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Infrared


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No, infrared cameras typically need at least the red, green and blue color filters not integrated into the sensor. Infrared photography and black and white photography are not the same and often confuse people, partly because of so many inaccurate representations in marketing materials intentionally trying to confuse customers into thinking their consumer product is a real IR camera.

A "fake" or pseudo-infrared camera would be a standard sensor without the color filters and, instead, have a visible light filter over the lens. It would look black to the eye because it blocks colors but lets "heat" through. Typically, this is enough for consumer-grade equipment. Take off the black-looking visible light filter and you get a black and white sensor that needs an IR-blocking filter and you can now guess what other filters are needed on cameras designed for visible light. Visible light sensors often have IR filters. Then, people buy UV filters to block frequencies higher than blue.

However, there are some products out there that advertise themselves as IR cameras when they are really only consumer-grade sensors that did not get either color filter or IR filter added. This kind of sensor is a mess because it mixes visible light with high-frequency IR light in a misleading black and white image. This kind of camera is what I think of as "trash" used for cheap game-cameras that require an IR LED flash to work. IR LEDs are not that far from red and are relatively high frequency compared to the rest of the IR spectrum.

A "real" infrared camera would have a sensor specifically designed to receive wide-band or narrow-band infrared light adding that same visible light filter mentioned previously. These "camera" systems are more industrial, astronomy, military or aerospace grade and can be extremely expensive. Infrared light is between the color red so deep that it looks dim, but really is not, and microwaves. As the IR wavelength being targeted gets longer (toward microwave), the sensor pixel element size increases to receive it making the sensor size also increase or pushing the sensor to a lower resolution. Also, an IR camera's ability to see through dust, fog and other materials decreases the closer to red visible light the sensor is designed to receive.

Edited by bhu
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