Modified Nikon SW-5UV & SW-5IR Flash Adapters for the Nikon SB-140 or UV Enhanced SB-14 for Ultraviolet, Infrared and Luminescence Photography

Shane Elen

These are not original Nikon SW-5UV & SW-5IR flash adapters but UV & IR modified Nikon SW-5 adapters with very similar spectral characteristics

The modified Nikon SW-5UV and SW-5IR adapters are made by retro fitting the Nikon SW-5 adapter with specially selected UV or IR materials of very similar spectral characteristics and thickness. There are many types of UV and IR materials available so it is important to know their spectral characteristics to ensure the success of the project and obtaining the correct thickness permits them to be fitted normally to the Nikon SB-140, a UV enhanced Nikon SB-14 flash, or the standard Nikon SB-14 for ultraviolet or infrared photography.

There are several options for retro fitting the SW-5 adapter. One possibility is to fit a readily available 49mm round filter (45mm window) to the adapter and block off the surrounding open area. Another is to fit the SW-5 adapter with a readily available square filter and block of the surrounding area. While both these options will work, they both significantly reduced the UV or IR capability of the flash. Retrofitting the adapter with the appropriate sized rectangular material will maximize the UV or IR output. This is particularly important for ultraviolet photography when every little bit counts.

The following illustrates the surface area of the filter material for each of these options:

* As the SW-5 adapter is not truly rectangular, a rectangular filter will fit the SW-5 adapter but there will be small gaps at the two short sides that need to be sealed with black RTV. The other alternative is a custom shaped piece of filter material.

Spectral comparison of the SW-5UV and SW-5IR clones with the Nikon versions:
The clone adapters fit the Nikon SB-140 or the UV Enhanced Nikon SB-14 for ultraviolet, infrared or luminescence photography. The SW-5UV clone has a wider UV range but also lets about 15% more IR through. The same UV glass is used in my dedicated UV enhanced Nikon SB-14 and when combined with a good filter on the lens, the extra small amount of IR leakage does not pose a problem (homepage images). The SW-5IR clone begins passing IR about 15nm earlier than the Nikon SW-5IR but still remains within the IR region.

Comparison of Nikon & clone SW-5UV Ultraviolet adapters
Fig.1. Comparison of Nikon & clone SW-5UV Ultraviolet Flash Adapters
UV modified Nikon SW-5 adapter
Fig.2. UV modified Nikon SW-5 adapter - SW-5UV clone

If you are interested in an SW-5UV clone flash adapter for the SB-14 please go here

Comparison of Nikon & clone SW-5IR Infrared adapters
Fig.3. Comparison of Nikon & clone SW-5IR Infrared Flash Adapters

Nikon SW-5V to fit the Nikon SB-140 or the UV Enhanced Nikon SB-14 for visible photography

This filter is used on the Nikon SB-140 and UV Enhanced Nikon SB-14 to remove ultraviolet from the flash in much the same way as the original yellow coating on the standard SB-14 flashlamp.

A UV modified Nikon SB-14 flash (SB-140 clone) for dedicated use in ultraviolet photography
Fig.1. Nikon SW-5V (does not transmit ultraviolet)

If you are interested in an SW-5UV clone or a UV modified SB-14 please go here

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© Shane Elen 2006. Last updated Jan 9th, 2012.