IR filter may work perfectly! You would still need the same filters anyhow since the different filters may perform better or worse depending on the particular situation.
Why does this work? There are a few things that need to happen to be successful. You need
Your eyes see visible light. You IR sensitive camcorder can see both visible light and IR light. Actually, all camera imaging elements, the CCD's, are sensitive to IR light. In normal mode, all camcorders use an IR Blocking filter so that they only see the visible light - otherwise the colors and brightness wouldn't match what your eye sees. When you switch the camcorder to Niteshot or Niteview, you move the IR blocking filter out of optical path to the CCD so now the camera is seeing both IR and visible light. Adding an IR filter, like our X-Nite series, blocks the visible light so that the camera is only seeing IR light. The curious thing is that some materials, especially dark colored synthetic fabrics, now become translucent because IR light can pass through them. Some translucent materials turn black. Sometimes what looks like glass to the human eye looks like a mirror to IR. The point is that things look different under IR and can sometimes be very interesting.
Is there such a thing as a Color IR Filter? No. Visible light goes from violet at 350nm to red at 780nm. Color doesn't exist for humans or the camera in IR which is over 780nm. The camera only sees Black & White in the IR region. The closest thing to color is some of the $10,000 heat sensitive, cooled cameras which re-map the IR information into the color range.
All camcorder CCD's only see Black & White. The way the camcorder figures out colors is by passing the light though either a mosaic filter or a prism that separates the light into 3 individual color channels. Each color channel is not color sensitive itself, but the camera is wired so that it derives the color information from the color channels. The IR range is a color beyond what we can see. The camcorder sees this as black and white.
Some people market a 1030nm filter with a supposedly different transmission curve. Again, this is a marketing tactic designed to sell filters. Some people also sell black glass and call it an IR filter. We are selling filters using precision cut, ground and polished ISO2002 Schott IR filter glass from Germany that has been made to our specifications. Despite our low prices, the glass we use is the finest you can buy.
How come my camera shows a green picture in Niteshot mode if IR is Black & White? Because Sony thinks it looks better. Green is in the middle of the color range. Green probably started because some low light viewers use a green phosphor screen. The camcorder CCD sees IR as Black and White however. Sony adjusts the tint so that the Black and white image becomes Green and White.
Can you modify my Camera? It depends. Currently, we are only modifying certain models from Sony, Canon, Nikon and Fuji. We aren't modifying other camera manufacturers though we may do so in the future depending on requests. For Sony cameras and camcorders, we modify many models and can modify many older models. Please check with us. For Canon and Nikon cameras, we are modifying many of the DLSR models. For Fuji cameras, we are modifying certain point and shoot and DSLR cameras.
The reasons we can't modify any camera is because
My camera can see a blinking IR remote when I point the remote control directly into the camera. Doesn't that mean it is IR sensitive? No, not really. IR remotes pulse infrared LED's at very high power levels. When you point the remote at a color digital camera or camcorder, some of the IR light leaks through the cameras IR Cut Filter (ICF). All color cameras and camcorders must have an ICF because the color mosaic filter that lets the camera see color lets in IR light at certain wavelengths. If the cameras didn't have an ICF, colors would look very odd when you went outside. However, the ICF is not 100% effective. A little bit of IR light can leak through. Because the IR LED is being pulsed at a high level, the camera can see the IR light. If you try to take an IR picture with a stock camera, you can sometimes do so, but you will have to use a low cut IR filter (like a 715nm one) and you will need very long exposure times (like 1 minute or more). In contrast, a modified camera can take pictures at about the same speeds in outdoor sunlight with a 715nm filter as a stock camera can take a visible picture.
What is the equivalent filter to?Glass Equivalents:
Kaya PF4 is 780nm
Hoya RM72 is 720nm
M&K #093 is 830nm
M&K #095 is 850nm
M&K 1000 is 1000nm
Wratten 18A is 350nm
Heliopan filters use Schott glass indicated by the RG number. For example, RG830 = 830nm and RG1000=1000nm.
I took apart my camera and now it doesn't work. Can you fix it? No. Sorry, but we are not a repair shop. We don't have the replacement parts. You need company service. We get many e-mails each year from people that have attempted to modify cameras internally for infrared and have damaged their cameras. When we first learn how to modify a particular type of camera, we sometimes damage the camera - and we know what we are doing. Some of the parts in the camera are highly static sensitive. Touching some parts can damage them. Some cameras need to be substantially disassembled. Some cameras require custom optics that have to be very precise for the camera to focus properly. Some of our optics has tolerances +/- 0.01 mm and is custom made with optically pure glass transparent between 250nm and 1400nm.
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