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Old Oct 27, 2006, 6:39 PM   #1
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I have been asked to setup a low-cost image capturing device for taking UV shots of human face to show skin disorders. I bought a couple of blaklights and took some shots with my Canon A85. It worked but was not really good enough (poor focus and low quality).

Any recommendations? Is there any UV flash for this task (except the ones I saw on the web for over $2500 !!). Any consumer camera that takes reasonably good UV shots?

Thanks for the help

Anour
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Old Oct 27, 2006, 7:18 PM   #2
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Most modern cameras are not going to be very senstive to UV or IR.

They are designed with built in filters over the sensors to keep this light away from the photosites to keep it from impacting color accuracy.

So, film is probably your best bet. Otherwise, you'll end up needing much longer exposures because of the filters blocking most of the UV light (and that's going to result in motion blur with a non-stationary subject).

You may have better luck with some of the older camera models around though. For example, the original Minolta DiMAGE 7 was known to be sensitive to IR. So, it's likely it was sensitive to UV as well. You can sometimes find these for little money on Ebay. Newer models (7Hi and later) got much stronger filters in front of their sensors. The original DiMAGE 7 is one of the few 5MP models around with a weak filter.

The older 2 Megapixel Models like the Nikon Coolpix 950 using a Sony 2MP CCD (and I have one of these) also had weak filters in front of their sensors. So, they are more sensitive to IR compared to more modern models (and likely more sensitive to UV, too). Later 3MP models (for example, the Coolpix 990) got much stronger filters in front of their sensors.

Some of the Sony cameras models had a "night shot" mode that automatically moved the built in filter from in front of their sensors when in this mode. So, they may be worth looking into also.

Unless someone here has experience with UV photography, your best bet is probably going to be using Google to get some tips.


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Old Oct 27, 2006, 7:24 PM   #3
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I've taken some shots under blacklight (although not of faces). A tripod is pretty much required, and it helps if you have a camera that has a manual focus ring and is good in low light. I'm not sure what you mean by low-cost, but the new Fuji S6000 might work well for you.

I'm not familiar with UV flash units. Would a UV flash of short duration be enough light to detect the conditions you are seeking?

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Old Oct 27, 2006, 7:47 PM   #4
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Fugifilm has came out with their Finepix S3 Pro UVIR which is geared toward law enforcement. It is designed to takeinfrared and UV pictures. It has a price tag of around $1800 for the body only, so no cheap investment. It also has live LCD preview so it is easier to focus through dark filters. It is compatible with Nikon lenses since it is basiclly a Nikon body with Fugi sensor and processer. I believe it is 12.3 MP too. I have an old Olympus C-2020z that I use for IR, and it works great for that even hand held.
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Old Oct 27, 2006, 8:16 PM   #5
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Canon has a similar model, too (Canon EOS-20DA). But, it was only offered in Japan.

Any of the older models using a Sony 2MP 1/1.8" (sometimes shown as a 0.555" or 1/2" CCD) are also much more sensitive to IR and UV compared to more modern camera offerings. That's the sensor the Olympus C-2020z that Caboose mentioned uses.

These types of cameras are going to be relatively cheap on the used market if a low cost solution is needed. I've still got a working Nikon Coolpix 950 (and you can probably pick these up for around $100 or less used now). Stay away from the 3MP models that replaced them (stronger filters were added to their sensors, so exposure times would be much longer).

A lot of the older DSLR models also had removable filters in front of their sensors. But, these are a bit bulky (although relatively low priced compared to newer DSLR models).

There are also companies that specialize in removing the filters from in front of the sensors. So, that would be another option. I'd make sure they know what they're doing (as AF accuracy can be impacted and usually calibration requires the factory service software, which manufacturers don't usually release to third parties).

In a lower cost newer model, I would take a look at some of the Sonys (for example, the DSC-F707/F717) with a "night shot" mode. These models are designed to remove the hot mirror filter from in front of the sensor while shooting in this mode. So, they would probably work well for UV, too. I don't know of anyone that's tried them for UV though.


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Old Oct 28, 2006, 9:34 AM   #6
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Thanks fellows.

Looks like I do have a few options including "film". I am going to try them and see if I can get more acceptable images.

Thanks again

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