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Ilse Jurriƫn : September 4th 2006 - 19:10 CET

Fujifilm S3 Pro Ultraviolet & Infrared photography

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FujifilmFujifilm S3 Pro Ultraviolet & Infrared photography : With the recent announcement of the FinePix S3 Pro UVIR, Fujifilm has unveiled the world's first production D-SLR camera capable of taking photographs in the ultraviolet and infrared light spectrums. But what does this mean and how does a digital camera that can take pictures at either end of the light spectrum help to empower photographers in technical fields such as law-enforcement, medical research, art history, science and fine art photography? The human eye is a remarkable imaging device to be sure, but it can't see everything. Its sensitivity range is limited to wavelengths that normally start at 400 nanometers (violet) at the short end of the visible spectrum and extend to 700 nanometers (deep red) at the long end.
Fujifilm S3 Pro Ultraviolet & Infrared photographyFujifilm S3 - Digital photography
This is also the realm of standard digital and film photography where, with certain exceptions, what you see is what you get. But there are times when ordinary visible-light pictures do not reveal everything a criminal investigator, scientist, or medical researcher needs to see. This is where ultraviolet and infrared imaging comes into play.

Fujifilm DSLR - IR & UV light spectrums
Scientists define wavelengths shorter than 400 nanometers as ultraviolet (UV), and wavelengths longer than 700 nanometers as infrared (IR). Technically, neither UV nor IR is "light" because humans can't see it. However, photographs taken at UV and IR wavelengths can capture and reveal information that is otherwise undetectable by the human eye - literally "colors" we can't see but that cameras, sensitive to IR and UV wavelengths, are able to record and make visible. It is the visual equivalent of the dog whistle we humans cannot hear.

Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro - Ultraviolet photography
This uncanny ability to reveal the unseen is why technical professionals in fields ranging from law enforcement, to military surveillance, to medical research, to art history, to biology have long used UV and IR photography to discover crucial observational facts that would ordinarily elude the keenest human eye. Until recently, both IR and UV photography were film based and entailed the use of heavy filtration and long exposure times. In the case of infrared, special, difficult-to-handle films were required along with heavy filtration that extended exposure times and often made focusing difficult.

Fujifilm S3pro - Digital UV & IR photography difficulties
Digital UV and IR photography had its own set of problems. Since the CCD and CMOS imager sensors of digital cameras incorporate strong UV and IR filters to achieve good color accuracy with standard visible-light subjects, a normal D-SLR is not very sensitive in the UV and IR ranges and is therefore inconvenient to use in these applications. That's why many technical specialists, who needed UV and IR imaging in their work, modified their existing D-SLRs by removing the UV and IR filters, an expensive procedure undertaken by small private companies. Even if properly done, this bit of modification work voided the camera's warranty.

Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro UVIR dSLR camera
In response to the genuine need expressed by many top professionals in the law enforcement and scientific communities, Fujifilm developed the FinePix S3 Pro UVIR, the world's first and only factory-made D-SLR designed specifically for UV and IR photography. It has many of the same features that made the standard FinePix S3 Pro a stand-out - like the Super CCD SR II sensor for expanded dynamic range and a Live View CCD that allows for real-time subject focus for up to 30 seconds - with some modifications.

Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro UVIR

Fujifilm S3 Pro IR & UV glass protective filter
The IR and UV filters were removed from the standard model and, after exhaustive field and lab testing, replaced with a specially formulated glass protective filter. The FinePix S3 Pro's menu system was also reconfigured to be more user friendly for UV and IR shooters - for example, the Live Preview shooting now mode comes up on the very first screen.

Mike Brooks - From film to digital IR & UV photography
Just how important are these advances? Mike Brooks, a well-known consultant to law enforcement agencies who checked out a late prototype of the FinePix S3 Pro UVIR put it this way. "Capturing and displaying the alterations in a forged document, or the information hidden in an obliterated one using IR photography is now easier by leaps and bounds. With IR films, the amount of light required often meant exposure times measured in hours; with the FinePix S3 Pro UVIR typical exposure times range from 1/250 at f/16 to 1/4 sec at f/16. And with mirror lock-up and Live Preview, you can focus easily via the LCD even when you mount dark IR or UV filters over the lens to capture critical details. With more precise focusing plus the instant feedback of digital, you now have the ability to take sharper pictures in less time.

Mike Brooks - Easy to display and compare digital images
Even more important, you can judge which filter is most effective in specific applications in real time, which can literally save you weeks." Brooks continued, "The enhanced image quality is another great advantage of this camera - it has the ability to capture mid-tones, which is crucial with the contrasty subjects we commonly shoot and it provides a wider exposure latitude than other D-SLRs. The software also makes it much easier to display comparison images, a key element in law enforcement. Having a factory-made UV and IR camera of this caliber available at a competitive price is nothing less than a great step forward in forensic photography."

Fujifilm S3 Pro IRUV - Forensic photography
While UV and IR photography are not really like the "X-ray vision" of comic books that lets you see through solid objects, both UV and IR can be used to reveal sub-surface details that are invisible to the naked eye. In a recent example provided by Brooks, police used differences in reflectance made visible only with IR photography to positively identify a charred body in a gangland murder. It revealed the victim's prison tattoo, which was invisible under ordinary light. In a similar manner, both UV and IR photography can corroborate the presence of gunpowder, show altered signatures and the difference between similar-looking inks on a document, or make bone fragments stand out in a plowed field. Medical researchers and police investigators use IR and UV photography to find injuries below the skin. They can even determine whether an assailant wearing a specific ring punched someone, or if a set of two-week-old, no-longer-visible bite marks were made by an alleged perpetrator's teeth.

Fuji FinePix S3 Pro - Infrared photography
Infrared photography is also a great tool for nighttime surveillance with "invisible" IR flash or under IR-rich sources such as common street lamps - the same basic principle used in night-vision glasses. And since different plants reflect light in different shades of color or gray under IR, it can be used to detect illegal plants such as marijuana or opium poppies growing in a farm field.

Fujifilm S3 UVIR SLR - Infrared imaging
While the primary markets for Fujifilm's innovative FinePix S3 Pro UVIR are undoubtedly the law enforcement and technical-scientific communities, there are also legions of fine arts, portrait, and wedding photographers who will be attracted to this unique camera. Following in the footsteps of such legendary greats as Minor White and Ansel Adams who brought IR imaging into the art world with their stunning American landscapes, they have long used IR as a way of creating unique and beautiful images that set them apart from others in their fields. Many of today's top portrait and wedding photographers have made IR photography an essential part of the services they offer to their clients. Now, at last, they have a camera worthy of their highest aspirations.

About Fujifilm
Fuji Photo Film USA, Inc. is a subsidiary of Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd. and delivers technology solutions to meet the imaging and information needs of retailers, consumers, professionals and business customers. As a global leader in digital imaging, Fujifilm pioneered the development of digital medical systems, and today is the leader in digital minilab systems. The company was ranked number 18 for USA patents granted during 2005, employs more than 75,000 people worldwide and in the year ending March 31, 2006, had global revenues of $22.8 billion. In the United States, Fujifilm is a leader in delivering high quality, easy-to-use imaging and information solutions in the following categories: Digital Imaging Systems, Film and Imaging Systems, Recording/Storage Media, Motion Picture Film, Graphic Arts and Printing Systems and Medical Imaging and Diagnostics Systems. Fujifilm is an environmentally friendly, humane enterprise and an exemplary corporate citizen.

   Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro specifications
   Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro UVIR
   Buy Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro UVIR
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