• Ultraviolet Photography

Greetings from Germany

35 replies to this topic

#1 Tsubo


  • Members
  • 23 posts

Posted 07 December 2017 - 02:27

Hi everyone,

my name is Lucas, I am 26 years old and a hobby stills photographer for probably 10 years now. My special interests are product photography but also macro, micro and of course UV as of late.
Since I am a total beginner in UVP I have already spent quite a while researching the techniques and elementary prerequisite on the internet. Meanwhile I feel like I am ready for participating in an open discourse and sharing some thoughts about the subject.

At the moment the whole project is still in the planning phase. However, I have already tracked a few old lenses on eBay and could not resist on some cheaper Steinheils. Since they mostly cost only about 20 Euros a piece I thought I could give them a try:
  • Ennalyt 35mm f3.5
  • Cassar 50mm f3.5
  • MC Macro - Ennalyt 35mm f2.8
  • Edixa Cassaron 50mm f2.8
I also found a Weltblick 55mm f2.8 in good condiciton which made me curious and maybe plan to add a Noflexar 35mm macro lens for closer ranges. The adapter I ordered is an M42 helicoid by Kecay which will hopefully allow me some further flexibility when catching smaller subjects.

Speaking of subjects, I generally plan to start with plants and use some flashes to ensure a good amount of exposure. Based on my research up to now I might end up with a dual flash configuration consisting of some modified Canon 199As fixed via magic arms on a macro rail. For the full gain of light I could add some smaller silver reflectors. Since my camera does not offer a sync port I may also need some optical slave triggers.

Finally coming to the root of the matter, the camera is an Olympus Pen E-P5 which I plan to convert to a broadband camera myself. Since I am DIY guy and work quite a lot with electronics, I think I should be able to manage the process. However, if you got any tips and tricks on modding mirrorless cameras, please let me know :)

The next step would also be to decide on an appropriate filter capturing mainly UV-A. In that regard I am still a bit uncertain since I have not tested all the lenses yet and thus could not decide which filter diameter to go for. Theoretically, would not it be possible to choose a larger one and simply adapt it via a step-down converter to the smaller lenses? Could this introduce any optical restrictions?
I do also think about adding some filterst o the flashes in case I can find suited glass for the 199A. And of course, I should eventually look for some UV safety glasses for eye protection.

Having all that said,
what do you think about my (so far mostly theoretical) approach on the subject of UV photography? Did I miss anything essential or would you add any alternatives to the list of gear?

I would be pleased to hear some of your feedback and hopefully be able to supply you with actual content as soon as possible :D

Greetings from Germany,

PS: Apart from all the personal vanities I do not want to miss the chance to thank all of you for publically providing all that usefull information on this forum!
Without your community I possibly would have never gotten so far.

#2 Andy Perrin


  • Members(+)
  • 1,638 posts
  • Location: United States

Posted 07 December 2017 - 05:18

Larger filters cost more. One can certainly use step-down rings, but if the filter is smaller than the lens you can get vignetting in the corners sometimes.

#3 Tsubo


  • Members
  • 23 posts

Posted 07 December 2017 - 11:34

Thanks for your reply! :)

I planned to choose the largest diameter out of the variation of lenses and then use step-down converters to make the filter fit the smaller lenses. If using converters, I would only adapt the larger entrance surface to a smaller one. Since most of those adapters are made of none-reflective material, the image quality should remain untouched I suppose...

By the way:
may I ask whether you are still an owner of the Noflexar 35mm? Would you say it is worth a 120€ / 140$?
Not sure if I can reach the same macro performance by adapting another native 35mm lens (as listed above) to a helicoid. I wonder how convenient the closest focusing distance would be... which I will hopefully find out very soon :)

Edited by Tsubo, 07 December 2017 - 11:35.

#4 nfoto

    Fierce Bear of the North

  • Owner-Administrator
  • 2,080 posts
  • Location: Sørumsand, Norway

Posted 07 December 2017 - 13:36

The Noflexar is pretty good for UV (and IR). The price of course has been inflated by popular demand for it, but is still not unreasonable. A lot of the samples I have examined have been bashed up and damage to the rear element is, unfortunately, quite common. Thus make sure any sample is clean before you plunk down the money. I guess the same can be said for most other optics of this vintage. They do tend to show their age and wear.

Wide-angles lenses in general don't do well with extension. The Noflexar design in fact isn't that bad in this respect. Not sterling quality perhaps, but good.

