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UV Photography Setup


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regit

New Member
Dec 3, 2003
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#1
Hi guys, here's a little thought on UV setup that some may find useful ...

To begin with, credits have to go where credits are deserved; my knowledge of UV photography was acquired from the Internet community and I have to thank them, especially people I had the pleasure to correspond with; like Bjorn (Naturfotograf - Most excellent!!!), Vivek (photo.net), Klaus (macro lens database), etc. If you have read the information from- or talk to the abovementioned people, you would have realised that UV photography is possible and feasible in the realm of digital photography.

Technique
Technique-wise, taking an UV shot is no different from taking an IR shot. Simply focus; put on the filter (compensate focal-shift if necessary) and shoot away… Now, this is the simple part; the hard part is getting the correct equipment to do this!!!

Equipment
Bjorn and Vivek have done a lot of leg-work in this regard and it is worth to check out what they recommend. But in essence, their recommendations normally revolve around lenses that are quite difficult to get (even you have the money).

In an ideal situation, you would use lens like a Zeiss UV-Sonnar for medium format, Asahi Pentax Ultra-Achromatic-Takumar for Pentax, Zeiss UV-planar for Visoflex… you get the picture :) They range from US$4000-US$20,000 ea. if you can find them … and that is a BIG “if”!!!

Since I only do DSLR, I would just like to touch on this format. The ideal setup for DSLR currently belongs to Nikon users. Not all imaging sensor are built the same and it so happen that the sensor on the Nikon D70 is most suitable for UV, in terms of transmission and colour response. Coupled with a UV-Nikkor 105/4.5 and a SB-140, you are all set :)



Now what is wrong with this picture is that the lens is difficult to find and expensive to buy, even more so for the flash!!! A UV-Nikkor 105/4.5 can cost you US$4000 and upward for a used one. The flash can cost you US$1500 and upward IF you can find a used one.

Bjorn recommend using the SB-14 as an alternative, since it can accept the UV and IR filters from the SB-140… this is great if only the filters are as common as SB-14!!! They are difficult to find and the SW-5UV actually cost a bomb; e.g. one British seller list them for about 250+ British pounds!!!

But all is not lost … :)
 

regit

New Member
Dec 3, 2003
427
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Singapore
#2
UV photography can be a lot cheaper and a lot accessible.

For camera … get a Nikon D70. It is that straight forward… Bjorn has in many instances, commented on the UV response of CMOS sensors; in other words, not good. Even the flagship D2X is about 5-stop lower than the D70 and that can translate into a lot of limitations in terms of subjects and working conditions. If you are using a camera with a CMOS sensor, be prepared for REALLY LONG exposure. It would be interesting to see the UV response of D50; if it is good, it can be made a dedicated UV camera.

As for lenses, many options exist. And in many cases, one has to adopt these options in order to get a range of focal range. But before these, let talk about the UV-Nikkor and see why it is desirable to use one.

UV-Nikkor 105mm 1:4.5
-Transmission: 220nm-900nm, versatile as UV, VIS and IR lens.
-Focusing of UV coincide with VIS focus. No need for compensation.
-Well-corrected and image quality is top note throughout the spectrum. Some lenses while great in VIS range, is not so good in UV; images can be “blommy”. UV-Nikkor can give sharp images end-to-end in UV.

If you are really into UV, this lens is the ultimate.

On the wide side there is the E-series lens with simple optical design. Both the 28mm and the 35mm will do the job and these typically go between US$35-70 ea. In order to use these, you have to remove the coatings of the front and back lens. Just get a small grit diamond compound and grind away!!! For the record, I dismantle both of them and removed all coating… not a good move though as the lenses flare big time ...



On the tele-side, you have those lenses designed for special applications. The FAX-Nikkors are great for the job. 160mm, 210mm and even the 300mm. But as these lens project a large image circle, the quality drops as you move up the range (great for large format though). For this reason, I prefer the EL-Nikkor 210mm (Nippon Kogaku marked – as this is corrected down to 350nm). If you can’t locate a FAX-Nikkor or old EL-Nikkor 210mm, you can try some of the uncoated large format lenses.



Both Bjorn and Vivek recommended the EL-Nikkor 63mm 3.5 (not 2.8) and the JML 50mm 3.5 as cheaper alternatives if you don’t want to pay too much. The JML runs for $10 a pop while the EL-Nikkor 63mm varies according to vintage. I go a Nippon Kogaku version for US$50 while the very rare FAX-EL-Nikkor 63mm cost 10 times that price. The later Nikon version cost me about US$70.



The performances of these are really good. However, they are getting rare and locating one is becoming difficult and collectors and enthusiasts alike are willing to bid up the price … but they will pop-up now and then at a reasonable price.

