UVR Defense Tech, Ltd.
Improvised Ultraviolet Spotting Scopes

Off-the-shelf, cheap-and-not-so-dirty, UV/IR Scopes

Video Camcorder-based Scope

Sony DCR-HC52 Camcorder -- A common digital camcorder with a used-camera market price of $104.00 - $150.00 USD. This inexpensive camcorder has a CCD with 680K pixels. For video this low resolution is not only acceptable, it can be an advantage. With fewer pixels covering the same sensor area, each pixel of this device is significantly larger than the pixel of a camcorder of ten mega-pixels. With CCDs, the larger pixels are more sensitive to light.

These particular camcorders do not require any modification to work in both UV and near-IR. Just a few setting adjustments - and the appropriate optical filter - give you have a zoom scope capable of instantly revealing the enemy at three hundred yards across a mountain valley.

LiveView Camera-based Scope

All Lenses with Lumix GF1The camera above is a modern Panasonic Lumix GF1. This excellent 12.1-megapixel camera has an N-MOS sensor that is highly sensitive in the ultraviolet; once the IR/AA cut filter and dust-shaker have been removed. The Micro Four-Thirds lens mount accepts most older lenses with the appropriate adapter. The usual selling price of the Lumix GF1 is approximately $500.00 USD.

One immediate advantage of the GF1 is the large LCD on the back. The sensitive sensor allows this screen to be used for focusing and general display even in the ultraviolet. When used as a UV scope, this enables the soldier to sweep large areas of the terrain quickly, or focus upon one spot and magnify it for better focus, without actually taking any photos. On the other hand, if the soldier needs to acquire images for later use, he has the option of high quality stills or HD video - whichever headquarters prefers.

The lenses above look very expensive - and they were at one time - but superbly-crafted, German-made manual lenses of the 1930-1970 period can be purchased for a few dollars today. Most of the lenses above were purchased on ebay for less than $25.00 USD each. These lenses are excellent for ultraviolet photography because they:
  • Are uncoated or only single-coated
  • Are lighter than modern, automatic lenses
  • Have only two or three glass elements - with one exception - which means less glass/air interfaces to absorb/reflect UV
  • Are inexpensive but have the highest quality design, build, and materials
  • Are rugged
As the lenses were made for 35mm film, the focus lengths of the lenses on the smaller GF1 sensor are effectively doubled. Thus a 50mm lens is a 100mm, the large 250mm lens is a 500mm, etc. This means that the 250mm Piesker lens on the lower right of the image above will take a photo of a fifteen meter wide by ten meter high (49' by 33') swath of hillside at four hundred meters (1312 feet). This is excellent capture for a lens weighing only 726 grams (1.6 pounds). For general scouting work with this scope, a 50mm, a 105mm, and a 250mm lens would be sufficient.

UV-Pass Filters

In order to view and record in ultraviolet light, it is necessary to prevent all other wavelengths of light from reaching the camera sensor.

UVR Defense Tech tried all the readily available UV-Pass filters and found that none provided the high rate of transmission desired over the entire 340nm - 400nm band. Therefore, we developed our own UV-Pass filter known as the Andrea "U". See our Filter Page for full details.

UVRC is the only camouflage system designed for the near-ultraviolet spectrum.

"UVRC", "UVRC-P", and "UVRC-A" are trademarks of UVR Defense Tech, Ltd.
"MultiCam" is a registered trademark of Crye Precision LLC.
Copyright 2010-2012 UVR Defense Tech, Ltd.