A Site for Photographers by Photographers

Featured Equipment Deals

8 Reasons Why You Should Subscribe to Photo.net Read More

8 Reasons Why You Should Subscribe to Photo.net

Photo.net loves all of the members who make our site and community what it is, but we love our subscribing members just a little bit more. We rely on our subscribers to help us with things such as...

Latest Equipment Articles

Lensbaby Spark Review Read More

Lensbaby Spark Review

This inexpensive gadget does indeed spark your creativity. Read on to see how.

Latest Learning Articles

26 Creative Photos of Water Drops Read More

26 Creative Photos of Water Drops

These absolutely amazing macro photographs feature a tiny elemental thing that can hold a lot of mystery. Take a moment to enjoy these photographs of water drops.


Buying lighting - UV vs non-UV coated?

Amy Kotha , Mar 28, 2004; 02:44 p.m.

I am trying to purchase lighting for my wedding shoots. I've decided to go with Photogenic 1250 - but am wondering if I should go with 1250DRUV or 1250DR? Is there an advantage (or disadvantage) to going with the UV-coated when it comes to wedding portraits? Would it cause a problem if I am lighting large groups and use a Metz flash as the fill light (non UV coated)?

Thanks for any advice!

Responses

... Timber ... , Mar 28, 2004; 10:39 p.m.

Go with UV coated bulbs. As for your Metz with groups: you can put a Kodak Color Printing UV filter, about 5x5", over your metz flash. Secure with scotch tape and cut to size. The color temp diffeence is about 300 degrees, minimal. You don't want to floures the dress of the bride with UV, it will make the dress go bluish in the darker areas of exposure.

Kelly Flanigan , Mar 29, 2004; 02:50 a.m.

UV can sometimes spook the "hue" of a wedding dress; due to the the effect of the UV on certain dress materials; the energy then may be reflected with a different appearance; that the film "sees/captures"; but your eyes dont. The bride and mother have the dress color and hue etched into their brains for all time. The poor photographer just sees it as just another pretty wedding dress. Anything that can be done to reduce surprises in ones images is a good thing; ie control.

Long ago Xenon flash tubes had little filtering; and this hue shift with certain dress materials got me in hot water; until I did some experiments; and cured my UV problems.

Amy Kotha , Mar 29, 2004; 02:51 p.m.

Thx for the replies. This is my first season actually doing the shooting (vs assisting) - so maybe I'll just go with non-UV so as to stay away from any potential problems! This will be a nerve-wracking season as it is!

Thx again.

Ken Burns , Mar 29, 2004; 04:52 p.m.

Definitely go with the UV-coated tubes. Most white fabrics contain brighteners that absorb UV light energy and emit visible light in the blue part of the spectrum. This can be a problem not only with the bride's gown, but also the groom's shirt. You can also run into problems with hair dyes and makeup. These oftentimes use the UV light energy to make the colorants fluoresce. Believe me, the bride will not like it at all if her hair looks red with orange streaks in the photos but the hair dye was supposed to be brown with blonde streaks!!!

... Timber ... , Mar 30, 2004; 10:10 p.m.

I believe there is some confusion here as to what UV does to wedding pictures. Ultra Violet rays turn visible blue when they hit the artificial whitners that the manufacturer adds to the wedding dress. This is called "flouresence". Correct my spelling for me. This bluishness also gives a ugly blue tint to the bride's veil, especially when she has a dark background, like a walnut altar. The only cure for this is to filter the UV out immediately after it is generated in the flash unit.

Manufacturer's have 2 ways of doing this:

Slightly color the flash tube with an amber coating. This coating may look concentrated on the tube, however, the light output is only 300 degree warmer.

Secondly, the manufacturerer can furnish a GLASS PYREX flash tube. Glass is known to filter out UV light. The only known person to have seen an atomic blast was a scientist who watched the first or one of the first atomic blasts through the windshield of his car. This filtered out the intense UV light and saved his sight from going to blindness.

Pyrex tubes seem to be used in lower cost flash units. Quartz, however is used in high end units. Quartz does not absorb UV. Therefore, you will see alot of amber covers over quartz tubed units like Speedotron Force 10 which go for $850 or more apiece. Quartz tubes can "live with" more heat than Pyrex tubes.

