The Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro UVIR takes the original FinePix S3 Pro DSLR design, and makes a few tweaks that allow the camera to capture light at wavelengths beyond what is visible to the human eye. By removing the cut filter from the design and replacing it with a new glass protective filter, the camera can now capture light at ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths – something of great use in law enforcement, military, medical research and other scientific fields, and more (and doubtless of interest to some enthusiasts as well!). As well as replacing the cut filter, Fuji has also made changes to the camera’s menu system to make it more accomodating to UV / IR use, for example with the Live Preview option now being placed on the first menu screen for quick access. It should be noted however that Fujifilm’s materials do caution that the removal of the UV / IR filtering could cause issues for autofocusing, auto exposure metering, and low ISO sensitivities. The company is recommending use of manual focus, exposure compensation, and ISO sensitivities above 200 (even though lower sensitivities are still available).
Still, these slight limitations in the Fuji S3 UVIR are doubtless infinitely preferable to the existing situation. IR and UV photography with SLR cameras has until now basically required either third-party modification of a DSLR (hence voiding the warranty), or use of film instead. The latter left photographers with no way to preview their results, and exposures that could potentially take minutes to hours – perhaps just to find that they’d chosen a less-than-optimal filter and would have to repeat the process from scratch. TThe benefit of the Fuji S3 Pro UVIR to its manufacturer is equally clear – it allows the company to extract more life from a camera design it first launched in February 2004, and given the market niche, the camera can even command somewhat of a premium. While street pricing on the S3 Pro is currently in the region of US$1250, list pricing on the S3 Pro UVIR is set at $1800.
The Fuji S3 Pro UVIR goes on sale in the USA from September. Most other features are similar to the original S3 Pro model, which features a SuperCCD SR II image sensor that delivers an image resolution of 6.17 megapixels (effective) with an extended dynamic range, coupled with a Nikon F mount.