If all else failed, you can get the EL-Nikkors. In general, they will pass UV down to the range of 340nm; but optical quality varies as is the way they are corrected. Of the various EL-Nikkors, the 63/3.5 and the old Kogaku 210/5.6 seems to be the only one that is corrected down to 350nm. If you’re not picky, all of them will give you UV pictures. EL-Nikkors from the range of 63mm and up will allow you to focus to infinity (using either a bellows or helical focuser).

Finally, if you’re adventurous, try out various enlarging, medium/large format lenses. Some of them can give you rather surprising results. Recently, I’ve been playing around with a Wollensak Graphic Rapter 90mm(US$49) and the results are quite satisfactory. This setup, apart from focus shift (and losing a bit of transmission and sharpness), can rival the UV-Nikkor!!!



In summary, UV lenses can cost between $10-$20,000 ea. Your pick :)
 

regit

New Member
Dec 3, 2003
427
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Singapore
#3
Another important component is the filter. For a normal UV setup, you need a UV filter and an IR-blocking filter. UV filter differs in their optimum transmission range; a U-360 for example … you guess it, has peak transmission at 360nm. These filters run between US$30-150 depending on size and transmission range. Edmund optics can supply most of them.

IR-blocking filters also come in a variety. Hot mirror can be used, as with blue-green filters. For their relative effect, you can check them out in another post:

These run from US$40 and upward…



Last but not least, the flash. UV, like IR, can be taken under the sun. But in some instances, a UV/IR capable flash will come in handy. Get the SB-140 if you can, or adapt a SB-14 if you can’t. If neither option works for you, you can always make one :)

Look for flash with uncoated tube but perhaps only covered by a UV-blocking (yellowish) filter. The cheapo Vivitar 285HV (US$35) is one of them. Takes a bit of patient to reach the filter, but once removed, it is a very capable UV/IR flash. More information here: UV/IR flash




So, if you’re interested, a simple limited UV-setup will cost about US$80 (without the camera and assuming you just taped the filters and lenses together!!! Works though); and if the price is right, just do it :)
 

Nisa

Senior Member
Aug 13, 2004
1,286
0
0
#4
After reading your frist post, i m having a major headache. :embrass:
I am interested in it, will definitely work on those things ;p

Question : how do we know if we have grind enough coating off? :dunno:

opps sorry, i don't mean to comprang.... it's just i don't take information in very well..... :sticktong

BUT a BIG Thanks for intro'ing such interesting aspects of Photography to me :lovegrin:
 

gooseberry

Senior Member
Mar 11, 2004
1,952
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0
Central West
#5
Regit, thanks for putting the time and effort into making this post. Very interesting reading for those who would like to try UV photography with their DSLRs.
 

Pablo

Senior Member
Sep 1, 2004
1,854
0
0
Blue/Green Planet
#6
Hello Regit,

I appreciate that you have dedicated a lot of time and effort to your post on UV. :thumbsup:

I have read/taken note/cut and pasted info into my camera notes.

Many thanks for your sharing :thumbsup:

Realy look forward to your pic posts.

Cheers
 

regit

New Member
Dec 3, 2003
427
0
0
Singapore
#7
Nisa said:
Question : how do we know if we have grind enough coating off? :dunno:
Take a glass cup, look at it under the light and note the colour. Coated optics will reflect light in different colours and shades. Simply grid the lens down until it reflect the colour as shown on the cup :) ... that is assuming your cup is not coated!!!

Try on a small area first, you'll soon notice the differences.
 

Nisa

Senior Member
Aug 13, 2004
1,286
0
0
#8
regit said:
Take a glass cup, look at it under the light and note the colour. Coated optics will reflect light in different colours and shades. Simply grid the lens down until it reflect the colour as shown on the cup :) ... that is assuming your cup is not coated!!!

Try on a small area first, you'll soon notice the differences.
I was talking to someone about it yesterday.... he mentioned that the lens might be scratched? :dunno:

BTW how long do u think we need to do it? :dunno:
 

regit

New Member
Dec 3, 2003
427
0
0
Singapore
#9
Nisa said:
I was talking to someone about it yesterday.... he mentioned that the lens might be scratched? :dunno:

BTW how long do u think we need to do it? :dunno:
Using a fine diamond compond will do the trick. In any case, you'll be surprised how a scratched up lens can performed :)

It didn't take me long, about 10min each surface.
 

Nisa

Senior Member
Aug 13, 2004
1,286
0
0
#10
regit said:
Using a fine diamond compond will do the trick. In any case, you'll be surprised how a scratched up lens can performed :)

It didn't take me long, about 10min each surface.
Where do u suggest i buy this fine diamond compond from?
Goldsmith?

I am bidding on the lens now. will start work once i get them :lovegrin:
 

Pablo

Senior Member
Sep 1, 2004
1,854
0
0
Blue/Green Planet
#11
Hi regit,

A question for you .....

There is a Photoshop file that does a pseudo IR to a photo (not too great).

Is there a Photoshop action that simulates UV effect to a photo ???

Have you seen one and/or used one :dunno:

If you have tried one, what do you think of the result ?

Thanks,

Pablo
 

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