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Thread: Seeing which of my current pens go clear under Infrared

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    Senior Member KBeezie's Avatar
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    Default Seeing which of my current pens go clear under Infrared

    Not all black/etc pens go clear under infrared photography, but here are the ones in my collection that do. With some on the side that have plastics that don't go clear at all that use plastic from around the same time period as the rest.

    The oldest one in this grouping is the Sheaffer Triumph (1940s), and only the cap plastic goes clear on that, but not the barrel plastic. The Pilots and Montblancs are mostly from the 1960s to 1970s.

    Five Views (4 on a Modified Camera, 5th reference on non-modified)

    Infrared Only (850nm and up shown)


    Infrared + Red Visible light (695nm and up)


    Ultraviolet Only (no light above 400nm)


    Full Spectrum (no blocking of Ultraviolet, Visible, or Infrared)


    Visible Light Only (off a normal unmodified camera)


    Some macro shots at 850nm+

    Pilot Super 200 w/ 14K "Coarse" nib, can see the May 1966 date code under the plastic, tail end of the Pilot Super 250 above showing the switch filler.


    Pilot Super 250, 14K Falcon, Montblanc 320, 14K EF, Montblanc 225, 14K XXF


    Montblanc 221 (no transparency under IR), Montblanc 14 (faint translucence), Montblanc 225 (complete transparency thru grip and feed)


    Sheaffer Snorkel Valiant and Statesman, The main plastic has no impact on IR light, but the grips do. Had I remembered to get a closer shot looking below, you could make out the snorkel tube when it's retracted.


    Pelikan 400NN cap, and Sheaffer Triumph (1940s) Cap, the Body of the Sheaffer Triumph doesn't have any effect from viewing under IR. The cap seems to be a different black plastic than the body.


    Pelikan 400NN, 14K Semiflex EF


    Parker 45 w/ Accountant and XF Nib Unit , no impact at all, included because someone on reddit wanted to see if it would work.

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    carlos.q (January 6th, 2022), catbert (January 6th, 2022), christof (January 7th, 2022), manoeuver (January 7th, 2022), markiv (January 6th, 2022), mizgeorge (January 7th, 2022)

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    Default Re: Seeing which of my current pens go clear under Infrared

    This is super cool!...makes me want to spruce up my good old 550D.



    Sent from my Pixel 4a (5G) using Tapatalk

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    Senior Member KBeezie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeing which of my current pens go clear under Infrared

    Quote Originally Posted by markiv View Post
    This is super cool!...makes me want to spruce up my good old 550D.



    Sent from my Pixel 4a (5G) using Tapatalk
    It's not as practical to do an infrared or full spectrum conversion of a DSLR due to being dependent on live view (which mirrorless cameras don't have as much an issue with).

    LifePixel does have a DIY tutorial for it, but you would have to calibrate the focus after since infrared focusing won't match what your mirror/focus-screen says (since it's assuming visible light). Which isn't as much an issue using a filter in front of the lens, but then you can't see what's going on with your eye.

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    Default Re: Seeing which of my current pens go clear under Infrared

    I appreciate your pointers as these will be helpful as delve deeper. I have been exploring IR mod for a while, primarily for astrophotography.

    Your post gives me added motivation coupled with the bustling support through open source Magic Lantern firmware.

    Sent from my Pixel 4a (5G) using Tapatalk

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    Senior Member manoeuver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeing which of my current pens go clear under Infrared

    this is really weird Karl. I did not know materials would go clear like that.

    this is maybe the coolest set of pen photos I've yet seen.

    Thank for share!

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    Senior Member KBeezie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeing which of my current pens go clear under Infrared

    Quote Originally Posted by manoeuver View Post
    this is really weird Karl. I did not know materials would go clear like that.

    this is maybe the coolest set of pen photos I've yet seen.

    Thank for share!
    It became more common (relatively speaking) knowledge when it was discovered on Sony HandyCam cameras in the late 90s, a fiasco that cost them millions of dollars in recalls and lawsuits because the night vision on them which is using infrared to see (since most night vision emits an ir Beam for illumination that's not visible to the human eye), didn't require a dark environment to activate. As a result it was discovered some materia, most notably some clothing... Such as women's blouses and such, would go clear using such feature.

    But it's not the earliest use of infrared photography, which has been around in film form for decades. Weegee a photojournalist back then would use infrared sheet film in his 4x5 camera and carried flash bulbs that were coated to only emit infrared light. He would photograph brothel raids, crime scenes, and other newsworthy aspect of night lift without anyone realizing he was getting pictures and develop them in the trunk of his car ready to deliver to the press before morning. Course I imagine clothing material back then rarely had polyester and similar so the effect probably wasn't noticed.

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeing which of my current pens go clear under Infrared

    This is all rather fascinating. Love the linkage to Weegee, an iconic photographer if ever there was one.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: Seeing which of my current pens go clear under Infrared

    That's cool.

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    Senior Member KBeezie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeing which of my current pens go clear under Infrared

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    This is all rather fascinating. Love the linkage to Weegee, an iconic photographer if ever there was one.
    Well I do have a degree in fine arts with emphasis on photography, they'd have to retroactively change my grade in history of modern art and "photography as art" if I didn't at least remember him.

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