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  1. #1
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    Ultraviolet Film?

    Ok, this is a bit of a whimsy question, but why is it that there are no
    specifically UV-sensitive films on the market, despite the presence of films with IR sensitivity? I presume that the scientific world might use such films, if they exist, but wouldn't it be neat to take a picture using only the UV rays?

    Of course, the fact that I don't find such films must mean that there's a good reason I am not aware of like a good young imbecile...

  2. #2
    htmlguru4242's Avatar
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    I don't believe there are many UV only films. The main reason for this is that nearly all photographic materials are already sensitive to ultraviolet light. With standard black and white film, and a UV - pass filter (which is a deep, deep purple, and passes only UV light), you can take pictures in just the Ultraviolet wavelengths. The main problem with this is that glass lenses do not pass UV terribly well. New coated lenses block even more of this UV light, making UV photography difficult, though not impossible.

  3. #3
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    All films are UV sensitive. A raw emulsion with no other work being done to it has maximum sensitivity in the UV region. Pure chloride emulsions are, for all practical purposes, sensitive only in the UV region.

    Lenses are not transparent to UV. You must get quartz lenses (costing one arm and leg per lens minimum)

    Many films have UV overcoats to preclude UV exposure anyhow, so you would have to get one with no UV filter layer, or you would have to buy a special UV film. The do exist.

    They are used in medical, forensic and other scientific applications where detection of UV is critical.

    PE

  4. #4
    John_Brewer's Avatar
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    I think that you use 'normal' film. Kodak certainly did have a paper on UV photography, ten years ago, I had a copy. UV light makes certain things fluoresce ie emit electromagnetic radiation which can be photographed using regular film. By eliminating normal light and using black light tubes you will get the best result. Some things including certain rocks give a completely different colour than under natural light others like some fungi (the ringworm fungus is one) just glow a violet colour. Fluorescing agents are added to many products like washing powder/liquid and paper so they seem "whiter than white" ( to quote the Daz ads in the UK) under strong sources of UV eg sunlight.

  5. #5
    KenS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John_Brewer
    I think that you use 'normal' film. Kodak certainly did have a paper on UV photography, ten years ago, I had a copy. UV light makes certain things fluoresce ie emit electromagnetic radiation which can be photographed using regular film. By eliminating normal light and using black light tubes you will get the best result. Some things including certain rocks give a completely different colour than under natural light others like some fungi (the ringworm fungus is one) just glow a violet colour. Fluorescing agents are added to many products like washing powder/liquid and paper so they seem "whiter than white" ( to quote the Daz ads in the UK) under strong sources of UV eg sunlight.
    Hi John,

    You do not need anything special in the way of lenses to record UV fluorescence from subjects... any glass lens will so do.

    However, if you need to record the relected UV (or IR) you will need something similar to the Hasselblad 150mm UV Sonnar or the 85mm Pentax Ultra Takumar with the visible-light cut-off filter. My Ultra Takumar is the one with only fluorite and quartz elements... no "glass" per se. The Ultra Takumar will record photographic images from "about" 250 to 1250nm., but you do need bellows for images less than about 3 feet.

    Ken

  6. #6
    htmlguru4242's Avatar
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    I believe that i've heard that Kodak T-Max 100 for B&W work, and fuji RPT (don't remember which one) is good for color UV work (the layers in some color films will render some UV in red, blue, violet and some white.

    Also interesting, and allowing you to bypass the lens transmission issure is UV pinhole photography. Placing a UV filter in front of the pinhole will let you record images in UV. Although I have not tried this myself, I've seen it work.

    The results of UV photography, either in color or B&W are quite striking.

  7. #7
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    There is a Scandinavian web site that I'll try to look up. It has a lot of UV and IR photography there in both conventional and digital.

    I suggest Kodak publication M3, "Infrared and Ultraviolet Photography, if it is still available. In this book, Kodak endorses the reflected fluorescent method rather than using direct UV photography, but they list other resource material that describes both methods.

    PE

  8. #8
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    Gary Beasley

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    Yes, as many people here have mentioned already, every B/W material is able to record UV image. The main problem in that case is own fluorescence of some organic compounds and especially film base in UV, what can give overall flare, halo, and ruin the contrast of the image. To record the shortest UV (we had such a need in our lab once), I remember we had to coat the regular non-sensitized photo plate with some kind of synthetic mineral oil, giving a strong visible excitation fluorescence at 205-215 nm wavelength, or close to. That was a kind of sensibilisation, done in a view camera

    Cheers,
    Zhenya

  10. #10
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    Phew! That's quite the treasure trove there! Thanks all for your answers, I'll take a few months off and read them...

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