At www.alienbees.com they claim that Pyrex filters out UV, no coating necessary. But they also sell a coated tube!

If you use UV filtration, this will slightly colorize all the pictures you take. It is so slight, that you can hardly perceive it. What the lab will do is to re-set the color to natural, dress, face color, everything the UV filtered flash hits.

Therefore, the solution is to filter the flash output.

Again, when you filter out UV AND use color negative film or digital, the colors can be re- set and neutralized. If you do not filter out UV, by using a flash which is not coated or has a quartz clear tube uncoated, you will have the "flourescense problem". Even though you may be using color negative film, you cannot have this "taken out" successfully unless you "bother" other colors.

The reason for purchasing a clear tube which is not UV filtered is for "slide film". The coating changes the colors a scant 300 degrees (near nothing) and this would be seen in slide film output. So, commercial photographers usually use clear tubes. But a commercial photographer who got a contract to photograph wedding dresses for "Bride's Magazine" better change the tube to UV coated!

There is another issue: flash units have a range of color temperature output that is sort of 'wide'. And this difference may easily be 600 degrees between manufacturers units. And then the other variable is that the color temperature varies depending upon what power setting you are on! I think my $850 monolight varies about 250 degrees just because of power setting!

So, you see that 300 degrees is nothing to worry about. 300 degrees is about the normal variance of color temperature or coloration that a normal flash outputs! It may well be, by the way, that having a amber UV coating, actually makes the flash output more centered on perfection: 5,500 degrees. You may have an output of 5800 degrees, and with the 300 degrees warming of a UV coating, makes the light output a perfect 5500 degrees! All readers need to consult the manufacturer regarding the specifications of the particular flash unit.

So-o-o, what I am going to conclude here for you is to purchase the amber coating UV filtration tube. Then using color negative film or digital for the wedding/event. As a result, all will be well for you. I realize this is an important decision for you, but take into account that I have photographed weddings since 1973. I would not throw you a boomarang that would hurt your pictures later.

As I said above, there may be an exception here that you may have pyrex tubes. But even so, I would want to actually test all tubes on a wedding dress with lots of whitners to be sure. I doubt that an ivory peasant dress will have these whitners. Particularly photograph veil material against a dark background from about 10 feet. But to do a real test, you need to use slide film because the printer of color negative film is going to improve your test! Slide film will not be improved by the drug store!

But why test? ---Just get the UV coated amber tube, and you can sleep well at night. Put the Kodak UV Color printing filter (polyester sheet about 5x5") over your flash unit face. Cut to fit. Scotch tape it on. Replace it every 3-4 years or so. This will filter UV from your Metz unit.

Ken Burns , Mar 31, 2004; 04:39 p.m.

Timber, what confusion is there in the replies?

... Timber ... , Mar 31, 2004; 05:44 p.m.

Some how, she came to the conclusion that she should use a clear, non-UV tube. Although I could not find an exact phrase that triggered possible confusion, I want to tell you that the one reply above regarding "Xenon" tubes and so forth gave me an odd reaction: After reading this reply once, I "concluded" that the answer was to use a clear tube. And I think the "reason" for it was the reference to an ugly result of some kind. Sometimes people simply read for the emotional value of a paragraph, if it is negative, people want to avoid danger, so they react, not think.

So, I placed more detail in my post to place more "weight" in the reader's mind that using a amber or UV protected tube was the best solution.

Sometimes a paragraph is not constructed well; I do this at times. I wanted to make sure everyone reading this understands this as the best solution.

The confusion of my description, by the way, may come from the reader's inexperience with color printing. "Removing blue from the dress means you have to add yellow to the face" doesn't make much sense to a person who has never color printed. So, I don't expect my descriptions to be "understood" immediately by all. But the bottom line point is: use UV filtered tubes when photographing white bridal dresses!

Amy Kotha , Apr 29, 2004; 10:53 p.m.

Ah - thx for the additional information. I now understand. Btw..I did purchase the UV-coated.

Thx again.

Back to top

Notify me of Responses