Fujifilm brought out the big guns at the Police Museum in New York City today, officially unveiling the company's new FinePix S3 Pro UVIR digital SLR which is specially designed to capture images at Ultraviolet (UV) and Infrared (IR) wavelengths. Law enforcement officials on hand at the event hailed the new camera as another tool for fighting crime.
"When I was first handed this camera, if I didn't have a bad back, I would have been doing cartwheels," said Michael Brooks, owner of Brooks Photographic Imaging, a law enforcement photography consultancy. "With this camera, I was able to do 12 document examinations in about a hour, which normally would have taken a week."
Brooks explained that UV and IR photography is frequently used in law enforcement to see if a document, such as a check, has been altered or forged. In a short demonstration, he showed how the S3 Pro UVIR was able to detect the presence of two types of black ink -- indistinguishable to the naked eye -- on a bogus check.
The S3 Pro UVIR, which will be available at the end of the month for $1799, was created to answer an "extreme need" for UV and IR photography from law enforcement, the medical and science communities, and art photographers, said Darin Pepple, marketing manager of the Electronic Imaging Division for Fuji.
"We found that with a very simple modification to our technology, we can provide them with exactly what they need," Pepple said. "Basically we took the Super CCD in the camera, removed the filter that protects the CCD from Ultraviolet and IR light, and the camera produced a wonderful signature for Ultraviolet and Infrared light."
Though modifications to existing Digital SLRs from third party groups to make them Infrared capable have been available for years, those changes usually invalidate the camera's warranty. With the S3 Pro UVIR, Fuji has created the first production camera on the market that can capture Ultraviolet and Infrared photographs.
(photo by Dan Havlik)
Police department consultant Jason Guffey shows off a bullet-riddled shirt used to demonstrate the S3 Pro UVIR's ability to detect clues in crime scene investigations.
In addition to being able to detect alterations in documents, the S3 Pro UVIR -- which like the standard S3 Pro features a live CCD previewing feature -- can be used to detect evidence such as gun shot residue and blood stains. IR photography is also helpful in nighttime surveillance
Jason Guffey, a police department consultant on crime scene investigations, demonstrated how the S3 Pro UVIR was able detect hidden blood spots on a black sock and additional clues from a t-shirt with a gaping bullet hole in the chest.
"See the burn pattern around the hole?," Guffey said pointing to an image of the shirt during the demo. "With the camera, you can see that the shot came from a close proximity. These are things an Infrared camera is helping us with -- physical evidence."
Noticeably absent from the discussion of the S3 Pro UVIR -- perhaps due to the choice of venue and speakers -- was more detail on the camera's applications for arts photography. Arts photographers have long asked for an IR-capable camera that can produce images similar to the otherworldly B&W look of photos shot with Infrared film. Whether the S3 Pro UVIR will answer that call remains to be seen.
Aside from the UV/IR functions, most of the features on the S3 Pro UVIR are similar to the S3 Pro model including a SuperCCD SRII image that delivers 6.17 megapixels of effective resolution, an extended dynamic range, and a Nikon lens mount.