I just finished watching a video that explained some of how UV light looks with a UV camera. In the video, at one point the UV camera made everything distinctly green. At another point, everything was purple instead of green. The video had demonstrations about absorbing UV light and how that made things darker vs. reflecting UV light made them brighter, but I still don't know how the green to purple shift happened.

Was that an issue of the camera lens? Is my own color perception somehow incorrect and there was never any green at all?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You can probably look up the model of the camera and get a better answer from there, most likely it's a false color image. $\endgroup$
    – Triatticus
    Apr 25, 2021 at 20:10
  • $\begingroup$ it is also the perception of the retina of the eye. look at this answer of mine here physics.stackexchange.com/questions/552840/… $\endgroup$
    – anna v
    Apr 26, 2021 at 6:13
  • $\begingroup$ Anecdotal, but I met a woman once that had an extra receptor in her eye that picked up UV. Her closest description was "a weird pink color." So, yes, definitely false color image. $\endgroup$
    – Hokon
    Sep 15 at 1:51

2 Answers 2


Here is another video about a UV camera from Veritaseum. The World in UV. It does not explain what you asked, but it does make something clear. The UV camera detects UV light. It then shows it to you with light you can see. That light is visible. So you can conclude that a UV camera is a UV to visible converter.

To a degree, that is all you need to know. You can't see UV, so the camera has to pick some color you can see. It doesn't really matter which one it picks. I depends on the manufacturer.


Um no it's not a UV to visible converter. Cameras outside the visible spectrum don't convert it to actual visible light. It makes us see it. But it's false color and color isn't light, it's a our perception of the frequencies of light. So color is an illusion. Light is actually white. We do perceive white as a color, even tho white is the whole spectrum.

But the answer to your question it's false color, to make distinctions between different wavelengths. The more accurate images are in black and white. We don't know the colors outside of light we can see, aka visible light. But we can, with our tech detect and measure other lights or em waves in the em spectrum.

All false color is done in post processing, even tho some cameras do false color itself.

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    $\begingroup$ "So color is an illusion. Light is actually white." What do you mean? $\endgroup$
    – PM 2Ring
    Sep 15 at 2:03

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