Fujifilm Returns to Forensics

(news & commentary)

Back in the days when Fujifilm had (Nikon-based) DSLRs, they targeted the forensic photography niche with cameras that had wide, unfiltered spectral abilities, from UV to visible to near-infrared light.

Today Fujifilm announced the X-T1 IR, which is a version of its top-end mirrorless camera that does the same thing. Said to be responsive in light from 380 to 1000nm, the IR version is otherwise identical to the original X-T1. Cost will be US$1700 for the body.

What I don’t quite understand in the Fujifilm press release is “pairs seamlessly with each high quality Fujinon XF lens.” I find it unlikely that the existing XF lenses are very good at transmitting UV light. Generally, glass and the coatings used on glass for photographic purposes, tends to be a UV filter. Likewise, internal lens design is a potential issue at near and deeper IR values, as you get ghosting. It’s unclear to me whether Fujifilm is just saying “works with all existing Fujinon lenses” or they’re suddenly implying that the Fujinon lenses were designed for UV and near-IR work from the get go. Somehow I doubt that. It’ll take some testing to figure out what works best and what doesn’t work.

Many of us who explored UV shooting—including on the original Fujifilm forensic DSLRs—resorted to Nikon’s UV lens or other lenses where we stripped coatings off to increase UV transmission through the lens.Put another way, for UV in particular, yes, some UV will get through the lens, but your exposure may need to be higher to usefully capturethat.

I’m also a little surprised that Fujifilm didn’t announce corresponding filter sets for the new X-T1 IR (they did with the previous UV/IRcameras). What you really want are four filters: (1) UV pass only; (2) visible pass only; (3) IR pass only; and (4) visible plus IR pass. This would allow you to use the X-T1 normally, and in the three additional spectral modes that are most useful.


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