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Hoya R72 Infrafred Filter

I recently tested the Hoya R72 Infrared Filter. Hoya is a brand I'm very familiar with as I have used their CPL filter on my camera for many years. I thank Hoya for this collaboration.

If you are interested in finding out more information about Hoya Filters or where you can purchase them. Click HERE

Who are Hoya Filters ?

Establishing themselves as Japan's first speciality manufacturer of optical glass, Hoya has diversified itself into new business areas that exploit the potential of advanced optics technologies. As part of the Kenko Tokina Co.Ltd which manufactures everything from binoculars, microscopes and photographic accessories, Hoya delivers filters around the world.



When the box arrived, I was taken aback by how big it was considering it only contained a single filter. The filter itself comes in a solid plastic sleeve which was heavily bubble-wrapped which is great but maybe the large box isn't entirely necessary. The filter's box is very well presented and clearly labelled.


What's in the box?

In the plastic sleeve, there's a nice little holder with a polystyrene foam bed to protect the Infrared filter. I am really impressed by the build quality and the size. The filter isn't bulky and the sleeve fits nice and snug into my camera bag without taking up loads of room which is great for those long hikes and I'm confident that it could withstand most falls without causing any damage.

What is Infrared Photogaphy?

Infrared photography is capturing the world that we can't see with the naked eye. Our eyes can only capture wavelengths from about 400nm to 700nm (nm= nanometers, light is measured in wavelengths). What we are able to achieve with IR photography is capturing the light beyond 700nm.

The really interesting part about this style of photography is that we are able to achieve distinct and interesting effects with our photos. We can capture surreal colour landscapes or high contract black and white photos.

To achieve infrared photography, normally you would have to take your camera to be professionally customised by exchanging the sensor for an infrared one, which in entail means you can't use your normal shooting anymore. Whilst being inconvenient, it is also quite costly, hence, this is were the infrared filter comes into play for those looking to dip their toes into the world of IR photography.


Build Quality

From Hoya themselves, I could find much information relating to the specifications of the glass quality but I'm going to presume that it is the same chemically reinforced optical glass that appears in their other filters.

The frame is made of aluminium which feels really nice and solid in your hand whilst you screw the filter onto your camera. The filter has an EV (exposure value) of approximately 14 to 15 stops, which means in order to capture a decent shot with this increase the shutter speed on your camera by 15 clicks to get a well exposed shot. I will explain in the real world tests how I achieved by shots another method.


Real World Tests

After reading the great and useful guide by Antony Zacharias on the Hoya website (link here), I ventured out into the wild to see what I could achieve. Initially my shots were all either too dark, blurry or the camera couldn't focus due to the darkness of the filter which is quite annoying but I thought I would experiment and I came up with this technique as I mainly shoot in AV (aperture priority) mode on my camera which means I am able to get the shots I need quicker.

  1. First, compose your shot without the IR filter attached as you would normally do.

  2. Change the autofocus to manual focus (if you have it on). A problem I was finding is that my camera was struggling to focus with the IR filter attached.

  3. Attach the IR filter to the camera, trying not to get your finger prints on the glass.

  4. Your camera should now automatically adjust the shutter speed to the correct one for the filter.

  5. Press your shutter, making sure you have set a delayed shutter, on my camera it's 2 or 10 seconds, 2 seconds is more than enough on a non windy day.

  6. Sit back and hopefully, your shot should be nice and sharp.

After capturing the shots

As with most photography, capturing the shots is only half of the job, the rest is done in the editing suite. This is even more important with IR photography. To achieve a lovely edit there are a few steps to follow. Ben Harvey Photography has a great YouTube video explaining the process here. I will try to summarise it below:

Colour Profile

First you need to download and create an infrared colour profile for Lightroom.I found this blog really useful to help you get set up (here). From there, you can edit as you please. It's quite a satisfying experience.

Import Photo and white balance

Next import your photos into Lightroom and under the basic module, click profile and select your infrared profile and then use the eye dropper tool to select a white part of the shot such as the clouds or foliage, this will give you the best results. If your version of Lightroom allows, select the profile under the camera calibration tool right at the bottom of the develop module on the right hand side.

Basic Adjustments

From here, you can make basic adjustments such as whites, blacks, saturations, highlights and shadows or whatever you desire.

Edit in - Adobe Photoshop

From here, take the photo into Photoshop to swap the colours in order to get that Infrared look. Right click - edit in - edit in Adobe Photoshop. Once in Photoshop, under adjustments, click on levels and swap the blacks and the whites just above the output levels. From here take the photo back into Lightroom and you are done!

False Colours

An additional step could be using Hue/Saturation under adjustments in photoshop to change the colour in your shot. This is a very personal choice and it isn't to everybody's taste.

The shots

Here is what I managed to achieve with the infrared filter, it was quite a lot of trial and error but, in my opinion, I managed to get some useable and interesting shots. I experimented using the different techniques - colour swap, false colours and a play around in Lightroom to see what happens.


Overall, I found the process of trying the Hoya Infrared R72 very interesting, it required a lot more patience than normal in terms of getting the shots, editing and it forced me to up my photoshop skills as well. The Hoya Infrared R72 is a great filter that helps you achieve unique results which are not visible to the naked eye. If you're in the market for an Infrared filter, I highly recommend this one.

If you are interested in finding out more information about Hoya Filters or where you can purchase them. Click HERE



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