I own a few copies of the 35 Noflexar and use them mainly for UV with the mirrorless cameras at my disposal. I do have two samples in native F mount that can be put on my UV-modified Nikon D3200 (internal Baader U).
Bjørn Birna Rørslett, Ph.D.
Just call me Birna

#5 Tsubo


  • Members
  • 23 posts

Posted 07 December 2017 - 16:33

Hey Bjørn,

I have already read some posts about the price trend of the Noflexar. There is apparently still a significant increase on eBay. Most of the sellers offer the lens for lousy 200€ (about 235$ + shipping) or even more.
However, I found someone who would sell it for about 100-120€. Condition appears to be ok judging by the photos. Hope there won't be any mechanical issues like a worn out barrel or a greasy aperture. I should check that locally when picking it up (in case I will decide for the Noflexar at all).

Overall I don't really see that many options regarding macro UV with a reasonable performance at lets say up to 320-330nm (assuming that my camera + an upcoming filter can render that, as well) for a fair price.
That's why I planned to utilize the helicoid adapter to create some more optical crop... which theoretically should also allow me to pick out the sharper sweet spot in the center of the lens.

I hope the helicoid such as the other lenses (only the Ennalyt 35mm f3.5 has arrived, yet) will arrive soon so I can do some first tests regarding the imaging performance.
The UV mod should follow soon :)

Edited by Tsubo, 07 December 2017 - 16:37.

#6 Andrea B.

    Desert Dancer

  • Owner-Administrator
  • 6,700 posts
  • Location: USA

Posted 07 December 2017 - 18:02

Hello Lucas and welcome to UVP!! I'm very pleased to hear that you have found our website useful. We will be looking forward to your contributions.

Converting your camera should be easy enough given that you have worked with electronics before. I've converted 3 cameras successfully myself. However, I also totally fried two D7000s. After that I gave up DIY conversions. :lol: One major problem in home conversion is that I have no way to prevent dust from entering the camera. I wish you better success with your conversions. Be sure to replace the UV/IR filter you remove with a clear glass cover over the sensor pack to protect it.

My solution for flash is to set a long exposure and fire one hand-held flash multiple times around the subject. This keeps the amount of gear to a more portable level when I want to UV photograph away from the "studio". And it permits flexibility in flash placement. And it is useable outdoors in the field. Of course, I do understand that this method is not one which other folks might want to employ. But I thought I would mention it because it was an easy way to get started with UV flash without having to buy multiple flashes and flash arms and reflectors and so forth.

I've fitted all my UV lenses with step rings to reach 52mm. And then purchased or fitted all my filters to 52mm. UV-pass filters are expensive and some are not made in standard sizes. The BaaderU, for example. So I recommend deciding on your own standard size and kitting up lenses/filters so that everything is easily mounted and exchangeable.

....reasonable performance at lets say up to 320-330nm
You will find that most of the non-dedicated UV-capable lenses will transmit between 350-400nm Getting below 340nm, or so, requires more careful attention to filter transmission and lens transmission choices. And UV illumination. Besides I've been shooting UV now for 10 years and have never found anything different between photos made at 330 than at 365 or 380 except for false colour. I feel that it is the light/dark tones which are important in UV photography and not false colour. That is to say, the reflecting/absorbing areas of a subject tell us something about it. Just an opinion, of course. B)

All the brand filters are good for UV: BaaderU, KolariU, StraightEdgeU, AndreaU. The stacked filters are all good for UV: LaLaU, for example or a DIY stack. And finally many folks here like Omega Opticals 330/80 fiters some of which are often sold at a discount on Ebay due to production over-runs. But it works better to have a lens which supports that 330 transmission peak else your exposure times must be increased. Also the 330/80s are usually much smaller than 52mm in diameter.

I'll stop by later tonight and see if I have anything else to add.
Andrea G. Blum
Often found hanging out with flowers & bees.

#7 Tsubo


  • Members
  • 23 posts

Posted 07 December 2017 - 21:03

Hey Andrea,

to be honest I haven't done so much research about the camera mod itself so far. At the moment I am still a bit unsure how complex the inner construction of the PEN E-P5 is because there is not that much of information regarding the disassembly on the internet. Since the PEN is quite a compact build I would assume that some parts of the disassembly could be quite delecate. Of course I don't want to risk the life of my camera. But since there won't be any experts in Germany offering such services for a fair price I think I have to modify the cam myself.

Regarding the removal of the filters, could recommend any visually transparent protection glass? Should the replacement fill the same space as the default filter? Are those filters usually tacked in via a bracket or rather / also glued?

