I encounter a contradiction.

Many resources state that a digital sensor are unsensitive to UV light. Even wikipedia, "However, newer photographic film and digital cameras are highly insensitive to UV wavelengths." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UV_filter. Digital Photography Review goes even to the point that a digital photographer won't even need it on a beach (an UV-light rich area). "digital sensors are not and hence do not need UV filters in even bright sunlight". http://www.dpreview.com/articles/8049091537/the-uv-filter

While other resources state that digital sensor are sensitive to UV light. Are digital sensors sensitive to UV?

Can someone clarify this contradiction?

My prognosis is that a digital sensor is sensitive to UV light, but sensor manufactures include an UV blocking system on the sensor. But I don't know if that's true. I do know that IR light is blocked through a IR-absorption glass on the sensor itself.

Is my prognosis correct?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ A lot depends on just how sensitive at what wavelengths of the UV light spectrum a sensor needs to be to be considered sensitive to UV light. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 23:55

1 Answer 1


Most digital sensors are sensitive to UV to some degree, and most have UV/IR cut filters installed over them to keep that sensitivity from throwing off visible light colors. However, removing the cut filter to let in the full spectrum, or using a pass filter and long exposures, doesn't really solve the issue of allowing the camera to shoot in UV, because the majority of lenses also have UV cut coatings on them. Few lenses are suitable for UV shooting, and the ones that are tend to be expensive and rare (e.g., the UV-Nikkor 105 f/4.5), which is why this is a much rarer and more esoteric form of photography than IR shooting. It's most commonly done by forensic photographers.

See: All You Ever Wanted to Know About Digital UV and IR Photography, But Could Not Afford to Ask

  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you have a link of a photo of an UV/IR cut filter which is installed on a sensor? \$\endgroup\$
    – Julian
    Commented Jul 19, 2014 at 8:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Nevermind... 365astronomy.com/… \$\endgroup\$
    – Julian
    Commented Jul 19, 2014 at 8:15
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Julian here's more visual aids for a variety of cameras: lifepixel.com/tutorials/infrared-diy-tutorials. Lifepixel does IR and full-spectrum conversion of cameras by removing the installed filter, and then replacing it. \$\endgroup\$
    – inkista
    Commented Jul 19, 2014 at 16:47

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.