The fascination with digital infrared photography continues to grow and Fuji
follows up the introduction of the FinePix S3 Pro UVIR D-SLR with an electronic
viewfinder (EVF) fixed-lens camera called the IS-1. (See our review of the UVIR
on www.shutterbug.com by typing FinePix S3 Pro UVIR into the Search box.) Don't
think Fuji is just concerned about the aesthetic applications of digital IR
photography. Nope, like the FinePix S3 Pro UVIR, the Fujifilm IS-1 will be used
by law enforcement to solve crimes by capturing evidence not easily seen by
the human eye. The camera can be used in both the visible and infrared light
spectrums and has a continuous live preview feature, which is a big advantage
for focusing and composing when using the dark filters that infrared photography
requires. The IS-1 also has a 2" articulated LCD that simplifies previewing,
capturing, and reviewing images, IR or otherwise.
The IS-1 uses a 9-megapixel Fujifilm Super CCD sensor with an ISO sensitivity
range of 80-1600, enabling IS-1 shooters to capture images using visible and
infrared light (approximately 400--900 nm.) To isolate specific wavelengths
you'll need to use different lens filtration to achieve a specific effect.
The camera's Picture Stabilization feature is selectable on the camera's
Mode dial and increases ISO sensitivity along with high shutter speed settings
(not optical stabilization) to reduce any blur caused by camera shake. Fuji
bundles its Hyper Utility Software HS-V2 that enables IS-1 photographers to
get the most from the camera's raw file format, which is a good thing
because the .RAF files that the IS-1 produces cannot be read by even the very
latest version of Adobe Camera Raw. That may change in the future but in the
meantime, Fuji provides both Mac OS and Windows XP versions of the software.
This infrared image of another architect's building in Basalt,
Colorado, was captured with the Peca 904 IR filter held in front
of the camera's lens. Exposure was 1/320 sec at f/5 at ISO
400 and the image was converted to monochrome and lightly tweaked
in Adobe's Photoshop using its Curves function.
All Photos © 2007, Joe Farace, All Rights Reserved
In The Field
In operation, the IS-1 bears some resemblance to the S3 Pro UVIR, sometimes
to its detriment. The controls, menus, and buttons can be confusing and counterintuitive,
although I am not sure die-hard Fuji users will notice. The rest of us should
keep the Owners Manual handy for even the simplest settings such as changing
to/from JPEG to Raw Capture mode. Oh wait, you can't. Fuji only provides
the 1S-1 Owners Manual as a PDF file on a CD, so bring along a laptop computer
or have all 163 pages printed at Kinko's.
(CCD-RAW, as Fuji prefers to call it, is set in the Setup Menu, not in the Quality
Menu as you might suspect.)
Dogs, especially Labradors, are a constant presence in Colorado's
high country and this yellow lab patiently waiting for his master
is a typical sight. Image file was tweaked with PictoColor's
(www.pictocolor.com) iCorrect EditLab Pro to produce the result
you see here. Exposure was 1/1900 sec at f/8 at ISO 400.
The camera has two memory card slots: one for CompactFlash, the other for
the mostly useless xD-Picture Cards. Speaking of "mostly useless,"
while the lens has a 35mm equivalent of 28-300mm, there is also a 2x digital
zoom option. If you care about quality, you'll just forget this fact.
Unlike lots of digital cameras, the IS-1 lets you use a real cable release and
the best traditional release that I've found is Nikon's AR-3, that
costs about $15.
No relation to Fruita, Colorado's Mike the Headless Chicken,
this sculpture, made from what appears to be an old mailbox, stood
sentry on these steps in Basalt, Colorado. Although this file was
tweaked in PictoColor's (www.pictocolor.com) iCorrect EditLab
Pro Photoshop compatible plug-in, I could never get the shadows
as neutral as I would have liked because of IR pollution. Maybe
I should have tried harder.
I'm no fan of EVF cameras but the IS-1 could change my mind for two
big reasons: the resolution of the tiny screen is extremely fine (235,000 pixels)
and doesn't exhibit the coarse rendition that plagues most other EVF cameras,
including those from Fuji. Oh yeah, and it shows 100 percent of the image, which
eliminates compositional surprises. What makes it really unique is that the
Fujifilm IS-1 is the first IR-capable camera I have tried that lets you use
the dense filters required for infrared capture and still be able to see the
effect in the viewfinder before you snap the shutter.
Downtown Basalt, Colorado, abounds with interesting architecture
and this architect's office building was captured using the
Fujifilm IS-1's built-in Black and White mode. Exposure was
1/1200 sec at f/8 at ISO 400.
The camera's lens has a 58mm filter size but none of the IR filters
in my collection are that size so I just held them in front of the lens. If
you do this be careful because in addition to the chance of getting your pinky
in the shot you can also physically push the zoom lens in changing its focal
length and ending up with a much different focal length than you thought you
were going to get. Fuji provided me with a Peca IR filter that performed spectacularly
well with the IS-1. Peca's website (www.pecascientific.com)
has an entire section dedicated to the S3 Pro UVIR so they seem on top of the
forensic applications of IR photography. During my testing I also tried IR filters
from B+W, Cokin, and Singh-Ray, all of which produced slightly different but