Sorry for all the questions. But before starting the procedure I self evidently want to gather as much information about those mods as possible :P

Appendix #1:

I have found some guides related to the PEN E-P1. Not sure how close the internal design is to the E-P5. But the mod appears to be definitely achievable with just a bit of patience.


http://digital-photo...rum-conversion/ (unfortunately offline, but can be reached via waybackmachine)

You can see that there is a wired dust protection filter and a metal frame to keep the glass in place. Below you can find the filter itself which is also decoupled via a rubber grommet.

Interestingly the LifePixel guide just recommends to glue in the new filter and omit the whole protection structure including the metal bracket on top such as the rubber grommet at the bottom.

On digital-photography.pl there is also a guide for modding the OM-D E-M10 which appears to be more complex since you have to unsolder a few connections. Wouldn't be a deal breaker for me since I own a decent temperature controled soldering station.

Nevertheless, I wonder how compex the E-P5 mod would be compared to those both reports.

Appendix #2:

I just ask myself, wheter I should really cut off the connections and remove the whole dust protection. As far as I can tell it works by making the whole stack vibrate:


Wouldn't it be possible to remain that structure untouched and simply remove the filter underneath?

Not sure if it will remain rigid without the glass layer behind it. However, I could maybe use that element as an (at least passive) dust protection layer... :rolleyes:

My idea for the flash would be a rather "fixed" solution with arms and rails which I could simply attach to the camera and then use for mobile purposes as much as stationary scenarios with a tripod. But I will keep your suggestion in mind and also experiment with some handhold flash.

Furthermore, thank you for your opinion regarding the nm range!
I thought it wouldn't be bad to widen the range as much as possible. However, if there really aren't that much structural differences in the picture I could turn my attention towards other (possibly more important) things.

I will also have a look at the filters you suggested and try to find some appropriate diameters for my range of lenses.

Once more, thanks so much for sharing your expertise! :)

Edited by Tsubo, 07 December 2017 - 22:41.

#8 OlDoinyo


  • Members(+)
  • 631 posts
  • Location: North Carolina

Posted 07 December 2017 - 23:00

Willkommen bei uns!

I use a homemade slip-on step-up rig on my Steinheil which enables the use of 55mm filters (49mm with an additional stepper ring.) There may be a picture of it on this site somewhere.

Most professional conversion shops have to disable the dust shaker to do a conversion, so it is likely that you will need to do so also. The exception is if the dust shaker is part of an image-stabilization system. That type can sometimes be salvaged.

#9 Andy Perrin


  • Members(+)
  • 1,638 posts
  • Location: United States

Posted 08 December 2017 - 00:54

I've never understood why Andrea thinks the colors should be disregarded! They contribute quite a lot to the photos as artwork, and they do show wavelength dependence, even if one can't relate a particular color to a particular wavelength in a 1:1 way.

Tsubo: you need to match the glass thickness to the IR blocking filter thickness, I believe, or you will not be able to focus properly afterwards. Also, the glass needs to be transparent to UV, which most glasses are NOT. Others here may have suggestions for good glass choices. I have done one conversion myself, of the ancient Nikon Coolpix 950, and I did NOT replace the blocker with anything. What I found afterward was that I could focus close to the camera but not at infinity. It turns out that you need to put a replacement glass in there! And it can't be arbitrary thickness or the optical path will be different.

Edited by Andy Perrin, 08 December 2017 - 01:00.

#10 Tsubo


  • Members
  • 23 posts

Posted 08 December 2017 - 01:04

Danke für die freundliche Begrüßung!

In case the dust protection consists of a flexible layer that would bend when nothing is sticking beneath it I would indeed have to disable that function and remove the whole thing.
At the latest then, I would have to insert a piece of clear glass for protecting the otherwise bare sensor. Working without auto focus would be less intuitive. However, I am mostly working with manual lenses on that camera anyway. And to assess any further steps I guess I will have to disassemble the whole camera and measure the thickness of the stock filter manually...

In relation to the UV range, are there any real world pictures we could raise for further comparisons? :)
Really hard to imagine if you haven't worked with UV, yet.

Edited by Tsubo, 08 December 2017 - 01:10.

#11 Andrea B.

    Desert Dancer

  • Owner-Administrator
  • 6,700 posts
  • Location: USA

Posted 08 December 2017 - 03:56

I've never understood why Andrea thinks the colors should be disregarded!

Weeeeellllllll.....that I think that false colours are less important than tones (and dynamic range) when making good UV photos does not exactly mean I disregard them. :D :D :D Indeed I go to great lengths to take good care of false colours in the documentary work by using Spectralon white standards and Color Checker camera profiles in my converter apps. (And using broadband dedicated UV lenses.)

However, I truly don't want people thinking that they need all this expensive stuff I've been using for my particular botanical work. Remember the history here -- Bjørn and I wanted to use a standardized false colour palette which would show botanical specimens in a uniform manner across different photographic gear platforms. Nobody else has to standardize false colours unless they want to (or unless they want to contribute a set to the botanical section).

