Before the rush

Before the rush
by evan-pak

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Thanks to Rob Hoare's advice on cobbling together my own "overhead scanner", I would like to purchase extra lighting that I can use to illuminate documents as I photograph them. I would like to make sure they are UV-filtered (according to Fortiter's recommendation) to minimize lighting damage as they are photographed.

Is it possible to tell from the packaging/type of lightbulb if they are UV-filtered, or is it necessary that I buy an external UV filter regardless of the illumination I purchase?

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migrated from Dec 18 '12 at 18:15

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One concern I have about using a point source to light your document is that it will result in uneven lighting with respect to the camera lens. A diffuse source would produce better results; natural light is often a good approximation. – Gene Golovchinsky Dec 18 '12 at 1:41
up vote 4 down vote accepted

If you need to illuminate documents that you are "scanning" in such a manner, and you wish to filter UV light, a sheet of your average picture framing glass between the bulb and the document should filter out most UV light. If you are intent on filtering out as much of it as you can, you could pick up a small piece of multi-coated museum glass, which will transmit more visible light and filter out more UV light. Keep in mind museum glass is far more expensive than standard framing glass.

You will probably also want to cover the glass sheet with some thin paper in order to diffuse the light, as the comment by Gene states. You will definitely want to diffuse the light to better illuminate the subject you are photographing.

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Is it possible to tell from the packaging if a lightbulb is UV filtered? Based on your answer, it sounds like the answer to the question is no. Can you clarify? Thanks! :) – jmort253 Dec 22 '12 at 4:47
Generally speaking, no. You might be able to find specialty bulbs that explicitly offer UV filtering, in which case I would expect it to be labeled as such. For most bulbs, though, Incandescent, CFL, and LED, none that I know of list UV filtering as a feature. – jrista Dec 22 '12 at 18:04

I imagine that manufacturers of light sources that reduce the UV emitted would label their products prominently in order to justify the higher price. You might begin by searching on the trade name UVILEX™ 390 Z, but I am sure that there are others.

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