It is also my obligation to remind everyone of the many factors which play into the production of false colours. (Although tonight I'm not going to list those 15+ factors again here! Too tired. Use search. Or think about it and come up with your own set of false colour inputs.)

Then too, UV art photography is one thing and UV scientific/documentary photos are another. We all get that.

I will love anyone's UV work regardless of what false colours it may contain. :)


This summer when I realized that my Panasonic Lumix GH1 conversion and my Pentax K1 conversion were both NOT accurately measuring white balance under some of my UV-pass and UV/IR dual pass filters, then I got a whole new insight into the problems inherent in this false colour-to-wavelength thing. You can determine a false color map of your sensor's UV or IR response with spectrographic equipment but you have to make a real photograph with a real lens + real filter and then use one of the many converter apps to pull out the false colours. And I was NOT getting the same false colours from that GH1 that were shown in some of the color maps which floated around the net a few years ago.

I'm now letting this whole colour-to-wavelength thing be someone else's investigation!!!!! If anyone is interested in determining the True False Colours, I say go for it. And let us all know about it. I will reference all valid wavelength-to-colour work and/or papers here on UVP for the world to see. B) [We do have a lot of readers who are not actual members!!!]


Lucas, I was told some time ago that it was not cost effective for conversion shops to try to remove/replace the dust shaker. The one I have seen in a Nikon camera had a soldered ribbon connector, so I suppose that would have taken too much time to deal with. Also some dust shakers also have a filter glass which would need replacement in addition to the filter over the sensor.

There must be some place in Germany which can convert a camera? Perhaps you could find an Olympus camera repair shop and persuade them to replace the existing filter with a clear one?

I thought it wouldn't be bad to widen the range as much as possible.
Always a good goal. But don't worry too much at the beginning whether you are "reaching" down to 320nm. Find a filter, get your conversion done and go outside and make lots of photos in good sunlight. Once you begin to get a feel for UV exposures and how best to convert the raw files into a good finished photo, you can then move on into using UV flash or UV-Led torches and set up your macro studio. There is lots to learn but it is all very enjoyable and all these nice folks here will have lots of good suggestions.
Andrea G. Blum
Often found hanging out with flowers & bees.

#12 Tsubo


  • Members
  • 23 posts

Posted 08 December 2017 - 11:44

I'll have a look and see what my gear is capable of.
But since I don't have appropriate measuring devices, the evaluation might be quite vague anyway.
So for the moment, I guess there are other things to worry about.


Not sure if the vibrating dust protection is actually that usefull so it would be worth the extra effort. I guess its more of a gimmick anyway.
At the moment I'm rather concerned with the missing protection glass that would leave the sensor bare to any dust. It might be hard to obtain such a filter in the matching size (mFT), with UV and IR passing capabilities...

I may try contacting LifePixel and ask them whether they would share some experience with the E-P5.

To be honest I'm not really confident with the local repair services since those "licensed partners" suggested by the manufacturers often try to rip you off with arbitrary cost estimations. I also do not expect them to be that flexible to offer me such a "dubious" modification of the camera. German mentality, one could say :D

#13 Andrea B.

    Desert Dancer

  • Owner-Administrator
  • 6,700 posts
  • Location: USA

Posted 08 December 2017 - 15:29

Lucas, can you send the camera here to the US for conversion? Or would that be prohibitively expensive? We have 3 acceptable retail conversion shops: Life Pixel, MaxMax and Kolari Vision. Alternately, in the UK there is Advanced Camera Services in Norfolk. And in Germany I have had reports that Optic Makario was good. (Although for the latter, it has been a while.)

EDIT: I accidently closed the uncompleted post too soon. Now complete.
Andrea G. Blum
Often found hanging out with flowers & bees.

#14 Andrea B.

    Desert Dancer

  • Owner-Administrator
  • 6,700 posts
  • Location: USA

Posted 08 December 2017 - 15:37

Update to preceding post: One type of clear glass used for conversions is Schott WG280. That should be easy to buy and cut to the proper size for your Olympus sensor.
Andrea G. Blum
Often found hanging out with flowers & bees.

#15 Alaun


  • Members(+)
  • 218 posts

Posted 08 December 2017 - 18:07

Hi Lucas, another welcome from Germany!

Beside Makario, there are some further conversion options in Germany:




(the last actually in the UK)

I have only experience with Makario (D70, D200, G2, GH3 and now a D810), but according to their web site, I can not see they have done Olympus (Nikon, Canon, Sony, Leica, Konica-Minolta, Pentax, Panasonic and Fuji are listed, with Nikon you even keep your guarantee )

It seems Astrotec has experience with Olympus Pen.


#16 Tsubo


  • Members
  • 23 posts

Posted 08 December 2017 - 22:01

Thanks you very much for your advice!
Didn't expect that there were actually so many services available in my region.

The mod would cost me at least 250 Euros.
Not sure if its worth the money considering that my camera costs only about 200 Euros in used condition :lol:
Thus I wouldn't exclude performing the mod myself and taking the risk.

Could you recommend any reseller that offers filters such as the Schott WG280 for consumers?
Maybe this one? https://www.elliotsc...hott-WG280-25mm
And how would you suggest cutting it to the right size? :D

Edited by Tsubo, 08 December 2017 - 22:09.

#17 Andy Perrin


  • Members(+)
  • 1,638 posts
  • Location: United States

Posted 09 December 2017 - 05:27

It's probably easier to buy the class pre-cut from Lifepixel or similar places. This link already has it cut to the correct size for the Olympus PEN series. Select the "full spectrum" option.


Edited by Andy Perrin, 09 December 2017 - 05:28.

#18 Tsubo


  • Members
  • 23 posts

Posted 09 December 2017 - 17:50

Thanks for the link!
Looks like LifePixel does also use Schott filters. Not sure about the shipping cost to europe. But overall I would end up with something in the 100 euro range.

When performing the mod manually there are always warnings about the dust and focus.

Some say, the dust won't be visually noticible even when working without a protection glass. Others (especially those companies offering the services) do highly recommend to work in a dust free environment to not damage the sensor and compromise the image quality... :huh:
Regarding the focus people report that altering the flange distance by leaving the filter away can heavily impact the reliability and make focussing to infinity impossible. But what if using non-native lenses with extensions and adapters that extend that distance (in this case a helicoid) anyway? After all, isn't it practially quite irrelevant leaving 2mm of glass behind the sensor away?

By the way:
I have found a Canon guide that includes the cutting of the glass: http://dslrmodificat...ebelmodnew.html
Maybe a bit janky. But you could probably save a lot of money and material that way.

Edited by Tsubo, 09 December 2017 - 17:54.

#19 Andy Perrin


  • Members(+)
  • 1,638 posts
  • Location: United States

Posted 10 December 2017 - 01:19

My experience with the Nikkon Coolpix conversion was that the dust definitely is an issue. I got a bit in there and had to take the thing apart again and squirt air at it.


Regarding the focus people report that altering the flange distance by leaving the filter away can heavily impact the reliability and make focussing to infinity impossible. But what if using non-native lenses with extensions and adapters that extend that distance (in this case a helicoid) anyway? After all, isn't it practially quite irrelevant leaving 2mm of glass behind the sensor away?
All I can tell you is that I left it out the first time and lived to regret it. It definitely seems to make a difference. Whether you can adapt the rest of it to deal with that difference is an open question, because so far everyone I know has a replacement glass in there!

Edited by Andy Perrin, 10 December 2017 - 01:22.

#20 Andrea B.

    Desert Dancer

  • Owner-Administrator
  • 6,700 posts
  • Location: USA

Posted 10 December 2017 - 01:21

But what if using non-native lenses with extensions and adapters that extend that distance (in this case a helicoid) anyway?

Whether or not you wish to be able to focus to infinity is your choice, of course.

However, an Olympus 4/3 camera has a flange focal distance of 38.67mm. Some of the M42 lenses you mention above have an FFD of 45.46mm. So it will be very easy to find proper adapters which add the required 6.79mm to enable focusing those lenses to infinity.

EDIT: 13 Dec 2017
I was not aware that Olympus makes two different "Four Thirds" systems. So I gave the wrong calculation here originally. For a digital Olympus PEN-F, which is a "Micro Four Thirds" system, the amount of extension needed is 45.46 - 19.25 = 26.21 mm.

Some say, the dust won't be visually noticible even when working without a protection glass

Yes. It will. Any dust bunnies on the sensor show up as round blobs or blurry fibers in the photo. I have far too many examples of this. :wacko: :wacko: :wacko:

The microlenses and sensor cover may not necessarily be the same kind of "smooth" glass we are accustomed to in the typical UV/IR filter. When I was using an unfiltered D300 and needed to clean the sensor of its dust and pollen, the feel of the cleaning pad on the glass was not the same as usual. That microlens glass was more "draggy" and "squeaky". Sorry this is such an inexact observation, but I don't know how else to describe it! :lol:
Andrea G. Blum
Often found hanging out with flowers & bees.